On The Road to Colorado and New Mexico

For spring break this year I traveled on a Geology trip to Colorado and New Mexico (in case the title didn’t tip you off) in order to look at outcrops and rocks and stuff. While that aspect may be what you crave before going to bed to help you fall into a deep slumber, I will spare you the grainy details (haha, geology jokes) and focus on just the travel aspect of the trip.

Thing one I learned: When you are forced to be with the same people for 8 days, you learn their personality real quick.

And you learn even more quickly if you dislike it.

Geologists aren’t all the most mature and cultured people you have ever met. I very much liked hanging out with the graduate students and my professor, however. I guess those were my high school tendencies. Big groups of people who seem immature are usually a breeding ground of inter-group torture, I have learned the hard way.

Thing two I learned: Being cramped in a van for more than two hours isn’t that bad.

And classic rock is the most accepted genre of music to listen to on said trips. But having access to your own headphones isn’t a bad thing either. It really sucks when one of those headphones goes out, however.

Thing three: I can make it too long without showering. Thank you to Johnson&Johnson for the baby powder.

Thing four: When you are not bogged down with technology or obligations, you sleep like a baby…

even in 30 degree (Fahrenheit) weather in a tent on gravel in just a sleeping bag. My mom was surveying my emails watching out for any immediate response required emails and besides that I didn’t really need to talk to anyone.

Which was good, because I lost my phone on day 3 in a lava field.


This lava field to be specific. This is McCarty’s Pahoehoe lava flow in New Mexico. This is the newest flow from a volcano in the area and is 40,000 years old.

Thing five: I still really, really love dinosaurs.

Surprisingly, not all geologists know anything about paleontology, which is actually a branch of geology. So, since I’ve taken a couple classes on it specifically, I am fairly knowledgeable and my presentation about the dinosaur trackway in Clayton Lake State Park went very smoothly with no judgements cast upon me about what I was saying…because I knew more than some of them.


One section of the trackway at Clayton Lake State Park in northeast New Mexico. The weather was partly cloudy and great for oberservations on Friday, March 29, 2013.

Thing six: Travel plans are not set in stone. When snow set us back by way of a closed highway from Kansas into Colorado, we scrapped that part of the plan and went south, straight into New Mexico and re-worked our presentation schedule. I don’t think many people had a huge problem with it and it didn’t actually affect anything important. We were still able to camp everywhere we planned and enter the parks we expected to even though we didn’t arrive on the days we originally scheduled.

It was an awesome trip, I took a crazy amount of pictures and learned so much. Here are some of the highlights:


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