We started off for the quarry and stopped at Crystal Geyser to see if it was going off. It wasn’t. But the reddish carbon calcium carbonate formations are still impressive and beautiful to look at. Continuing on we made our way into the Suarez Site. We ate lunch before heading out to the site
After some huffing and puffing (Chicago isn’t as high in altitude and the air is much thinner here) climbing the hill and walking the trail to the site, we had a short introduction to the site. The returning crew noticed how much the quarry had expanded since they had been here. I assured them that there were still plenty of fossil bones here to be found and during the week, they were responsible for excavating more than 100 bones. Most of these bones are from the dinosaur therizinosaur but we did find a few bones from a large nodosaur.
We put up shade tarps that block 80% of the sun’s rays but still let light through.
These helped out as the weather was unusually warm for September.
A few surprises were found.
A scorpion was uncovered and he became the focus of attention for a short time. After taking pictures, Bill scooped him up in one of our scoops and removed him to an area away from our dig site and released him. (Scoop and release). Shortly after that, a cricket was found. He was the same color as the scorpion and before the diggers realize that it was a cricket, they had jumped back thinking that it was a scorpion. But we did the scoop and release with the cricket also and things soon got down to some serious excavation, even though more "wildlife" was spotted.
The nights were very comfortable and we had a full moon to light our campsite.
We enjoyed the moon rises and in the mornings, the moon sets. Most of the Chicago crew drove in and out each day staying in motels in Green River.
Thursday was our last day of excavation and at noon, we packed all of our equipment down to the truck and loaded it in so Bill could take it back to the museum in Price. Barb Benson and I and the part of the Chicago crew that camped with us stayed one night in a motel in Green River, the showers felt great. The whole group got together for dinner at Ray’s, the local spot in Green River known for his great hamburgers and steaks. We had an enjoyable time sharing stories and enjoying each other’s company along with the great food.
After dinner, some of us drove out to Crystal Geyser in hopes to see it erupting. It didn’t.
But the stars were fantastic. We could see the Milky Way, the Big Dipper and many other constellations and enjoyed the night silhouettes of the country.
Friday was our field trip. We headed up highway 6 towards Price and then took the east entrance into the San Rafael Swell. The geologic formations are beautiful and very interesting.
We also visited the dinosaur track in Buckhorn Wash and visited the Wedge Overlook.
Some of the crew was interested in collecting a few invertebrate fossils so we stopped at a fossil collecting site and found a few.
Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry was our next stop. We ate lunch in the Boulder Campground at CLDQ then Mike Leschin, the ranger stationed there, gave us a short tour of the visitor’s center.
We visited the quarry buildings after which some of the crew followed me up the hill to see some of the dinosaur tracks and the fossilized clam bed.
The tracks were discovered by a sedimentologist, Greg Nadden, in 1992 and the clam bed was discovered by a crew from United States Geological Survey in 1993. Then we loaded up and headed on to Price.
In Price, we visited the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum and I gave a short tour and then we went to the bone lab. The Chicago crew was especially interested in this area. Many of the bones stored there they helped excavate when they were here before. It’s always good to see the fruits of your labors and know that you are helping to further scientific knowledge of the prehistory of this planet.
It was time to say our good-byes. Many warm handshakes were exchanged and many thanks were given by both sides. It is always great to work with willing volunteers who so generously give of their time and resources.