Over the last couple of days we have begun our continental U.S. sampling of denitrification and N2 fixation in streams. Our first site was the Arikaree River in Colorado and it was a test of perseverance.
We road tripped through six states to get to the field site. The road trip itself was good and had beautiful views, however the fact the van AC was broken and it was 103 F was a bit uncomfortable. After a long day of sweating our body weight in the van, Michelle and I stopped in Iowa for the night and camped.
The next morning we packed up the tent and hit the road. Most of the day was spent driving through deep agricultural areas and again was super sweaty. We reached Fox Ranch by mid afternoon and prepared for the next day of sampling.
To put it gently the next day of sampling was a hot mess. This can happen sometimes despite all the prep and planning you put into a field day. For us the hike out to the field site was 40 minutes in the intense heat, as we got a late start due to communication issues. Not to mention one of our frame packs broke before we even left the house. Sampling itself went smoothly and the Arikaree is set in a beautiful scenery full of wildlife.
Towards the end of sampling though, we were worried about it getting dark so we had to take some samples back to the ranch house with us. These samples proved to be too heavy for the broken frame pack and caused logistical issues in getting back to the house that left us both with aching bodies and feeling defeated. However, we could not go straight to sleep as we still had samples to process and prep to do. The next day we left on time with a determined attitude and we were able to follow our normal field schedule!
Overall the Arikaree River was a challenging way to start our summer 2017 field sampling, but we are very fortunate to be able to perform fieldwork in such diverse locations across the country even if they test us. We are onward and excited for sampling in Utah, Idaho, and Wisconsin!
Until next time! -Erin