Today was our first day out with the mules and it went very well. We are clearly in good hands with John and Sena Hauer of Backcountry Mules, who literally wrote the book on riding mules. They have also hired William Hatfield of Green River to work with us for each day of the survey providing local knowledge and generally managing the mules; getting them to our starting point in the morning, and cleaning and feeding them in the evenings.
The access road to the field site is the Ruby Ranch Road, 13 miles East of Green River. The Salt Wash itself begins about 9 miles down that road. We drove into the Salt Wash to see how far into the survey area we could get before having to get out and ride. We were able to get far enough in so that we can essentially drive to our starting point for each day of surveying. This also means that we will generally be close to our vehicle where we can store extra food, water, and other supplies. We tried out various configurations of the Picarro instrument in saddle bags to make sure it would fit, and took a long surveying ride to cover the ground that we are hoping to survey in more detail over the next 6 days.
This dotted line below shows a track of the ground that we covered today; We essentially covered the area of known CO2 leakage, which is bordered in red. This will also be the area we go to on our first full survey day on friday.
Here are some pictures of the CO2 seeps in that area.