Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Beauty of the Section Corner..

I suppose that maybe it is only something that a boundary surveyor can appreciate.. But this is essentially what my job boils down to.

(the pix are prettier if you click on them!!!)

Finding section corners.
Our entire country is divided up in to one mile squares. And at the corners of these squares are section corners.
Surveying is a profession that is far from most peoples minds. But it is impossible to overstate the affect that it has had on our country.
This corner was on top of a mountain, the surveyor that originally placed it there had no way to drill in to the rock. So he piled stones around it to hold it in place. It has been that way for about 100 years.
I often find myself wondering about the original surveyors of this land. My job is to retrace their footsteps.
I wonder how they did it. They were away from home for maybe years at a time.
I wonder about their family, whether or not they were married. They didn't have phones in the 1800's when most of this was originally surveyed. Did they just get an occasional letter from home when they got near a town??
It must have been a tough life. I sometimes think that my job is tough, but I know it isn't. Not compared to what the original surveyors must have went through. They lived in tents or slept under the stars. This is not a forgiving land. I am sure that death was common.

I often wonder why they did it. Look at these pictures. There is nothing around for literally hundreds of miles. I often wonder why I do it. Does my job even make any sense? I know the answer. I love surveying. I feel that it is one of the greatest jobs that a man could be lucky enough to have, although I am often not sure that it makes any sense.
I hope that from looking at these pictures you not only get an idea of the vastness and loneliness of the thousands of miles of uninhabited landscape that I see, but you also begin to understand what I consider beautiful about my job.