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Notes from the Field - The Latest News!
All times given are Texas time, [CDT (Cretaceous Daylight Time)]. Local time is actually one hour earlier (MDT).
- Thursday, 3 June
- This is the day the 2010 expedition begins!!
The plan was to assemble at 6:00am for an immediate departure—the expedition consisting of two vans and a pickup truck pulling a trailer left Keene at 6:52am!
Justin piloted the truck, and Drs. Art and Larry drove the two shuttle craft.
A total of 14 participants (including the pilots): Tyke, Tetsuya, Michael, Charles, Heston, KC, and Luke and students Caleb, Darren, Jordan, and Matthew all stretched out in the three vehicles.
There was smooth sailing as the expedition headed north through Oklahoma City, Wichita, and Salina to I-80.
Shortly after that we began experiencing a strange problem with the truck—it would suddenly lose power.
We discovered that if it sat for a while, it would run fine—for a while! We proceeded westward in fits and starts as the miles receded.
After stopping to jury rig the lights (Mr. Scott would be proud.) on the trailer we continued . . .
- Friday, 4 June
- . . . through the night. Fortunately the expedition had sufficient relief drivers!
The three vehicles arrived at Camp Cretaceous about 10:30am. Marjorie, Stephan, Dawnella, and students Vanessa and Monica were already there to greet the convoy.
The first order of business was to thank God for His hand over us as we traveled. The vehicles were unloaded, and the participants worked very intensely to set up their private bedrooms.
The truck and one van with Dr. Art, Justin, Tyke, and Heston left for Rapid City for the purposes of getting a reliable truck, shopping, and picking up a student.
Those that stayed in camp did more organizing, caught up on some much deprived sleep, and took a quick visit to the quarry site.
The first impression as we approached the area, was the Hoodoo Hut was all katerwumpus. It had collapsed, the frame splintered, and the roof torn.
As Bones would say, "Its dead, Jim." We shall need to deal with that situation before proceeding with the excavation work in North Quarry.
With a limited selection, supper consisted of leftovers from lunch and BLT sandwiches (without the L because we did not have any yet and the B should really be BS for Breakfast Strips).
Fortunately, being so early in the expedition no one had gotten tired of sandwiches! Marjorie had prepared an absolutely delicious cobbler using the canned peaches left from the earlier meal!
Emily arrive with her Dad to set up her tent—after a brief tour he left. Kathleen and Gary were the next to arrive. Gary well not be staying with us long.
As the sun set, Sabbath was welcomed by enthusiastic singing accompaynied by Jordan on the guitar and a short devotional by Dr. Larry.
The van and a new truck were delayed in their mission and arrived back in the Cretaceous about 11:00pm carrying a student, Chase, and supplies.
There are 23 people in camp on this first night.
- Saturday, 5 June
- Everyone slept in—the sun had risen in a generally overcast sky with a few blue breaks by the time the majority were stiring. As usual in the early morning, the air was still and the calls of the birds dominated.
Breakfast was served at 9:00am—the usual Camp Cretaceous Sabbath breakfast: scrambled eggs, scrambled tofu, and homemade biscuits.
Grits were added to the menu at Dr. Art's insistence.
Worship took place at 10:30. Gary led out in the presentation and discussion on the temptations of Christ.
The afternoon was a relaxing time for hikes, sleeping, reading, and conversation.
Late in the afternoon one of the vans was filled and went for a driving tour with a couple of stops to explore spots of interest.
Not only rocks, fossils, and petrified wood were seen, but also a number of pronghorn and mule deer.
The Sabbath was closed by a devotional from Dr. Art followed by a brief meeting and then it was off to bed in our cozy tents!
- Sunday, 6 June
- As the sun rises the wind is calm, the temperature cool (58°), and the bird calls are all that break the quiet.
We do have an Internet connection, but the wireless for the camp has not been set up so only one computer at a time can connect from the "Official Equipment Table."
By midmorning we all eagerly anticipate complete access! The connection is not a blazing fast one, but we can at least get and send e-mail and catch up on the important world events!
These notes are entered and edited locally and then beamed to the server at Southwestern Adventist University when possible. Hopefully that will occur as soon as there are any updates!
After breakfast and worship 12 headed off in one shuttle craft for the Crazy Horse volksmarch.
Stephan took the second shuttle craft to Rapid City for some shopping and to pick up a participant at the airport.
Gary left mid-morning.
Those remaining brought a table from the Hoodoo Hut remains to the Triceratop Circus Tent and started assembling tools kits and filling glue bottles.
Kathleen was excited to discover that her favorite tiny excavation tool could be sharpened—partially, only partially, made up for the sadness of Gary's leaving!
The directors and quarry supervisors established the chore and quarry groups—it was decided to set up three groups for the present, later that may expand to four.
In the late afternoon Forrest, Janette, Art, and Linda arrived and set up their tent. It was a delight to see Al and Brenda. Drs. Art and Larry left for an HRS Board meeting.
Before they returned, Stephan arrived back with Marla and the other shuttle craft landed with the tired Crazy Horse volksmarchers. Jackson, Everett and Grant also arrived.
This evening we have 30 people in camp.
- Monday, 7 June
- The morning dawned overcast—there were some sprinkles in the night. We have established the chore groups and Stephan's group arrived by 6:00am to prepare breakfast and lay out lunch materials.
After breakfast and worship the participants who had been here before headed to the quarries. Dr. Art spent some time with the newbies explaining about the excavation process.
Dr. Larry took the newbie group on a walking tour of the quarries and the surrounding area. Then it was time for each to go to an assigned quarry and begin digging!
The group was distributed around North, South, and Southeast quarries. It was decided to leave the Hoodoo Hut "as is" for this season.
The active squares are on the outside, and it does offer some shelter from the elements.
During the morning Ruthann and Cheryl arrived.
After lunch the overcast skies gave way to clear skies with a few light cirrus and an occasional cumulus cloud.
At about 5:00pm the skies darkened, thunder was heard, and the rain and small hail began.
The precipitation did not last long as the thunder cell moved across the area—just enough so that the camp facility was declared a "shoe free zone."
The quarries were closed a little early and everyone gathered for a meal—for this dinner it was "Shoes, no service!"
We have started our process of finding and recovering fossils! With a good start on this first day, there are two questions: Will we exceed the record of 1233 set in 2009? On what date will the project catalog its 10,000 specimen?
We do anticpate a record number of participants, so the answer to the first question is, probably yes! Since we need less than 900 items to reach 10,000, the question is when, not if! We should reach that milestone (or kilometerbone) sometime this season!
After dinner Dr. Art and Heston made a presentation on their adventure (with Dr. Lee Spencer) last summer to Banks Island in the Arctic to collect frozen plant DNA samples.
Linae and Linee came for a pleasant visit.
This evening we have 32 people in camp.
- Tuesday, 8 June
- The rain continued lightly during the night and the day dawned overcast. The interesting question for breakfast discussion is "What are the conditions in the quarries?" If the quarries are damp, great! If there is mud, then not great!
The quarries were in great shape—damp but not muddy. Everyone dug in immediately and the bones, teeth, and ossified tendons started flying out of the matrix.
Dr. Larry spent an hour recovering two specimens from the old West Quarry—a theropod tooth and a vertebra that were seen eroding out during a previous casual inspection.
Dr, Art and Heston went exploring around the ranch to attempt to follow stratigraphic markers away from the quarry sites.
The day become sunny with a few cumulus clouds and a gentle wind from the northwest.
After lunch the work continued. The cooking crew closed their excavation areas came back to Camp Cretaceous at 4:00pm and the rest closed their sites in time for the 6:00pm evening meal which highlighted spaghetti with garlic bread and a salad. Dessert was a fruit salad.
So far as the camp has become settled in with the rotating chore groups, the food has been the usual high standards we have come to expect!
Chuck and Cheryl arrived after dinner just in time to set up their tent before the evening lecture by Dr. Art on the history and technology developments of the Southwestern Adventist University's Dinosaur Excavation Project.
We have 34 enjoying their nightly intense experience!
- Wednesday, 9 June
- The day dawned with another gorgeous sunrise—cool and calm with broken overcast.
Breakfast consisted of waffles and trimmings!
The quarries were damp, but in great shape—everyone got busy immediately after arriving at the "bone mines." The wind blew from the south so South East Quarry really felt it whereas North Quarry was quite sheltered and blessed.
In the late morning Kathleen was delighted to see her granddaughter and her parents: Gracie, Matthew, and Marca—they were put to work immediately.
Dr. Art and Stephan left for errands in Rapid City about noon.
In the late afternoon, we experienced out first departures: Jackson, Grant, and Everett took down their tent, packed up, and left—their scheduled brief stay in the Cretaceous was over for this year.
Around 3:30 it began to sprinkle and then rain—clearing about 4:30, but leaving the ground wet and muddy in places. All but North Quarry were closed early for the day—South because they had cooking duty and Suuth East because they were experiencing the brunt of the discomfort.
We had another "shoes free zone" for dinner!
The lecture was a video presentation on "Jane" a nanotyranasour. We have discovered a few bones from this very species!
After the presentation, the rain started again—not hard, but more than just sprinkles.
Dr. Art and Stephan returned about midnight with Dr. Tony.
- Thursday, 10 June
- The rain continue lightly at time through the night. As with the previous day, the concern is the conditions of the quarries.
But we will take the Scarlett approach and "think about that later"—first is breakfast!
After breakfast Chuck and Cheryl left.
As it turned out, the day was just about perfect for work in the quarries.
In the afternoon Mark, Susan, Sam, and Lian arrived. It was great to see Mark, who has helped immeasurable with the GPS equipment, again!
And it was a treat for his family see what we are doing and join in the great experience!
After dinner, Dr. Art gave the presentation on the hunting of fossils.
Justin had left in the early afternoon to get supplies in Rapid City and pick up Rose—they arrived back around midnight.
- Friday, 11 June
- It rained some during the night, but everyone seemed to have stayed dry. As it got light is was apparent the sky is about the same as we have seen in previous rotations of the earth—boken overcast, cool, and calm.
Right on time, the chore group responsible for cooking today arrived and began the preparation work for breakfast and setting out lunch materials. We will eat in Newcastle this evening, so they only need to worry about two meals today!
The scheme we use to rotate through the groups means that a different group will be responsible for meals next Friday.
After breakfast Gracie, Mathew, and Marca left. The morning was overcast, cool with a gentle wind from the northwest—now it was South East Quarry's turn to be sheltered.
A femur that was excavated by Art in that quarry became the season's first jacketed bone.
After lunch Mark, Susan, Sam, and Lian departed.
When Mark left all of our GPS equipment (three sets) were functioning perfectly! Thank you for your support of our project Mark.
At 2:30 the two shuttle craft were ready to depart for Newcastle. Cindy arrived just in time to join in the expedition within the expedition.
The trip to Newcastle was for some necessary clothes laundering, grocery purchasing, and meal consuming.
Several of the group had an opportunity to visit Caleb's Corner in the Anna Miller Museum in Newcastle—Lanae and Dennis have done a wonderful job!
Dinner was at Isabella's.
The trip back to the Cretaceous was stressful for the pilot of one of the shuttle craft, Dr. Larry.
It had been raining steadily for some time. The road has been improved tremendously since last year, but he remembered the times in previous years he almost got stuck or slid off the road when it was wet.
This time there was no problem as long as the pilot was careful and prayed a lot!
By the time the vehicles from Newcastle reached Camp Cretaceous just before sundown, Justin had returned from another trip to Rapid City bring back supplies and Dr. Zuri.
Yes, Dr. Larry remembered to bring Justin a piece of his favorite Isabella's pizza!
Sabbath was welcomed with singing and a devotional by Dr. Art. Then it was off in the rain to our snug tents! With all the comings and goings we have 33 people in camp tonight.
- At the end of the first week of excavation, we have reached a total of 349 bones recovered—this eclipses the record 308 specimens we collected at the end of the first week in 2004!
And, we only have three quarries open!
- Saturday, 12 June
- The rather steady but gentle rain continued to fall for several hours to be replaced by a gentle breeze. The day dawned cool and calm.
There were a few damp participants this morning, and one rather wet tent interior—but the inside of the camp building provided a dry place for occupant to spend the rest of the night—reltively quiet too until the breakfast preparations began!
Breakfast was the usual Sabbath breakfast!
Afterward Dr. Zuri let the group in a discussion on the lessons from Biblical characters who suffered from depression, and Stephan presented a message about the insight of the sightless Bartimaeus from Mark 10.
The early afternoon remained overcast, cool, and calm—perfect for a nap and perfect for a shuttle ride to Twin Towers about a mile west of Camp Cretaceous and time spent exporing the area.
This is an area where all sorts of small items become exposed on the surface after it has rained. And, the sprinkles arrived just after the group left!
The group spent a couple of hours with occasional sprinkles before returning.
About 7:00pm the rain suddenly returned in earnest.
Sabbath was closed with a round of singing and a devotional from Dr. Art. There was a new moon, but of course, no one noticed because of the cloud cover.
- Sunday, 13 June
- Daylight came under an overcast sky. The preciptation of the previous evening had ceased, but the grass was wet and there were puddles of water on low places on the ground. There was no wind, and the temperature was cool.
If the quarries are reasonably not muddy, it will be an altogether glorious day in the bone mines!
Unfortunately, the quarries and the surrounding area were covered with a thick layer of mud. North Quarry moved under the remanents of the Hoodoo Hut.
South and South East Quarries found some areas that had been covered with tarps since closing on Friday so all were busy. Dr. Art, Justin, et al set up a GPS repeater station on the hill just north of Camp Cretaceous.
Dr. Zuri started to open Stair Quarry.
During the morning and early afternoon the rain held off and things begin to dry out, but about 2:30 the rain returned! We closed the quarries about 3:00 and everyone made their wet way back the camp.
We have a number of videos about dinosaurs and science that we can show to entertain and educate to fill in the time.
We also were anticpating the arrival this afternoon or evening of the Trinity Expedition—20 early teens with 4 adults.
With the wet conditions, this was going to be "interesting;" however, we received word that due to the weather their arrival is delayed a few days—given the conditions that is a relief.
It should be drier later in the season (hopefully, later in the week)!
After dinner, by the time Dr. Art started the evening's lecture, it had rained rather steadily for five hours. Puddles were forming on the ground indicating the soil is saturated.
During the lecture all Internet traffic to the camp suddenly stopped. We have a certain allowed amount we can download during a 24 hr period.
When we reach that, we simply have to wait.
Most likely because we had closed the quarries early, people had longer to access the internet, so we ran out this evening! Still, we are all extremely thankful for this service that Hughes Net provides for us!
- Monday, 14 June
- It rained throughout the night tapering off toward morning. Of course, the relative humidity in the unheated tents and camp building is 100%.
This means wet clothes have not dried, and paper is limp. We found out there was about 1.5 in of gentle soaking rain! The good news is that the weather forecast predicts that today should be the last day of rain for a while.
The breakfast crew arrived at the usual time and began preparations.
Since the quarries are unworkable and the rain has stopped and the sun is starting to dry things out, it was decided to make this a field trip day.
The shuttle craft are traveling to Hot Springs to visit the Mammoth Site. We thought we would need to make another trip to Rapid City, but that will be tomorrow.
For the few that remained behind in Camp it was a quiet day—rather cool and damp in the morning but drying out and warming up by mid-afternoon.
Everett became our latest arrival when he drove into Camp Cretaceous
The expedition to the museums arrived back just in time for the evening lecture—although it was delayed so dinner could be eaten (those who had stayed had the hot doggies, chilli, nachos, and toppings all ready to go) and the necessary preparations for study could be made.
And after two days the sun could actually be seen!
For Dr. Art's prsentation on the dinosaur skeleton the windows on the west side of the camp building had to be covered because it was finally too bright!
By the time our sun dipped below the horizon, the sky was clear except for some cumulus clouds over the Black Hills in the east.
- Tuesday, 15 June
- Our home planet rotated so that its star appeared above the northeastern horizon—it was light, but we could not see.
This morning was one of the very few times we awoke with Camp Cretaceous embedded in fog!
Tents were dark mysterious mounds scattered around the building like slumbering sauropods with only a few twenty-first century distinguishing features such as Dr. Larry's solar powered nightlight standing in the ground outside his tent like a welcoming beacon.
Inside the building the flashing lights from the equipment, the sounds from the alarms from the awakening phones, and finally the building lights were definately something out of our modern age.
The wind is a complete calm and the temperature is cool this morning (≈54°), but the anticipation is that the fog will evaporate by early morning and the temperature will warm up to the point in the afternoon we will be wishing for some of the cool of the past few days.
And, the most eager anticipation is that damp clothes and other necessities will dry out!
By the time breakfast and worship was over, the fog was less opaque but still was keeping the direct radiation from the sun drying the ground.
Dr. Art decided to spend an hour giving a lecture—making up the one he missed earlier. This morning Stephan and Cindy drove to Rapid City for errands and to take Chase to the airport and pick up a new participant.
The day was still overcast when we all departed the cozy camp for the quarries about 10:00am. We found them muddy but workable if you chose your site carefully and didn't mind getting dirty!
As the morning wore on patches of blue could be seen that grew and coalesced into a completely blue sky by mid-afternoon. A cool breeze from the southeast made an altogether perfect weather day.
About dinner Dr. Berney arrived.
This evening a repeater for the walkie-talkie's arrived. Hopefully this will mean we can communicate reliably from the quarry sites to the camp.
We have found that currently there is too much walkie and not enough talkie!
Dr. Art ended the day showing some educational dinosaur videos.
Stephan and Cindy arrived back from Rapid City late,
- Wednesday, 16 June
- or early (about 2:00am) with Ken. And the dealer still had not finished with Stephan's truck!
The predawn hour was clear with numerous stars visible even though the sky was light in the east. By the time the breakfast crew arrived, it was light, but the sun had not peaked above the butte to the east.
Thre was a gentle breeze that did not stop the early morning bird calls. As the sun apparently rose, the shadows of the camp retreated from the west to illuminate fully the green pasture.
The smells of the cooking breakfast permeated the building and reminded stomachs that they are empty! As people come in the "good mornings" reverberate.
After breakfast and worship everyone headed off to dig—well, almost everyone. Dr. Art, Justin, KC, Heston, and Rose worked on the walkie-talkie repeater and Mikie was handling the GPS duties.
It was a great day in the quarry!
We received word this afternoon that the Trinity group will not be able to participate this year. Evidently weather has created some delays and something in their tour had to be omitted.
About closing time a storm was seen in the southwest. According to the weather on the internet an intense thunderstorm was heading toward us.
During dinner precursor sprinkles arrived, then thunder was heard, but the main part of the storm went to the east of us and the clear sky was seen to the southwest, which finally reached Camp Cretaceous.
Dr. Art ended the day's activities with a lecture on molecular complexity.
Kurt and Eric arrived about sundown with enough light to get their tent set up.
- Thursday, 17 June
- For those staying the entire season there will be 27 intense nights. Last night was the 14th—we are over half-way to the end of the season!
There were showers (of blessing!) sporadically during the night with brillant lightning visible from the camp (for those awake), and the sky was overcast which moved to the east and pretty much cleared by breakfast.
The wind is blustery from the west this morning—we shall see if we get a real Wyoming wind!
The temperature is cool, but the wind makes it feel colder. With the sun's radiation and the wind, any wet grass and mud in the quarries and surrounding region (and roads!) should dry quickly.
During our breakfast a pronghorn could be seen having its breakfast in the pasture to the west of the camp—since we were downwind, presumably the breakfast burritos did not tempt it!
After breakfast Art, Linda, Janette, and Forrest left. We will miss seeing Forrest for the teeth!
The quarries were quite windy!! Mid-morning Dr. Lloyd, Edith, Kylie, and Karina arrived. A little later Eryn and Jim arrived by car.
It took some time, but Jim navigated his highway cruise liner to the ranch and docked it about a mile from camp.
After dinner Dr. Lloyd, Edith, Kylie, and Karina departed. The wind died down somewhat to a reasonable level before Dr. Art presented the evening lecture.
- Friday, 18 June
- Morning arrived under clear skies and a dead calm. Since it was clear, the temperature is chilly, ≈44°.
After breakfast, Dr. Art departed for Rapid City to make some purchases and to take Tetsuya, Ken, and Heston to the airport.
The group worked diligently in the quarries all morning. Just as the cooking crew was ready to depart back to Camp Cretaceous after lunch, we had a half dozen visitors.
The small laundromat in Newcastle was again overwhelmed, but everyone had a chance to make phone calls.
Early in the day the overwhelming consensus was to eat dinner at or favorite Newcastle establishment—Isabella's.
With the large group it took time to take orders, prepare the food, and consume it; and the last vehicle did not arrive back in camp until around 10:00p.
During the last 40 minutes of the trip the shuttle craft was filled with songs of praise to our Creator.
While the group was off acquiring semi-clean clothes Amy, Katherine, and Cooper arrived and set up their tent. Dr. Art returned from Rapid City with Carolina.
We have 36 people spending the night in Camp Cretaceous.
- At the end of the second week of work, we had recovered a total of 614 bones, teeth, and tendons.
The greatest total we had at the end of week 2 occurred in 2009 when we had collected 712 specimens.
However, keep in mind that this year we lost more than one day due to the rain and the Trinity group of over 20 did not come this year to bolster the number of finds.
- Saturday, 19 June
- The day arrived clear and calm with the total quiet broken only by the songs of the birds.
As the morning evolved, other sounds were heard: the sleeping sounds of certain participants, zippers, the opening and closing of the camp doors, the sounds of the preparation of breakfast, greetings and conversation and bustle as the building filled, and finally the breakfast bell.
Stephan left before breafast to preach in the Edgemont church. After a filling meal, Dr. Art led out in the discussion of the lesson on the Biblical diet.
Dr. Zuri conducted the worship service—a spiritual message from the bones.
By the time worship was over (around noon) the sky had become clear with a broken cloud cover and the wind had risen to a moderate breeze that shook, but did not threaten, tents.
In the late afternoon Kathleen's son Aaron and wife Katie and two dogs arrived after being picked up in the truck by Justin about 5 miles from the camp.
The alternator on their car died. Their original plan was to be for a short visit!
This is the third vehicle problem we have experienced this season.
First was the rental truck on the trip here.
Evidently no one had changed the fuel filter on the truck—it failed which caused a series of much more expensive cascading failures.
Fortunately, expensive for the rental company and not the project! We are still waiting for that to be resolved—they did provide a "loaner" truck.
Second was Stephan's truck—that has been fixed. And now, Aaron and Katie's car!
Late in the afternoon while a group was out for a hike, a thunderstorm moved over Camp Cretaceous.
First the dark skies appeared on the southwestern horizon, then the rumbling of the thunder and the showers began, followed by intense rain (hopefully not in tents) with booming thunder and flashes from lightening.
Dr. Art and Justin left with the first sprinkles to find and rescue the hikers!
As the storm passed, the heavy overhead clouds thinned with clear skies on the east and west horizons but the storm had a last parting gift—hail that covered the ground!
The largest we observed were golf ball size!
Caleb and Clint arrived over the rain soaked road.
After the skies had finally cleared over Camp Cretaceous God gave us a sign of His promise of protection—a rainbow in the eastern sky!
Today is the anniversary of Rose's birthday. "A Rose by any other name would seem as Summer."
About the time the sun disappeared below the western horizon another thunderstorm cell arrived.
It rained hard, but the central portion passed south of the camp on its northeastwardly path. Sabbath was closed by singing and a short message.
- Sunday, 20 June
- Father's Day. Thunderstorms rumbled at times during the night. One brought more rain to the camp. What will we find in the quarries this morning?
The morning is bright, cool and calm.
After breakfast we were sad to see Cheryl and Ruthann depart. Kathleen took some time away from the quarry to help solve Aaron and Katie's car situation and get them and their dogs on their way.
Everett worked until lunch, then drove away.
The Hanson Ranch holds its annual Open House this afternoon. Neighbors and citizens of the surrounding communities are invited to visit the Camp Cretaceous and the quarries to see what is here and what we are doing.
Dennis brought the support he has constructed for the bones of an Emontosaurus leg and set it up in the camp building.
It is quite an impressive display!
The day began cool and and relatively calm. It ended cool and relatively calm.
In the morning we found the quarries quite wet and muddy, but there were places we could work as the ground dried out.
By mid afternoon, the wind was becoming a Wyoming wind from the southeast.
Thunderstorms threatened but all passed on one side of the area or another. All we got was some sprinkles! After checking on the weather prediction Dr. Larry returned to one quarry and felt like finding the Mary Celeste!
The other quarries remained working but with things partially closed—at least so the quarry could be closed quickly if a storm arrived. None did!
There were over 60 visitors that came to see the work during the Open House. Dinner and the evening lecture by Dr. Art were delayed about one hour.
Today we received word that out latest abstract on the project has been accepted for presentation at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting in Pittsburgh in October.
- Monday, 21 June
- Summer Solstice: Today spring slips over into summer. Daylight spreads over Camp Cretaceous in a clear, cool, and calm sky. This is another beginning that shows promise of a great day in the bone mines!
Everett had invented a glorious, awesome digging tool and bequeathed it to Dr. Turner when he left.
This morning it was officially named "The Hooknballnawl-an'-that."
Luke coined a new dinosaur genius Pragmatasaurus (to great to be a mere genus) with one known species Stephangrayi.
The day was a great excavation day—sunny with a gentle breeze to keep things from feeling too hot.
We had the priviledge of members of the Hanson family working with us with Linee overseeing the entire three big quarries!
Late in the afternoon Ben rode in on his motorcycle.
During dinner the heavy overcast of a storm moved over the camp and the sprinkles finally arrived accompanied by booms and rumblings of thunder.
Finally during Dr. Art's lecture the intense rain and hail descended! But, it was not like the storm a few days ago!
The sun descended below the clouds in the west so we were having rain and hail in sunlight!
|The sun was shining on the camp,
Shining with all his norm;
He did his very best to make
The pasture smooth and warm—
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the storm.
The storm was thundering out loud,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
Once the rain begun–
'It's very rude of him,' she said,
'To come and spoil the fun!'
As the precipitation came to an end on the camp a rainbow arched across the eastern sky!
- Tuesday, 22 June
- The brightening eastern sky obscured first the Milky Way, then the stars, and finally the planets apparently faded; however, it revealed a clear sky. The predawn was cool and calm.
The puddles from the previous evening's storm had disappeared and the ground while wet was generally solid—shoes did not sink into mud as long as the wearer was careful!
The earth rotated so the sun's direct light illuminated the tops of the hills and rises to the west of camp. Slowly at first, but ever faster, the lit pasture oozed toward the camp. Soon the shadows of the building were outlined against the grass.
Two pronghorn grazed in the early morning sunlight just west of Camp Cretaceous. The somewhat shortstaffed breakfast cooking crew were hard at work and the building slowly became busier as people awoke and made their way to the camp structure.
After breakfast and worship Cindy and Marla departed—Cindy in her car and Marla to the airport.
Cindy has almost a unique distinction in that she had not encountered a single bone during the days she worked in the quarry!
This means, of course, that she must return in the future!
It was a good day in the quarries—warm, clear, and only a gentle breeze. Brenda spent the morning painting the tool shed.
Just after dinner and before the evening lecture (at 7:26pm) someone abruptly turned on the wind. There was a great scurrying as people checked their tents.
Shortly thereafter the rain arrived! It was accompanied by the usual rumblings and an occasional boom of thunder.
The storm lasted about an hour as the main part of the thunderstorm passed to the north of Camp Cretaceous.
Of course the rivulets of water and puddles and wet grass remained for some time.
Dr. Art had to talk loudly as he started the evening lecture!
The day ended as it began with direct sunshine illuminating the camp building as long as the sun was above the horizon.
- Wednesday, 23 June
- People awoke to a clear, cool, breezy morning. A few clouds could be seen over the Black Hills in the east. As the sun's direct light strikes the top of the nearby peaks, the day appears to be another glorious day in the bone mines.
After breakfast Dr. Tony left. The rest (except for pilot Justin) headed to the quarries. The day was just about perfect for work!
Because Stair quarry was still somewhat muddy, the crew there, Drs. Art, Berney, and Zuri, explored the area including the old Derstler Quarry.
When they checked his quarry floor with the GPS equipment they realized he had stopped excavating a relatively large area just above the bone layer, so they started digging and immediately encountered interesting bones and useful information!
Thank you Kraig for your hard work preparing a quarry for us to incorporate in our creative, advancing-the-art science endeavour!!
Just after dinner Gary and Mary Lou arrive. They had time to set up their tent, grab a bite to eat, and get in on Dr. Art's lecture.
The sun disappeared below the western horizon with no thunderstorm! But then:
|While there was yet light, I in my cap
had settled down for a good night's nap.
When out on the grass there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the zippers and threw up the lash.
There in the pasture was a truck so loud
Filled with flamingoes too pink and proud.
It was David and Tommy! Their humoungous tent was erected with much polar advice by the light of the nearly full moon (and shuttle craft lights).
As David remarked "it was a real circus setting up the tent." Appropriate since it was big enough for a one-ring circus!
Today the Southwestern Adventist University Dinosaur Excavation Project collected its 10,000 specimen ending the day with 10,006! The project excavated its first bone in 1997.
- Thursday, 24 June
- Another cool, clear, calm day dawned.
After breakfast we lost four of our faithful crew. Eric, Dr. Kurt, Clint, and Caleb departed for the twenty-first century.
The day was a perfect day for work. The afternoon grew warm, but great progress was made!
Late in the afternoon Kathleen's family Noelle, Micoela, and Emily arrived for a few hours work in the South Quarry.
Cindy returned with her mother and brother for a few hours to show them the camp and quarries.
Dr. Art presented another lecture summarizing another broad group of dinosaurs. As the sun settled low in the west, the camp quieted. It is a warm evening!
- Friday, 25 June
- This is going to be another great day in the bone mines! We have another clear, calm morning.
After breakfast Stephan left for the weekend, but we kept Dawnella and the two dogs.
Work in the quarries proceed with excavation, discovery, GPSing, documenting, extracting, and cleaning up!
At noon the group stopped for lunch, and shortly thereafter a shuttle craft full returned to Camp Cretaceous to shower, collect laundry, and depart for Newcastle.
An hour later the second craft made its departure. Linee came with us.
We all enjoyed the visit to the Anna Miller Museum with Caleb's Corner and then to a dinner at Pizza Hut—it was no Isabella's!!!
Tyke did not return to camp from Newcastle—she had a better offer, Ed had arrived to meet her in Newcastle!
The shuttle craft returned before sundown and found we had three new humans to join the group: Elsie, Taffy, and Hans.
The Sabbath was welcomed with singing and a devotional.
- At the end of the third week, we have discovered, located, and catalogued 975 fossils.
- Saturday, 26 June
- The night was warm—perfect for sleeping! The sun was up in the partially cloudy sky by the time the camp begin to stir. The day shows promise of a warm, no precipitation day!
Breakfast was the traditional Sabbath breakfast.
During the preparation the building slowly filled and the acoustic energy increased, then when the "dinner" bell was rung the building became crowded, and finally when the plates were full, a number went outside under the Triceratops and the sound level dropped while food was eagerly consumed.
Worship was held in the great outside cathederal under the big tent.
After a period of vigorous singing Dr. Zuri presented a lesson on the inconvenience of true friendship as contrast to the all too convenient virtual friends often found on FaceBook.
Justin presented the message for the morning.
The afternoon is a perfect Sabbath afternoon—thin clouds to provide some shade and a gentle cooling breeze. The interior of a tent is warm, but not too warm—just perfect! Goldilocks would approve.
Late in the afternoon part of the group left with Dr. Art and guide Linee for a hike. The camp was quiet.
Sitting under the Triceratops Circus Tent was quite relaxing!
In the early evening the clouds increased and darkened and the gentle wind grew cool.
The group returned from their hike with the threat of showers in the air.
Lanae and Linee joined us for supper—hay stacks! The sun was shining low in the west under the cloud cover as the darkened sky moved pass us to the east.
Sabbath was closed with singing and a devotional thought as the sun set in a gorgeous western sky.
The moon is full tonight.
- Sunday, 27 June
- Today marks the beginning of the last week of the 2010 adventure! We essentially have three more normal days in the bone mines: today, Monday, and Tuesday.
The emphasis now shifts to finishing and cleaning up our areas of excavation—Do Not Find Any New Bog Bones!
Of course, with that said, it is inevitable that someone will find that femur or some other exciting discovery.
Ever year, it seems, there is something special saved for the last week—something that takes days and long hours to extract!
With the full moon illuminating the camp it is not so easy to discern when it is getting close to sunrise.
Earlier in the season it was totally dark inside a tent most of the night, and towards morning you could see some light oozing in and knew it was about 5:00am.
Now there is some light all night!
The sun rose this morning in the northeast in a clear sky with the moon setting in the southwest.
Each day now the sun rises further to the south, but the effect is not yet discernable to the casual unaided eye.
The camp greeted Melisa this morning—she and Justin had arrived to Camp Cretaceous about 1:00am!
After breakfast we said goodbye to Gary and Mary Lou. Tyke returned by worship time. Late in the morning Dr. Art drove Dr. Zuri to the airport.
Work was delayed this morning by some excitement.
Tyke spotted a rattlesnake on the way to her quarry, and Elsie killed it by decapitation so we could bury the dangerous sharp part and not damage the skin.
It was about 33 in in length with 9 rattles.
Everyone in the three main quarries (that is, everyone aged less than 40 years) gathered around to watch Elsie skin the snake and lay out the skin on a sheet of cardboard.
Some of the group then had a lesson in disection as they identified and removed organs from the remainder.
Unfortunately, our master videographer, KC, chose to stay in camp this morning and only got pictures of her holding the body just after it was killed—he missed this most exciting sequence of the entire dig!!
The afternoon was warm.
Only an occasional white fluffy cumulus cloud drifted between the sun and the quarries to provide a few moments of relief from the radiation.
After dinner Dr. Art presented a lecture on his adventures and research in the Grand Canyon. Stephan returned from his weekend excursion to Washington D.C.
On this day we passed the seasonal milestone of 1000 specimens ending the day with 1037.
We have now had 5 "four-digit" seasons with an end-of-the-season record of 1233 set in 2009.
With only two more full days in the quarries, it is unlikely we will set a new record.
- Monday, 28 June
- This is looking like another great day in the quarries—another warm, dry day.
As usual the cooking crew were in early to produce delicious smells with the promise of nourishing food.
In the afternoon we said good bye to Elsie, Taffy, and Hans. But we were blessed by a visit from Caleb's parents: Ann and Joe.
The day in the quarry was quite productive. The season is not only reaching an end, but it is reaching the dry, hot summer time.
Even though we all drink lots of water, by the end of the day everyone is tired and somewhat dehydrated.
The special juice drink concocted by the cooking crew was particularly welcome as the rest of the group returned to camp.
Dr. Art ended the day's activities with a lecture on hominids.
After the lecture Eryn and Jim departed in their car for their highway cruise ship and the twenty-first century.
Dr. Art was happy when his wife, Joy, and son and family with four grandchildren finally arrived safely late in the evening.
- Tuesday, 29 June
- It appears we will be blessed with another fabulous day! The dawn dawned clear and calm—the only thing visible in the sky was the 17 day old moon as the butte just east of camp was haloed in a bright yellow glow just prior to the sun appearing and its direct radiation illuminating the peaks of the camp buliding.
Just as the camp emptied with everyone off for their daily responsibilities, Andrew and Janet arrived to experience the day.
The gentle cooling breeze in the early morning increased from the southeast so that but the mid-afternoon South East Quarry was feeling they were being sandblasted.
However, by early evening it at subsided and the night was calm.
After dinner of David's famous lima bean lasagna, Dr. Art presented the final lecture on fossilized whales.
The students settled down to study until Lanae and Linee dropped by to see if anyone want to help feed the cows—that ended the study time for most and the camp emptied except for a few. It was an amazingly quiet evening! The bird calls were all that disturbed the silence.
Ed arrived to collect Tyke, after packing and taking down her tent they said good bye and left.
Today we set a season record for the number of participant-days of 823. This eclipses the record of 806 set in 2006.
This value is the sum of the daily counts of people in Camp Cretaceous with some suitable small adjustments.
And, this season we did not have the group from Trinity Christian Academy with an extra 72 participant-days!
And, we have another two days to go!
- Wednesday, 30 June
- This morning is an identical copy of the previous few, clear, warm and calm! During the night we were serenaded by coyotes—probably every night!
This morning the seven students take their final exam. We all wish them the best success!
This is also the day we make certain all the quarries are prepared for winter.
This means no exposed bones, or if we cannot extract them, then they are properly protected.
Once this is done, then we beginning cleaning the camp, foaming the large bones to boards and wrapping them in bubble wrap, and packing the truck and trailer.
In the morning David and Tommy took down their flamingo but left their tent for Dr. Art, said their good byes, and drove away on their journey home.
In the afternoon Ann and Joe returned for short time and left with Caleb.
Emily was excited to see her aunt and grandmother Laurel and Lou Ann arrive.
Linee came by to watch and help us as we packed and cleaned. The last bones were prepared for travel, the Triceratops tent was taken down, the food was packed, the dishes washed and put in plastic bags, camp items were stored in the attic space.
The noise in the camp did not abate at the usual: "when the sun goes down, the noise level goes down."
The generator was running for several hours, people were shouting, singing, and laughing while the sky grew dark though the twilight.
- At the end of the 2010 season, we had recovered 1185 bones, teeth, etc. This season has been the second all-time most productive excavation season—assuming the number of fossils is the measure of productivity!
We have also had a total of 88 participants working in the quarries or staying overnight in the camp for a record 882 participant-days.
We have had a really great year and we give thanks to God for all the things we found:
|Praise the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great;
How many are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
|Psalm 104:1,24, NIV
- Thursday, 1 July
- The night was warm. The day dawned with a partially cloudy sky, but dry. The 19 day old moon provided illumination on the camp in the south before the sun's light overwhelmed it.
The chorus of birds provided the celestial music to accompany the rousing of the sleepers one last time for this season.
The closing of the camp continues today. Each participant left takes down his or her tent, packs personal items, and brings them to be placed in the truck, trailer, and vans.
|Let us sing a song that will cheer us on our way,
In a little while we're going home;
For the past will end in the present current day,
In a little while we're going home.
We have done the work that our hands have found to do,
In a little while we're going home;
And the grace of God will our daily strength renew,
In a little while we're going home.
Mid-morning Dr. Berney drove Dr. Larry and Kathleen to the Rapid City airport on his way back to the present.
Laurel and Lou Ann drove Emily away from the cretaceous.
Marjorie departed in her faithful vehicle.
Amy, Katherine, and Cooper left in their car.
Stephan and Dawnella had already connected their truck to their camping trailer. They and their dogs climbed up into the rarified air of the truck cab, and stated the journey home.
At about 10:40am cdt (cretaceous daylight time) the fleet full of priceless fossils and the remaining precious people made its way along the path out of Camp Cretaceous, to the gravel county road, east to the highway, and south.
The shuttle craft and truck traveled back to Keene through Denver to drop some souls at the airport there.
- Friday, 2 July
- After the 21+ hours of driving, the caravan arrived in Keene about 8:00am. The humans were safe and sound, happy to see friends and loved ones but tired, and ready for a long shower.
The fossils continued their long slumber that had been interrupted but not disturbed during the past few weeks.
The leaders are already thinking about next year!