Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Seatbelts Everyone!

Field Trip!
The great thing about being in the Environmental Sciences is that there is an outdoors component to virtually every aspect of the field. Today was the day of the big Glacial Geology field trip! Out to follow what many of us refer to as our "Crazy Russian Prof" around for the day, drawing sketches, making observations, and lots of bus ride time.
I guess that I should justify the "Crazy Russian Prof" thing. She's not so crazy, but she is indeed Russian, and likes to be intense about things. Day one of class her introduction was (in a fairly heavy accent)
"Hope you have good Christmas. Was in Russa. No Christmas in Russia."
She then proceeded to intimidate us with how hard her classes are, and that Canadian Universities aren't the hardest or top rated in the world, and that we have it easy so she's going to give us a hard time (each week an assignment worth 3% of our mark that takes 8+ hours). Her midterms also feel like a cold-war attack or something. The first one in Structural Geology was a slap in the face. She set up a 30 question exam, worth 30 points, each question worth 1 point. The questions were ridiculous, you could be working visualizing a 3 dimension subsurface rock fold and measuring with a protractor and ruler for 5 minutes, or just answer a multiple choice or fill in the blank. Each. Worth. One. Point. Also fill in the blanks are obscure things she had mentioned during class like who invented this obscure device, or how deep the Mariana's Trench is. I don't study those things, I want to understand material, not have obscure facts in my head. But, she is pretty brilliant, I have learned more in her courses so far this semester than I will in my other classes for the year, and I do love geology.
Back to the story! I'm up bright and early, pack my lunch (cauliflower, broccoli, grapefruit, a couple sandwiches, and a couple of apples), and head to school. My buddy and I were some of the last on the bus (which had 2 university students in each seat, even the Prof''s), so I had to sit up with some stranger, she was really quiet. We were given handouts to follow, with big mammoths on it, I still feel cheated that I didn't find a woolly mammoth today...
Stop 1 was at a gravel pit, to stretch my legs I went down a steep slope to the ice below, and made the coolest footprints I had ever made; each step had a spiderweb of cracks out from the centre, super rad! On the way back up my buddy and I decided to climb up the pit, which we didn't realize was almost vertical until we got to within a few feet, by which time we had an audience, and there was no turning back. Being an ice climber (no big deal, did it once see below!) I got up on the first attempt, my poor buddy must have had half a dozen tries, and was out of breath for about 10 minutes, but he got it (I think it's because my boots were pointier than his, we'll have to bring cramp-ons for the next one). I found a cool piece of sandstone that was shaped like a heart on the way across to the group, and gave it to the prof. She was super stoked about the shape and said I should give it to a girl some day, to which I replied with a big smile "No, I picked this up for you :)" She kept it. [Bonus points!]
photo: KE

If only you had a wardrobe like that right?

A little later we found ourselves at the top of a steep hill, listening to Glacial Geology jargon, so I decided to make a big snowball. This sucker got to probably 3.5 feet in diameter (at least), then it was a good idea to roll it down the slope right? Great idea! It picked up mass and speed, and smashed into pieces from hitting a tree.

photo: KE

Another spot was at an esker (glaciofluvial landform), and by this turn I just needed to pee, so I climbed up and over the thing and did my business. By the time I was back near the group I realized that they were walking down the path I did to pee. It was kinda funny to have a bunch of people pass "CHRIS" written in the snow with...well you know... 
As the group ambled on down the trail, building a snowman seemed like a great way to pass the time, thus Lester from the esker came into existence. We used him for scale in photos:
Lester from the esker! in front of some very well sorted esker sediment deposit!
Some more funny, more delinquent things happened on the trip, but I may be stoopid to post in on the internet. No matter what we were supposed to do, and how bleak the day looked, it was tons of fun, goofing around in a new manner at every stop and learning at the same time.
An aspiring geologist! stoked to learn!

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