Lemitchel King, our summer intern, and I drove up last night from Phoenix. Lemitchel is from Oklahoma and it is his first time both in Utah and on a dinosaur excavation. We met paleontologist Dave Gillette and Museum of Northern Arizona summer intern Nikki Hemmesch at the rendzevous point and hiked the mile back into the site. Last time I had been on that trail it was snowing and we were trying not to get caught by the bad weather. But today it was in the 90s. Funny how a month can make a difference.
Upon arriving at the excavation, the first thing I noticed was that so much work had been done in the last few weeks. What was once hard sandstone and fossils now looked more like a bomb crater with a couple of large white chunks of rock in it. Those white chunks I later found out were the actual fossils that had been carved out of the ground and then plastered for protection. After getting some initial video and film we proceeded to watch Dave and Nikki "shave" off some of the rock that was remaining on the largest piece. It was about 450 lbs., which was much too heavy for the trailer, let alone the human help we would have available to move it tomorrow. So with hammer and chisel, Nikki started slowly and carefully cutting away excess rock.