Wupatki Fencing

Sooo, I'm back from Wupatki and it was rather awesome. We left at about 7am which meant waking up at half 5 only 2 days after a 10 and a half hour flight with the effects of jet lag still present. The first task of the day was driving over to Cedar house to load up the van with the week’s food supplies and tools needed for the project.

Day one involved putting up tents in windy conditions, which turned out to be fun, and generally preparing the camp where we were going to be living for the next 3 nights. The work on the first day was probably the most interesting and varied: me and Peter the German were using the strimmer to clear away plants within a few feet of the area where the fencing was to be constructed. At the end of the day we all went back to camp hot and tired but feeling the day had gone well.

Day two started with breakfast and then out to the work site for the day's safety briefing and stretches before the work began. I spent the day pounding in metal fencing posts with a crew of 3 other people - in the heat this was very tiring work. In some places the ground was very rocky so we needed to dig out the rock with shovels and pick axes before we could get to work putting the T-posts in place. When we returned to camp, we found about 15 tents had been blown all over the camp site by the strong wind that had been battering us during the day.

Day three was probably the hardest days work of my life to date: carrying 60 pound concrete bags half a mile over treacherous, rocky terrain in the morning followed by carrying sets of 3, 12kg T-posts the same distance for the rest of the day. I was so knackered that I actually fell asleep in the van on the way from the work site to camp.

More carrying stuff on day four, although this time over longer distances because the fencing line was moving along all the time. With a total of 37 people on project at the same time in 3 crews, we should have been achieving a lot but it was not until walking back to the van that afternoon that I saw evidence of the week’s work. About a half mile of new fencing had been constructed and the foundations were there in terms of equipment and preparation for us to manage about a mile and a half when we head back to Wupatki on Tuesday.

After tooling up on Friday afternoon we set off for Flagstaff where we needed to clean the van and all the cooking equipment and do an inventory to make sure nothing had been left behind - this was hard work after 4 days out in the desert but luckily we beat the other 3 vans back so were the first to finish then it was shower time - the best shower ever. I dread to think how dirty I will be after an 8 day project!

Not done much on my off days this weekend, I had plans to go to Sedona with 4 people I met on project but the weather on Sunday was rainy so the plan was postponed until a later date. There are lots of people interested in going down to Phoenix for an NBA game sometime in November and Mount Humphreys needs to be climbed before the weather turns too dangerous. According to the supervisors we will see several feet of snow a day by the end of the month. Don't yet know where I am going on project next week so that could be interesting. Anyway, ciao for now.

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