Day two dawned early, but it definitely wasn’t bright. It was raining pretty hard in Hilo, and although we hoped that the air would clear as we moved up the mountain, the mist continued all the way up to the kipuka. Luckily my rain jacket is a trooper and kept me nice and dry for the hike to the forest. The lava rock was all a’a rock, meaning that it was super brittle, broken, jagged, and rough. I think we’re getting gloves for hiking over the a’a because it really hurts to put your hands down. Thank goodness for hiking boots – I can’t imagine doing this job without them! And we brought the crossbow.
When we got to the kipuka, we set up more edge litterfall traps and rigged more trees. The edge plots are easy to make at this point, and we worked a lot faster today than yesterday. I’ve figured out how to work the metal for making the litterfall trap stakes. And I also shot the crossbow!! WOOOOOO!!!!! IT WAS AMAZING!!! So much power, and so much accuracy! We had to use it for the really tall trees.
We basically shoot a weighted arrow over the desired tree branch, and then retrieve the weight. We replace the weight with a rope, and pull the thick rope over the tree. That will allow Devin and Bernice to climb the trees later and collect samples of the upper canopy. Woot! We figured out a new process for getting the weight to fall correctly, since the arrow usually flies over 4 or 5 trees and we only want it to fall over the first one. It involves lots of easing, cajoling, and sweet-talking of the weight. We’re working on it! (P.S. LOOK HOW AWESOME THE CROSSBOW IS!!!!)
My stuff is still a bit soggy, but luckily it doesn’t get cold. Even up the mountain, the air is warm enough that getting a bit wet isn’t a bit deal. I think I have half a tree stuck in my braid, because we had to fight so much through the brush. Bandanas are wonderful, I used one for a headband and it kept my hair from collecting too much shrubbery. I think I’m going to have to wash my hair more often here than I’m used to… could be a good habit to get into, the whole personal hygiene thing.
Today we had a half-day because Jake and I had to be at the apartment between 12:30-4 so someone could set up our internet. We got started at 8 and made a bunch more litterfall traps, then had our driving test. I may or may not have gone a wee bit fast (tee hee), but it wasn’t a big deal, and Jake and I are good to go for driving in 4 wheel drive and regularly on the road. The USFS (US Forest Service) is super stringent about any scratches on the car, which will probably end badly because we’re putting so much gear in the truck bed.
The internet is now set up and I feel so FREE!!!! The whole world is at my fingertips!! And Jake, in his extravagance, bought a sweet motorized scooter that can go up to 30 mph, so we should be able to get to Walmart, Safeway, Farmer’s market, etc… and bring back many spoils of war (especially a wireless router). I’ll be the last one at work every day, because I’m biking, but such is life. And maybe it will encourage me to get into shape. The fastest way to work is through the University of Hilo campus, so I’ll probably get somewhat familiar with the school by the end of the summer.
I think I’ve fallen into a sleepy vortex, in which all I want to do is read “Lord of the Rings” and intermittently nap. Maybe my body is just trying to catch up on the minimal amounts of sleep I’ve gotten during the last… oh, 3 years or so. I’ve also been eating lots of delicious chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter and syrup, tasty egg concoctions, and stir fry. I love cooking!! YAY!!!