Today we had more amazing scenery, two fairly cooperative sampling sites, ended ~3 hours ahead of schedule, and even had time for a lady date over dinner! It was another overcast and rainy day, which I didn’t mind so much as I haven’t seen my sunglasses since Mississippi. I think they’re gone for good.
Site 7: Santee National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina
For this site, Santee wildlife biologist Suze Ponce joined us for coring. This was also the first of our NADP station sites. Our overall plan is to link the wood N chronologies with atmospheric N deposition – and the NADP stations have historical records of N dep. Not all states, however, have NADP stations that worked for our needs (many were in urban sites, or on agricultural lands), so this is the first of our sampling that coincides with an NADP station. With the exception of Missouri, all the rest of the sites will be NADP stations. This site was almost exclusively Pinus taeda (loblolly pine), and had a thick carpet of needles (see photos).
Site 8: Piedmont Research Station, North Carolina
As awesome as all our other sites have been, Peidmont wins the award for most helpful and entertaining staff. And coldest/wettest sampling site. Joe Hampton heads the station and was by far the most agreeable of the permitting staff I worked with (admittedly, that was mostly because Piedmont has limited requirements for permitting). He sent Brad, another staffer at Piedmont, out to the sites to help us out. Brad not only drove us out to the stand in a (heated) Gator, but also cored several trees for us, and helped us extract a stuck corer from an oak. Definitely a solid man to have around in a tree-coring situation. We were having such a good time in the stand that I let out a rather echoing laugh (not uncommon for me), which scared up a bunch of ducks from the neighboring pond 😛
We finished sampling at Piedmont around 3:30 pm, so decided to head towards Tennessee. We’re holed up tonight in Knoxville, saving ~3 hours on tomorrow’s drive. We made it here about 7 pm, so decided to go out for a real meal at a steak/seafood/italian place nearby. I, of course, wore the one remaining clean pair of field clothes I brought (cargo pants with a henley button up), while *someone* who will remain nameless (Emily) not only brought actual cute clothes, but also make up! I came out of the bathroom, took on look at her and said “It’ll look like you’re at dinner with your homeless aunt!” and she said “Oh come on – at least say sister!” I guess the homeless still applies though 😀 Regardless, we had a nice dinner of steak and calamari (who says you can’t be classy on fieldwork?!) and are now tucked in for a good night of sleep before 3 consecutive long days (assuming we do the northern loop). Which brings up my major decision for tomorrow – whether or not to take the Missouri ripcord and bail on the northern loop. I’m still on the fence.