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dalmayshun posted a topic in Fossil Hunting TripsThis summer has been great for me. After learning so much about fossils on the forum I decided to convince my wife to make a few side trips on our way from Ft Myers to Shawano, Wisconsin for our 50th anniversary celebration...she has no interest in fossils, but indulges me, so you can see why our marriage would last 50 years. At anyrate, our first stop was the little Conasauga formation near Dalton, Ga...north of Atlanta. I've been there before, and so decided to simply fill a box with pieces of mudstone to take back for door prizes over the year at my local fossil club meetings. That was fun because I know almost every little chunk will produce some nice trilobite fossil. From there I had convinced my wife to stop at the Jersey Road cut by the Harsha bridge over the Ohio River. That road cut is even larger than the well known one I hunt near St Leon, Indiana. I had stopped there because I had read there were edrioasteroids there, it having been part of the sea floor....oops...The road cut , like many, cuts through lots of differernt layers...and is terraced. From the images I had found on line, I decided to hunt the very top section. The formation I was looking for was the Bellevue Formation, but I have no idea where it was. The site was overwhelming...no, that is a wrong word, awe inspiring is better. I didn't have alot of time, so I looked and carried out a backpack of 70 # or so....of layered sections so I could crack them at home. (And that pattern of operation would serve me the rest of the trip as well. ) I will post a few of my interesting pieces for this site on this note, nothing great, but interesting to me. From there, we drove to New Salem Illinois to avoid the Chicago corrider. On our way from New Salem north, I realized we were close to the site of the famous Mazon Creek nodules. Once again, my lovely wife, agreed to stop, but on our way home. We had rented a house on a lake near where we both grew up, and had our children's families come stay with us for a week of fishing, and visiting. Great time. My children live in Michigan and Maine, and my grandchildren rarely get to see their cousins unless we arrange things like this. So it was gratiying to have them all so thoroughly enjoy each other. We had a great time. After the cottage, we decided to head through the middle of the state for a 4 day visit to my sister near Madison. ( me checking out possible future fossil sites and my son-in-law who is an avid bird watcher, hoping to see the endangered Whooping Crane. I had hoped to be able to fossil hunt near Madison and had asked on the forum for help...being told to look along highway J. There wasn't time. Though we did underetake a trip to Cave of the Mounds near Dodgeville, and lucky me, on the way back to Madison, I noticed a quarry by the side of the road. We stopped and I was able to look for a half hour, picked up three stones from a discard pile for inspection and cracking later, and headed on. Leaving Madison the next day, I was excited to be able to visit the Mazon Creek site...I had been told , nodules are hard to find in summer with all the overgrowth, but wanted to make this bucket list stop anyway. Again, as on the Ohio, the site can be overwhelming. Having asked for a good place at the reception desk, and following the advice I had received from the Forum associates, I headed out. Once again, I wish I had someone along who knew what to look for...I mean, when you are picking up rocks to open later, you don't want to pick up and carry a bunch of things that are rocks, and not nodules. To hedge my bet a bit, I decided to crack a few rocks I thought promishing, they looked somewhat like they had layers. If I found something, I'd be ahead of the game in knowing what type of rock to pick up....Success....I cracked a rock along a seam and there inside is "something"....LOL, I know, I know. Can't tell what it is , but it is something, so I picked up a bag of similarly looking rocks and headed back to car to add yet another collection to my growing car rockpile for searching later. By the way, many of you suggested the best time to hunt is in early spring or fall, and that sometimes the workers plow areas to upturn nodules at the Mazon site. Where I hunted was a washout from rain. And the receptionist said the rangers sometimes burn the vegetation along the edges of the ravines at these wash outs so they don't get so overgrown as to prohibit collecting....I came across one such ravine, and could have stayed all day. Well, I am back home safely, now planning my annual trip to the Apalachicola and Chipola rivers to search for Miocene shells. I am back on my home turf and somewhat know what I am doing here. I believe that is one great advantage for the forum as well....that is, to be able to meet someone in another part of the country who is familiar with an area to hunt, and then hunt together. We often see such trips happen, and I am so proud to be a part of a group that accomplishes such service to one another. Now that i am familiar with the areas, I too , may well arrange a trip with a buddy, when I have more time to explore. The few images attached are from the Jersey cut. I thought the crinoid stem, with little bumps around the outside was interested...and the crinoid stem center with stalk material around it was really interesting to me. While it doesn't show in the photo, under my loop, the material around the core is made up of a pattern like that of a sunflower seed head...intricate, and wonderful to contemplate. The other hashplate has those little triangular cross-sectioned needle like pieces...and I don't know what they are. I am hoping someone lets me know. Thanks. (oh, and one Whooper)