Tuesday, July 29, 2014

CRETACEOUS SUMMER 2014: The End of a Field Season, the Ongoing Discovery of Deep Time (blog #11)

Hallelujah for seasons of exploration in the fields of Montana and into our minds, gaining deeper understandings of LIFE and one another! Hallelujah for the concept of DEEP TIME and how the study of dinosaurs and other life forms from 75 million years ago engage us in the matters of existence.

Monday, July 28th, was one of FAREWELLS. The gentle and gradual gathering of different paleontologists and volunteers over the month of July has now dissipated. At noon, my Chiboogamoo and I were awaiting our departure from Camp Makela. The Branvold Bone Crew had left at 10:00 a.m. Soon afterwards, the Egg Mountain Rubble Rousers left for their dig site with David Varricchio.

JULY 28TH CAMP MAKELA PHOTO. At the end of a late morning, members of Camp Makela break up to go their various ways. I, Hallelujah, asked to be in this group photo and my great ichnologist husband consented.  (photo by Chiboogamoo, aka Tony Martin)
BRANVOLD CREW DEPARTS CAMP MAKELA. The crew that worked in close quarters on the Branvold Bone Bed left before us. Lazaro, from Cuba, travels on to New York to see the American Museum of Natural History there. The others return to Livingston to continue their paleontological work there.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Camp Makela's distinctive teepee has been taken down in the beginning preparations to winterize the camp. The camp's manager, Brian, has also dismantled the shade cover which stood in front of the food trailer. Tent hill now only has 2 tents remaining on it. 

TEEPEE DOWNING. Sadness plucked at my heart seeing the Camp Makela teepee come down. I had assumed it stayed up year round. But considering the harsh winters in the Two Medicine Formation, it makes perfect sense. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

Our tent is stowed in our luggage and we departed with Jared Heuck, who is put a few hours in at Egg Mountain before he drove us to Great Falls, where we overnighted before returning to Atlanta. Just before we left camp, the rabbits and ground squirrels scurried around the trailer where "Team Ichnology" had been resting and collecting our thoughts before saying goodbye to the Two Medicine Formation.

AWAITING TENT DOWNING. The dramatic sunrise photos you have seen here on this blog were taken east of where I am sitting. What a glorious place to camp.  (photo by Chiboogamoo, aka Tony Martin)
Glancing around the space where we consumed cups of coffee and hot bowls of oatmeal, I notice now how nicely marked the cabinets are in our food trailer. Previous Camp Makela dig crews have left their artistic dinosaur images above labels of cereal, condiments and spices, and cookies. 

Upon further noticing, I collect titles from the bookshelf next to the water cooler. It is filled with dinosaur-themed books such as Jurassic Park, The Dinosaur Hunter, and The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt -- appropriate titles for this crew!

It has definitely been a privilege to be present at such a significant dinosaur dig, to meet the paleontologists and dig volunteers -- some hailing from Japan, Sweden, Cuban, and England -- and to assist my husband on his assessment of the ichno-assemblages in the Two Medicine Formation. Thank you Chiboogamoo! Thank you David Varricchio! Thank you dig crew participants one all! Thank you Camp Makela! Thank you BIG SKY MONTANA!

Here are some other photos that capture the morning of our departure from Camp Makela and some of the discussions among its paleontologists. What are endings in juxtaposition to beginnings? Deep time as expressed in findings from the Cretaceous--how does it speak to us today? Time is so relative: isn't it?

READYING TO DEPART. I will miss the flurry of activity that takes place around 7:30 as dig crews ready to depart. Monday, July 28th, Camp Makela inhabitants stayed busy packing, sharing information, and saying good-bye.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
SHARING FINDINGS. Tony Martin, ichnologist extraordinaire, shares the location of dinosaur-bone sightings he and I made on Sunday, July 27th, when we were prospecting for trace fossils. My honey had suddenly developed "osteo-vision," as he calls it.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
COLLEAGUES CONNECTING AND COLLABORATING. David Varricchio and Tony Martin have know each other since graduate school days in the late 1980s. Over the years since then, they have had the opportunity to collaborate. Here they are discussing the ichno-assemblages identified by Tony and make plans for how that information will be expressed.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
"TEAM ICHNOLOGY" READYS TO DEPART. Thanks to Lee and Ashley Hall, who started calling my Chiboogamoo and me "Team Ichnology." It has been wonderful to accompany my very own ichnologist throughout the Cretaceous. It helped to further develop my "ichno-eyes," and to develop "osteo-eyes" as well. What a fun journey it has all been. I am so very grateful.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
STOP AT EGG MOUNTAIN. On our way out of the Two Medicine Formation, we stopped to say goodbye one more time to the Egg Mountain crew. Tony and David also discussed Tony's work on the trace fossils at the famous site where a Troodon egg clutch was discovered by David.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
WI-FI AT CAMP MAKELA. I'm so grateful for the Wi-fi at Camp Makela, which allowed me to blog about my experiences of my "Cretaceous Summer 2014" with Tony Martin, and to broadcast it on Facebook.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me. What does our finding of dinosaurs and the existence of other creature's lives 75 million years ago mean to you? What do you think of deep time, a sense of life so far back it is difficult for us humans to imagine?

THE DIFFERENCES POST FIELD WORK. This Super 8 Motel provided all the comforts of home with its hot shower, toilet, and bed, but my Chiboogamoo and I lamented the loss of our fresh air and freedom.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
FINDING DINOSAURS IN GREAT FALLS, MONTANA. This Sinclair gas station is right next door to our Super 8 Motel. We were not without our dinosaurs last night.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

1 comment:

  1. It has been wonderful traveling and sharing your experience in Montana. I could feel the wind and see the sky in my mind from past travels which made it even more enjoyable. Thank you! and welcome home...