Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Training High

Check out the low clouds nestled in the Dillon valley in the distance over my left shoulder.
Bierstadt was too short so we added Square Top. Then once on top of Square Top, we looked around and decided to make a grand-loop and went back the long way. 17.2 mile day

Silver Dollar trail and lake (right)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Paleolithic Stone

My brother, Joe, and I decided to do some metal-detecting in an area full of .30 cal, .50 cal, and other misc. blown up bits of WWII nostalgia. It ended up being really boring. We kept finding .50 cal bullets, only one dented brass casing, and a .30 cal bullet. We spent hours doing this.
Then on the way back to the car, I was looking down and noticed a rock that wasn't anything like the color of the surrounding dirt and rocks. Nearly everything was medium tan, light tan, or alkali light gray. So this stone stood out, being golden brown. I picked it up and examined it. I couldn't fathom a rock ending up quite like it without the aid of human hands.
I punched a waypoint on my GPS and called my brother over to look at it. He agreed, no way it got like that by accident.
I figured it was a normal Native American arrowhead, maybe a couple hundred years old.
Upon doing some research, I'd say it looks more like an Clovis or Paleo Indian point. It's in bad condition, so the tip and base are gone. It might have been as much as 9 inches long, or it might only have been a few inches.
A logical way it got broken is when it got lanced into a bison or mammoth, so in spite of it being in bad shape, it seems kind of even "cooler" than it might have been in one piece.
Maybe it isn't very old, but there's a chance it's nearly 10,000 years old.

I'm not sure what to do. I don't know where to go or who to ask. I'm not sure how hard it is to get something carbon-dated. It would be great if I could. I Googled some anthropologists and paleontologists, but they all seem to be dead or retired.

These are not live rounds, folks. Just cleaned-up and bullets shoved into the casings. You can see the rifling scars on the bullets if you look close enough.

The area we were looking in was used as a target practice range by airplanes and soldiers. The historical maps we found claimed the area was never inhabited, except to place targets. It was for airplanes to swoop down and shoot or bomb stationary targets. Yet we found plenty of evidence that ground troops had large camps and practiced maneuvers there. The .30 cal bullets were probably shot out of the old bolt-action Springfileds. M1 Garands were more likely sent tot he front lines. The .50 case and the link (found separately) were probably fired from a stationary Browning M2 mounted on a tripod.
There's also an interesting landing strip on the southern edge of the range that appears to be too short to be a landing strip. I measured it and discovered it's the exact same scale of an aircraft carrier. I don't know if they were bombing this with inert practice bombs or practicing short take-offs. Maybe both?
The range dates back to the 1930's, pre-WWII.