Tuesday 7/26

We headed back to the western butte where we discovered what appear to be more hadrosaur bones. Tried a slightly different route to get there and we nosed the truck here and there but determined no trail available and we didn’t think we could forge and new path past/around a significantly deep draw (valley). So we stayed on same path used to get to this new site as yesterday.

We lunched it up at our same lunch spot as yesterday and enjoyed the shade against the wall of a butte with a fairly strong and consistent breeze. That coupled with lower temperature made for a wonderful exploring and digging day. I worked on pedastaling the couple of bones discovered yesterday and Jeff did some old fashioned prospecting by walking about, around, over and anything else he could dream of to explore new territory neither he nor I had ever been on before. It can be frustrating and then exhilarating to prospect new areas searching for any signs of fossils starting to emerge from their hiding places 66 million years in the making. Jeff found a few items but was a little saddened to not find more. I need to remember that it’s so rare to find a fossilized dinosaur bone and that I am so very fortunate to just be able to be on the ranch pecking around for buried treasures! Jeff and I have often said during this past week how lucky we are to be on this huge, beautiful “national park” of a ranch and virtually have it all to ourselves. Amazing!

Steve at the newly found dig site; as my dad used to jokingly say, “Thar’s bones in them thar hills!”
Our own national park with no tourists, not one.

We got together and plaster jacketed the couple of bones we discovered. Looks to be vertebrae and a less than pristine half a jaw from a hadrosaur. Not pristine because it was close to the surface (and partially exposed at the surface) so it had suffered weathering. These bones survived for @66 million years in solid form but can only stand a year or two at or near the surface before they deteriorate rapidly returning to the earth as chips of bone and dust.

Hadrosaur jaw bone; the grooves you see in the bone are where rows of teeth were housed when he/she was alive. About 30” long and not in good shape but still very cool!
Bones ready for coating in plaster soaked burlap strips along with wood “splints” used to stabilize the fracture and fragile bone.

Jeff discovered what I affectionally label a “hoo-doo village”; a collection of cap rock held up in the air by softer rock/sandstone that is deteriorating. This one was spectacular/almost otherworldly. Here are a few photos. Hope you are enjoying the trip along with me…

Hoo-doo village discovers by Jeff. Crazy moonscape motif.
Erosion in its rawest form.
Steve’s attempt at creative photography