Day 29: Altimeter
has literally poured with rain all day. We had a bit of thunder
but mostly a constant downpour. As we all brought our waterproof
gear and as it isn't particularly cold, the constant rain is kind
of amusing. It can't still be pouring down rain but it is hour
after hour, day after day. We do almost all the same things in dry
weather as we do in rain, so I'm pretty happy. I just love being
outside, tromping around and investigating what is about. The main
difference the rain brings is in the camera and sound gear. Sensitive
electrical connections are not very rain-friendly.
don't fly through clouds or up to mountain lakes we cannot see because
of the clouds. Thus, we couldn't find buried treasure at Ice Lake
today as our original map indicated. Instead, we hiked up a river
bed with Chris, a local hiking and glacier guide, up to a point
at which we were on our own to follow the new treasure instruction:
80m in altitude from the river bed, find an island of punga trees
(tree ferns), look for a clearing with a slippery log, and then
use the metal detector".
beautiful wet walk led us up a riverbed and into the rainforest.
With so many plants that are similar to the ones that were alive
in the dinosaur days, I sometimes expect to go around a bend and
see a dino feeding on tree fern fronds no such luck yet!
worked great, as it should. When Jonathan and I were convinced we
had gone up 80m in altitude from the riverbed, we saw an 'island'
of tree ferns, locally called 'punga'. Chris, our guide, would give
us no reassuring words, nor would the director or crew. We decided
to trust our instrument and our calibration, which was good because
we quickly found a clearing and a slippery log. Jonathan then set
to work with the metal detector he had built for an earlier program
and soon the treasure box was found.
I couldn't believe
it. They locked the treasure box. What good is a treasure box with
a padlock? We figured Kate had the key. But the metal box wasn't
very strong. I was about to rip it open when Jonathan suggested
we play along and take the box back without opening it. Kate did
have the key and inside was a dime-sized blob of gold. It looked
like it had already been purified, so we can start working with
this one immediately in the next program.
The other teams
did quite well, too. Kathy got a very respectable amount of gold
out of the black sand by using a very gentle sluicing system. Mike
and Mike ended up with a black potato with gold in the middle. Quite
strange, but very impressive. Particularly as Mike B. had harvested
the mercury from actual rock in order to extract gold from rock.
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