Sun 7/10

Wow, the storm we went through in the small pop-up camper late last night was one for the ages. On our way back to the ranch from dinner and fun after at Old Skool brewery we started seeing tremendous amounts of lightning in the distance. And the winds started picking up. Got back to camp, messed around and turned in for the night around midnight while the sky was just going crazy with lightning. Then it hit, big time. We weathered a terrific thunderstorm that went right over our location. Super high winds were whipping the nearby cottonwood trees around, and then the driving rain came down and then it started to hail. Did I mention we were in a small pop up camper with tent sides and a hard top? The noise rain alone makes is tremendous inside the camper, but the hail sounded like significant sized rocks were being throw at us a 100 miles per hour. It was touch and go and we almost went for it to go to the truck and hope that provided some safety. Of course the rain was torrential and we had smartly kept our rain jackets in the truck so they’d be with us at all times (except, of course, when we were in the camper and not the truck!). After about two hours of this madness, it finally settled down a little around 2am. We certainly slept in a little the next morning and couldn’t get out on any trails anyway because of more rain. Spoke to a friend today who said he heard a report of 80 mph winds in our area and he said he’d never seen a lightning storm like that before, ever. I’ll try to post a photo or video clip from last night here soon.

We did eventually get up and going, had a nice camp breakfast around noon then did venture out to check out the condition of the paths we wanted to travel. Took off slowly watching out for low areas holding water and slick, slick gumbo mud. The water drains off or soaks in remarkably fast here in this environment and the trails were passable. We prospected some new areas and had some luck. We found a lot of broken, small pieces of obvious fossilized dino bone scattered all over a hill area. It turned out that the part of the limb bone still buried was in very poor shape as it was close to the surface and had been taking on water for quite a bit of time. Once we pedestaled it it became clear the remaining large piece of bone would not be salvageable. Here’s of photo with my red drawing around it to show you the outline of it.

We had a lunch break and took some goofy pics. Here’s a sample –

Two goofs
Lunch time

And a few photos of the scenery. Super weathered rock formations where all the sedimentary layers are exposed and being shaped by the natural forces of wind and rain and snow. And a panoramic view from a spot where we stopped and took a little rest in the shade. Pretty dramatic view from up high looking down at the great expanse of currently green grasslands on the ranch. Big Sky country indeed.

Magnificent how the forces of nature mould the earth’s surface
Close up view of the rock formation above.

Then as we were getting cleaned up back at camp and making dinner the evening sun was setting and making quite a show of itself. Look at these shots of a late evening rainbow and wondrous cloudy sunset at camp. Tomorrow is a new day and we hope to get back to the main dig we worked on last year of Clarence the hadrosaur. We’ll see if there’s still more there to be found.

Rainbow of pinky-orange over the camp site