Where is the water?
Here is a picture of me in the field. Gregg and I went to sample the upland ponds last week. Chris was supposed to come with us, but he was too sick. It turns out that he had the flu and spent two days in his room under quarantine while we were out enjoying two days in the field. I had not been in the field since November for my annual Thankgiving trip, so it was great to get out to do some field work.
On the first day we flew over a some ponds that we had not sampled before. I thought we were in the right spot, but everything goes by so fast in a helicopter compared to when you are walking. I asked the pilot to set down near the ponds. After spending half an hour there, thinking "this does not seem right" I decided we were really not in the spot we intended to visit that day. Gregg and I proceeded with the sampling and mapping of the ponds in the area and expanded our data set in the process. When we finished the sampling, we sat down to take a break and sample our flight lunches. I don't recommend the swiss steak sandwiches.
We decided to return the next day because we had requested another day of helicopter support to get to another set of ponds. We went back to the ponds at the terminus of the Marr Glacier that we had intended to sample the first day. These ponds are at 800m elevation (or 2600 ft). It has been a season of stormy weather and somewhat unusual amounts of snow fall. Our ponds were mostly covered with snow. One of our projects was to map the perimeter of the ponds to estimate the current size. It was complicated, we could not see the ponds because of all the snow. We were able to walk around the flat area, occasionally kicking through the snow with our bunny boots to confirm that we were still on ice and not soil. I think we did fairly well.
We did find some liquid water to sample in the ponds that were at a lower elevation. We also found some liquid water where streams were flowing into or out of the ponds. Some of these ponds seem to be fed only by local snow melt and others have glacier streams feeding them. This little pond fills a small depression and seems to only have snow as a source for water. The water was also tea colored because of all the algae growing there.