So what was Rough Science 4 day one like? It started
with a gathering call for 5:30am, helicopter training,
and the trip to Darwin Mine, our base for the new series.
Darwin Mine is thirty miles from Lone Pine, where we
are staying. The land and vegetation change dramatically.
Yes, lots of creosote bush in fruit, but the plants
get smaller as we go higher. Then tall Joshua trees
spring up Don Quixotes on the land. We are no
longer in the lush Owens Valley. The town of Darwin
has no facilities open to the public and is several
miles from the main road, a dead end of sorts, though
tracks head off into the mountains. Small towns around
here seem to be collections of past hopes trailers,
cars, stuff, lots of stuff that just doesn't rot
or rust here. No longer like your dwelling? Get a new
one and place it by the old one. Do this enough and
your yard is filled with your past, as well as the histories
of those who came before you.
Challenge: Iain and I are to find water in one of the
driest places on Earth. Kathy and Mike are to purify
it so that it is drinkable and someone is going
to drink it. Jonathan is on his own to build a rover.
First, our home base, Darwin Mine, is fabulous. It
is completely decked out with tools and electricity,
which after Rough Science 2 on the island of Carriacou,
I'll never take for granted again. The only thing
I don't see is an oven or stove that is not wood-fed.
It looks like we'll be spending time collecting
wood, chopping wood, feeding the fire, monitoring the
fire, and getting hot for yet another season. It is
quite grounding. Fire-making still dominates the lives
of many women around the world...
Hey, it's great to have Iain, the geologist,
as well. There will be two of us wandering all over
the place now. Geology, like botany/biology, can't
be done indoors. That's one of the things I love
about what I do. In the past, this has meant I've
unintentionally hogged a camera and sound team every
time I've needed to go find something. Hopefully,
Iain and I can coordinate our efforts it will
be easier on everyone.
More specifically, I haven't laughed this hard
in ages. Iain's dry humor is right up my alley.
Plus, his stories about his family (spouse and two girls)
are so loving and delightful. On occasion he just breaks
in to song children's songs that I haven't
thought of in ages.
Finding water around here is going to be a bit tough,
which is probably the point.