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Group photo of 1970 Penn State Geosciences field camp
Most of the group on the back porch of Fanshawe Lodge, waiting for a lecture by Russ Dutcher (on right). Left, leaning on wall: Ron Hicks, Bill Bruck, Jim Shultz(?); standing, plaid coat: Dan Smith; seated, l to r: Jeff Peffer, Jim Shaulis, Mansell Jones, Bob Rahsman, ?; seated on porch rail: John Gunnett; standing at end of porch, l to r: Rick Miller, Doug Hill(?).  Credit: Dan Stephens, identifications by Jeff Peffer

Comments on the 1970 Penn State Geosciences Field Camp

Jeff Peffer on the 1970 schedule: "I believe the schedule for the 1970 field camp was altered slightly to allow more time for the final independent mapping of the Beartooth Front.  The Local Photo Exercise on July 6th was field mapping of the basal Cambrian units (Flathead Fm, Woosey Fm & Meagher Fm.) in the Little Bear Creek area, up on the Beartooth Block in Park County, WY.  This mapping was on a photo base map.  The time allotted to the Stillwater Complex was for looking at this LMI and mapping structural features at the chromite mine.  Barry Voight was along on the Yellowstone/Tetons trip.  The Bighorn Basin Trip was mapping of Elk Basin.  The Independent Mapping was the main project: mapping the Beartooth Front."

Jeff on Roger Cuffey and the cross-country trip: "I can't imagine a more capable and better-natured professor than Roger Cuffey, ideally suited to take an odd mixture (varying from motley to clean-cut) of geology students across the country in 1970.  On the way to field camp we acquired a good appreciation not only for the Geology of North America, but also for the American heartland.  There are two Roger Cuffey stories about small towns in the Midwest that frequently come to mind when I think about that summer's cross-country field trip.

     On one occasion, he took the crew of students to a small restaurant for breakfast in a small Midwestern town (I believe it was somewhere in Kansas).  We overwhelmed the restaurant staff with the size of our crew.  While we could hear the high school band practicing on Main Street, our bunch volunteered to serve as waiters/waitresses.  We served ourselves and others in the small-town restaurant. I can still remember members of our crew walking around the restaurant with coffee pots in their hands, filling up coffee cups.  It was a fun and memorable meal.

     Later in the trip, we rolled into another Midwestern town after a long, hot day.  I don't think we were headed for a camping site with showers, so Dr. Cuffey had us pull up to the town's swimming pool.  He got out and talked to the pool's staff, and we were invited to take a swim at no charge.  Next, the odd crew of PSU Geology students are swimming and having another fun time with the folks from another small Midwestern town.  Like the breakfast a few days before, it was a memorable time."

Jeff on a lucky find on the cross-country trip: "During the cross-country trip to Field Camp in 1970, one of our vehicles had a flat tire in Southwest Utah.  While setting up to fix the flat, I picked up some rocks along the side of the road to block the front tires so we could fix the flat.  Fortunately, one of these was a large clouded agate.  After field camp, I cut this clouded agate into a large triangular prism and polished it.  For decades this clouded agate has been on my desk as one of my favorite paper weights."

And Jeff tells the story of the snake in the john: "My field partner and I were mapping about two (2) miles to the east of the YBRA Camp when a rattlesnake literally crossed our path.  There was another crew nearby, one member of which had wanted a rattlesnake skin as a trophy, so we called them over.  Now it's the four (4) PSU Geology students versus the rattlesnake. The poor thing got pinned down with a stick and literally lost his head, as one of the group was packing a knife.   Rather than carry the dead snake around for the rest of the day, we interrupted mapping and carried it back to Camp.  We went into the bathrooms just upslope of Fanshawe Lodge, so that the bearer of the dead snake could clean it up.  Dr. Dutcher was sitting in one of the stalls while the dead snake was getting cleaned up.  He was sitting in the stall for quite some time.  I guess dealing with a bunch of undergraduate Geology students at field camp can be a constipating experience.  A discussion ensued about tossing the snake around his feet while he was in the stall.  I left the bathroom, as I couldn't witness the deed.  I'm not certain that the prank happened, but I'm fairly sure that it did.  I believe that the poor dead snake got flung around Dr. Dutcher's feet while he was in the stall, and he reportedly never flinched when it happened." [In 2008 Russ Dutcher recalled several snake stories over the years, but not this one.  He suggests that the story may be apocryphal.  After reading Russ' comment, Jeff agrees that the incident probably didn't happen.  He adds that the snake skin should be mounted on a wall in Texas and that Dave Keck was the bearer of the dead snake.]