At Work

A summary of my last month at work. ERT is pretty basic (when it runs well) – lay out cable, pound in long steel rods, collected data, pull steel rods, roll up cable. Repeat forever…

My first day on the job. I look all shiny and new! The metal contraption on the front of my quad is a pounder, used to hammer electrodes into the ground. At this point in my ERT career I can barely lift the pounder off the quad. I spend the first day on the job pounding electrodes and the next two weeks feeling the pain.
Later on I get promoted to running the equipment. One of my duties is to place pin flags at certain electrodes for the surveyor. I learn to dread the pin flags and spend much of my time trying to come up with a method that doesn’t require walking 1 km every time. I also learn that I cannot carry a car battery more than 10 m.
A slow day on the line. The rubbermaid tub on the quad contains our resistivity measuring equipment. I basically drive the quad up and down the line plugging into cables. When I am not collecting data I am usually pushing my quad out of a snow bank. Or doing jumping jacks to stay warm.

Just another -40 day. Bundled up in every piece of clothing I brought, walking becomes a challenge. I look at least 30lbs heavier. My once large nomex becomes tight as I try and fit two fleeces, a puffy vest, long underwear and fleece pants underneath. Everything must be carried around inside my clothes including two radios, a mini pizza, 4 sharpies and a headlamp making things even more crowded.

During our week long cold spell, my two neck warmers freeze up under my helmet making it impossible to remove until I thaw it out in the truck at the end of the day. I also have to spend time deicing my eyes so I can see. I stop carrying a mini pizza with me since I cannot get it to my mouth anyways.

Safety first. Dion, Brendan and Chris discuss the hazards associated with ERT as outlined on our oversized safety form. The discovery of the oversized form causes much giggeling and tells us that we have all been in the bush far too long if we find it funny.

After the wolf incident we get sent to a different program involving skidoos; a lot of swearing and cursing; and rock solid ground at a mine site. The weather warms up, our new camp only serves cookies for lunch and my room is smaller than the pickup truck. Still, despite all that it is, ERT is fun in the same way that treeplant was fun…

We also have to shovel out snowbanks and pour salt water over our electrodes. Luckily we have no more animal incidents and other than spending a day pushing out skidoos through the forest things go well. We finish and I get sent home earlier than expected! I rejoyce, Jon rejoyces, those left in Fort Mc carry on…


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