Skip Logos, Search and Top Navigation
Skip to Top Navigation

2001 Field Camp

Dave Eggler Remembers the 2001 Field Camp

Dave EgglerI joined this group in Idaho Falls after they had finished the Book Cliffs and YBRA-based projects and after the Yellowstone-Tetons trip.  This was the first year for Rudy's Book Cliffs exercise.  I was caught up on gossip to that point, like the friendly(?) rivalry between PSUers and YBRAers at YBRA.  Witness the snow sculptures blocking the YBRA vans (picture).  Clint forged alliances of his own, however.  We had lunch at the nice microbrewery across the street from the falls, which were falls to Lewis and Clark but today are entirely engineered, and camped two nights at Craters of the Moon. 

My first distinct memory is from the Wildhorse (White Mtns) structure/sedimentology project.  We had a morning's orientation, as usual, along the cliff face above the river and had lunch on the Mississippian turbidites with graded bedding.  We then turned the students loose into Banana Gulch.  Banana Gulch is geologically confusing until one appreciates the bigger picture, and we expected them to be confused.  They were.  The faculty and TAs climbed around Banana Gulch and up the ridge south of it to the lahar outcrop.  As we sat in the only shade in that entire part of the field area, students looked upward and indicated their displeasure.  Fish yelled out "Heeeelllpppp......."  After that year we provided more guidance before students ventured into Banana Gulch.

     Nate partnered with Clint (Clinto) on this project.  They had walkie-talkie devices.  Because Nate couldn't climb slopes, and Clint liked to, Clint would climb every ridge and report on geology to Nate.  They should have both been recording in notebooks, but I think Nate did most of that.  Even more strange, Nate had the field map.  He was usually in a ravine, sometimes buried in trees, and could not see Clint or the topography, and so the map could not possibly make any sense.  The faculty eventually convinced them that Clint should carry the map, and he did, most of the time.

     Every morning in camp at Wildhorse, the faculty would emerge from their tents and stand around, not fully functioning, until Sara put coffee in their hands.  Meanwhile, Erica would go from her tent to the comfort station, impossibly cheerful, and say "Good morning!!!"  We'd usually grunt a few words in reply.

     After 2000, the Alta Peruvian essentially shut down summer operations.  So we needed a new home in the SLC area.  I didn't like staying in the heat and urban-ness of Salt Lake.  I was familiar with Park City from skiing there.  It is not as high as Alta and so doesn't cool off as much at night, and can be really hot during the day.  And it's a one-hour van ride from Park City to the Alta field areas.  But Park City is a very a laid-back place and is also home to the Wasatch-Uinta Field School ("Big Ten") and Wisconsin-Oshkosh Field School.  So I used their rental agency to find condominiums.  I decided to stay in the Historic District and rented three units, two in one building above the town and several in the Mine Camp complex up the street.  The faculty unit was OK, and the women's unit, in the same building, was more than OK.  Mine Camp, where the men stayed in several units is, as it turned out, the oldest condo unit in Park City.  It was serviceable but not in the same league as the women's.  This caused considerable grumbling.  To make things worse, the roofs were reshingled during the men's stay.  Mine Camp did have a community hot tub.  Scott woke me up at two a.m. one morning to report an incident at the hot tub.  It involved a very intoxicated student and neighbors and ropes and.... Well, no more details.  The guys were great in bringing the night to a quiet close, and the next day (actually, the same day, by then) everyone had a reasonably productive time mapping.

     Several of the pictures show the end of the Alta pluton reconnaissance mapping half-day project.  Sometimes this project ended in Brighton, as in 2001, and sometimes we hiked all the way around and back over Twin Lakes Pass into Alta.  It depended on whether or not everyone could fit into vans that TAs would drive around up Big Cottonwood into Brighton.  This year, Sara and Scott drove around and hiked back up to meet us.  Actually, they hid behind bushes and leaped out as we approached.  No matter where the hike ended, "surprise" refreshments would be waiting in a cooler at the end.  This year we came upon a moose lying beside the trail as we descended into Brighton.  And then we drove over the pass between Brighton and Park City and came into Park City the back way, while traveling some spectacular scenery that the students, for the most part, probably slept through.

     The trip back was punctuated by something other than the usual farewell to the Rockies and then 1500 miles of first cattle ranches and then cornfields.  Somewhere in Ohio we stopped along I-80.  The boys lugged Tracy's baggage over the guard rail, down a grassy slope, and over to her family farmhouse.  And the caravan moved on.