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2004 Field Camp Group Photo

The Shirt Story, 2004
David H Eggler

Dave EgglerWhen Don Fisher began the Wildhorse project in Idaho in 1998, my involvement in field camp widened.  I began a pattern of flying to Salt Lake City and spending a few days doing genealogy at "mecca," the Family History Library on Temple Square.  Then I would fly or drive to Idaho Falls and join the group on their leg between the Tetons and Craters.  I would continue on the Wildhorse, Alta overthrust, and Alta stock projects.  In 1998 I also ran the Marysvale project, but that was discontinued in 2000.

     In 2003 that pattern changed, and I began flying from State College to Billings and meeting the group at YBRA.  We'd tour Yellowstone and the Hebgen Lake area, then the Tetons.  I enjoyed the sights immensely, because I spent several whole summers in Yellowstone as a boy when my father was a naturalist and later on during college summers when I was a ranger.

     We would then spend a couple of nights at Colter Bay campground in the Tetons.  The students had the day off and would do whatever they wanted to do -- sleeping, hiking, bungee jumping, rafting.  The faculty would catch up on grading.  In 2003 I helped grade Elk Basin reports.  That was a little strange, because at that point I had never been to Elk Basin.  But I knew its general geology, and students should describe older units before younger units and use subjects and verbs in sentences, no matter what the report concerns.  Then, as a reward for that hard work, and as a thank-you to the TAs, the faculty and TAs dined at the Jackson Lake Lodge that evening.

     In 2004 I was at field camp for every exercise except the Book Cliffs, and I was the only faculty member around for Elk Basin.  Grading was done, once again, at the picnic table on the shore of Jackson Lake.  At last grading was finished, and we cleaned up for dinner.  Eric, Don, Burt, Doug, and I entered the Jackson Lake Lodge.  Everyone wore a short-sleeved shirt, shorts, and sandals, perfectly acceptable summer attire.  Don's shorts might have been a bit more wrinkled than others, and his shirt, while clean, was a bit wrinkled and maybe missing a couple of buttons.  As we passed the dining room and headed for the bar, he went in, as usual, to make a reservation in the dining room.  We had found a table on the outdoor veranda, with its magnificent view of the Tetons looming to the west, and ordered drinks.  He returned, looking somewhat crest-fallen.  The dining room was expecting several busloads of touring parties and was completely booked.  Gosh....  We discussed alternatives.  We could drive to Jackson.  We could try a restaurant at Teton Village.  We could order another round.  That we did.

     Eventually about 45 minutes to an hour had passed.  We thought that perhaps there was a slim hope that the buses had not arrived.  I said that I would try again at the dining room.  Now, I was wearing pretty good-looking shorts and a white polo shirt, with all its buttons, and the National Academy logo.  I wish I could say that I'm a member of the National Academy.  I am not, but that's another story.  I approached the maitre d' and did not mention Don's previous inquiry.  I simply asked if they could accommodate a party of five.  He said, "of course, sir.  Would a ten minute wait be all right?"  Was it the shirt, or did the buses go elsewhere?  We of course didn't care, but it's a good story, isn't it?