Steady progress on three projects
Heavy snow kept us from reaching our projects this year until July 7. Two teams of four immediately started measuring trees at the Patriarch Grove for our bristlecone pines twisting project while six of us took Rich Melbostad’s 4-wheel drive vehicle up to Barcroft to check on the status of our alpine cold frame. Emma had been there last October; none of the rest of us had seen it for a year. The soil was very dry and the winter wheat that was planted last October had not germinated. Possibly our seeds are too old. No matter – we have lots of crops to plant, and only a few square feet to plant them in.
The solar electrical system the Gabels built last year was fully charged (+14.4 volts) and working great. We rinsed out the water reservoir, installed a powerful new irrigation pump and new drip lines, and tested the system with our timer. It works. We planted two kinds of radishes (Easter egg & French breakfast), mixed salad greens, potatoes, and a few seeds of bachelor’s buttons. We really think the crop this season could turn out well.
Two of our growing chambers now are open to the air at the top, and one still has a temperature-activated vent. Paradoxically, we think we kill more plants here with extreme heat than we do with extreme cold.
It was too late in the day to bag White Mountain Peak, but we hiked over the hill to check on the artificial hypoliths that were placed last October. They had been scattered by a Marmot! Some of the tiles were even missing. The Marmot’s tunnel was two feet away. Did he redecorate his place with some of our tiles? We re-deployed them in a different place, and replaced the missing ones.
The next day a team of four started measuring trees in the Schulman grove (we now have 300 measured from the Patriarch grove) while ten of us climbed 14,000’ White Mountain Peak. Nobody got sick. The view was sublime. We monitored our blood oxygen concentrations with a fingertip oxygen meter.
What we learned:
- you really can adjust to low atmospheric pressure. You just have to do it in stages.