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Monashee Mountain Internment Camp - Day 8: Shoe Polish and Self-Immolation

Written by: Nikki Simon

July 27th, 2021

On Day 8, we were back to our regularly scheduled programming; Greg joined us once again, now a seemingly permanent addition to our motley group. Sarah and Dan started off the day by running the metal detector across the newly cleared road area and around the "flagpole" site. Based on the results of this survey, a total of four new units were opened throughout the day. Three of these were on what we will now refer to as the Flag Pole Road, and one on the hill immediately overlooking the "flagpole" site to the west.

The three test pits that were opened up on Flag Pole Road were manned by Colton and Rory.

Flag Pole Road #1 (Colton) – Bringing his luck, or lack thereof, from the privy into his first unit of the day, Colton didn't uncover anything except for a portion of plank with a nail.

Flag Pole Road Pit #2 (Rory) – Aside from three nails, Rory's site consisted of a plank (have you had enough planks yet?). This plank, in particular, was ginormous, spanning nearly four meters by the end of the day, with still more to be uncovered.

Flag Pole Road Pit #3 (Colton)– Having a bit better luck in his second unit of the day, Colton uncovered some bottle glass, various pieces of can metal, another bit of plank with an accompanying nail, and, most interestingly, tiny fragments of what Sarah believes to be a clay pipe. An item that would not have been uncommon among the officers at a camp such as this. It was honestly amazing that Colton had even noticed them at all.

Keagan and Holly took command of the upper "flagpole" site. Almost immediately, just under the surface, they found a massive intact piece of tar paper nailed to boards below with roofing nails. As nothing else was in the immediate area, Sarah gave them permission to remove the boards and see what, if anything, lay beneath. There didn't end up being anything directly beneath the boards; still, the boards themselves did prove to be completely saturated with water. This development was a bit of a conundrum. This site is located directly above the water pipe; however, the water pipe ran underground in the opposite direction. This discovery prompted Sarah to want to follow the pipe to its source, though we didn't have the time to start the job before the end of the day.

My task for the day was, you guessed it, continuing to map out the site. All of the units and features that still needed to be mapped were much further out on the site, with the furthest being 46 meters west of the datum. This being the case, Dan volunteered to help me as he saw me struggling hiking back and forth across the site, taking measurements. We managed to get measurements for the beginnings of Katy and Chantelle's area and the "flagpole" unit. Unfortunately, as we began to work on the measures for the POW test pits, we were so far away from the site datum that it was impossible to be accurate anymore. We had to run our tape measure over so many obstacles and through so many trees that the tape wouldn't lie flat enough. This issue made me want to cry a little bit, and I struggled with it just long enough that I was contemplating setting myself on fire and ending it all; however, Dan came to the rescue as always. To combat this problem, we ended up putting a second site datum along the westward line of the original – this beginning just by the water pipe. This new site datum was running straight southward through the cleared roadway, and we had to run through very little brush to access it from the units, which meant that it was far more accurate. All I had to do was add the distance from the first site datum to the second in all of my westward measurements, and that left me with precise locations of all units in relation to the original datum.

Katy and Chantelle continued working in their area to the south of the floor unit. As per usual, they had better luck than anyone else. We left off yesterday with them mapping out their site so that they could remove all of the glorious cans. Today, with all of the surface cans removed, they were trying to uncover the edges of their units. While attempting this goal, Chantelle just kept digging up more and more cans out of the southeast corner. Two of the best examples found were a superbly preserved lid off a tin of shoe polish and a lid stamped with MAGIC BAKING POWDER, that's right, the same baking powder you still use today! Not to be outdone by Chantelle and her cans, Katy ended up uncovering a portion of a shoe that appeared to be underneath one of the floor planks in her unit. It was a beautiful little thing; literally, whoever owned it had small feet; it was missing most of its heel but still had a few of its grommets which was super fun. Altogether the pair of them had uncovered nearly 50 items by the end of the day, mapping, bagging, and tagging everything as they went.

Last but certainly not least, Sarah opened up two new units in the area that Scott had been excavating the day before. Though the two sites certainly didn't surrender much, the objects that did come from them were pretty exciting! POW Unit #10 gave Sarah a can and a lid, though the top did not fit with the can. And POW Unit #11 gave her two beautiful pieces of cut glass that appeared to have been part of a bowl.

And that was that! Sweaty and covered in dirt, we said goodbye to Greg for the day and poured ourselves in the vehicles, ready to go home. There was absolutely no skipping our fancy dinner on Day 7! We were treated to French fries and hand-made burgers with all the fixins, and, of course, salad so that we could pretend to be healthy.

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