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Recollections of the 1971 Penn State Geosciences Field Camp

Bill Pierce of the USGS talks at Silvergate, Heart Mountain
Bill Pierce of the USGS talks at Silvergate, Heart Mountain

Memorable quote
   Walt Ebaugh: "It was surely the best.  I learned almost everything I know about geology that summer."

The van mirror incident. Barry Voight: "It was on this trip that a remarkable and frightening incident occurred.  We were driving, as I recall, south on the highway along the Madison River. I can't remember where we were coming from, as I don't think we went to Dillon that year.  Anyway we were in a couple of Dept Chevy carryalls.  Steve Johnson was driving the van I was in. Another Chevy van was coming the opposite way, and both vans were not far off the centerline. The side mirrors stuck out rather far on those vans. Anyway, the mirrors from the two vans struck at a relative speed of 120 mph.  The mirrors shattered and a spray of glass ran down the side of the car.  I suppose the back windows were closed, and my memory is vague, but I think Steve caught some of this on the side of his head and arm. He may have been wearing sunglasses, protecting his eyes. It shook all of us at the time as I recall, as people could have been blinded, and the driver might have lost total control of the van.
     We patched up his arm and kept moving.  We stopped at the Hebgen Earthquake area shortly afterwards. Steve is in the photos with a bandaged arm (under the collapsed outhouse, for instance)."

Barry also remembers that "Albert Ogden was interested in caving, so one weekend we drove to the Bighorns to go down a famous cave there, rappelling into a glory hole; nice cave, loaded with gypsum crystals."

Duff remembers the "flying, wing-flapping Suburbans" and the "year of the cowboy shootouts" (with Bruntons)

Ray Wells also remembers the mirror incident: "Yes, 1971 was a memorable summer.
     Steve Johnson was driving, elbow out the window; I think I was riding shotgun or back righthand side. It was a hot afternoon, all the windows were open, and most everyone was asleep. All of a sudden, POW! Glass everywhere.  Tom Nicholson was in the back seat and was covered with glass fragments, and Steve's forearm was cut in a couple of places. Only Steve got cut, as I recall. Our side mirror hit the side mirror of an oncoming camper, I think.  The mirrors had to be at the same height, so I don't think it was a big truck. Steve would know.
     Lots of good stories from that summer. I still have some good pictures of the caving expedition to Bighorn Caverns, where I recall we hooked our rappel rope to the axle of the Suburban above the pit entrance."

Tom Nicholson: "I was at YBRA in the summer of 1971 and am in two of your photographs.  In the first photo I am walking with Steve Johnson (he is on the right with the wild yellow hair) and I am on the left in a red t-shirt.  Steve was very funny and kept us laughing all summer....  I can identify virtually everyone in the group photo but probably could not recognize any of them today.  Thanks so much for posting the photographs.  I really miss those wonderful days."