Out there became nothing and we didn’t know it. How could we?
Early people came into North America sometime around 14,000 years ago. Paleo-Indians we call them. We know little about them.
We, as an archaeological group, are here to look for their detritus; the signs of their life, of having passed through, high, high up amid the scraggly gnarled trees and cold clear lakes, most times open basins.
We are drawn together by this interest. Nothing more.
We have straggled in, one by one, to a US Federal Forest area next to a small lake; we are in the process of setting up camp where we will live for the next ten days.
The forest campground is very primitive. Cell phone reception is zero. We will see no newspapers for 10 days. This a big plus for there has been nothing but bad to horrid news, War in Iraq, Iran and North Korea both presenting problems. We have potable water and a porta-potty chemical toilet but no electricity, no showers. We have the greatest gift that an archaeology survey crew can have - a cook.
New arrivals are warmly greeted and old friends hugged; minimum time is spent in talking as we have individual camp set-up needs to attend. Night is approaching and it does so with speed in the mountains, in the forest.
The cook, Jeanne, has arrived with the kitchen and food supplies. The kitchen set-up job is tackled by everyone. Pots and pans find a nesting spot; food is stowed; propane refrigerator is started; camp dining tables in place; dish washing area is selected; and finally the 4 burner propane stove is set. This show of first team effort is a good start on our adventure.
Little tents pop up, trailers are favorably positioned.
First order of community business after individual survival interests is the camp shower. What area is the best for the shower set up? Which branch will hold our solar water bags and privacy stall? So many of the trees look worn out, beetle eaten out and drought dry. The area is scouted for a strong low branch that will fulfill our needs.
We expend all our energies on our immediate short-term needs. We are completely absorbed in obtaining a semblance of comfort for ourselves. We make a home away from home. We want comfort and a semblance of normalcy. We like routine next to comfort.
For us this means the shower works, the kitchen is working and the walk to the shower or toilet is not only pleasant but also short!
Jeanne calls us to dinner. How did she do this so quickly? It is a light tasty and filling meal. We are delighted to have a cook. We are lucky indeed!
Early to bed is the best defense against tiredness at altitude. We have come far. We have worked hard in establishing the camp, our home.
Tiredness overtakes us, but we still have the Introduction of the Project to go through next to the campfire.
to be continued