An intern's first week in hell creek

We are finally settling into the tiny town of Marmarth, North Dakota, population 84 my home for the next couple months.  We are working out of the Marmarth Research station and I’m meeting the other scientists, staff, volunteers. So far everyone is cool. It’s a really diverse group of people. I’ve had conversations with people about topics ranging from paleontology to clean energy to archaeology, food and television.  The people here rock (and they fossil pretty hard too), but the best part of my time out here so far has been working. Going out to the field site is more like a rollercoaster than a car ride, with washed-out 2 track “roads”, etc. The site itself is so far from anywhere that I’m not too sure exactly what state we are in most of the time. Montana I think, or North Dakota? Does it even matter when you are just looking at 25,000 acres of pasture and badlands and this far out of the reach of technology and civilization? 

But back to the “work” -and it is just that- WORK. This early in the season a lot of what we are doing is removing the over-burden of rock at our site which means they had me working my butt off using a shovel and pick-ax to clear rock away. People often view paleontology as delicate work with dental picks and toothbrushes, but it is often jackhammers and sledgehammers under a hot sun. A fellow laborer told a story of how he and another worker were once mistaken for convicts by passersby who asked, “What are you in for?” 

I got booked for Science-ing. haha. and I’m serving 8 weeks.

Beinga part of the Howard Hughes/Denver Museum blog has been an interesting experience for me, too. I’ve never built a website or edited a video in my life- but I’m learning fast. Doesn’t help that the entire project is built on Mac computers, and I’m a PC guy.  It’s been a bit like learning to swim by jumping into the deep end. Thankfully it becomes easier the more and more I do it, and my wonderful boss (I hope he reads this) has helped me so much with everything. At first I was hesitant about spending a great deal of my time behind a computer, but now I’m really excited to create this b/vlog. Sharing this crazy experience (and the incredible science we are producing) has been really fun so far. I’m looking forward to receiving questions from our audience, so fire away if there is anything you are curious about. And if you just want to laugh at an intern slowly falling down on a hill on  his first day at a new job,  Check out my #fieldworkfail from the first day in the quarry!