well, life out here has been pretty grand. since the last time i've posted, we went through a hot spell, and now, well now, it never seems to stop raining. the sun was great, and despite the current sloppy site conditions, the rain has been a welcome change in my books. it always smells so fresh out here, and i'm no longer battling the black flies and deer flies.
we've been working on a lot of earthworks recently, forming and shaping a huge lagoon for the upcoming camp. i've been checking soil densities and compaction using a nuclear densometer. i had to go through so much training to use that thing, but now i'm certified to transport dangerous goods (including class 7 radiocative devices) for the next 3 years. we've also got this meter in the office that measures background radiation levels to make sure i'm not going to be glowing any time soon, hahah. chalk that up on the list of things accomplished.
we've also aquired two atvs a couple of weeks back. so much fun! brand new honda fourtraxs. so much fun! jorden and i frequently take them out and about to check on the drillers and blasters, who are clearing bedrock to make way for some of the access roads. speaking of which, they've seem to hit a pocket of garnet. a ton of the rock fragments here are encrusted with these tiny garnet crystals, and some are even flecked with silver.
so, where was i going with this? oh yeah, the upcoming long weekend!
i've decided to come home for the long weekend. things here are pretty much shutting down in the next day or so, and most of the guys here are coming back to winnipeg. since i'll be pretty busy and rushed the weekend of ashli and paul's wedding when i come back, i figured that i could head back for the long weekend as well, for some potential hang-outs with friends i probably would have missed seeing that weekend.
so my first question is, any takers?
i'll be heading back home thursday afternoon, so basically i'm free any time from friday morning to monday morning (when i have to drive back to thompson). now granted, one of these evenings i'll most likely be spending time with family, but as for the others, i'm game for anything. i really miss you all. it would be nice to catch up.
see you all soon!
UPDATE: well, it seems as though the camp is shutting down earlier than expected. i'll be leaving wednesday now. so thursday is freed up as well.
time for an update. this time with no pictures. i'm sorry, i can't seem to find the cable to connect my camera to the computer.
the past week has been a nice change from the snowfall i posted about last time. it's been nothing but sun up here, and i have just been soaking it up. in the evenings i've been sitting on the back steps of my dorm, playing guitar while looking out on the lake. it's been nice to be able to do that. i hadn't been playing guitar while it was cold, fearing that some other people in the dorm would not appreciate my playing. now i'm able to play outside after work or on sundays without having to wonder what other people think about it.
THE MOSQUITOES ARE SO MUCH LARGER OUT HERE! you'd never believe it, but these things are easily 3-4x the size of the ones that buzz around back in winnipeg. they don't bite any harder or anything like that, but man, i just can't get over the size of these things.
also, chris rogocki is working up here. random? haha, he had a face as perplexed as mine when i walked up to help my co-worked unload his truck (that transported chris down to the camp) and i handed him his suitcase from the box of the truck. he just finished paramedic/fire college, and is up here working for our on-site paramedic team. haha, it's been nice talking with the guy. it sounds like he's been doing well, and is applying for the winnipeg fire department this month.
and i've learned ultimate fighting is definitely not worth all the hype that surrounds it. a whole bunch of guys here paid for this paperview ufc title match the other week. definitely not worth the money in my opinion. i watched the title match, which consisted of 2 minutes of these two guys dancing around in an octagon until one of the guys clocked the other fighter right in the temple, knocking him flat cold right then and there. probably the most pointless two minutes of my life were spent watching that.
missing you guys right now. i can't believe it's been over a month that i've been up here. over 25% done.
p.s. the new joel plaskett album is amazing! i can't get enough of it right now. if any of you see graham hnatiuk in the next little while, tell him that i said that. it'd probably cause him to crack a smile.
The May long weekend was great! Garrett, a close friend from school, and I hiked the Pisew falls loop on Saturday and Sunday, traveling through 22km of gorgeous boreal forest. Meeting up in Thompson Friday evening, we hit Safeway for some last minute groceries and headed out Saturday morning. The rain held off, and we had the trail to ourselves and a group of two other guys.
Pisew Falls. Probably the best looking trailhead I've seen.
A few pictures en route to Kwasitchewan....
Kwasitchewan Falls. Manitoba's highest waterfalls (14.2 m)
Since I've last updated, almost everyday here has been filled with either rain or snow. Yes I said snow.
And although that has put a damper on alot of the progress on the camp, I can't say that I've been having an absolultely miserable week. Actually, it's been alot of fun.
The road is washed out to the point that the only vehicles able to get through are either the rock wagons, or the flex-tracs, which are these awesome tank-like vehicles that hydro uses to get around in some pretty remote locations. The other day I got to ride in one to get down the road to check on some work.
It was awesome.
I've also met my new supervisor. He's a young guy, Gregory, a second-year EIT (Engineer-In-Training), and is definitely a motivated person. I've been given ALOT more work to do, which is actually a good thing, because I was starting to get tired of following people around and just watching them do their work. For the past two days he's been away for meetings and has left Jorden and I in charge of everything.
I've spent the past two days doing nothing but driving around and sipping coffees in this baby..
Just kidding. Alot of my job still is walking around and writing up reports and inspection records in the office. BUT driving the truck every once in a while is a definite perk.
Another this that has been happening here alot lately is rock blasting. Absolutlely insane! The foreman is this super-grumpy old man who we affectionately call "Bob the Blaster". Hahahaha, two weeks ago they we a blast to make some base for the road. Here's what remains:
I'm starting to miss the city a little, craving a slurpee or even just a summer evening walk around town in something other than 8" logging boots. But that will come soon enough. I'll be moving to the upper camp for the May-long weekend, which means I can probably go into Thompson or maybe Paint Lake for the day.
And that's about it for now. Take care!
To answer a question from a couple people, I do not currently have a mailing address. Which is unfortunate, but once I move up to the R2 camp I might be able to arrange something for mail deliveries.
Thank you so much to everyone for the prayers and support! The internet has been hooked up down at the dam site, and I was absolutely flooded with comments in my inbox coming off of that last entry.
I've been up here at Wuskwatim Lake (near Thompson) for three days now and am absolutely loving it! I arrived in Thompson on Sunday, and spent my night at the upper camp, right off the provincial highway. Monday I was shipped down to the dam site construction camp. The road to get in to site was absolutely rediculous! I had to park my car at the road construction camp, and then load everything into a massive 4x4 truck and hold on for dear life as we dredged through 50km of mud, gravel, and water, reaching the camp approximately 2 hours later. Haha, an absolute blast. Needless to say, until the road improves, my car is going to be parked. As a sidenote, I should issue a word of caution that you should NEVER buy a Manitoba Hydro fleet truck if it comes up for auction at the end of its service. You have NO idea how much of a beating they take every day out here. I've heard more bumps, thuds, scrapes, snaps, and bangs than I'd like to admit.
What a view! I'm situated N 55.55020degrees W 098.49203degrees in case you're interested taking a peak with Google Earth. Here's the view 10 seconds from my bedroom door:
And speaking of bedroom, here are the sleeping arrangements. Kind of cramped, but at least it's a room to call my own.
So far my workload has been pretty light. I'm working with two other summer students, and essentially all we've done is shadow the engineers and surveyors, inspecting work and playing around with surveying equipment that costs more than I like to think about. As the summer progresses we'll be given more and more duties and responsibility, but right now we're told to just "take it easy" and go exploring.
I've done so much hiking since I've gotten here. Easily 10km a day. In order to get to alot of the work we have to walk through forest, creek, and swamp. The bush axe and machete have been a huge help to get to some places we've needed to survey and inspect. Tyler, I swear to you, I was smiling so big when I was handed a machete to use when we went surveying, thinking about all the times you've told me how you'd love to just go exploring through the wilderness with a machete in hand.
Today Jordan (another student) and I hiked up to the dam location to check out the clearing progress.
And a little further along the hike, we stopped at Wuskwatim falls.
There is so much wildlife out here! I've seen TONS of moose tracks, and there are otters who have been playing downstream of the falls. It's a little early for the bears to be out, but soon enough I'm sure they'll be poking around the campsite looking for food. I can't wait until the ice on the upper lake melts so I can get some fishing in.
AND I'm told that eventually the high water line on the opposite side of the lake will need to be surveyed. The plan is to send over a few guys by boat to set up a camp in the forest and live out there for a few days. I'm thinking of putting in my name for that one. I'd getting paid to Double-time to do some backcountry camping in a part of manitoba that has only been accessed by a handful of people! Sweet.
The food is suprisingly delicious, and everyone seems to be in good spirits. The cooks have been looking after me, giving me more than enough food at every meal, telling me that I need it more than anyone else on site, hahaha.
So to summarize, I'm loving my job. I'm getting paid to work on a construction site that is situated in the middle of some of the most gorgeous country I've ever seen.
so i've just arrived here at camp. nobody from hydro is here today (it's a day off), and well, i'm feeling really on edge about alot of this. i don't know anybody here right now, and it's like i'm isolated in this little room at the edge of the world.
tomorrow should be better, when i get all settled in and meet some people i'm going to be working with.
prayers right now would definitely be appreciated.
hey. long time no post, i know. i think it's about time for an update.
school is over and done for the year, and it feels good to have made it through that last term. it definitely was a busy one. my apologies if i didn't get to see you as often as usual/still haven't seen you for quite some time.
for those of you who haven't heard the news yet, it is true, i'm going to be living in thompson for the summer. i got a job with manitoba hydro working on the wuskwatim dam, and i'll be up there for 4 months with environmental engineers inspecting a whole bunch of water diversions, road culverts, and whatnot. pretty much one of those opportunities i just couldn't turn down, seeing as i'm going into water resource engineering, and a project like this only happens every 20 years or so in manitoba. awesome!
i will have internet access at the work camp i'll be living in, and i'm taking the digital camera with me too, so expect to see some regular posts from me over the course of the summer. i'll aim to update at least weekly.
if i haven't seen you yet this week, i'm hoping that our paths will cross in the next couple days before i leave. i'm heading out 7:00am on sunday, and will be back sometime in late august.
kudos to brendan for getting this ipod shuffle post going again. now it's my turn. i had to skip a few because i'm pretty sure they'd be too hard for most people to get.
1. any day now you'll call me up on the phone 2. a dangerous woman up to a point once said 3. lights go down it's dark, the jungle is your head 4. children roam these streets with lust filled eyes and jagged hearts 5. oh baby, now let's get down tonight (haha try and guess who's covering it) 6. the blood left on my hands and it's up to me to wash away 7. gold lion's gonna tell me where the light is 8. do you know what would be good right here? some yellow 9. paint the target. we don't need no evidence 10. let me take you down, cause i'm going 11. god bless the daylight, the sugary smell of springtime 12. i need a camera to my eye 13. i'm sorry if you seem to have the weight of the world over you (well, actually it's the third line, the first two would give it away) 14. love ain't on my side, love ain't special, love ain't great 15. oh great intentions, i've got the best of interventions 16. let the waitress put the chairs up 17. standing in line to see the show tonight 18. if you hate the taste of wine, why do you drink it 'til you're blind? 19. i know she said it's alright, but you can make it up next time 20. what will you do when you get lonely? 21. you said you'll dream. you want to be. 22. i wanna live with a cinnamon girl 23. slip inside the eye of your mind, don't you know you might find a better place to play 24. how are you? i'm writing you from school. 25. i'll sing it one last time for you, then we really have to go.