Today was an interesting day. Since some people had finished collecting data, the professors shifted some groups around to expedite data collection, and I headed out by myself. My mission for the day was to fill in some small holes in the data and get some points with pictures that would help explain my process in completing the hydrology dataset. Mainly, I needed to justify the conditions that necessitate drawing the drainage channels using the DEM rather than waling the channels with the GPS (too much vegetation). I set out along the south channel to try to retrace my steps, as I figured this would be the best way to avoid missing anything. As I made my way up along the south side, I stopped here and there to take a picture I could later geotag, or to grab a point that was missed earlier. Things started to get interesting as I moved to the back of the watershed. I started to realize something new about the drainage pattern- all the streams at the western extent of the watershed flowed into a wide marshy area before consolidating into a defined channel. I found some new trails hidden in the valley that allowed me to delineate (partially) this marsh. I was excited about this because it gave me new knowledge about the hydrology of the area, and it would certainly be a good thing to show to Dr. Becker, who will be showing up soon and most likely helping me out with my personal research. It required a little bushwacking to get the data, but so has every other stage of this process, so I didn’t mind too much.
Feeling accomplished, I decided to walk over to a movie prop that had been calling me for a few days now. Just West of the “Atlantis” ruins was a big wooden tower that was apparently used in the TV series Lost. I had decided earlier in the week that I would climb it, and figured now was as good a time as any. There was a ladder that went about 1/3 of the way up, but after that I had to scramble up the frame of the tower. It felt good to get to the top, and I looked around, although the view wasn’t as good as I had hoped. I radioed in to the base for a ride back, and waited for Briton to pick me up.
Back at base, there was some cool UAV action going on, and I watched the action unfold. There were three models that were brought in by some Hobbyist that was working with CSULB for the purposes of the project- two that reminded me of stealth bombers, one small (about 2′) and one large (about 4.5′), and another that looked more like a traditional fixed wing aircraft. I got to see the small one fly around and it was pretty cool to see a plane that was piloted solely by a computer program- start to finish. While they worked to set up the bigger plane, I worked with one of the CSULB people to figure out some information that would help in programming the flight pattern. There was a big map that broke up the valley into a grid system, and our task was to find the high and low points of each grid so the pilot could better estimate where to set the flight line to avoid crashes. We used google earth to accomplish the job in a crude, but quick way. Since it was just for reference, apparently it was good enough.
Finally, it was time to try and launch the big UAV, and everyone gathered around to watch. Anti-climatically, the pilot tripped a little when trying to launch the UAV and it nose-dived into the ground before the flight could start. It bent up the plane a little bit, but apparently it was just a 1 day fix. With the big stealth bomber out of commission, the plan was to try and launch the more traditional looking plane, but I didn’t feel like sticking around, so I went home with what turned out to be the majority of our crew. We stopped at a place that served shaved ice on the way home, which seems like the Hawaiian version of Italian Ice- it was pretty delicious.
After dinner, I played around on the slack line one of the students had brought, which was fun. It started getting dark though, so I headed back to the barn, and the grad students were hanging out with us for once. We played some pool, and then they suggested Apples to Apples. It turned into a pretty fun game because everyone joined in- it was really the closest we had come to doing something as a full group. I kind of wanted to keep playing, but the game broke up around 11 and everyone went to bed. Tomorrow I don’t really have any more data to gather so hopefully I’ll be able to focus on processing data and finalizing the hydrology part of the common product with Gordan so I can be ready for my presentation on Sunday. I hope to be done tomorrow so that I can enjoy the half day off on Saturday (my Birthday!) and not have to stress.