This is the fourth episode of “I wish I had a buddy”.
I spent a good portion of the fieldwork for my thesis alone. I was working long days, and I didn’t have the resources to pay for someone to come with me all the time. I did wrangle friends to help when I needed an extra hand, but I couldn’t really ask for the entire time commitment that I needed to be there.
So there I was, in the middle of an extremely snowy winter. I had to drop off a bunch of equipment, and I was trying to get as much done as I could with the limited daylight. I did have the good sense to at least get out before dark. I had snow to contend with (more than 2 feet - more than enough when you have short legs), so I had snowshoes and was pulling a sled with all my stuff.
Once again, I wasn’t exactly in trackless wilderness. I was following a dirt road (albeit snowed over), and my field site was a little under a mile from where I’d parked. If a truck went by on the closest real road, I could still hear it.
The sled was heavy, so I was concentrating more on pulling the sled and keeping the snowshoes straight rather than my surroundings. But I flushed out an extremely large doggy-type creature that ran absolutely silently across my path. I knew its size wasn’t the result of my imagination, because it left extremely large doggy-type footprints in the snow.
I was comforted by the fact that it did run away. Sort of.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
I only spent one day alone in the field during my entire time in grad school. And on that day, there was a grizzly bear between me and my truck.
It was ambling along the hillside, probably eating blueberries. I sat and ate a sandwich and watched it from half a mile away. It never saw me or smelled me, as far as I know, but I was shaking the entire hike back to the truck.
I found working in the field alone disconcerting when starting my thesis, even spooky at times, but only had animal encounter later. Even when with someone, these encounters can be scary, or at least startling, especially since field partners/assistants are often over the hill somewhere.
You have some quite big, scary animals there in the States, so it's no wonder you get nervous. Australia's pretty safe really, as long as you have good boots and long pants in case of venomous snakes.
I dunno, Vicki. I've heard of your spiders...
You could buy a EPIRB, (Emergency Position Indicator Rescue Beacon). They work anywhere in the world, costs about $500. Registration is free, if activated, it sends your GPS coordinates to a satellite network. The signal is received by the AFRCC (Air Force Rescue Coordination Center). The AFRCC calls what ever phone numbers are listed as contacts. AFRCC notifies the appropriate authorities based on your location. It also transmits two radio beacon signals that any aircraft (Police/Rescue helicopter) or ship will hear on the emergency channel. I've never used mine, so you'll have to get a testimonial from someone else.
I thought EPIRBs were only for water use...
good to know for more exotic fieldwork, but if I'm mistaken for game by the locals I don't know if I'd be able to get to it.
EPIRBs were designed for water use, but they work anywhere you can see the sky. There is a web page you can update anytime with your information, what you're doing, who you are with.
Post a Comment