Great, I really hate mud!

Bombay Beach Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 10 › view all entries
Late night trip to the Target store - Giant boxes of cheeze puffs
Well, having failed the first time, we were back at Dos Palmas Oasis to try again to map the marsh. This time, we also had the task of monitoring Salt Creek, home of Desert Pupfish, a little endangered fish that somehow survives in the saltiest, hottest, most toxic waters in the desert. It's a tough little fish, but it still needs water... and with the marsh getting drier, their creek could dry up. Repairs to the nearby canal may be changing the hydrology in the area so we're keeping an eye on it.

Creek monitoring involves walking across the creek to record the vegetation and water conditions. Easy enough, the creekbed's 30 meters across, but the water's only half a meter across now and a few centimeter deep now.

One little problem, the middle of the creek has the stickiest, nastiest adobe clay in the world.
Late night trip to the Target store - Playing with costumes
I mean, it's really like walking in bubble gum, it just swallows your boots. I made it half way across, then I hit an underground spring. I'd pull up on one foot, and the other would go deeper. Pretty soon the quicksand was over my high rubber boots, and I was still sinking. I managed to fall over backwards, twisting my ankle down in the ground. Great, now it really hurt to pull my feet up from the boots, the mud had collapsed around them. I finally got them out, and abandoned the boots down in the mud as a tribute to the salt gods...

Crawled back across the hot sticky mud to the shore, happy to be free again. I want to point out at this point that my coworker has been watching from the shore all this time, rolling on the ground with laughter - so much for the buddy system : ) Now it was a really long walk back to the truck, a kilometer in wet socks over the same hot soil that melted my first boots, like a spiky lava field the way the salt had come up and hardened into little peaks.

That was it, I gave up and we went home, defeated by the desert. I think it's the first time in 20 years of fieldwork that I've had to give up and abandon a project! Well, at least for now, next week I'll try to come up with a better plan, try it again....
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Late night trip to the Target stor…
Late night trip to the Target sto…
Late night trip to the Target stor…
Late night trip to the Target sto…
Late night trip to the Target stor…
Late night trip to the Target sto…
Late night trip to the Target stor…
Late night trip to the Target sto…
Back at Dos Palmas, this time in t…
Back at Dos Palmas, this time in …
Muds actually kind of nice, creat…
Mud's actually kind of nice, crea…
Mickey Mouse face-planted?
Mickey Mouse face-planted?
..and the sands really hot!  It m…
..and the sand's really hot! It …
Duct tape repairs - the air was 40…
Duct tape repairs - the air was 4…
Water quality testing at the sprin…
Water quality testing at the spri…
When I rented this probe, the guy …
When I rented this probe, the guy…
Salt Creek - under an abandoned mi…
Salt Creek - under an abandoned m…
At this point, Salt Creek is a nas…
At this point, Salt Creek is a na…
Base camp for surveying the creek …
Base camp for surveying the creek…
Uh-oh... quicksand!  Going down qu…
Uh-oh... quicksand! Going down q…
This was from an earlier bout with…
This was from an earlier bout wit…
Great, now Im in wet sock feet, a…
Great, now I'm in wet sock feet, …
On the way out, this is the shore …
On the way out, this is the shore…
Flat, algae covered rocks along th…
Flat, algae covered rocks along t…
On the way back- 
This...  piece …
On the way back- This... piece…
Abandoned mining railroad crosses …
Abandoned mining railroad crosses…
Bombay Beach
photo by: cneoridium