Waterfalls, Hikes, and Sour Gas

Work’s started up for me again, which hopefully means that I’ll be writing more. 

They sent me up into the mountains to the O-JAY gas field again.  It’s been a while, this place used to be my second home, but since I started working on the rig I haven’t seen this place in over 6 months.


O-JAY is pretty remote.  It’s basically 3 hours drive to anywhere other than a tiny little mining town which is still about an hour and a half away.  Once you get here you’d find that the roads are pretty rough and wind over the hills like a forest snake.  These roads are the standard by which I judge all oilfield roads.  No other area I’ve found has roads quite as rough and generally treacherous as O-JAY’s.


For someone who’s never been up here before it can be pretty daunting, it’s a very sour field, meaning the gas that it produces is extremely lethal.  H2S is a constant concern out here,



We measure quantities of H2S in Parts Per Million or PPM, and when the PPM ranks higher than 10,000, we move onto percent.  H2S is that stuff you smell when you leave your mop water to sit for a few days and it smells brackish like rotten eggs.  You can only smell it when it’s in low quantities.  PPM of 150 or less is what I’m told.  After that it burns out your sense of smell and will start to damage your lungs.   It only takes a tiny puff of the stuff to send you into blissful unconsciousness at quantities higher than that.  Out here we take it very seriously.  Most of the wells up here contain 10% or more H2S.  Meaning even a tiny leak can make a large area toxic very quickly.  It’s because of this that I generally stay out of the facilities and don’t wander around much.  My job is to be there if someone else goes down and I won’t do anyone any good if I go down too.


Despite all this I still like coming out here.  On my way up I saw 2 black bears, 5 moose, 2 geese, and a bunch of deer.  I hope someday I’ll see a wolf or a cougar but they’re pretty crafty you don’t see them unless they want you to.  You can get the grey jays to eat out of your hands, and the scenery is just breathtaking.  Last night one of the operators took us for hike to go see some waterfalls.  Spring runoff is still happening so the falls were quite impressive.  There were no trails to these falls, just some markings on the trees left by the outfitters to guide the way.  We hiked to the gorge and I took some pictures, then I left my camera at the top so we could get down.  It was a hard go down and very tiring getting back up.  After we got back up we saw a mountain goat off in the distance.  I took some pictures and a short video but the goat was quite far off and my zoom didn’t make up the distance very well.


I was exhausted by the time we got back to our trucks, but it was well worth the effort.  I’ve never seen a waterfall that you couldn’t drive to before, and I have to say that if you get the chance to take it.

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About Helmsman

Importing a Vox Blog.
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1 Response to Waterfalls, Hikes, and Sour Gas

  1. Sounds dangerous! It takes a guy like you though, to be able to handle it. Meaning, better you than me. 😉 Glad to see you back.

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