We all slept late this morning. There was no agreement to do so, it just happened.
It is darker, if that can be. Air is thick and we can taste the smoke. Feel the ash.
Jeanne still not happy but enjoyed her breakfast “in bed.” Straw drawers cooked up their favorite breakfast. It was hearty and well taken but not by all.
We are sluggish in our approach to the day. We seem to be malcontents. Most of us are coughing. Some seem to have strange rashes, which look more like burns. We all profess to weariness.
Lunches are packed but there is much dithering about the start. Everyone wants to stay in camp.
Our hike today will take us back to the spot where we were yesterday, as site mapping needs to be completed. The PI tells us we will do a full surface collect and that gets us out of the ‘stay in camp’ mode.
The hike is slow and plodding. We follow the path we made yesterday but our feet are heavy and daypacks are heavier.
We take breaks; talk is limited and not animated. Coughing is rampant. Rashes are redder. Moods are somber.
On site, we noodle and find! Artifacts are point plotted on the map; collected, numbered and bagged readied to be carried down the mountain, readied for the lab.
We have planned to take everything collected to camp for later study and identification.
Someone gets nasty about not wanting “to carry those damn rocks.”
We huddle and agree for each of us to carry just a little in our day pack-no more than anyone can do so comfortably. Comfort is the key word. We are tired and coughing.
Most of the artifacts will be left behind. It is a disappointment. We go over the collected material very carefully and decide upon each artifact as to its research potential. Only tools such as bifaces, retouched flakes, ground stone or true diagnostics will be taken back to camp.
The long trek back to camp home is exhausting. We have found what we came for; it is the theme of the light trail talk.
No shower! The branch has broken, the water is cold and everyone is just too tired to try to mend what ails the camp.
We try to keep up our wounded spirits. It is not working. Even dinner is a drag. Jeanne has cooked, but is not happy about it. She has remained with us though, which is welcome news.
We are careful with each other. Actually, we almost cling to one another as worry overcomes us.
The fire, rather the smoke, is taking its toll. We can see the ash. We can smell the smoke. We can taste its acrid nature, but we don’t know where it is, and we are in full bloom worry.
We talk of action but decide we don’t know what action to take other than leaving and going home.
Another try at the car radio brings the expected door slamming, but this time joined by explosive cursing.
Home! The talk turns of home and we become animated.
Spirits rise. Energy is renewed. We develop a plan.
We will break camp in the morning after breakfast, after the chores and packing is done. We will head for home. We will be leaving a few days early but, so what! We found what we came for.
Paleo Indian was at high altitude; we found them. The sites are fully documented for later recording and future research.
We clink our glasses of wine and salute the next day.
So, off to bed we go, dirty and tired, but with hope and remembrances of home.
to be continued (early)