Petrified Forest National Park – Part 4 (Getting Lost)







Even before I arrived at the Petrified Forest, I was pretty excited about the idea of getting to barrel out into the desert at night, and wander until I got lost enough to want to find my way back(or had gotten through ½ of my water). My friend Nathan came out to visit me for a couple days, and was a perfect “wandering out into the desert” companion, especially when he had to physically shove me up a cliff.

The Triassic critters pictured are a phytosaur, a metoposaurus and a chindesaurus. Out of the three, only the chindesaurus is a dinosaur, a fact that I was reminded of many times during my stay.

I’m pretty happy with the assortment of “getting lost” gear I’ve acquired over time. Here’s what some of them are:

      1. My trusty Nalgene bottle is more or less an extension of me, or at least my pants, since it’s clipped to me at all times.
      2. My adorable Black Diamond Moji Lantern has been my companion for many, many miles, and has come in useful on many occasions, whether helping me get lost, lighting my hammock, or making sure I don’t trip over people after a hostel’s light’s out. Aside from being granularly adjustable, which is really helpful, it’s also really, really cute.
      3. The Leatherman Skeletool is my everyday knife, and basically goes everywhere with me(assuming I didn’t have to fly to get where I am). I haven’t really figured out if I’m adding the dogtag knife(it’s the Spyderco Dog Tag Folding Knife) to my usual gear, but it was a crew gift from a project I enjoyed working on, and it’s a really cool little knife.
      4. Simple Squares‘ granola bars are basically the only sort of granola bar I find palatable. Hell, they’re even delicious, in that squishy “holy shit, this doesn’t taste like cardboard” way.

Petrified Forest National Park – Part 2 (Phytosaurs and Toads)

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I had a very science filled day at the Petrified Forest. It was pretty excellent, getting to poke at toads and listen to a lot of stories about fossils which are Not Dinosaurs.

I thought I’d be painting more rocks and beautiful landscapes here, which I’m sure I will(it’s been rainy; I haven’t gotten out much), but the thing I’ve been loving most about this place is meeting all these remarkable people that make the park run, who are so unabashedly enthusiastic about their jobs.

You can learn more about the Petrified Forest’s fossils on the NPS website, as well as about the various animals here.

Bearizona, Arizona





Leslie and I went to Bearizona back in March, when we were roadtripping to Albuquerque. We got there the day after a huge Flagstaff snowstorm, so I got to be in way more snow than I could have anticipated. I LOVED IT (both the snow and Bearizona).

Because it was the day after the storm, and the park was largely abandoned, there were no shows scheduled, so we weren’t able to catch any of those, but having the entire place largely to ourselves was an excellent substitute.

I gotta to admit, most of my favourite animals there were not bears.

My actual pictures from Bearizona are in this blog post on Tumblr.

More about Bearizona on Roadtrippers, and on their own website.

The Wagner Free Institute, Philadelphia

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As much as I loved the Mütter Museum, my favourite part of my time in downtown Philadelphia was actually the Wagner Free Institute of Science. It’s a Victorian science museum that’s been largely untouched since 1891, except for the occasional necessary restoration(like the one ongoing for the entomology collection, after a dermestid beetle infestation in the 1990s).

It’s basically cabinets upon cabinets of meticulous, systematically organized, specimens and lots of old taxidermy, some of which is maybe not particularly great(part of the charm, really).

An interesting note, Joseph Leidy was also the person who exhumed/discovered the Soap Lady’s body at the Mütter Museum. He’s a pretty big deal, and is considered the father of american vertebrate paleontology…but I still don’t feel bad calling him a hottie, because he sort of was.

It’s honestly difficult to capture how beautiful the place is, so here is a picture(theirs – the no photography rule is very strict).



More on the Wagner Free Institute on their website and on Atlas Obscura.

The Mutter Museum, Philadelphia


I was lucky to have been able to visit the Mütter Museum(in Philadelphia) with my awesome comic friends, alisonwilgus, careydraws and mollyostertag .

It was without a doubt, one of the most compelling museums I’ve ever been in, and I’m still thinking about it. Like the comic says, the gift shop was kind of jarring to me, but the rest of the museum was fascinating, respectful and solemn.

For more information on the Mütter Museum, visit their website.