The End of a Chapter
It certainly has been an eventful past two weeks – more so this one than the last. Last week I got the chance to see how our botanist mounts plants so they can be placed in the herbarium. She even let me do 3! First, a label is placed in the bottom right-hand corner – which is the rule of thumb whenever you’re mounting. Then, the plant has to be laid out onto watered down glue so the plant does not break with the weight of the glue. Lastly, it has to be quickly transferred by tweezers onto a thick sheet of paper then wax paper, foam, and cardboard are placed on top so it can dry flat. It was a pretty cool thing to watch and do.
This Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, people from SHUMLA, my supervisor, and I did field work at Rattlesnake Canyon. We were separated into 3 teams: one was using LiDAR to take coordinates of the site to make a 3D model, another was taking microscopic photographs to analyze the order paint was laid down, and the third was taking photographs of the main figures with scale. I was on the photography team and it was tough work, but I enjoyed it! I even got to hold the contraption the scale was on and held it against some of the paintings for a few photos. Folks, it is harder than it looks. It was heavy, I had to hold it very still for a long time, and I had to balance on a steep rock slope. My arms have been ridiculously sore since Tuesday. My supervisor took over because he’s an actual rock climber. So I ended up recording photograph information and deciding which figure to photograph next after finding it on the panel. I earned the nickname “Boss Lady”. I am very pleased with that, very pleased indeed.
My days started at 6 am and ended at 3:30, and they have been hot, exhausting, and painful days. I kid you not, plants in Texas are out to kill you. I have never had so many injuries to my legs and arms in my life. I have 34 scratches, 3 bruises, and a scrape on my legs; 7 scratches on my arms; and I got stabbed in the foot this morning by a cactus with long spines (I believe it’s called a coryphantha). Good morning to you too, Mother Nature. On the bright side, seeing the sunrise in Texas is beautiful, and there’s so much wildlife I can see here that I can’t back home. I saw deer up close and they stayed chilling by me and the crew for quite some time. All in all, I loved the experience – being surrounded by intelligent archaeologists and seeing things you can only see in Texas. I’m glad I was able to go outdoors after being inside the office for so long.
Anywho, it’s been hitting me hard that I’ll be traveling back home next weekend. It’s bittersweet, being able to see my family and friends again, yet having to accept the possibility I may never see these beautiful things and people again. This internship and experience has been more than I could ever imagine and something I will cherish for the rest of my life. I’ve learned so many valuable and life changing things here just by going outdoors, working on my assignment, and becoming friends with people in the office. I hope I’m leaving Texas a better and wiser person. Thank you LHIP, HAF, and NPS for making these past 10 weeks possible for me so I wouldn’t be stuck at home watching Netflix all day. Although I still watched quite a bit of Netflix…
I am so incredibly grateful and I don’t think I can say “thank you” enough to express my appreciation. I’ll try to blog once more for my last week here because I’ll still be visiting some places. But if not, farewell everyone! Thanks to anyone who took the time to read my blogs and join me along on my experience in Texas. I hope everybody’s internships were as amazing as mine.