Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rooftop Scouting

Regular readers will remember that rainy conditions during the first two weeks of August thwarted our plans to map and explore the full length of the Jordan/Fassnight/Wilson's Creek system running through downtown Springfield Missouri.  Since it is well known that unusually wet conditions can lead to creatures exhibiting extraordinary behaviors, such as these spiders in Australia and Pakistan, I decided to take the search to the high ground and begin scouting Springfield's natural and man-made Canopy Layer.

Springfield is blessed with a remarkable combination of wooded and urban environment, recently fostered in large part by the efforts of City Utilities of Springfield and Missouri State University.  This leads to many areas where the natural Canopy Layer of mature hardwoods exists in close proximity with the rooftops of two and three story buildings, creating a remarkable artificial extension of the area's natural wooded Karst conditions. Many animals take advantage of these conditions, most notably squirrels, allowing them to travel significant distances without needing to return to ground level (streets and parking lots being the major impediment to this kind of movement).
Observing this, I realized that more unusual creatures such as psychic White Squirrels and, perhaps, the Elusive Urban Skunk Ape, might be traveling these elevated artificial pathways without being observed, perhaps even into the non-wooded center city "urban glade" areas (as seen in this photograph).

Gaining necessary permission, where available, to access these areas, I have been monitoring a number of potential elevated pathways for the last two weeks.  I am optimistic that these new efforts will result in important observations in the coming months.  One such observation has been the apparent existence of transient magnetic anomalies in the area, which I hope to discuss in greater detail in a future post.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Expedition Ends in Failure

Our late summer attempt at complete navigation and inspection of the Jordan/Fassnight/Wilson's Creek waterway within the city of Springfield Missouri has ended in disappointment, as we were unable to complete our objectives within the allotted two week window.  We now will examine the events that led to its failure in hopes of greater success in the future:

On Monday, July 29th Ranger E and myself began our urban exploration of the first three miles of Jordan Creek in downtown Springfield, starting at its underground headwaters at Main and Water Street. Our goal that day was to reach the the Bennet Street bridge less than 400 meters from the confluence of Jordan and Fassnight Creek at the head of Wilson's Creek, but unforeseen complications delayed our start until late that afternoon.  Despite a late start we were able to reach Bridge number K420 near the intersection of College Street and Kansas Expressway by 5:30 pm.  

Unfortunately, it was there that we encountered our second complication.  We had planned to resupply at Hillbilly Bill's Trading post, but discovered that it was closed on Mondays. Deciding to continue, we were able to quickly reach the Catalpa Street bridge by 6 pm.  It was near this time that we received our third, most perilous development - a call to return to base.  Weather reports indicated  approaching storms and we were well aware of the potential for these waterways to experience dangerous flash floods.  Due to these concerns, we returned to the Catalpa bridge and ended our journey for the day.  This proved to be a wise decision, as Springfield has experienced steady rain and flash flooding in the days since.