Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Halloween : Colorado Country Life

I am taking a break from my earth science blog to have some Halloween fun, Colorado style. This is a very special time of year in Colorado.  The aspen leaves change and the days become cooler.

On the way to visit a pumpkin patch with my wife we had to stop by a dinosaur footprint site on Skyline Drive near Canon Cañon City. It was fun to look at the many trace fossils, including worm burrows and dinosaur footprints in the sandstone.  The dinosaur footprints were from the worm's eye view, or looking at the bottom of the prints after they were uplifted by tectonic forces.

Ankylosaur tracks.

Theropod track over an Ankylosaur track.  The meat-eating dinosaur is hunting for its next mead

A worm burrow can be seen in this ancient sandstone

Next it was time to take my wife and her friends to Diana’s Pumpkin patch in Cañon City. Everyone went into the corn maze but me—I decided to relax in a rocking chair with an ice cold Coke. I got a plastic glass and had the vendor pack it with ice. It was perfect.

Yes, even for a geologist, Diana's Pumpkin Patch is more fun than a barrel of pumpkins.

The pumpkins were seemingly endless at the pumpkin patch.
Amanda did not get lost in the corn maze.

There were even white pumpkins in the patch.

The best part of a Colorado Country Halloween party is to carve your pumpkin, then carefully set on a stump, and from a safe distance, take aim with a shotgun and shoot the pumpkin off of the stump. If you are a good shot nothing is left of the pumpkin other than fine debris. Black ants come out and drag the tiny fragments down into their nests.  I have a live action video below so that you can see this true Colorado Country custom, first invented by gold miners.  Click on the little triangle pointing to the right to see this amazing event.

Soon snow will come and limit rock, mineral, and dinosaur fossil hunting.  In Colorado we use the winters to: ice fish; research; and plan our next spring and summer adventures.
S. W. Veatch