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Home Is Where You Pass the Time

Aug 27 2017


On the summit of Mt. Borah  

By Zac Espinosa
Computer Science
Environmental Modeling Intern
Henry's Fork Foundation

Out West Student Blog

Student Blog

There is both an abundance and shortage of time in any place we call home. For six weeks I have called Ashton home. For two years I have called Stanford home, and every moment since their beginning has been an opportunity for retrospect and shock. Shock because they will be gone and what’s next will begin. There is no democracy in time. There is however the comfort of consistency and persistence. As all people I impose what autonomy I have over time and organize its passage into weeks, months, and years. Each Monday is connected to the last, organized and concise to suggest that commonality exists between this and the next. But without months and years to hide behind, we stand before a single block of time called life and confront the question of what we shall do with this. The repetition of these intervals offers sanity and home is the bedrock of any repetition.

I have spent the past six weeks reading, hiking, climbing, and coding. Three weeks ago I went to Yellowstone National park for the first time with Sam Cochran and Maverick. I watched geysers erupt and allowed the tourism fill me with patriotism. Yellowstone is a unique and beautiful place, and I often wonder of the adventure and hardship the first settlers experienced discovering this land. Its rainbow springs and enormous geysers are unforgettable, awe inspiring, and seemingly mystical. It was truly a phenomenal place, and I am thankful for having the means to explore it.

All of the interns at the Henry’s Fork Foundation.  

Two weeks ago, Elliot and I spent the weekend in City of Rocks near Almo, Idaho. Upon arriving, I was overwhelmed by the landscape. Spires of granite surrounded us and a wall of rock rimmed the horizon in every direction. I woke up the first night to the moon’s light and thought of how each day the moon becomes more complete, just as the people under her. City of Rocks is a wild place for wild people; for the fickle, deep-hearted, and wandering. There is a shared story among all people who have explored that region and I am grateful to have been part of it. We were rained out both afternoons, but managed to get some climbing done in the mornings. After a short anchor clinic, I led my first multipitch climb on Sunday. I am thankful to have such an experienced climbing partner and friend this summer and look forward to the coming weeks of climbing.

This weekend we will be hiking Mt. Borah, the tallest peak in Idaho at 12,667’, and the weekend after Elliot and I plan to climb the Grand Teton at 13,776’. Eastern Idaho is never short of adventure if you are willing to explore. Additionally, I have spent much of my free time indulging myself in books I do not get to read during the school year. I have watched more movies the past six weeks than I have in the past year and it has been glorious.

This project has been an incredible opportunity to learn and touch every part of the production line. I worked with both hardware and software, and worked on data collection, processing, storage, retrieval, and presentation!

I have also made tremendous progress on the sonde automation project. I currently have the entire system up and running and testing has been successful. A sonde (the main measurement device) sends real time data to a CR300 datalogger. The CR300 then passes data to the Raven XT 3G cell modem. A server in the office collects and processes this data from the cell modem through a Verizon line before uploading it to the S3 database. From this database the scientific website can fetch data and display it for user consumption. The scientific website can display data from the past two hours, and it offer users a glimpse into river conditions in real time with in depth explanations and analysis.

I will spend the next few weeks robustly testing this system, altering it to work with new 4G cell modems and creating a protocol for various maintenance issues. I will also focus on aesthetic changes to the website and continue writing a project manual. This project has been an incredible opportunity to learn and touch every part of the production line. I worked with both hardware and software, and worked on data collection, processing, storage, retrieval, and presentation! The breadth of experience and exposure I have had while at the Henry’s Fork Foundation is invaluable. I have approximately four weeks remaining in Ashton. Then I travel to Europe for a month before returning to Stanford to begin junior year. I am thankful to have been able to call this place home for a short while, and will carry these experiences with me in the coming years.

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