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Found 1 result

  1. I am long overdue for a trip report considering I must have been to maybe a couple dozen places and hunted them since my last report. I’ll just give you a report on a new place I’ve been hunting three times. Repeat hunting at the same place is rare for me unless it’s the NSR. A couple weeks ago my daughter and I headed out to a spot in Collin County Texas that I had spotted on satalite images months ago that I had been wanting to check out. I had no idea what I’d find. I hadn’t looked up what formation would be there. I just knew it wasn’t the Austin Chalk of eastern Collin Co. Where I find next to nothing but clams. I found out the area was part of the Eagle Ford group. The formation was the Britton Formation. The trouble with finding sites by satellite images is that you can’t tell if it’s private property, fenced off or has “No Trespassing” signs posted. When I got to the spot I’d marked on the map there was a fence and no access. I looked for another spot nearby and it also was fenced off. While driving looking for a third access point a turkey crossed the road in front of us at turtle or I guess it was turkey speed. It was surprising, because there were apartments across the road and it was a fairly busy area. I did find an access point maybe a mile away. Yay! I’d been planning on the trip all week and kept checking the weather for the rain forecast, because rain was in the forecast. My weather app said it would be in the low 70s all week. I thought that was nearly perfect hunting weather and was looking forward to the adventure of a new place and possibilities. Saturday came and it was no where near low 70s! I realized I’d had my weather app set to where my family lives in NW Arkansas for some reason. It was 90 degrees, not the low 70s that I had joyfully anticipated. There was a little dirt road/trail at the access point where I parked my car. The road ran all the way to the designated hunting spot. I am not adventurous with my car though. I baby my car and treat her well almost any way I can, except I do load her with rocks and dirt, but she gets pretty regular baths and vacuumings. I’m glad I didn’t venture down the road in my car. The road ran along the edge of a ravine that dropped off quickly to one side. There was a steep embankment rising up on the other side. Along the road there were the remains of 2 mudslides that had occurred taking out the road in both places. There was no place to turn around either so if I’d gone I would have had to back out about 0.2 miles. I did check out the exposed material from the mud slides. The mud slide ended in a creek. The creekbed had a lot of layers exposed. The only thing I found was a variety of oyster that is new to me, but looked like it was from the Pleistocene or at least more recent than Cretaceous. I saw them along the road as well, but not in the part of the creekbed where I hunted. The road ended at a creek. Unlike many of the creeks I’ve been to in North Central Texas the access down into the creek was pretty easy at this particular point. The banks elsewhere along the creek were often steep hand high though. Traversing the creek was a different matter where the water was and where the soil was wet. It was the type of mud you sink can sink in. We got past the mud without sinking in it on the way into the place we were going to hunt. We headed up the creek. It opened up into a wide area where the actual stream trickled along the south side of the creek, leaving a wide open area that was largely free of vegetation. Where the ground was dry it was a soft flaky, and even powdery light gray clay in places. It was almost like bentonite. There were thin, flat and usually smooth, brick red concretions here and there in the creekbed that were coming from a sheet like layer 2-4 feet above the bed. The layer was in the bed in other places. There were multiple layers of red/orange concretions. Most of the concretion material was thin (1/2 inch) and flat and smooth. There were concretions that were irregular shaped, bumpy or bulbous. At first I took no notice of the concretions. There are ones that appear similar in the NSR, but nothing much comes out of them, but occasionally you’ll get something really good. So I thought these concretions were of similar nature. We walked along. There were numerous fragments of small baculites that averaged the diameter of a pencil and were 1/2 to 2 inches long. We came upon a concretion, which had split in two. It looked different so I picked it up to inspect it. To my surprise is was covered with little baculites! Squeal!! That’s my expression for excitement and delight. Later at home I realized it had at least 4 genus of cephalopods in it! I began to eye every concretion because I now understood that all the fossils were either in concretions or eroded out of them. I began to find more fossils now that I knew how to look for them. There were patches of whitish gray tidbits of stuff that appeared to have washed out of a different type and color of concretion of some sort, but I never saw where they were originating from. They were clusters of white fossils here and there. They were in a white clay like material. They kind of looked like coral or something. They were small, but look interesting. I haven’t taken the time to clean any of them to what is in them. We were only there about 30 minutes and my daughter, Gigi (short for Gisselle) started hinting at going home. She’s not the biggest lover of fossil hunting. Also, it was 90 degrees outside and she can’t take the heat very well. A few years ago she fainted on the playground at school from heat/sun stroke and she hasn’t taken heat very well since. We hunted 10 minutes more. While out hunting I came across this. It is a little over 2 feet across. You can see it on the right of the pic above of the red concretion layer and see how it stands out from everything else. It was very weathered though. Initially I thought it could be the remnants of an ammonite or something. I had no idea. I picked up one of the concretions, but didn’t see anything. It was pretty flat too and I doubted much could be inside so I left it. Over the next couple days I kept thinking about how I wanted to be certain about it. It went from large to small. So it wasn’t just random. So I planned to return before the end of the week, because we were expecting rain. There was quite a lot of evidence that raccoons frequented the creek. Piles of fish bones lay here and there. I found some pre-coprolite (scat) material left by raccoons. I thought the fish bones looked kind of cool. We see a lot of fish vertebra around these parts, but they’re usually only the central disk. It’s a good example of what some coprolites looked like before fossilization. There were fish bones and crawfish (crustacean) parts in the scat. I could tell my daughter was getting worn out by the heat. There wasn’t much shade in the area. I found a mesquite tree on the bank. We sat in the meager shade it offered, very thankful for the little it did give. We drank some Gatorade and rested a few minutes. Mesquites are not the best shade trees because they have very slender leaves and the foliage isn’t dense. Here’s a pic of mesquite leaves. I left her and my bag sitting in the shade for a bit and hunted nearby. I found more of the same. I found some fat little concretions that made me curious. So I picked them up to take home. In all I found the oysters that aren’t Cretaceous, and numerous clam fragments of at least 2 kinds, both Inoceramus genus I believe. Some fragments still had bits of the original shell present. They were a deep reddish brown. I also found a cool impression of an ammonite that looked a bit like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus clam shell or a soap dish. Sorry Botticelli for the soap dish analogy. There’s a clam I had found just above it. I found the fragmented remains of another ammonite. I found 4-5 of the baculite hash plates A couple were quite small though. One plate I picked up because of the large clam fossil on the top side. When I turned it over the other side was covered with baculites! I also found many baculite fragments all over the place. It is a rare thing for baculites to be the most frequent fossil found, but that was the case there. The place was winning me over one baculite piece at a time. Gigi got up and came over carrying my bag, ready to go. I told her I’d finish hunting this one patch of concretions and then we’d go. I split my last Gatorade with her for the trip out and rearranged our bags. I hadn’t come well prepared. My small collection bags were still full of fossils from my last trip so were were using plastic grocery bags that weren’t holding up well. I was certain there were more types of fossils to be found. I knew this was going to be a repeat local. Very few locals do I ever return to. Even if I came away with a good haul. A place has to hold the promise of further discovery of more treasure yet undiscovered for me to return again. The treasure is usually better quality or diversity of genus or species. Sometimes it is the trill of the adventure I have or how much of a challenge the place was for me. The NSR is my #1 favorite for the adventure and the treasure diversity as well as challenge. I don’t think it could ever get old for me unless it were to be developed or something. I do take family, friends or other people who are visiting to hunt at places I thought were good, but didn’t hold the allure for a 2nd personal trip. On my return trip out of the creek one of my feet sunk down in the mud about 8 inches. When I tried to pull my foot out my boot stayed. Needless to say I got quite muddy. My daughter got out unscathed by the mud. I’ve a wonderful daughter that is the greatest delight to be around. We were walking back to the car, I had mud all over me, I’m soaking wet with perspiration, it’s running down my face, my hair was pulled back to get it out of my face while collecting and it was matted down with sweat. My face was red from the heat. We stop in the shade of a large tree along the road for a short rest. She turns and looks at me and says “Mom, you’re so beautiful!” I’m thinking I look a pathetic mess, but she just sees beauty. I love that about her. She is such a blessing and delight to me. She has been that way since she could talk. She sees beauty in everyone. It’s like she has people specific rose colored glasses. She sees past the physical form of a person and to the beauty within, but within her eyes it translates to physical beauty somehow too, no matter how uncomely someone may be outwardly, she still sees beauty. It’s beautiful to see people and the world through her eyes. We finished walking back to the car and headed to Braum’s. It’s an ice cream, burger and fries kind of place with real ice cream, not just the soft serve. I always get mint chocolate chip ice cream and she gets chocolate. I have to sweeten the fossil hunting trip with something to make it worth it. So we always get ice cream after every fossil hunting trip. We went through the drive through of course since I was covered in mud and looking . . . “Beautiful” as Gigi said. I went back to the location 2 more times the same week. I’ll post stuff from the other trip.
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