Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rains Came

This excavation year at Hellgap I wasn’t allowed to set up my tent next to the little wash. The rancher said it annoyed the cows as they passed by on their way to water!

I found a spot at the base of a rock outcropping and up hill from the main cottage that housed the kitchen and other central activities. A small group of trees nearby gave some privacy for the shower stall. In general, it was an ok tent spot and one that had me to the kitchen in quick order. And above all it was level. Yes! On the hill but level; almost a little landing carved out on the hillside.

We worked for about a week — our normal comings and goings; digging and washing artifacts - but then came the rains.

And it rained — and rained.

We spent time in the center exploring and picking matrix from our units. Using an enlarging lens we removed with tweezers anything not found in the washing screens. Of course we grumbled about the rain and wondered if we had covered the excavation area well enough to prevent water damage.

On the third day of rains after dinner and a quick scamp to my tent I noticed when I got inside my tent a spongy feel to the floor. Nothing was wet but I had the distinct impression I was on water. The entire tent had the feel of a waterbed.

I grabbed an empty can and in the pouring rain I trenched around the tent. I should have done this at the outset - but oh well! I also noticed water accumulating at the back of the tent. I was pleased that the water began to flow down the hill away from the tent and it flowed and flowed and then some more. The water flowed down the little trenches but it continued to accumulate at the back of the tent so now I bailed and bailed and bailed some more. Exhausted, wet, discouraged and now in the “to hell” with it mode I went to bed.

I was tired so I slept and slept well. I slept dry!

In the morning, I noticed the floor of my tent still felt like a waterbed. On reviewing my trenching handiwork from the night before I could still see a hellva lot of water flowing around my tent.

And the rain had stopped!

There was only one thing to do at this point and that was to move the tent. Not a fun job when one has 2 weeks of clothes, bedding and all the other stuff!

When I had everything out of the tent and had it lifted off the ground I found water pouring out of the ground.

My ok spot was on top of a spring!

No comments:

Post a Comment