It was nice to sleep in a proper bed last night. After running a few errands in Lovell, we headed back up the hill to get back to work.
Representatives of the Bureau of Land Management visited us at the cave this morning. It was a combination of serious discussion and friendly conversation. It was an enjoyable visit.
After they left, it was too late for anyone else to enter the cave (it was around 1:30pm), so we settled in to wait for the current crew in the cave to come on out. We did a little cleaning and started dinner for twelve hungry folks.
There is something to be said for camp food. It is never bad! It’s always simple and delicious (but I may be biased).
When the whole crew was back on top, and the grate over the cave once again closed, we all gathered and discussed this or that. Topics ranged from the mundane to technical. One moment we’re talking about our favorite 80’s band, and the next we’re proposing and discussing new hypotheses about the deposition of the fossil contents of the cave.
That’s my favorite part of all of this. Tonight, we’re a relatively small group of ten people. But this group includes cavers, teachers, Ph.D.-toting academics, and local folks. Each of us brings a different perspective to the table. None of us see the cave or the research project the same way. When we combine these differing perspectives, new ideas erupt.
A few of these new ideas came to light today. We discussed their merits, and how we might prove or refute each of them. Then we developed a plan of attack to test these new hypotheses that we will implement in bits and pieces over the rest of the field season.
This is the exciting part of science. And we were doing it on a mountain top while getting bitten by mosquitoes. I can’t think of many better ways to spend an evening.
And to top it off, it was another fabulous sunset tonight. Naturally.