By John Hales
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Extra info for Shooting Polaris: A Personal Survey in the American West
But after an embarrassingly short period of moral agonizing, I decided to take the job for a second summer, and even when I’d 22 Shooting Polaris realized the full extent of my complicity, I hadn’t quit in protest, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve done a lot more soul-searching in the years since than I did that summer, when I was caught up in the excitement of surveying, too distracted by the process to consider the product. Simply put, I loved surveying. More to the point, I needed surveying, needed it in ways I’ve spent years trying to understand.
S. Running Line on Nipple Bench 35 Cadastral Survey were still required both by custom and by the imperatives of the canonical Manual of Surveying Instructions to actually run line: to go where the transit directs up that mountainside, to physically occupy the crumbling edge of that cliff. It was allowable to triangulate a distance if it couldn’t be measured directly— for example, if line shot out into space across a canyon so vast and deep that the front chainman would be swallowed up before he could hold a tight measurement for the rear chainman to record.
Today those riverbanks lie buried nearly a thousand feet beneath the surface of Lake Powell, which slinks through the narrow gap between the long wedge of the Kaiparowits’s south buttresses—the southern end of the Straight Cliffs— and the round swell of Navajo Mountain. Geologically, the plateau and the mountain seem related, as if they were uplifted simultaneously in the distant past by the same geological forklift that elevated a triangular block to the north and raised a blister to the south.