Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The View from the Top

I thought you might enjoy a photograph of my office, the great outdoors. I took this one earlier this week at the flagpole/cell tower off of Route 220. Anyone who's driven to Hot Springs from Covington (or vice versa) has seen this. It's private property instead of a public overlook, but one of the joys of surveying is tramping around people's property while your working for them. Occasionally you get a view like this.

This is looking generally south toward Covington. Typically you can see the MeadWestvaco paper mill over the ridge on the left, but the fog laying in the valley is covering everything. I've never been in an airplane but I imagine that this is something similar to what it must look like when you have that window seat and can look down on top of the clouds.

I experienced this view a few times before, notably at the Dan Ingalls Overlook on the other end of Warm Springs Mountain. I was much closer to the valley that day and the view was breathtaking, but I only had my cell phone to serve as a camera. Since then I've been hoping to capture this kind of photo and this is my second attempt. The previous attempt was accidentally erased. This time around I used the polarizer, which brought out some much needed contrast and color in a photo that lacks a great deal of both.

My job literally has its ups and downs. We've spent the last two days running a little more than a mile of property line that adjoins a National Forest tract and it was pretty steep in places. There are moments of hard, physical work in climbing, but those moments tend to pay off in the end. It's kind of neat to climb around and survey around places that no one has been since the 1930s and find monuments that have been untouched and unseen by humans for decades and, on rare occasions, a century. So while my job can be a workout, especially since I'm not in the athletic trim I once enjoyed, it most definitely is worth it (even the complicated math part).

I've always enjoyed being outside and being in the woods. Surveying has opened up a new appreciation for both as I've learned to be more independent and more self sufficient away from the comforts at home. I'm not saying I'm Daniel Boone or anything, but I feel pretty confident about my abilities to get out and get around to places and navigate through the occasional brier patch. I've haven't gotten lost in at least a couple of months.

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