I've been back in the desert of southeast Utah for a month as of yesterday, but it doesn't seem like it's been that long. Maybe it's because I'm now on Desert Time (also known as Redrock Time)—that time zone that somehow exists in its own plane.
|The view from my back door.|
I once wrote a story that consisted of letters home from a paleontologist out in the bone camps of southern Utah, and even though I no longer have a copy, it seems like it consisted of a lot of star gazing and philosophizing about Deep Time and all that rather esoteric stuff geologists enjoy.
The past month here seems like it was along the same vein as the story—pondering beautiful night skies and wandering about looking for trace fossils (dino tracks) while visiting with good friends and trying to pretend I'm no longer a part of civilization. Combine that with Redrock Time and you're bound to lose track of a lot of things, including what some might call your sanity.
Anyway, I was out today wandering in the Cedar Mountain Formation north of town when I saw a woman coming my way carrying a Jacob's staff. A Jacob's staff is a surveying tool used by geologists to measure cross-sections while in the field (as well as strike and dip), as in the photo below.
Anytime I see someone doing something interesting, I have to find out more, so I struck up a conversation with her. Come to find out, she's a prof at a large university and is studying the Cedar Mountain Formation, which is the major dinosaur-bearing formation in this part of Utah.
I sort of have an infatuation with the Cedar Mountain, being the lost soul that I am (I've been told it's more normal to have infatuations with celebrities and the likes). We stood and talked until an incoming hailstorm ran us both reluctantly back to our vehicles.
I thought about this as I drove off and wondered what the odds were of meeting someone way out in the Outback who could answer all my questions about the local geology. It seemed pretty serendipitious.
But by the time I got back to camp, I had decided the opposite was true. Where else would you meet someone with a common interest than where that subject is best represented? It would be more unusual to meet someone in a scuba diving suit on the top of a mountain than it would be to meet them in the ocean.
In any case, it was a fun way to spend an hour or so. I had the same thing happen not so long ago when I was over at the Crystal Geyser out of Green River—two hydrogeologists from a big Eastern university were there doing research, and I learned a great deal from them that day.
|This is Tiva, a beautiful and very smart Native American Indian Dog who paid me a visit along with her buddy Kai and person Susan.|