Saturday, July 13

Pretty crazy winds blew up last night! We each were asleep in our bunks when heard a sustained low roar somewhere out there then it got closer and then felt like it “hit” us at ground level in the camper. Blew hard for a few minutes then subsided, then similar sounds and roared down upon us again. Repeated for a little while and eventually calmed down. Wind is common part of the day (and night) but that was unusual! No problem to the camp, even the shower stayed standing (to my surprise).

We got up and got going out in the field today in pretty significant heat and low to no wind. Pretty hot! Had a good day, checked out the main dig then took a big walk about to show Ej how to spot fossilized bone and differentiate it from the rock. Fossils are well camouflaged as they often are the same color as surrounding rock. Look for clues like broken edges of bone that show the characteristic open cell “porous” sponge-like appearance (the rock doesn’t look like that. He got the hang of it quickly and was soon finding pieces of bone, fossilized turtle shell and crocodile armor scales (called scutes).

We headed back to the main dig site where we both worked on probing back into the “bone layer” where all previous pieces where found and did discover a few more small fragments. Encouraging to see more bone even though it was just fragments. Hard to know when to stop at any particular dig site – you could keep digging back forever. The general rule is at a significant find you uncover the area approximately 10 feet past the last one you’ve found. Then stop. If you don’t stop you’ll dig forever, and if you stop “too soon” you may leave important parts of the find in place, parts that got separated from the other bones. Ten feet spread out is a lot of digging (by hand with shovels and picks, etc.) but good to go past the last piece to be sure that was the last piece!

We ended the dig day by removing some more of the overburden, the rock/dirt on top of our bone layer. Some big pieces of cap rock pried off and fell into our dig area and several feet more of dirt was pretty quickly dug and tossed out of the way. Plan to return tomorrow to clean up more and find more bones! (maybe)

We got back to the camp area in the early evening and decided to look into what has created a big “swamp” near the camp area. I’ve camped in this spot on this ranch since 2012 and never experienced a single bug until last year. There is a creek channel that runs nearby but normally it’s bone dry in the summer. Anyway, mosquitoes are the camp’s new mascot; and not a welcome one. Ej and I scouted it out and found a really long and deep beaver damn. So what do 2 guys do when encountering such a predicament?; walk out on top of it and feverishly tear away at the tree limbs, mud, roots and beaver poop holding it all together, of course! We struggled for an hour or more and did break though a small part of the damn, hoping that the new flowing water would help break up the seriously engineered, fantastically built damn. Back to camp for well deserved showers and nice evening meal. We’ll see tomorrow if beavers are still here and can patch the breach we made.