General Information and Instructions

Field Station General Information and Instructions

  1. The course begins on Tuesday June 9. If flying, your arrival point is the Jackson Hole, WY airport. Miami University vans will make pick-ups at the Jackson airport (wait adjacent to the baggage claim) starting at approximately 12:00 PM on Tuesday June 9. The final pick-up will be made by 3:00 PM, Tuesday June 9. If you arrive in Jackson on Monday June 8, we will have a room for you at the Hostel at Teton Village for that night.  However, if you are arriving in Jackson after 5 PM, you will have to arrange your own taxi to Teton Village (~$60).
    Participants planning to drive personal vehicles should arrive at Timberline Ranch between Noon and 3:00 PM, Monday June 8. Ranch arrivals will join instructors and participants arriving in University vehicles from Ohio and will head to Teton Village for Friday night lodging. No personal vehicles will be used during the traveling portion of the course.
  2. Students will use their own camping gear during the first and last weeks of the course and will cook their own breakfasts and dinners during that time.  Lightweight camping equipment is strongly suggested, as luggage space is limited.  Sharing is encouraged where possible.  At the field station in Dubois (Timberline Ranch), you will be quartered in cabins.  Tents are not used at the field station.  Breakfast and dinner are served in the dining hall at the ranch and lunches are carried and eaten in the field.
  3. Beds and bunks with mattresses are provided at the ranch. Temperatures at night often drop below 32°F.  Since you will have a sleeping bag for the two camping weeks, plan to use this as bedding at the ranch.
  4. Clothing and Personal items:  Field clothes are worn on most occasions.  Temperatures may be high during the day and quite low in the evening.  A difference of 40°F in a period of 24 hours is not unusual.  Be prepared for high wind, bright sun, rain/snow, night temperatures between 20° - 45°F, and day temperatures between 50° - 95°F (see page 2).
    Note on packing:  Pack lightweight gear in duffel bags or soft, collapsible suitcases. Large, rigid suitcases, footlockers, and trunks are prohibited. You are limited to a maximum of two luggage items (soft-sided only) plus a carry-on (day pack) for the traveling portion of the course.
  5. An up-to-date tetanus vaccination is recommended.
  6. You must carry domestic health care insurance.
  7. Your address while at the field station will be:   
           Geology Field Station
           c/o Timberline Ranch
           4127 US Highway 26
           Dubois, WY  82513
    Any gear, supplies, etc. that you will not need during the two traveling weeks may be forwarded to the above address. Be sure to have all necessary gear and supplies with you when we rendezvous in the Jackson Hole area at 3:00 PM, Tuesday June 9.
  8. The Geology Field Station (Timberline Ranch) is located northeast of Jackson, Wyoming, southeast of Yellowstone National Park, and northwest of Riverton and Lander. A more exact description of the location is 15 miles northwest of Dubois, Wyoming, on U.S. Route 26/287. The phone number at the Ranch is: (307) 455-2513. Leave this number and the above address with your family.
  9. Air transportation is available to Jackson, WY.  Make reservations as soon as possible if you plan to fly.  Plan to arrive BEFORE 3:00 PM on Tuesday June 9 or on Monday June 8 if necessary, and depart on Sunday July 13 (no earlier than ~8:00 AM departure from Jackson). No lodging will be provided for early arrivals (prior to June 8) or late departures.
  10. If you are flying, your arrival city is required to be Jackson, WY. However, you have the option of departing on Sunday, July 12 from Great Falls, MT. If your departure from Great Falls is earlier than noon on Sunday, July 12, you will be required to get a room in Great Falls on Saturday evening (we will get you there), and arrange your own transport to the airport for the next day.
  11. There is no public transportation available from Jackson to Dubois.


  • Safety glasses (required, if not wearing glasses) and sunglasses.
  • Field hat with brim and field (work) gloves.
  • Rain Gear – Summer in the mountains is a relative concept so a good outer layer is necessary.
  • Both light and heavy socks (two pairs per day).
  • Above-the-ankle field or hiking boots are required equipment.  Hiking shoes provide insufficient foot support for the terrain we will be working in and are unacceptable (See Page 3).   If you buy a new pair of boots, they should be "broken in" before the class begins.
  • Hiking/running shoes (for when we are not mapping in the field), shower sandals.
  • Warm clothes including warm gloves and a warm hat or fleece/hooded sweatshirt (Think layers!).
  • Long-sleeved shirts, t-shirts, long pants with pockets (i.e. cargo pants or military fatigues are recommended). Leggings and shorts are not recommended as your legs will be prone to scratches, scrapes and insect bites.
  • There is no need for dressy clothing. In the West, dress is casual, even in the better saloons. 
  • You will have the opportunity to do laundry at least once per week.

Personal Items

  • Driver’s license and Health Insurance cards.
  • Mobile phone, pocket money, ATM/credit card.
  • Small first-aid kit, chapstick, sunscreen, insect repellent, foot powder or baby powder, for example.
  • Personal toiletries and medicines for headache, allergy, heartburn, athlete's foot, etc., as may be needed.
  • Towel and wash cloth.
  • Flashlight and pocket knife.
  • Good warm sleeping bag and pillow – a bag rated to 20°F is an excellent choice.  Rectangular bags are more comfortable than mummy bags and warmer as they compress less against your body and thus provide better insulation.
  • Soft backpack for day-hikes (~2000 cu in.; No frame packs).
  • Binoculars (not mandatory, but useful).
  • Personal water containers for the field (plan to carry at least 2-3 liters at all times).

Bring your gear in duffel bags or soft, collapsible suitcases.  Large rigid suitcases and trunks are prohibited.  Please pack lightweight equipment, if possible. Students do not need computers during the traveling portion of the course; internet access points are limited and no special arrangements are made for such access. There is wireless internet access at the ranch.

Required Class Supplies

  • Rock hammer (not a sledge), a hammer holster, and a dedicated belt to hold it. A hand lens (10x is recommended) is also required.
  • Assorted pencils, colored pencils, pens, a white rubber eraser, protractor, and a calculator.
  • Field notebooks, notebook holders, Brunton compasses, auto and hand-held GPS receivers, portable two-way radios, a large first-aid kit, bear spray, and food storage containers are standard field equipment supplied by the course. Computers and printers/scanners are available at the ranch but not during the traveling portion of the course. Internet access is available in Dubois and at the ranch.

Camping Equipment and Supplies

The gear listed below is necessary for the traveling portion of the course.

  • A good 3- or 4-season tent (borrow and/or share if possible) with a waterproof ground cloth. Large (4+ person), vertical-sided tents are PROHIBITED as they are highly SUSCEPTIBLE to wind damage.
  • A good warm sleeping bag and pillow, and a mattress pad to put under your sleeping bag.
  • A small, simple cooking pot; hot/cold drinking cup; and knife, fork, and spoon set. Large pots for boiling water and large serving utensils are provided. Two-burner camp stoves and propane for student use will be provided.
  • Ziploc plastic bags for storage of toiletries, food, or other aromatic items (we will be in bear country).
  • Money to buy the food you like to eat during the traveling portion of the course (about $15/day). Think cheap, simple, fast, and group cooking.  There are frequent opportunities to purchase food during the traveling weeks.
  • Put all your camping gear in a soft duffel or soft pack.  Please do not bring a frame pack. We will not backpack, but a good daypack capable of carrying raingear, lunch, and at least 2 liters of water is essential.

Boot Options

Best boot
Best: 8" high ankle support, all leather construction, yellow tag Vibram sole. This is what I wear. I usually get 3-4 years out of a pair such as these before the soles to (but you can get them re-soled!)

Better boot
Better:  8" high ankle support will give you lots of support and keep most stuff out of the boot. However, while non leather materials make the boot lighter, they are also highly susceptible to abrasion.  Non-yellow tag Vibram soles will also get word down in short order.  You will likely get only 1-2 years of wear if you continue to do field geology (that is why the military only does 1 year tours!)

OK boot
OK:  6" high ankle support will give you some support and keep a lot of stuff out of the boot. Consider this a minimally acceptable style.

Marginally OK boot
Marginally OK:  But the lack of higher
ankle support will make you feel unstable on steep slopes.  You will also spend a lot of time pulling out debris that will get into your boots.

Inadequate boot
Inadequate:  You need ankle support to do the things we are going to do.  These will not cut it!



Tent Options

Best tent

 Best:  Low profile, small footprint,
with good rain fly coverage

 Adequate tent
Adequate, but due to the open fly,
if we get a thunderstorm, you will
be wet and your tent might shred
in the wind. 

No tent
NO!  Near vertical walls turn into sails in
the wind. Its large footprint also hogs limited
pad space at National Park campsites

Please no tent
Please NO!  The infamous "Wyoming
Thunderstorm Tragedy of 2011" occurred
in large part due to this type of tent.