Updated: Aug 1
Written by: Nikki Simon
July 30th, 2021
Day 11 of 12, it's sad to consider that we're so close to the end of our journey together. Day 11 was the awkward combination of Day 10 and 12. The morning was spent frantically finishing our units and the afternoon filling them all in again. This close to the end of the excavation process, it isn't especially wise to open new units. It is often the case on digs that your absolute best find will occur on the very last day of excavating; it's just Murphy's Law. When that happens, you so desperately want to continue in case there's more to be found. Unfortunately, you can't, so it's better to save yourself the heartache and not start anything new too close to the end.
Despite that, after finding a couple of new planks yesterday, Keegan and Holly did indeed open a few new units at Sarah's prompting (we're gluttons for punishment). These units were referred to as Mess Hall numbers 1, 2 and 3 based on the area that Sarah and Dan believed them to be located within, and luckily (or unluckily?), there were no new finds!
Aside from this, excavation was minor. Katy and Chantelle began the day by completing the mapping of Katy's site and finds from the day before. Once this mildly tedious task was completed, Katy moved on to excavating the rest of Rory's second plank, only to determine that, like the first, it was also quite ginormous in size. Unfortunately, Rory was unable to help Katy in this rousing exercise in plank cleaning as they were back at the cabin dying.
Colton and I started by expanding the Pit of Dispair even further. As the pit expanded, its moniker did as well; with various people visiting us during the morning and calling it such without any prompting on our part. After helping Katy, Chantelle came by once again to lend us a much-welcomed hand. We had begun the day with a 150 cm x 80 cm pit, and by lunch, it had grown to approximately 150cm x 130cm. By that time, we had found absolutely nothing; but, we HAD expanded our rock pile to astronomical heights (flexes muscles) and dubbed it the Raccoon Cairn.
It might not look like much, but it was 80cm deep thank you very much!
Then we filled it in. With Dan's help, we unceremoniously tossed back in all of the rocks and dirt that we had amassed, and all that work was erased in an instant. Alas, such is the life of an archaeologist!
Also during the morning, whilst all of this was going on, we had LOTS of visitors on-site! Greg, Andrea and Lawrna joined us once again, and Roger Knox, a reporter for The Vernon Star, dropped by as well (so fancy!) We were getting interviewed, listening to interviews, there were interviews left and right, and we had to be very quiet, which is very hard for us as we jingle-jangled around wearing bear bells and tossed rocks everywhere.
After lunch, Colton, Dan, Sarah and Greg (good old Greg) all moved on to filling in the floor unit from our very first day; what a throwback, eh?
Chantelle and I moved over to the "flag pole" unit once again in an attempt to follow the pipe. This proved to be difficult as the pipe was 70cm down where it had already been uncovered, meaning that we had to go down 70cm from ground level all the way along. Chantelle excavated approximately another 50 centimetres along, exposing an additional t-connection along the way. However, After this enormous amount of effort, it was decided that we just didn't have the time to keep excavating along in that way. Therefore, the two of us made the executive decision to lay down a string line from where the pipe stuck out of the ground in the direction the pipe was running; we then dug a tiny 30cm test pit about 3 meters down the line to see if it carried on down that far. Unfortunately, the test unit didn't expose anything. Either we hadn't dug down far enough, the unit was out of line, OR the pipe had a bend in it somewhere.
About the same time that Chantelle and I had finished with the pipe, everyone began to fill in test pits. I hadn't mapped these yet, so I rushed around with Dan getting photos and the last of the measures on Katy and Chantelle's units and those on the Flag Pole Road for the last hour. All this as the rest of the team followed just behind us with landscape cloth and buckets of dirt, ready to bury us along with the units at a moment's notice. All those that we didn't have to get to were flagged at the corners for me to record on our last day (dun, dun, duuuuuuun).
And that was essentially Day 11. Everyone gathered up all of the tools from around camp and relatively organized them at our little home base. This way, we would be mostly prepared for the work of cleaning up on Day 12, when we would have to say our goodbyes to Monashee. We hiked out of the forest and sped down the highway toward our home at Gold Panners, where we enjoyed our last evening together as the full complement. Even Greg joined us for our delicious roasted chicken dinner, which was supplied, as usual, by Frank's General Store. Afterward, everyone gathered together in the living room to enjoy the little time we had left, playing games and enjoying each other's company.