leap frog

I am going to continue with my crusade to recap each and every day…

Lunes 13 de junio de 2011 

The first part of the day was spent in the field doing tree ID with Alejandro. The latter was spent back at the station. We were quizzed individually with 7o-something tree samples to ID. Afterwords we were given a large packet which contained our field protocol quiz. As soon as 4pm rolled around we all dashed for our suits and headed to the waterfall down the hill. The large falls and subsequent waters are separated from our go-to swimming hole by a natural pileup of smooth large tree trunks and even larger boulders. Climbing up out of the water and over the sheer rock-face is near impossible but, with some poking around Ed, Rachel and I were able to turn sideways in a crevasse and pull ourselves through. “Narnia!” I shouted as I made it through and out of Ed’s sight. The ominous narrow rock walls on either side and angry force of water just 20 yards in front of us were dwarfed by the serenity of the space and consistent cool mist in our face.  Once safely back on the other side we continued our adventure down-river as Mark pondered the mysteries of the world. At one point I found myself under a rushing waterfall (only a fraction of the size of the one we just visited) squeezed between Ed and Rachel, unable speak or even think with the barrage of water above.

Martes 14 de junio de 2011 

Today marked our first real day of tree censusing (the beginning of the rest of our lives it seems).  Before heading to the big grid were huddled and cheered 4! on 3. That was Liza’s and I intend on using it in the future. Chris and Jill joined us to help with questions and to give us pointers.

Today was also Jill’s last day before heading back to Scotland. In the evening we headed back down to Luquillo for dinner at Chris’s house. The six of us were there as well as Chris’s wife and 16mo son Leonardo. Of course Jill was there as well as Jess (the other full time researcher and director). The highlight of the night was balancing on a narrow cinder-block wall separating Chris’s backyard with the neighbors, (filled with obese smelly angry perros) in order to jump up onto the roof. From the roof you were eye level with the avocado tree in the back. You also could see the looming mountains of El Yunque as well as the sea, and all the busy city sprawl in between. But the best part was the beautiful sunset! dang! I wish I had a camera easily accessible to me at all times. In retrospect I really should have brought my SLR that night…

Miercoles 15 de junio de 2011 

Today we were released into the field to what we do. Chris joined us in the afternoon to answer questions. Jill was now gone. Once back at the station we met a new group very similar to ourselves. They have the same # of people we do but are here only until Aug. They are the chronosequence group (ill probably talk about each of them later).

Jueves 16 de junio de 2011 

Thursday we started a man down (and ironically ended that way). Alejandro was at the University signing documents so it was just Liza and I representing team EH? (team A) as opposed to team 1 (Mark, Ed, Rachel). Not long into the morning we got some rain which is pretty typical and really not a big deal under the thick forest canopy. Soon the rain was harder and harder until I thought maybe Espiritu Santo had been diverted and sent airborne to dump on our heads. Soon we were soaked but the rain never let up. For a while I huddle comically under  a 6′ Miconia tetrandra. By the time it got to the point that we were 8′ apart and couldn’t hear ourselves yelling to one another, we decided to head back.

After putting on dry clothes and eating a warm lunch we were put to odd job tasks around the lab. I sorted soil samples for a bit and was amazed at the quality of the clay! It was more substantial than anything I used in high school ceramics!

That night we watched a movie on the project of the conference room as a group. I watched UP for the first time and decided it was more depressing than any cartoon I cared to see. Good ending though.

Viernes 17 de junio de 2011 

Friday was a slow moving day as our transects crisscrossed a treacherous and rocky ravine. By the end of the sweaty work day we were ready for some cool beverages and a nice dip in the local waters. We all paid Alejandro he headed down to the local store to purchase some refreshment. Nearly a dozen of us hiked down the driveway to meet Alejandro and his truck on the main road headed up hill. We all pilled into the small vehicle (comparable to a single cab Chevy s10 short-bed). The destination was the watering hole waaay up the hill that I talked of in last Wednesdays post (its near a parrot reserve so that’s what we call it).  Everyone was lounged all about on large rocks and in small water holes. Unwilling to sit around I followed Rachel upriver (more like up-waterfall) as she bounded at break neck speeds from rock to rock. Now is an excellent time to mention that Rachel’s short-term life goal is to get on Survivor. Honestly I cant think of a better candidate and I cant wait till I can say that I know someone on national television.  Anyway we made it to an abandoned bridge with no road leading up to it on either side. I figured I was Indiana Jones and was the first to step foot on the bridge for a couple of decades. That was short lived as we saw a line of research students headed down hill and out of the forest. On the opposite side of the bridge, parked a ways away was their means of transportation. I guess things aren’t always as they seem. They way back down was more eventful as I fell down two minor waterfalls resulting in a bloody and bruised left foot and a bum – bum. Deciding that walking didn’t feel so great I floated the rest of the way down either on my stomach (I liked to think of myself as a salamander but really a newt would be more appropriate) or butt, with my feet forward (like a child at Noah’s Ark – WI Dells). Regardless I made it down and enjoyed a well deserved Medalla.

Tonight I made the group dinner (as noted by () in my first post)

Sabado 18 de junio de 2011 

Saturday everyone and I mean everyone left for the beach. Having my fill of beach experiences I decided to sleep in. I spent the remainder of the day in the conference room feeling comfortably sheltered from the frequent torrential downpours. After seeing how red everyone was once they returned, I felt reassured in my decision to stay back.

Domingo 19 de junio de 2011

Another relaxed day at the field station. I talked with the rents for a while in the AM and wished my Pa and happy Fathers Day. In the evening I started a load of laundry despite only having enough quarters for the wash. Four borrowed quarters later, I had a nice pile of fresh linens and clothing. Sundays are our allotted grocery shopping days but given that it was a holiday stores were not open and our trip had to be postponed.



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