Well, it's going to be that time of the year again soon, and frankly, I'm excited. Time, that is, for the second annual trip to the Hell Creek Formation ( wiki | State Park Listing ) near Jordan, Montana, to dig for Cretaceous dinosaurs, under the auspices of HMS Beagle.
I've become a huge dinosaur geek in the past two years or so, at first just due to my son's interest, but now, even as his wanes, mine is growing, as is my library, and plans for a dinosaur related website of my own that are steadily moving forward. But I've been asked to take this trip not really due to my credentials (I've done a fair amount of quite amateurish geological and palontological fieldwork in my life, but not so as I'd have anything to really boast about), but due to the fact that I will be available. And because the Beagle's owners are my in-laws (so, of course, the Dear Wife (TM) is coming too - good thing we both enjoy road trips). I'm quite excited, nonetheless. Previously, the biggest thing that I've ever hunted for was fish, and I didn't find any of them then, but did nearly fall twenty-five feet in a sandstone quarry, so good times all around. I also took the children on a dig for fossil leaves last summer - tricky beggars, leaves. You really have to watch them.
I wanted to do the trip last year, but didn't have the vacation time or the money. Now, as vacation for an inadvertent freelancer isn't an issue, so much the better. And, as a bonus, I get to go and dig for dinosaurs in 110-degree heat. What more would one want for a summer's holiday?
While I'm at it, perhaps someone on this trip will be able to tell me something about the Permian rocks in eastern Kansas, because that seems like that would be an important and valuable place to dig too. I must be missing something, but from what I remember reading in Peter Ward's Gorgon, he went all the way to South Africa to dig gorgonopsids out of the Permian layers there. So I'm guessing that Kansas, unluckily for me, has a different era of the Permian, where there's nothing interesting at all. Or, if there was, it was at the bottom of that pesky inland sea? More reading for me to do, obviously, as well as some advance research on the formation and the area. And eventual blogging fodder, of course.
Now if only enough people sign up to make the trip worthwhile, that will be great, and I'll get to go and dig for dinosaurs... I know what will help - perhaps if I stop messing about on my blog and get back to working on the revised Beagle website...