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Pete Patterson Fossil Park.....


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#1 littlemac

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 05:44 PM

Has anyone been to Pete Patterson Fossil Park near Ladonia on the Sulphur River?
If so is it a good place to take my 11 year old grandson hunting for fossil?

#2 CreekCrawler

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 06:21 PM

Been there too many times to count! Safe is a relative term when dealing with the Sulphur. The banks a very steep and in most places are impossible to climb out.There are steps at that park area and they themselves aren't the easiest to climb down. The Sulphur can rise very, very fast if an unexpected rain event occurs, so a check of the weather to the North, West and East of there is mandatory. There are also numerous feral hogs out there, but they usually are only seen in the early morning and just before the sun goes down.Also now that the temps are warming there are snakes to be concerned with. The Water Moccasin is pretty prevalent out there as well as Copperheads.Not to really alarm you but we have seen some panther tracks out there as well, but they are so secretive that an encounter is unlikely. I think the best way to approach this for you would be to venture out there on a Saturday afternoon when there are some other folks fossil hunting at the park. Safety in numbers, and most of them are seasoned hunters who have checked the weather and know it is safe. I have seen some very young children enjoying the search for the fossil goodies at that spot. My first and foremost concern would have to be the weather thing for you and the kiddo, otherwise I think that you and the child will enjoy the experience..
Hope this helps and I'm sure some others will chime in...Tracer where you at ????
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#3 Uncle Siphuncle

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:08 PM

If there is no rain in the forecast just go.
Grüße,

Daniel A. Wöhr aus Südtexas


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#4 tracer

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:35 PM

the location mentioned consists of an all-weather sort of pull off "pad" area, with a small covered spot, and some ginormous concrete "steps" down into the river bed. you can view it here, sort of. the main advantage to this point is strictly access. at least one of the other crossings, you have to be really good to deal with it without putting yourself at considerable risk.

i really like the north sulphur, but in my case i think it's more because it visually appeals to me, and it has potential for a really cool find. realistically speaking, your average beginning fossil hunter, just showing up there, walking a mile or three and looking around, may not feel the place was productive enough to make it worth their while. i say that from the frame of reference of somebody who has to drive six hours to get there. it gets searched a LOT, by people who are very good at searching.
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#5 faus78

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 08:19 PM

Been there a few times but not a pro like some of the other people on here. Anyone who has a good eye and is willing to get some exercise should check it out. Definitely go with at least one or two other people and watch the weather reports. Dress appropriately, I tore a pair of shoes apart when I first made the trip.

The other day, I ran across a guy who produced a nice purplish arrowhead found between the two Ladonia bridges. He said it was only the second one that he found during the three years that he's been searching.
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#6 Nandomas

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 10:39 PM

The north of Ladonia bridge is one of the safest spot on North Sulphur River. :o :o :blink:

In more than 12 years of collecting there, the only danger I found were 3 teens with the guns shooting the swallows from the bridge. It was very scary, with bullets rebounding all around. I had no cell phone at that time to call 911. Luckily after a while the teens went away :)

Just check the weather and go... many beauties are waiting for you and your grandson ;)

Edited by Nandomas, 22 March 2011 - 10:41 PM.

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#7 dinomom

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:57 AM

I've been there with my son 5 or 6 times now. Three of the times we were the only ones there. There are lots of things to find there if you look (and you don't have to look that hard). It's a beautiful place and the times I went the river was just right to splash in. I wasn't the only other mother alone with kids as on two occasions there were others. That's the good part. The bad part is if the temp is over 80 degrees, it's a sweat box down in the river. The "stairs", if you want to call them that are about 2 feet high on each step and nearly straight up and down.
I blew my knees out the first time there and recently came back with a backache.
We also tried climbing out on the side which was easier but tall weeds and old bridge rubble were obstacles. The times we were there alone it was very peaceful but I didn't stay as long as I wanted because I kept wondering when the weirdos were going to show up :-) I aways bring a sturdy forked walking sick for snakes and it really helps navagating the stairs. Bring lots of water, bandaids, hat and lots of extra plastic grocery bags to put muddy clothes, shoes etc.....
It's a great place, but those are the facts.

PS. One lady I talked to while on the river told me that North Sulphur River fossil hunting is on the endagered species list as as soon as the new lake is built the river will be flooded. I don't know how far off that will be but it is sad.....

Edited by dinomom, 20 April 2011 - 10:07 AM.

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#8 Fruitbat

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:28 PM

I've never been to the Sulphur River without finding enough 'stuff' for it to be worthwhile. I've led groups to the Sulphur that included people from about 6 years old to over 70 years old and haven't lost anybody yet! There have been days where I simply sat on one gravel bar and scooted over it bit-by-bit, picking up various shark teeth and other fossilized bits, sometimes taking an entire morning or afternoon one that one bar. As far as snakes are concerned, I can't count the number of times that I've been to that river and I have never seen a copperhead or a water moccasin (and believe me...I KNOW my snakes! I've encountered, recorded and generally released THOUSANDS of them over the years.). I've always considered the Sulphur River to be the perfect place to take inexperienced collectors because, if nothing else, they're practically guaranteed to find as many Cretaceous Exogyra ponderosa shells as they can possibly carry.

There have been MANY more feral pig tracks on the river in the past few years than ever before and pigs can be pretty nasty customers if you get one upset. I've also seen a number of coyotes but never in the river bed itself...always along the upper banks. I'm sure they come down for a drink when there aren't people around but otherwise they seem pretty shy and retiring. If there is anything I worry about when I'm at the Sulphur it is getting stuck in deep mud (especially around the bridges themselves or where smaller creeks empty into the river proper). I managed to do that one time...sinking in mud up to my waist before I could do anything about it. It was fortunate that I had two friends nearby because there was no way I was going to get out of that on my own. Getting down to the river can be a challenge for people who aren't particularly nimble but that's where places like the little Fossil Park come in handy. Those stairs aren't EASY but they can usually be negotiated by most people.

Anyway...looks like we're due for a little rain again so I might be taking a little trip in that direction this weekend. You never know what's going to wash out of those sediments!

-Joe
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#9 MFowler

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:27 PM

I am the leader for my son's (7) Cub Scout den and we're heading to Ladonia next weekend to camp and look for "fossil gold".  We know how to camp, but fossil hunting is new to me and the rest of the dads.  Ultimately, we just hope that each boy can find at least one good fossil to cherish and I was wondering if anyone has any tips for a rookie.  I grew up across the street from a creek so digging around and getting dirty I can do...knowing where to dig and what to look for is the problem.  I spoke with the the Mayor of Ladonia Jan Cooper (who may be the nicest person I've ever spoken to on the phone) and she mentioned a local woman who likes to give fossil hunting tours down the river for kids but she's out of town next weekend so it looks like it's me and the other dads.  Jan also directed me to this forum (which is fantastic by the way) since I told her I've always wanted to get in to fossil hunting since I was a kid but somehow life took over and now that I have two young children (5 & 7) I have a second chance to get involved in fossil hunting with them.  So here I am :-)  Sorry this is so long winded, but I really want to get in to this and know my kids would love to as well because they are fascinated with dinosaurs (just like almost all kids) so I know I would have some partners in my hunting trips in the future...I'll have to work on the wife.  Thanks in advance for any help/advice you all can provide.  I plan on visiting this site frequently from now on...it's great!

 

Mark


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#10 Fossildude19

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:24 AM

I am the leader for my son's (7) Cub Scout den and we're heading to Ladonia next weekend to camp and look for "fossil gold".  We know how to camp, but fossil hunting is new to me and the rest of the dads.  Ultimately, we just hope that each boy can find at least one good fossil to cherish and I was wondering if anyone has any tips for a rookie.  I grew up across the street from a creek so digging around and getting dirty I can do...knowing where to dig and what to look for is the problem.  I spoke with the the Mayor of Ladonia Jan Cooper (who may be the nicest person I've ever spoken to on the phone) and she mentioned a local woman who likes to give fossil hunting tours down the river for kids but she's out of town next weekend so it looks like it's me and the other dads.  Jan also directed me to this forum (which is fantastic by the way) since I told her I've always wanted to get in to fossil hunting since I was a kid but somehow life took over and now that I have two young children (5 & 7) I have a second chance to get involved in fossil hunting with them.  So here I am :-)  Sorry this is so long winded, but I really want to get in to this and know my kids would love to as well because they are fascinated with dinosaurs (just like almost all kids) so I know I would have some partners in my hunting trips in the future...I'll have to work on the wife.  Thanks in advance for any help/advice you all can provide.  I plan on visiting this site frequently from now on...it's great!

 

Mark

Hey Mark,

 

Welcome to the Forum! :)

Nice to see people getting their kids involved in this.

I can't help out with any info on the site, but I figured this would at least bump the thread to get some more eyes on it.

You may consider starting a new thread asking for info and advice from the locals.

Best of luck to you.

Regards,


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Tim
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#11 MFowler

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:09 AM

Thanks for the help, I appreciate it.  I'll try starting a new thread...just gotta figure out how :-)  I've never posted anything before in any forums or message boards before...read them, but never posted.  Thanks again.



#12 Fossildude19

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:23 AM

Thanks for the help, I appreciate it.  I'll try starting a new thread...just gotta figure out how :-)  I've never posted anything before in any forums or message boards before...read them, but never posted.  Thanks again.

Hey Mark,

 

I understand. :) No worries.

 

Just go to the Fossil Hunting trips part of the Forum, then click on the "Start New Topic Button" See Pic:

 

Attached File  FF.JPG   68.25KB   1 downloads

 

Title your topic appropriately, and ask your questions.

 

Hope this helps. 

Regards,


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Tim
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"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
John Muir  
          ~    ~    ~    ~      ><))))(*>


#13 MFowler

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:09 AM

Thanks for ya'lls help...yes I'm from Texas.  This site is great, I've received a ton of good tips.  Thanks to all of you!



#14 ChertKat

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:28 AM

My husband and I are headed over there this sunday...cannot wait!! First time!! Hoping my sis and her husband will be meeting us there...it's their anniversary. They have a quarry and native american sites on their land...tons of arrowheads points tools artifacts etc...this fossil trip will be different for them :)
If ya don't look down you'll never know...

#15 tattooedkoi

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 05:38 PM

Stayed in Sherman, TX for work and hit the Ladonia Fossil Park twice in the last month (about a 45 minute drive from Sherman). Found loads of small but interesting fossils. Ammonites, a few nice bits of baculites (I think), a mosasaur tooth, petrified wood, and more bivalves than I could carry. This was all within a hundred yards of the bridge. The steps down are a bit treacherous, as everyone notes, but there is a "gap" just next to the concrete steps that is much easier to navigate than the steps. Was out there by myself once and ran into a young couple on the second trip. Keep an eye out for the gang of scissor-tail flycatchers on the south bank near the bridge. Look for the the thin layer containing black rocks/fossils a few feet up from the river bed. I found most of my good stuff there. This layer comes and goes and is not exposed in every location along the south bank. The ammonites seem to be embedded in the soft gray stone exposed in the river bed and took some minor hammer work to dislodge. While I didn't find any mastodon tusks the trip was well worth the time. I'm even plan on going back down to the river on the next trip to Texas, next week - it's that good.






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