Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, winter solstice, happy new year to all your faces. The days are getting longer again. I do hope you are well.
Yesterday, it was 64 F. The skies are clear and glorious. The sun shines. I am wearing shorts, barefoot, warm, and happy. Truly, there is not much else one can ask for in this world.
I’m spending time with family before I head back up, and then (I think I mentioned this before?) I’ll be working for about three weeks at ole University, on the way, so money happens. No starving. No sadness. Not too much cold.
The fam-bam has asked me to hang around till the end of January, so I might as well show you a picture of my mom. Here she is, kicking a stump right next to my dad’s lovely shiny combusting going-fast* machine.
Here she is, rubbing her face after I showed her the first picture. “I look so Asian!” Yes, Ma. I believe that is because you are. (I am sure it is not despair at her daughter’s life choices. I am sure it is not that.)
Hmm… I think that many times I have mentioned doing science, and never has it been explained to you. This is an egregious oversight, and I apologize, with full heart and soul. From Alabama to mid-Maine, while I was also walking, eating, sleeping, and writing you, I collected data at 123 different stream sites. This involved carrying 50 glass vials in a cardboard box (sent/swapped out when I got to a post office) and science materials, in addition to yer standard camping equipments; I took loads of measurements (temperature, pressure, etc.) and samples of the air that was dissolved in the water* at each site, and stuck it into my glass vials. For science!!
*Remember how a Coke has a bunch of carbon dioxide dissolved into it, so it fizzes? Well, most water has a bit of air gas dissolved into it, in the same way, but not as fizzy. That air gas is what I took samples of. Using magic, of course.
The project I’m collaborating on I got by accidentally emailing a university professor about this hike, and asking if he needed data for anything. “Well,” he says, “Actually we’re studying greenhouse gases in inland waterways, I’d love to get more data.” (What he really ought to have written was probably something along the lines of, who the heck are you and why are you emailing me, but I guess I got lucky.) So when I finished the data gathering, and then eventually walked up to northern Maine, I was delighted to find that GIS lab right where I never expected it, but really needed it for research, in Presque Isle right next to the trail. Now I get to spend another three weeks this year continuing research again, earning money and not sleeping in the cold, because I’ll stop briefly at the lab on my way back north. We look at the amounts of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide dissolved in streams, then get to take a look at land use statistics around each area, and see how our activity (agricultural, urban, etc) affects those gas levels.
For more on general labwork, check the lab’s website here.
Anyways, that’s a good bit of what I’ve been working on while I hike with y’all. Happy January!