23 March 2014

Looking forward to adventure.

This week I've been researching backpacking gear. With all the hiking and camping I do, I've never really put the two together. Generally, I'm a minimal hiker so the thought of carrying more than a few pounds has always turned me off the idea. But I actually do like the idea, so I'm putting aside my trepedation and looking into minimal backpacking gear. The lightest (and least expensive) mummy bag. Light and small sleeping pad. And yes, a larger pack to carry these things.

As for the sleeping bag, I've been leaning toward the Kelty Cosmic Down 20 (or 21 depending on...something) It's one of the least expensive down bags for that temperature rating. And it's under 3 lbs. So that's cool. I just have to commit to the price I guess.

The pad I just purchased used on eBay. It's called the Klymit Inertia X frame. And it's as minimal as back pads get. It's got cut outs to reduce weight. I sure hope it's supportive enough. But since I got it used it was about half price. So theoretically, bag and pad should only run me about $200.

The pack is proving more difficult. I use a very small one. It fits a small hydration pack and has room for a few things inside and an elastic strap on the outside for my coat or whatever else. It's definitely not enough. My other pack is a Kelty I've had since high school and it only has one pouch. It's got the ability to have numerous things strapped to it, but I don't think it's meant for much weight as the bottom is soft and the shoulder and lumbar straps are thin. So I need to get a new pack for a decent price. Good luck, haha. Once again, it doesn't have to be big. Just have enough room for necessities and straps for a sleeping bag. It's my wallet I'm worried about. I guess I don't have to buy all these things in one week though.

So perhaps I'll put either the sleeping bag or the backpack on hold for a bit. Yes.

20 March 2014

My Secret Mission (shhhhh!)

It was a secret mission. I didn't find out about it more than a week before it commenced. The details were vague (and honestly still are a bit). I was to fly to the middle of nowhere for a week. I wasn't to tell many details (again, not that I knew many). I would be compensated.

I said yes, sure, why not?

So a couple of weeks ago I went on a work-related adventure. My shelter has some relationships with other shelters and animal welfare organizations. I was on the list to be sent to work with one such organization. The case involved cockfighting and I was in my usual role as an animal caretaker. For a helluva lot of chickens. I'm talking thousands. Row upon row upon row of loud, smelly birds.

It was a really cool thing to be a part of, but it wasn't easy at all. First of all, due to fears of possible zoonotic contagions, we all had to wear protective suits and booties and hairnets and masks and goggles and gloves (taped to the suit sleeves). It was hot and the goggles inevitably fogged up. And the mask irritated my nose until it was raw and red. And I sweat and stank. We all did.

The work was very simple. It's what I do every day for dogs and cats and small mammals. Water. Food. Change bedding. Over and over again for hours. Row upon noisy row.

Oh, and there was a notable lack of responders so after about 2 hours of "training" I was made a lead and put in charge of several temp workers in a section housing about 500 birds. It was a lot of pressure, but I got the hang of it about two days before I left.

I was slightly hesitant to eat chicken afterwards, but it happened anyhow. And eggs are ridiculous to me. These hens were comfortable enough to lay them all day every day. Okay, usually only one apiece, but for several hundred hens, that's a lot of eggs to collect. And we had to break them. Apparently someone figured they might hatch out of the trash or something. Even though they wouldn't be incubated. Or fertilized. Since the hens hadn't had contact with the roosters for nearly a month. Anyhow...

The thing I was most apprehensive about was the rooming situation. I was nervous because the paperwork told me that they would assign roommates. I debated upon asking my boss to intercede for me to get a single room. I contemplated offering to pay the extra to have my own room. I played over the scenarios of what I would wear to bed and how I would get dressed/undressed with a roommate. A male one. My lack of male body features had me very worried.

Fantastically, I got my own room after the first night. And the first night was spent with my female coworker and it was a short one as we arrived at the hotel around 1 am.

So really, it all worked out.

I mentioned the middle of nowhere earlier. It really was. There was a Wal-Mart about 3 blocks away, but no sidewalks to get there. For grins I googled "gay bar near me" and came up with one 90 miles away. It was certainly strange to be marooned. 

Anyhow, I still cannot say much as the case is still being resolved in courts, but my week taking care of fighting roosters and their breeding stock was a very interesting one to say the least. I'd like to be allowed another such opportunity, but not to that place again. Please no. I was so ready to come home. I even rejoiced about the tiny plane we took to a larger airport. It had propellers. And about 19 passengers.