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Comments on the 1969 Penn State Geosciences Field Camp

Relaxing on the back porch of Fanshawe Lodge, YBRA

Relaxing on the back porch of Fanshawe Lodge, YBRA.  Fred Batschelet standing in the right foreground.  Photo courtesy Joe Head.

Dick Beardsley calls field camp "the most delightful time in my geologic life; it will make me proud to be part of the fossil record along with the rest of the group."

David Herman explains that "I was a geophysics major until just before the camp.  I switched to geological sciences in part so I could attend the camp.  I drove one of the vans, and I do recall making a few turns without waiting for the van behind.  On a couple of occasions Professor Dutcher missed the turn because I did not wait for him.  He was not very happy with me, rightfully so, and I was pretty embarrassed.  We had a great trip and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  We watched the first lunar landing... on a black and white TV in Red Lodge.  While I did not pursue a career in Geology or the sciences, the education I received at Penn State and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences was outstanding.  Professors Dutcher and Gold were terrific."

Linton Wildrick writes that the trip "was my first time west of the Rockies. Soon after I moved to Seattle for grad school and have been in Washington State ever since. I have been back to Red Lodge once, having driven through with my wife and kids about 1990.  Goodness, how memory fails.  I recognize many faces but not many names.  We were at YBRA with kids from Rice U. and Princeton, so some of them may be in the Thom Lodge photo.   I barely recognized myself and Dave in the Yellowstone photo -- I still have that type haircut, though not quite so puffy as the old Afro style and now mostly gray.  The guy wearing the white hat, two places to my left, I think is Joe Head, who was a long distance runner back before 'Marathoner' became a common term.  I remember jogging with him once from Red Lodge; I had to hitchhike up the dirt road to YBRA from the main highway, while he kept right on going."

Death Valley Trail MarathonJoe HeadJoe Head is still running long-distance.  The photo to right shows him in 2008 when he returned to Death Valley [he was a field assistant there in 1967] to celebrate turning 60 by running the Death Valley Trails Marathon. The picture was taken at the top of Red Pass [5280'] twelve miles into the race, just before he had the thrill of running downhill for 14 miles, dropping over a mile in elevation in the process.  He is now a Physician's Assistant for an Internal Medicine practice in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains about 35 miles east of Asheville, NC.  "From sandstones and siltstones to gallstones and kidney stones!  I've always enjoyed the two photos of Dr. Dutcher [on the 1969 page].  Along the final drive up to Red Lodge just before the start of the summer season, we encountered some snow 'at higher elevations.'  I don't recall whose idea it was, but the whole caravan stopped, and we had a snowball fight right on the spot.  Unfortunately one of the snowballs shattered the windshield of the vehicle I was riding in.  After it happened everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was discovered that Dr. Dutcher had thrown the guilty snowball.  We had him make another snowball, then pose beside the damaged vehicle.  Also in that shot, beside Dr. Cuffey, are students Bob Lanning, George Burgess and John McCormick.
     At the time Dr. Dutcher was my academic advisor, he had a framed sketch hanging on the wall  behind his desk.  We had a grad student in the Department that was a gifted artist.  He often would make pen and ink sketches with geological themes.  The sketch in Dr. Dutcher's office showed a very intimidating geology professor standing beside a fledgling student pointing out over a vast mountainous panorama and simply saying, 'Map it!'  I was thinking of that sketch when I snapped this photo of our group the first day we saw Elk Basin.
     There usually was no TV in the Lodge at YBRA. Because Duff Gold was assigned to receive some of the moon rocks, there was big interest in the first lunar landing. The 'powers that be' went into Red Lodge and rented a TV, then set it up in the Lodge. Our regular course work was suspended for a couple of days and we just hung out around the TV set. I still remember going outside that first night after the Apollo 11 lunar module had landed, gazing up at the moon, and marveling that men were actually there even as I looked at it. I deliberately got my camera out and took a picture of the moon before going to sleep that night."

     Joe also sent along two memorable photos of banners undraped at Larry Lattman's final GSc 20 (Physical Geology) lecture.