Sunday, July 23

My friend Jeff has been with me for a week of fossil fun and got up early to head home to Indiana about 5:15am. Texted back and forth later today and heard he was stopping for the night in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. That’s a good long haul for one day; I’m sure he’ll be home by tomorrow afternoon. I went back to sleep then up and got some breakfast and a lunch together (leftover pizza from last night) for later.

I got out to the main dig site at about 11:30 and set up the shade canopy complete with two side tarps to help provide shade all around. Was hot and clear again today. It read 102 degrees in my truck yesterday afternoon and looks like the high was 98 today. And we had a very nice breeze almost all day which really helps to make it feel better. I don’t recall how long this really hot spell is forecasted to last, but at least a week or so I think.

The improved hobo encampment over the triceratops dig. Looks like a mess but many alterations have been made through trial and error on past digs!

I worked on removing a hard rock cap that’s between the frill bone and the scapula. Don’t want to have to take out these bones all in one field jacket; would be really heavy and unwieldy. So I’m trying to find the separation between the bones but unfortunately that is solid rock that’s adhered to both bones. So there’s that! I also removed a lot of excess rock/soils from the end of the frill area where a few ribs are poking out. Clearing around and beside them to remove as much of the excess soils as I can. The large area of frill is really taking shape as it gets more exposed. It certainly not a complete frill the but the outside edge is clearly coming into shape and it’s a significantly large piece. Hopefully we’ll have enough of the right bones to be able to identify this partial specimen. Thee are many, many varieties of ceratopsians and it will be a challenge to specifically ID this one.

The “gumbo” (bentonite) butte directly north of the dig site showing the contrast with the perfectly blue, cloudless sky today.
More is being exposed; hard to see it but the frill area is taking shape and the scapula is starting to really show.
The orange outline is around the frill and green is showing part of the scapula with is testing immediately on top of part of the frill.

I took plenty of water and drink breaks and ate some lunch in fits and starts; when it’s so hot out I often don’t feel like eating. But I do eat, it’s important to have some nourishment to keep going. I also took the alone time at the dig to just sit and read a little and to call my kids to check in. I miss each of them and was good to just chat for a bit.

Evening view looking East from the dig site

The specimen is looking better after each session of working on it. Really taking some identifiable shape now. I ended up staying on the dig site until just before sunset. Not the smartest thing to do the heat breaks and the views are great at that time of evening. Got back to camp to clean up and made a simple dinner for one this evening. A new windshield is on schedule for the morning in town so I’ll get a chance for a visit to my favorite shop for a chai latte and maybe some reading while I wait for the new glass to be installed from the hail damage two weeks ago. The windshield has stayed in place but I think some of the cracks are growing; decided to replace now to avoid possibility of the thing totally breaking apart as I drive on the rough trails on the ranch.

“Like a Rock, Chevy Tough!” Maybe some swag from Chevy may come my way if they see this?
Sunset over the ranch on my way back to camp
My attempt at artsy photography on the way back to camp; a couple of fence posts bordering the spectacular sunset.