What's been going on?
We've been pretty quiet since our campaign came to a successful end, but that's not because we've been resting and congratulating ourselves. In fact, we've been incredibly busy, and every day that the field season gets closer it seems there is more to do.
The first bit of good news is that our BLM permit is making progress, thanks to the hard and diligent work of Lisa and Gretchen - thanks to both of them! Our permit application has been cleared by the geologists, and now has to be cleared by the archaeologists and biologists. So, as long as they don't discover any burial grounds or eagle nesting sites, we'll be all set to go! I joke about this but the work they do is very important and we are more than happy for the process to take quite a bit of time if it means those good folks are doing their best to protect those equally important resources.
This week alone has been very busy. We have scheduled the arrival of some of our Expedition Leadership team to Billings, MT, reserved the UTV rental, reserved the trailer to haul the UTVs, reserved the rental vehicles for our Expedition Crew members, scheduled a backhoe service to repair the main road that will let our UTVs get to the quarry, and scheduled meetings with our friends at the Bureau of Land Management to sign our permits. We were even alerted to a new site north of Billings that no one has inspected yet! We sure as heck don't have time to go looking for or at new sights this year, but we can't pass up the chance, either! Looks like we'll try to hit that sight on our "day off" - right before our Crew members arrive.
As busy as things are now, that's nothing compared to what it's like from the 1st minute we arrive in Red Lodge, to the minute we pull out a month later. By the time I finally drive up the mountain into into camp after a VERY long haul from New Jersey, I'll get just a few hours to sleep, and then everything happens practically all at once. I'll have to unpack the truck, head back to Billings to get the Montana BLM permit signed, pick up the other three Expedition Leadership members arriving that day, pick up a rental vehicle for them, and then head back to Red Lodge to pick up a trailer so that first thing the next morning we can reload all of the field gear into my truck, pick up the UTV, haul it out to the field sight, meet the backhoe guy and get him started, meet with the WY BLM folks to sign those papers, and then start ferrying all of our tons of equipment and supplies up and down the canyon wall to our quarry sites. Saturday would have been a rest and prepare day, but now it looks like we'll be headed to that new site - can't wait!
The entire month of field season is pretty much constant hard, physical work, occasionally interrupted by short intervals of sleep. But, every single one of us loves every single second of it - we wouldn't have it any other way. Field season can't get here soon enough!