Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Field trip photos, just as bad as the old slide shows, except I won't know if you get up and leave

As promised, or threatened, depending how you look at it, here are the photos from yesterday's field trip to Jasper Forest. Here's an article about the road on the park's website.

Near the entrance to the trail we took, which used to be a loop road people could drive on into the forest. Its use was discontinued in the 1960s, but not until someone took a picture of Albert Einstein and his wife standing outside their car alongside the road. What is so exceptional about Jasper Forest is the amount of petrified wood lying around. It's easy to see the big log sections, but nearly everywhere you step there are stone-sized pieces in a literal rainbow of colors.
Paleontologist Bill told us tons of information that my brain couldn't absorb, but basically it is now known what time period each of these bands of color belong to. This was a major feat, requiring a team to walk the park for two years. This is knowledge they didn't have five years ago.

Bill used his rock hammer to chop steps in this butte so he could pose next to the stump of rock on the right side of the top. It fell over I don't know how many years ago, one of the facts not retained. It's much steeper and higher than it looks as I've cropped off several meters at the bottom.

Here he is, king of the hill, mimicking the pose.

Common fleabane, but extraordinary in its ability to grow in this environment.

All the chunks you see lying around are petrified wood. This is sparse for this part of the park.

Typical formation showing irregular erosion patterns. The horizontal rough band about half way up is sandstone and indicates there was water there, at that level, at one point.

A beautiful day, a beautiful sky, and chunks of petrified wood. This trail, like many others, is available for visitors to walk. I'd like to see them marked at the trailhead but I'm not in charge. I have the advantage of going to Bill and asking him where I should walk next.

A portion of a pronghorn deer antler we found resting next to a petrified wood section. Pronghorn deer are the fastest animal on this continent.

OK, that's it for now. You can go home now if you haven't already.