Hello friends, and welcome back to Annette's Adventures!
This week I will take you along on what turned out to be a scouting trip to the Harding Pegmatite Mine in the Picuris Mining District. The Picuris Mining District lies between the small village of Dixon and the Picuris Pueblo. The mine features stretch from south of the Embudo Creek to the north of Copper Hill. Harding Pegmatite Mine is on private property; it is owned and managed by the University of New Mexico.
My trip started as most outings do, packing the truck and getting on the road. We (my field partner Jessica and I) left early in the morning and drove north from Albuquerque. We stopped in Espanola to fill up the gas tank and headed east. We turned right on HWY 75, turned right down a dirt road, and arrived at the gate for Harding Pegmatite Mine. Upon arrival, we saw some people getting ready to walk into the mine, so we stopped and introduced ourselves. They were a kind couple from Ohio. We chatted with them about the different mines they have seen on their trip. I told them about a couple more mines they might want to check out before the end of their vacation. Then we parked the truck, unloaded Lady Bug, and got ready to explore/scout/see what the land had to offer.
We were there on official business, monitoring, and as such, our goal was to verify the safety of the closures. The secondary purpose of the trip was to help my field partner get experience using the GPS device. Thirdly, the excursion also served as scouting for the next field campaign.
I knew going into this trip that my data was skewed, but that did not bother me. I can usually read data from a separate GPS unit and input correct data into the unit that I use. I asked my field partner to use her GPS unit to read information to me. I could input the data into my GPS unit as a new point. We had three GPS units with us. Mine had skewed data, one could not connect to satellites, and a third unit that was unresponsive. SO, here I am, in the field with three broken GPS units and no way to work. We managed to document one point on my GPS unit before realizing that there was a lot of data missing from her unit. We walked around the site a bit and then decided to change the plan for our day and scout the roads. We hiked back to Lady Bug and drove around looking for mine features. We eventually found two pits overlooking the Penasco river and used that opportunity to take in the view and some pictures.
All through the day, we were commenting on the likelihood of rain at our location. We watched the sky. Clouds were moving about, we saw rain, but each dripping cloud seemed to move away from us instead of towards us.
My field partner and I are notorious for not setting up tents, but I decided that with such unpredictable weather, I would set mine. My partner did not pack her tent. In place of a tent, I made a make-shift bed in the back seat of Pegi for her. I piled boxes and bags in the footwell of the back seat and covered the whole thing with my yoga mat. I told her that I hoped she did not need it, but it was there just in case. She set up her cot near a tree, and we went to bed. Sometime during the night, I hear the tapping of rain on my tent. When I woke in the morning, her cot was empty, and I knew she had found her way into the back seat of Pegi.
I am notorious for having poor cell phone reception in the field. It surprised me when a string of messages started dinging into my phone at 7:30 that morning. A few were from friends, but what surprised me was a text from a BLM employee telling me that he had the corrected data I needed to work. He was on his way to Taos and would meet me along the way to deliver the data. Well, that changes everything (again). He called just as I was typing my response. We settled on a meeting location and time. I shared the new information with my field partner, and we got to the business of packing camp.
We had some difficulty loading Lady Bug onto the back of Pegi, but with the assistance of a local that was out riding his bike, we managed to load Lady Bug and drive off. Except, we were late. The person we were to meet waited as long as he could, but we missed him at the meeting spot. We did not know that we missed him, so we waited for an hour and decided to drive to Taos and get the data from him there. Once in Taos, we went straight to the BLM field office. Our contact person was in a meeting, but he managed to hand off the thumb drive to someone for us. Once outside, I made a quick call to thank our tech guru for all her efforts, then told her that we would set up at the local park to fix our technology.
With correct data in place and two out of three units operating as they should, I reached out to my BLM contact person and asked if I could return his thumb drive. As it turned out, he was having lunch across the street. We walked over and talked about what we saw at the Harding Mine. He informed us of more areas that could benefit from our attention and thanked us for our work. After chatting for probably too long, we left him to his lunch and drove the long way around Taos to enjoy the views. We went over the Taos Gorge Bridge, headed south, and crossed the river again at Taos Junction Bridge. We took advantage of the drive and the views to watch the weather. I saw lightning above the mountains we were supposed to work next and decided that it was probably safer to head home and come back another time.
The drive home, was of course, not without its adventure. The kind couple from the mine talked about Blue Heron Brewing and the delicious beer there. We could not drive by without stopping. We stopped into Blue Heron Brewing for a quick look and taste. My field partner ordered a flight of beer while I sat back and enjoyed the scenery. She tried her best to decide which was her favorite. Drinking and driving are not ok, ever. I bought a bottle of wine and tucked it into my luggage to enjoy it at home.
By this point in the day, we were both tired and hungry and craving a hamburger. We decided to drive in the direction of our home until we could find a good burger, you know the kind we were craving, a big juicy burger with all the fixings. While I drove, my partner did the restaurant research. We wanted to stop in Espanola for a burger but could not find one, so we drove on. As we approached Santa Fe, my burger craving turned to Asian food. I asked her to see if she could find some good Asian food for us. She found a place called "Chang's Dumpling House”, so we made a detour and boy was it delicious. Dumpling House did not disappoint. We sat at a picnic table and enjoyed our meal amid an unofficial sculpture garden before finally making our way home.
I hope you enjoyed this little adventure of mine. The trip was full of challenges, but we managed to make the most of it and got some work done despite our difficulties. Our next trip is to the Picuris Mining District will be in a couple of weeks.