Saturday 8/6

Had a lazy day today around camp. Started to sprinkle some last night and continued most all day today. So I elected to not challenge the super slick muddy gumbo clay trails in my truck. The trails I drive on are just that, trails on top of existing soils. And around here that’s mostly a clay bentonite most refer to as “gumbo.” When dry it’s after as hard as concrete although it often shows up with a popcorn-like puffy affect. When wet however, it is by far the slickest surface I’ve ever driven on; I’d say more treacherous than iced over roads back home in the winter. Super slick, offers no traction to tires (nor shoes!) and will pull your vehicle right off the trail with just the slightest incline or side slope. I chose to stay put today.

Along with the rain came a cold front. The forecasted high for today was 55 and low of 51. Do recall, dear reader, that it was 101 degrees with a high heat warning just two days ago. This is the first rainy day I’ve had since the first week I arrived around July 8. And I’m not allowed to complain nor curse the rain even though it can keep me from the fossils. The rain is heaven sent for the grass and the ranchers so need it after much drought here in the past several years. So rain it does, with accompanying temps in the low 50’s! Photo …..

At 6pm on my way to dinner. One of these numbers is the radio station and the other is the temperature. You guess! Remember it was 101 degrees on Thursday.

I was nicely invited to join a family party, birthday celebration for one of the grandchildren of ranch owners. Maria turned 18 and, surprise, I showed up at her party. My ranch hosts are so very welcoming and open and graciously invited me to tag along, so I did. I did the best I could on short notice and wrapped up a nice sample fossil dinosaur bone as a gift for her. And I enjoyed a good meal with some of their extended family. I’ve met many of them before so not all strangers to me.

On my drive back to camp I was going along on the gravel road slowly because of the wet conditions and suddenly a herd of approximately 2 dozen pronghorn antelope ran in front of me crossing the road and shooting under a fence together as a group. I see them routinely around when driving or walking on the ranch but usually in small groups of 2 or 4 or 6. Not in groups of 24. Breathtaking to seem them move tougher in a larger group like this. No time to snap a picture but I just stopped in my tracks and watched them go by. Very nice end to a pleasant day off. Here’s a photo of an example of the type of antelope I saw (not my photo).

Imagine 24 of these exotic looking animals running together at dusk as they cross right in front of your vehicle