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Taken from my blogpost http://redleafz.blogspot.ca/2013/08/cape-breton-sydney-mines-donkin-july.html I had planned to head back to Cape Breton in the Summer of 2013. I set aside a few days during my first week of vacation in July to head back over there. I decided to go during the week, leaving on a Tuesday to avoid the weekend touristic rush. My plans were to spend some time looking at rock, but to also do the touristy thing and visit some of the local interests, such as the French Fortress of Louisbourg. From Moncton to Sydney is a bit over 5 hours of driving by car. After a few stops along the way, I arrived at the hotel at about mid afternoon. I booked my room that I had reserved in advance, dropped my stuff, and jetted out to the beach for a little afternoon stroll to check out some rocks before turning in for the night. Point Aconi, Cape Breton I headed out to a spot I had already gone last year to check for rocks. Point Aconi is well known for its Carboniferous fossils, having coal seams cross that area, leading to economy based on that product, with several mines tapping throughout an extensive period of time. Going down the beach was tricky as you had to walk over thick layers of smelly, rotting seaweed. Once on the sand, the rest of the walk was practically easy. When I reached the point, the beach was littered with shale fragments all over the place. There weren't many fragments larger than the size of my hand. Fossil bearing shale The shale that comes out of these cliffs are rich in fossils. There's barely any piece of rock that you would grab that didn't have something on it. The tides surely did some good work, grinding these rocks to tiny bits. Still, there was some pretty ones, albeit not numerous. Annularia After spending some time picking at rocks, I headed back to town for supper and to relax a bit. The city of Sydney is nice, especially with all the beaches and rocks surrounding it. I called it the day and turned in early. The next morning I took a drive to Sydney Mines, north of Sydney, to check out the Cape Breton Fossil Museum where I met Stuart and Jim, the gentlemen responsible for this beautiful interpretation center. We had a good chat on everything related to rocks and Cape Breton, and happily went about checking their fossils on display. The quality of their collection is quite good and a must for anybody visiting Cape Breton. After my stroll in the center, I said my goodbyes and proceeded south towards Louisbourg. ** If you want to see the Louisbourg visit, go check my post where I post a few pics of my walk down history here: http://redleafz.blogspot.ca/2013/08/cape-breton-sydney-mines-donkin-july.html When I was done with my stroll in the park, I decided to do some more rock hunting before heading back for a long drive home. From Louisbourg I drove up north towards Donkin to check out the rocks. It was hard not to walk over rock that didn't have any fossils on it. The cliff erodes at a pretty good rate, and thick slabs of rock dropped on the beach have nice plants on it. The fossils in this area are very nice and numerous. I ended up staying a bit later then I expected and managed to twist my ankle by stepping in a stupid gopher hole. Limping back to the car, I left a little bit after 7pm and got back home at around 1am. Quite a drive, but it is one of the things I enjoy the most when I'm out there. It was a good trip and another item to scratch off my list of the year. I'd say it ended up being a good kickstart to my Summer. Cheers! - Keenan
redleaf101 posted a topic in Nova ScotiaContinued from Part 1 After taking a moment to try to sum up some courage to go down the cable (stupid fear of heights), we made it down to the beach and proceeded to walk North and around Cranberry Point. Cranberry Point The strata of these cliffs, as of many of the coast in this area, have a small angle, making identification of specific layers traceable for long distances. Coal seams were numerous and shale layers very thick at some spots. Getting closer to the North-East section of the point, we could start seeing Carboniferous flora such as calamites and trees in situ, in their growth positions. Calamites in growth position, in situ The trees we found in situ were of different conditions, and some of them subject to a future paper. Amongst these big trees were all sorts of foliage of different state. For some reason I didn't take any photos of the ferns we found. Bleh! I'll be posting about another fossil site that has comparable articulated ferns, in Clifton, New Brunswick. What's important to notice is that some of the trees we've inspected showed traces of sooth, a sign of forest fires that would have created victims. Matt inspecting the base of a tree (tree root left of Matt) Impression on coal residue Annularia and/or Asterophylites (extention segments of calamites) Matt standing on top of a tree segment. Where did it come from? Possibly from this one! How big and tall you think this tree is? Tree segments on the beach, possibly from the same specimen When we were at the Fossil Center earlier in the day, we had a conversation with the staff. One thing we noticed was the lack of vertebrate fossils, or even trackways. I've read that back in the 1950s that vertebrate fossils had be found, even in trees, and several trackways. Guess the surprise I had when I came upon these! Tetrapod trackways! After a couple of hours, we wrapped up and picked up our gear. Our next stop on our list is Point Aconi, located a bit North West of Sydney Mines. Some of the best plant fossils came from this area. Folks at the Fossil Center in Sydney Mines occasionally bring people to this place. The coal seams are thick, but care should be taken when approaching the cliffs as shale and mud stone weathers away and leave these big chunks of coal ready to come crashing down. Point Aconi We went down the beach and before turning the corner to reach the point, we came across some fossil trees, matching some of the specimens found at Cranberry Point. We took some data for future reference and carried on. There was at one point some very nice plant fossils, but they've pretty much all been smashes to bits. We did find some nice fragments and nice articulated ferns, but not what I was expecting. I for some reason forgot to take pics of them, which was the purpose of me bringing my snarge camera! Coal breaking away from the cliffs Looking towards the Atlantic Ocean After a while we decided to call it quits for the day and head back to Sydney. We met up with one of Matt's friend and had supper in town. We were invited to crash and tent at another of his friend's grandparents house in the area. We arrived at the house and set our tents and had a nice quick chat with Kendra and her folks. On to Part 3!
redleaf101 posted a topic in Nova ScotiaContinued from Part 2 - Day 3 Sunday was our last day in Cape Breton. We had decided that we'd do a little bit of free-styling around the Donkin Peninsula, and bring our friend Kendra along. Her family was heading back home, and proposed to drop her off at her parent's house on our way back. We spent the whole late morning and early afternoon exploring Cape Breton's Eastern shore. We made our way to Glace Bay for lunch within that drive, but I have a hard time to remember if we stopped in Donkin before or after. Heading towards the cliffs along the Donkin Peninsula This freestylin' drive paid off as we came upon a very nice spot with beautiful plant material, still in large pieces. The loose material yielded beautiful specimens. For some reason I didn't take any photo, go figure! This stop alone made the whole weekend worthwhile. So many various ferns, plants, fronds, annularia, and other that just slips my mind. Kendra heading to the sweet spot We headed back towards civilization and snooped around the shorelines of various towns in the area. We made a few more stops before making the decision to call it a successful trip and head back home. Coastal fortifications during the threat of WWII It was still fairly early in the afternoon and we opted to take the long way home by going around Bras d'Or Lake. We drove along beautiful vistas and when we reached Iona, we took the ferry across to get to the other side. On our drive back we stopped to drop Kendra at her folks' place in the Antigonish area (can't remember precisely where she lives) and headed back home. Cape Breton was always a place I wanted to visit and I don't know why I waited this long to do so. Maybe it just took me this long so that when I finally went, it made me appreciate the places we went, the people we met, and the gorgeous scenery this beautiful part of the province had to offer. I'm already planning another trip to this Celtic getaway for next year and I'll remind myself to take some pics of the actual plants next time. Till next time, cheers! - Keenan