Paleontology is not all glamorous, there is a lot of dirt, very hot days, and back-breaking work. However, on July 20th we all got to see a side of paleontology that many of us would like to forget (but none of us ever will).
The Beartooth Butte lies on the
First, imagine a picturesque “Sound of Music” setting where spinning in circles on a mountaintop actually seems like the right thing to do. Melting ice sheets, abundant wildflowers and alpine grasses, the occasional Grizzly Bear track…BEAUTIFUL. The hike across an alpine meadow bisected by a meltwater stream…EXCITING. The majesty of the
Now, we hit the tree line where a few million vicious, blood-thirsty mosquitos are waiting for us. Add to that the fact that the fossils slab we had come to find was now covered beneath a few tons of fresh landslide debris and you have the start of an idea of how the rest of the day went. What had been an exhilarating one-and-a-half mile hike to the fossil site became an excruciating three-mile trudge back out using our trusty “dino-wheel” gurney. Time wise, it took 45-minutes to get in and nearly five-hours to get back out.
I asked some of our crew for their quotes to help sum it up:
Mac: “This is Dante’s
Mike: (speaking to the mosquitos as he waves his arm around) “Fly my minions!”
Sara: (quoting a line from The Chronicles of Riddick) “If I owned this place and a place in Hell, I’d rent this one out and live in Hell.”
Ian: “All of this pestilence for some fish?”
Craig: “Uphill bothways just will not cut it anymore.”
Jason: (trying to keep everyone from losing it) “There will be no mutiny on this Bounty!”
Dr. Storrs: (repeated several times, I might add) “From the top of this ridge, it’s all downhill…until it’s uphill again”
BUT, the moral of the story is that we DID find some nice specimens, even if it was extremely difficult to get them out. For those of you eager enough to try hiking the