Monday, 8/9

What a wild end to my night yesterday! After a fun day of bone digging with a friend, I cleaned up and headed into town for a sandwich, ice & groceries. What I didn’t plan for is that it was Sunday night, things close early or are not open at all. While enjoying my supper I realized that hey, it’s 8:10pm and my grocery was now closed, and my gas station and my place I buy ice! No rules, all okay, I’ll just come back in in the morning grab a chai tea and do those chores.

About that time I heard a really loud crash/bang of thunder while I was inside a restaurant that had music playing. Uh oh! In my hurry to come in for the meal I had left the camper windows all open; it had been 100 degrees earlier and it doesn’t rain here, etc…. it was raining, hard and the skies were dark & getting darker as the wind was growing. Half hour drive in normal conditions from town to camp and weather can be/is different in each place. Maybe not rained yet at camp?

I pull in at camp about 9pm and see it’s been raining here, and windy, and the camper looks depressed and “sunken in.” Yep, lots of water inside on the floor, on all the sheets and blankets in each of 2 bunks, everything that had been sitting out was now scattered. Most surprising was the vast amount of dirt, and leaves and twigs plastered all over inside the camper! Nothing seemed ripped open but a lot of what had been outside was now inside. The metal support poles that hold up the canvas tent tops over each bunk were both out of place, one bent up and its holder in the hard ceiling ripped out. As I zipped up windows, some of the window canvas was holding small ponds of water I tried dump out; what a mess. To depressing to photograph!

Cleaned up, fixed up, pulled all the wet bedding out and put it in my truck’s back seat, flipped a breaker that had blown, heard a crack and watched a good sized cottonwood tree branch snap off about 15’ from me… A big mess. Appeared to be only one real causality; the shower tent did not pull through unscathed. One of the four support poles snapped in half and the whole thing just collapsed in on itself.

Sad shower

I headed into town this morning to start in on chores I needed done last night and added a big load of laundry to the list!

Did my list of necessary chores (laundry, groceries, ice, gas) and got back to camp after lunch. It was really pleasant weather today, lower temperatures, bluer skies than I’ve experienced yet this trip, some white puffy clouds – like my old Montana was almost back!

Got to work trying to repair and reassemble the destroyed shower tent set up. After some trial & error and cursing at these small files that would land on me, not move and sometimes give a little bite!, the shower stood again. It was quite a chore but seems like it may limp though the last 7 days of this season; hope so!

Standing again! With a little help and some duct tape
I shoved a metal pole down inside the bent shower tube leg then taped it all back where it had snapped into 2 pieces.

It was almost 5pm but I wasn’t hungry yet and it was really nice weather so I took off for a favorite site to prospect for micro fossils. Got out there & promptly took off for the site. It’s up on top of a butte that overlooks a valley full of badlands formations – really picturesque. Here are a few photos from my spot in that great evening light so perfect for taking pictures.

On way to the micro site
What an evening. Like “my” old Montana was back.
Clear skies, blue, with moderate temperature.

Here are a couple more “artsy” photos I took of the wonderful sun set and clouds on my drive back to camp-

“Fence row at sunset”
Heading back to camp late in the evening
Portrait mode

Lastly here are a couple photos of the micro fossils I found today. These kinds of finds come from being on hands and knees with nose close to the ground and sometimes from a full-on belly crawl position!

Variety of tiny fossils found eroding out from the top of a butte. Clockwise from top: turtle shell, fish scales (gar & others), pieces of shed teeth including triceratops, small bones, crocodile scutes and 2 teeth, dermal bone (from around the skull area) from variety of lizard like critters and in center fish vertebrae
Several crocodile teeth and as yet unidentified very sharp tooth at top of image with full root still intact.
Top right is a tiny, tiny end of a dinosaur arm bone, below that 2 therapod finger or toe bones, & below those two odd bones that need further study to ID.

Lastly!!! Before I fell asleep I heard the distinctive yipping and “barking” of some distant coyotes. Took this video to capture the sounds –