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.
What are your thoughts on this lichen shape? Leave a comment!!
This afternoon we were hit by a massive thunderstorm. I was happily scampering about on the edge of a road cut when Bucky came pealing down the road shouting that the sky was falling (literally) and we better get off the mountain. We loaded the gear, I jumped on the back and we took off. Within seconds the skies opened and we were pelted with sheets of rain, high winds, and 10 minutes later… pea sized hail. unbelievable. Bucky did a stellar job, especially because we were loaded up with three people now that we are short one ATV. I took a backseat on this one, being the lightest to sit over the axle. This worked out well because I was able to take an awesome video of the lunatic ride down the mountain in the storm.
I will upload the video later but here are some photos.
Made it across the river.
The scariest part–the hill that where our crewmember flipped his ATV last week. The hill is made of Mancos Shale, a rock that was deposited when a shallow seaway covered this area around 90 million years ago. When this stuff gets wet, it can be very slick.
This is one of the reasons we were racing down the mountain, to get across this hill before it became impassable. In the end we all made it ok. This morning we head back up the mountain to put plaster caps on the bones we found. Collecting them will have to wait until next year!
Today we headed back to the same basin for more prospecting and to try and excavate the nice bone we found yesterday. Unfortunately, the “nice” bone is buried under a sandstone ledge in some nasty hard siltstone. After an hour and a half of pounding on an inch wide chisel all I had uncovered was another six inches of bone…
Next I found a croc scute and two more sites with fossil bone. Tomorrow we will poke around and see if those new sites are worth collecting from.
At the end of the day we tied some firewood to the ATVs and hauled it back to camp.