Day 14: Niobrara and Ashfall Fossil Dig

Wow, it's already been two weeks. At the same time it feels like time is flying by fast and yet it feels like I left home so long ago. I've seen so much in so little time, but still have so much more to see.

This night I camped out at Niobrara State Park in Nebraska and is where I was reminded to always check the weather report before camping. When I setup the tent, it was a beautiful night, about 65 degrees and no wind at all. Even with no wind, I decided to stake down the corners of the tent, because you never know what the night might bring. That night brought wind, rain, and lightening.

I was woken up around 1am to the tent shaking and shimmying like crazy. There were some extremely strong winds blowing, so I immediately got up and put the rest of the stakes in, including all of the ropes to help it keep it's shape. While the tent was holding up fine, the winds were so turbulent in slapping the tent around that I wasn't getting any sleep. Around 2 am I finally decided to move to the car for the night. Definitely the right choice as I was able to sleep soundly there.

That morning, I decided to do some exploring of the state park I was in. It was located on the borders of the Missouri and Niobrara rivers, so it made for a great morning walk.

Afterwards I headed down to the Ashfall Fossil Dig Site. I arrived a little before noon and apparently on Sundays they don't open until 1pm. I decided to get out my maps and start planning some more of my trip. After I while I made lunch and ate it on the grassy knoll on the side of the entrance, while at the same time I watched car after car pull up, see it wasn't open yet, then drive away. I just sat there and enjoyed the beautiful day, I'm not in a hurry.

When I finally got into the park, it was well worth the wait. It is a current fossil dig site where they have found hundreds of skeletons so far. The most active location for the fossils was covered with a giant barn, so they could take their time in uncovering the fossils. It looked like they have finished excavating around 2/3's of the location so far. Someone was in the process of working on the site and he explained that the complete deer skeleton next to him was just uncovered in the past few months. It was very cool and I highly recommend this place to anyone interested in fossils.