Monday, February 25, 2013

My Path to Geology


Me at Anza Borrego, California
I have been scanning old family photographs and during this exercise it became very evident that my father was very much into geology. Nearly all of our family vacations involved a trip to some geologic wonderland. Within the mix of photographs there would be pictures of rocks or unique landforms. A get away trip he took with my mother to Sun River in central Oregon consisted of trips to lava fields, cinder cones and Newberry Crater (Oregon's other Crater Lake). True romance.
I remember when the picture above was taken; I really really wanted to hike down into the landscape below and explore the whole thing. "Just for little bit? Please." This urge happened throughout our family trips. I always wanted to take whatever trail we parked by and if there was not trail I was sure a route could be found to see more stuff. My parents as well as my siblings learned to keep a sharp eye on me.
A slot canyon off of Mulley Twist
I started out in college as an engineering major. The first summer right before heading back to classes after summer work my buddy Tim and I drove to Salt Lake where we joined Mike for a September trip to the Deep Creek Range in northeast Nevada. However, flash floods and closed roads caused a change of plans and we ended up in southern Utah.
I have always linked that Utah trip to why I became a geologist, but I was already well on my way from all those previous trips. It wasn't until that trip to Utah that it became a conscience idea. Tim, Mike and I all had been engineering students. I had already switched majors to atmospheric science. By mid winter all three of us were geology majors. All three of us graduated with geology degrees, but by various quirks of restlessness, circumstance, finances and romance we graduated from different universities. 
The old wagon, 5 to 6 kids, mom, dad and one future geologist


Scott Schuldt said...

great stuff. reminds me of our family trip to the badlands. I almost went into Geo-Engineering, but thinking that it would lead to nothing but oil and mining, switched to Mech Eng. I could never remember the names of rocks anyway.

Geoff said...

I have tried four times to comment on this but just don't have the computer gods with me. My experience in Utah's west desert is similar, and I have hiked all over the Deeps, south of Wendover, not in NE NV? I'd love to talk to you about it someday, and I have old photos too.

Dan McShane said...

Geoffry: I suppose the Deeps are really more east-central than norheast. I have only been to the Deep Creek Range once and it was years later and a very short trip to an old mine site with no time to do anything else.
Fell free to call any time.
And yes commenting on blogger sometimes is vert difficult.

Geoff said...

I will do that. You have a great blog, and I find it fascinating. Keep it up. I learn something every time I read it.

ketz said...

This reminds me of one of my trips near a volcano that erupted10 years ago. I wonder if the soil here is great for gardening.