Published: October 27th 2009October 27th 2009
Yes I'm back, back from the oven that is Parashant national monument. Seriously hot there, the highest recorded temperature during our stay was 38 degrees in the shade and when you are working 10 hour days that kind of temperature is not funny at all.
Day one was a very dull day indeed. We had been told that the journey was roughly 6 hours. In fact it was 11 hours from Flagstaff to Parashant, via Utah and Nevada. We arrived at our camp site for the project at 6.30 pm and so were setting up our tents in a new place in near darkness.
Day two came around after a very good nights sleep and it was time for the work to begin. The worksite was a matter of feet away from where we had camped so after the usual safety meeting and stretches we got straight to it. The aim of the whole project was to restore the area around a 1930s ranch to how it was before the ranchers settled there. This did not involve taking the ranch down but we were removing large areas of vegetation caused by the re-routing of a stream carried
out by the ranchers. The work was easy enough but the heat made everything seem worse and we were working from half 7 until half 5. By the end of the day we had cleared over half the area and made a huge pile of vegetation that is going to be burned at a later date.
Day three saw the continuation of the de-veg work which took up most of the 2 morning sessions and the result was an area that was almost unrecognisable from 2 days before, i wish i had taken before and after pictures. In the afternoon we set about clearing away an area further from the camp ground. Thankfully this area was in the shade, but the work involved raking and clearing away leaves which was a tad tedious.
Day four meant a new worksite, this one further still from our camp ground (still only 5 minutes away so hardly any of the 10 hours was taken up by traveling). Our job here was to remove dead vegetation from a ditch that once had a stream flowing through it before the ranchers interference. This area was slightly higher than the other work
sites and so we were full in the sun all day with no shade. Again we made very good progress and although are supervisor didn't say so, i think he was very impressed with the progress we had made. Our reward for the hard work came at the end of the day when we went down to lake Mead having finished work and hour and a half early. The lake was beautiful but unfortunately it was too muddy around the edge to enable us to go swimming. The mood was very positive at camp that night because although we were only half way through the project in terms of days, we all knew that we had done well over half the work that was required of us.
Day five started with a power-session trying to finish the work up in the ditch before the day got too hot. It was by this point that we had all started to get eaten alive by the bloodsucking bugs up by the steam and this made everyone more irritable than usual. When the ditch was finished we went back to camp to do more clearing up leaves. Apparently this was to
minimise the fire risk but i think it was just because we were running out of things to do.
Day six was the first time we had any sort of distance to travel to our worksite: a corral (cattle enclosure). Our job here was to remove all trace of the structures which involved taking down the wire and wooden fences as well as the wooden posts and cattle gates. The job took the whole day but was made slower than necessary by the frustrating lack of tools. Despite this everyone felt really good at the end of the day with the knowledge that all the hard work had been achieved.
Day seven turned out to be our last day at Parashant. The park ranger Ray arrived at 11 am along with the historian, both of whom were very impressed with our progress. So pleased infact that we were allowed to leave the project one day early. We used the time to drive to Zion and camped there over night which was good because it split up the long journey and also meant we saw the people from the crew there a night earlier than anticipated.
Day eight had a very early start. We left at half past 6 Utah time and so we had time to have a few scenic stops on the way home. We visited the grand canyon dam and horseshoe bend, both were well worth seeing and meant we didn't arrive back in Flagstaff suspiciously early. Crew meal that night was a little bit special because it was the last project for one of the crew. With this in mind, we let her choose the venue and i have to say it was probably the best meal out I've had in Flagstaff to date.
After the 8 day project, i had 6 days off before my next project, which was originally a different project in the Parashant area but has since changed to fencing at Zion national park which i am very happy about. There are now 3 crews at Zion and this weekend is of course Halloween so i'm anticipating lots of costumes and fun after work on Saturday night. I used to of the days off to head back to Sedona, my favorite place here in America so far. This time it was for two days and
with a different group of people, including someone who left ACE today, so this was here last roadtrip. A mixture of seeing native ruins and hiking and i feel i saw a lot more this time than last time and the cathedral rock hike was even more amazing than devil's bridge, which took some beating!
Just booked my trip to Las Vegas ready for after the Zion project so really looking forward to the next 2 weeks, i cannot believe i will be half way through my time with ACE this weekend, its going so fast! Next blog up after Vegas, so probably November 9th, so that's that until then, bye!
There are more photos below