River Crossing

Driving down from the top of the cliffs on the last day in the western canyon we were greeted by a a reminder… we were far from the first people to explore this rugged terrain.  Just on the other side of the river crossing, we spotted a series of pictographs, painted images left on the rock cliffs by the native americans who inhabited this area.  I couldn’t help but wonder from the artwork if this same spot has been the place to cross the river for hundreds, and perhaps thousands of years.

Three people and three canoes (below)… feel like crossing a river?

Celestial ghost

Tonight I started driving back to NC.  2000 miles alone in my truck.

Luckily, the world is full of any number of wonderful things to keep me occupied.

For instance,  tonight as I passed through Vail, Colorado I saw what might be the most beautiful moon rise of my life.  Without pictures I will try to use words.

The Rocky Mountains are amazing at anytime of the year, but especially while the leaves are changing.  Indeed, as I came up over the small summit at Vail, the mountain sides were draped in a soft fleece of aspens so golden that Jason would have traveled the world to steal this peak. Rising above all other rocks was a sheer wall of rock reflecting the pink glow of the setting sun.  And just above the grand sentinel were puffy cumulous clouds flirting me with rain, each colored the bright pink of the sun on top and dark purple below.  As with every sunset the lower light dimmed the sharpness of the world, leaving a drowsy impressionist hue to this majestic landscape.  Yet behind the clouds, an astronomical razor blade had cut a perfect circle in the dreamscape.  With edges as sharp as laser cut glass the moon cast its ghostly light.  All of the grey freckles were perfectly seen on the pure white lunar plains.  As I drove the Earth became jealous of the moon and wafted the mounting cotton candy clouds across the celestial ghost. 

Nephrtiti rock

We split the team today, me, Ryan, and his wife Tara going to prospect north of Green River.  Here the two are showing their excitement for finding fossils beneath Nephrtiti Rock.

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The rocks we were in were deposited in ocean environments except for a small section.   Luckily in this small section we found a coal that contained a volcanic ash we will attempt to date the Neslen Formation.  Dating of these rocks has never been done so this date is really important.

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Eventhough we did not really find fossils, we did find lots of cool homes and trails made by sea creatures such as shrimp.   Here is one example of the ancient homes.

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Finally we finished the day with a beautiful sunset.

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Personality test

Lindsay and I want to introduce everyone to a game we like to play here in the field.   “What’s that lichen?”

So below is a picture of some lichen that grows on rocks in the Utah desert.  Your job is to leave a comment about what you think it looks like.

Ready, set, go!!!

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Final field day in the Book Cliffs

Well, today was our last day in the field for the 2012 season.   It started out with us looking in rocks east of Green River, finding nothing all morning.   by lunch time i had climbed around four hundred feet up. Can you spot our field vehicle?
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After lunch we moved locations and I found a series of bones sticking out of a cliff. The largest bone was the shaft of a limb nine from an herbivorous dinosaur. We don’t know which kind yet, but given the awesome preservation we are in for something nice…I hope!!
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The questions that have formed in my mind while walking around these steep badlands have greatly outnumbered those answered. But that is the sign of a rich, fertile research project. I can’t wait to get back.