WKU Geology Trip to the Mojave: Preparation’s Made


By Damien Knight


A week ago, I was waking up on the desert floor cold, wet, hungry and excited. I had been halfway through my trip to study the geology of the desert regions of California and Nevada. This week I will post several short posts about this experience and my thoughts on it.

The semester started back in January but my plans for this trip started way before that. I put my name on the list sometime in November just before the winter term started. I and 15 other geology students met at the first meeting Dr. Andrew Wulff, a volcanologist and WKU geology professor, held for the course. We discussed price, around 650 for Study Away plus the airfare, we discussed food, hotel accommodation and potential projects.

I knew I wanted to do this but as most of my followers know I suffer from epilepsy, asthma, and chronic pain issues (diagnosis still unsure “fibromyalgia?”) so any hiking expedition would be a challenge. I couldn’t bring my cane on such a trip and at 200 lbs I was (still am) obese. This meant I had to prepare.

My preparations started with an intense diet program. I dropped my calorie consumption to 1200 a day. I exercised at 5:00 am every morning for 15 minutes and 30 minutes in the afternoon. By time March arrived I had lost 23 lbs, and no longer used my cane.

The next step was packing luggage, taking notes at meetings and writing my project. I choose rock deformation, specifically faults. As time went on my project took on a wider role as I promised to blog about the trip and cover other aspects of structure such as folds and other deformation. I wrote a pre-trip information post on faults and created a power-point. With our presentations presented, our bags packed, and my personal goals achieved it was off to the airport.

Ahead was a week of adventure, excitement, and a touch of agony. My next post will be the revised “Faults and Fold” post and over the coming weeks snippets from my hand written journal concerning the trip.

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