Sunday, July 27, 2014

CRETACEOUS SUMMER 2014: Impressions, Imprints, Love, and Friendship at Camp Makela (blog #10)

IMPRESSIONS AND IMPRINTS. What is time? How do we fathom geologic time? In the Cretaceous 75 million years ago, did clouds like these drift above the Maiasaura's heads and over the invertebrates burrowing in muddy sediments? Who are we in relation to this far distant past? What is love, friendship, and being human all about? These clouds hovered over my head at Camp Makela on the evening following horrific winds with speeds of 55 miles per hour that imprisoned us indoors for hours before they subsided. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for the Camp Makela paleontologists, love, friendship, and being human! Hallelujah for the bon vie at the camp set in the Two Medicine Formation! Hallelujah for this precious Earth and its fearsome beauty!

Time dwindles here for me and my Chiboogamoo at Camp Makela. Our days lived at the foot of the badlands can be counted in various ways...

#1 WAY TO COUNT TIME: The paleontologists and volunteers arriving and departing. Let me introduce you to a special paleontological couple!

Ashley and Lee Hall, Both paleontologists, decided to take a vacation from their day jobs in Los Angeles to work on a dinosaur dig in Montana! Ashley wears a couple of hats. She works as a paleontologist educator at the
-->Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Page Museum at the Labrea Tar Pits. Then she is also the curator for fossils from the Kaiparowits Formation at the Raymond M. Alf Museum. Her husband, Lee Hall, is not new to Camp Makela! As a Montana State University paleontology graduate, he spent considerable field time in the Two Medicine Formation and elsewhere, even as a camp manager. In L.A., Lee works for an environmental consulting company, which does surveys for pre-construction, construction, post construction. He gets fossils to museum and provides resource mitigation for concerns in such arenas as archeology, paleontology, and biology. -->
AT THE GATEWAY TO THE DINOSAURS. Lee and Ashley Hall arrived at Camp Makela on Saturday, July 19th (the same day as me) from Los Angeles for one very full week of fieldwork in the Two Medicine Formation. spending the majority of their time at the Egg Mountains site, and making contributions to the summer's discoveries at this world-famous dinosaur nesting site. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
TAKING AN ICHNO-TOUR. Both paleontologists, Lee and Ashley Hall were familiar with my husband's extensive work in the field of both modern and ancient ichnology and wanted to spend time with him. Tony Martin (aka Chiboogamo) was delighted to take them around the Two Medicine Formation east of camp to show them ichnological "treats," such as coprolites that were well studied by paleontologist Karen Chin, and what he has been studying on-and-off for the last 14 years, and more recently--two weeks. In this photo, they are examining the fossil cocoons at Pete's Pupa Peninsula. (photo by Hallelujah Truth) 
DIRT TIME WITH RUBBLE ROUSERS.  Spending the majority of their time at the Egg Mountains site with the "Rubble Rousers," the Halls made a significant contribution to the summer's discoveries at this world-famous dinosaur nesting site. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
MAKING CRETACEOUS OOZE.  The night before their departure from Camp Makela, Lee and Ashley worked late into the evening, adding water to pulverized mudstone to create an ooze that - when pressed through the screens you see here - would reveal missed fossil bone and eggshell fragments. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Their love of paleontology is a strong bond between the Halls and has resulted in such creative expressions in their relationship. Lee devised a creative way to propose to Ashley which involved imaginative use of the movie, Jurassic Park. They made their dinosaur-themed engagement available for the world to see here at Jurrasic Park Proposal, which has more than 70,000 views! You will not be surprised to learn that their honeymoon was also paleontologically themed. Fans of Ray Troll, they traveled into the North American Mesozoic using a map from his collaborative book with Kirk Johnson, Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway: An Epoch Tale of a Scientist and an Artist on the Ultimate 5,000-Mile Paleo Road Trip. Stay tuned for more from the paleontologist couple, The Halls! It was sad to say good-bye them on Saturday, July 26, but in geologic time, this brief blip in time means little. Hurray for the Halls!

#2 WAY TO COUNT TIME: Friendship, food consumption, showers taken or not taken and bathroom visits...

Staying at Camp Makela is "cozy," says one the Rubble Rousers. The site, where some stay the entire field season of approximately 31 days, has its creature comforts! 
THE FOOD TRAILERS.  Camp Makela has two trailers designated for food! And all who stay here, they never need worry about going hungry. The food trailer shown in this photo provides breakfast and lunch foods that all Camp Makela folk make for themselves. Cereals, milk, teas, coffee, breads, meats, cheeses, endless variety of chips, and cookies abound in abundance. The other trailer is the "dinner" trailer and Camp Makela denizens take turns cooking and washing dishes. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
HAPPY HOUR AT CAMP MAKELA.  Once Cretaceous fieldwork is completed, Camp Makela relaxes. Inhabitants converge for an adult beverage and discuss "finds" for the day. Overall, it is pretty darn exciting and relaxing. See the shade cover here in this photo? It was damaged in the high winds experienced a few days ago and was taken down. Four more days until the end of this field season. Ahhhh....(photo by Hallelujah Truth)
CAMP MAKELA SUNRISE.  Early morning risers like me are rewarded at Camp Makela! The slow sunrises seem to take an hour from 5:00 am to 6:00 am! From my tent, I amble toward the "facilities" which are embodied in a small white trailer with green lights beckoning when available and red lights indicating otherwise. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
THE FACILITIES.  Hallelujah for such wondrous bathroom facilities at Camp Makela! For one who has camped in the absence of a place to "sit" to do one's business, this bathroom trailer is greatly appreciated. Few here take showers in order to conserve the water, which is quite precious. Showering in Choteau on Fridays is often enough! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
I'M WATCHING YOU POOP.  Word had it that there was an awesome work of art in the "men's room" at Camp Makela. With encouragement, I entered the sanctity of this bathroom facility to procure this image for you! There you have it! Tyrannosaurus rex watching you poop, and don't you forget it! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

Whoops! This blog entry is long enough, and it is dinner time here at Camp Makela. I am called to join the camaraderie, to my love's side at the table where we are consuming beef stroganoff engineered by, yes, Chef Emmy Hill! I would have like to share images and thoughts about the following. Stay tuned...

#3 WAY TO COUNT TIME: Sunrises and sunsets...
#4 WAY TO COUNT TIME: Trace fossils found...
#5 WAY TO COUNT TIME:Critters heard or sited...
LOVE IN THE CRETACEOUS! Thank you honey for being my companion, my teacher, and editor! You are the reason I am here loving you in the Two Medicine Formation and learning about geologic time first hand!
That's Coffee With Hallelujah. SOUL BLOG with me. Let me know how you count your days and ways in this world.

1 comment:

  1. Love this blog Ruth! I was just thinking of ways to count the summer (and turn them into blog posts - lol) yesterday! The porch chronicles (visitors to the new porch), The flowers I've seen, the places we've danced and the fun lists go on and on! Thanks for continuing to share your journey with us - it's been fantastic.