Painted Desert

Painted Desert

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Weekend adventures

A couple weekends ago, I went to Park City, Utah, to visit a friend from URI who was doing her master's thesis research in the area. There were balloons.
Her field area was quite different from mine. It was about 5,000 feet higher, for one; also a bit cooler.
She was there to study how the rocks making up the mountains had affected the way the glaciers had sculpted out the valleys, when there were glaciers. Here, she and a fellow student use a tool for testing concrete hardness to measure the hardness of the rocks. It had a piston that slammed against the rock.

I wanted to use it to test the hardness of my thighs, after hiking all summer, but they were afraid I was going to break my leg.

I also visited Park City itself, which is an extremely wealthy-looking ski resort town.
I was surrounded by all the things I couldn't get in Vernal, like gourmet food, and in my deprivation and weakness spent a little more than I had intended to.

The following week we found some 200 million year old scorpion tracks, the first we have seen. They look a lot like the scorpion tracks on my (modern-day) track identification card... though they may be difficult to see in the picture, as the light was not very good for photographing them.

Me in the field!
That ichthyosaur I found earlier in the summer... a team doing research in the park who had a permit to collect on BLM returned to it, and found many more bones, dozens of pieces. Here some of them are applying a consolidant to bone fragments that have been excavated, while others search for more bones that have weathered out and rolled down the hill:

Then, this past weekend, a visit from a dear friend!

DP and I had many fine hikes and discovered many interesting things in the wilds of Utah, such as this:
At the last park I worked at, one of the rules for field work was "No matter how far you are from civilization, you will always find some discarded can or bottle." Well, here were dozens of them, in the middle of nowhere. Along with some boot heels. The rule is true, though. If you are ever hiking in the backcountry you can test it for yourself.

A mountain lion print. Somewhat disconcertingly, these prints were only seen on our path during the hike out; they hadn't been there on the hike in. No sight of the lion though.

I will be wrapping up here next week, and I'm not sure I'll have time for another entry then, but there are still many more photos and stories!

1 comment:

Mom said...

You also had a visit from a walking tent!

Love, Mom