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redleaf101

Cap Enragé (Cape Enrage) Fossil Expidition - Part 3

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redleaf101

Continued from Part 2...

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First set of tracks located on the far right of the slab

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Second set of tracks

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Close up featuring some tracks from the second set

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Multiple sets located near the middle of the trackway slab

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Transition zone showing activity

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Toolmarks

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Toolmarks

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Toolmarks from left edge of trackway slab

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Side view with top pointing West

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Rain drops(?)

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Closeup of smaller set of tracks

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Backdrop shows cliff that the trackways originated from,

possibly from the upper layers (exposed sandstone stratum, or "layer")

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Working away on the trackway

Working on this trackway proved easier than the other set. This was just a question of collecting the pieces and worry about putting it back together later. We identified the tracks that we wanted to recover and managed to chisel carefully sections without any major damage (intentional or unintentional). We made sure to recover any small bits that flaked off by storing them in sample bags so that they could be reassembled with the bigger pieces.

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After the final piece was removed, we wrapped all the pieces carefully so they wouldn't damage each other and put them in two backpacks for transportation. These bags were heavy, REAL heavy, but we managed to carry them to a short distance from the vehicule. We didn't want to put them in the car before we decided what to do with the other trackway further East where the plaster mold was still drying.

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After depositing our backpacks at a dry location, we walked back to the first site to see if the cast had dried. We took our putty knives and carefully, inch by inch, lifted the cast off the rock. It had mostly dried up, but still felt damp due possibly by the water from the rock.

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Final result of cast

The cast ended up being good for what we had to work with. The details weren't excellent, but the definitions were there. We had at least something that could be easily carried out in case we would try to retrieve the original trackway, which we ended up doing.

We both decided that it would be worth the trouble trying to retrieve that trackway, no matter how difficult. We started to get pressed for time, so we got right to it by chiseling away as much matrix as we could. At one point we noticed that the trackway had cracks in it, accentuated by the plaster that had filled the gaps. The thing ended up in the end cracking and splitting in three pieces. At first we were ticked at what had happened, but thinking on the distance we had to walk to bring the fragments, it was a blessing in the end.

Split in smaller fragments, these weighed like hell. We had a dolly to help us carry it, but the terrain was extremely harsh as we had to make our way through a beach lained with boulders. We had to ease the biggest fragment carefully on the dolly and strap in on tightly, but that proved difficult to say the least. What was worse is the fact we had to roll it, or drag, across the beach.

At the pace we were going, we would have never made it by sundown. We decided to cut through the seaweed at the high tide line and try our luck on the sand by the water line. After a period of time that seemed like an infinity, we managed to make it to the sand. What looked like sand at most places was actually silt and mud, making the dolly feel like dead weight. We started to feel desperate and the thought of abandonning the fragment on the beach came to mind. I had the idea to drag the dolly where the water ran between the mud and the rocky seaweed. The water usually carries off the sediment and leaves coarser and grainier sand. The gamble paid off as the wheels didn't sink as much.

We made our way close to the beach entrance and the car was parked close by. It took almost every ounce of energy we had to drag that piece of rock over a large sandy hump. That done, we took a breather for a minute or two. Tired as we were, we still had two more fragments AND two backpacks full of sandstone to carry out.

We were running out of time and out of daylight. We had less than an hour of sunlight and we still had lots to carry to the car. We went back to retrieve the two fragments we had left behind, which were a lot smaller and could be lifter by a single person. By the time were arrived at the car, the Sun was disappearing behind the tree line. Matt dashed out to the site to grab the equipment we had left behind. I took the opportunity to carry some equipment and a backpack filled with sandstone to the car. With all the equipment and samples at the car, the Sun had set and it was dark.

We loaded the car with the backpacks and two of the three fragments. The car was already under a lot of weight with what we had already loaded and we didn't want to push it. We made the decision to leave the fragment at the beach entrance, agreeing to come back to retrieve it soon. I told Matt that I was only working in the afternoon, so we could come back the next morning to retrieve it. We agreed and hopped in the car, exhausted but glad it was done. We had been there from a little after 8AM, and left the area around 8:30PM.

The next morning I picked up Matt and we head down South towards Cape Enrage. I was sore like there was no tomorrow. We arrived at the beach and loaded the trackway fragment in the back of my car. Matt asked me if we had time to stop by the Cape Enrage Interpretive Centre.

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We met up with some wonderful people working there. We had great discussions and we showed them some of the work we did in the area. It was great to see the interest they had in the subject and promoting it. The site is beautiful and the work they did was amazing. They still have the cliffs you can repel down, the restaurant and the lighthouse. What's missing is an interpretive center for the local geology and biology, which would be a great asset to the tourism. We left vowing to come again soon, hopefully to work with them on some project, which would be great.

I dropped Matt at his house along with the remaining fragment of trackway. He asked me if I found all this hard work worth it. It was all worth it. I've been able to contribute to something like this, it was worth every minute of it. I would do it all again! Now I'm hoping that these trackways can be displayed so that everybody else can enjoy them.

Till the next trek. Cheers!

- Keenan

Edited by redleaf101

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redleaf101

Just to add, that was last fall (September 2011). We spent almost 2 months this past Spring (April-May 2012) back at the site strat logging and making additional discoveries. Those other trackways were recovered and brought back to the museum. I'll be creating a detailed blog post and repost it here after.

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Wrangellian

I don't know how you went back the morning after! You must be more physically fit than me... (not saying much) I know what it's like, after a day (though maybe not a full 12hr day) of chain-gang-type work up my local mtn. Every time I lift a large block I fear an imminent heart attack, but I have no other means of getting them out of there! So far so good..

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AgrilusHunter

You are killing me with these posts Keenan! :envy: Thank you again for an amazing story and some great ichnofossils! I'm looking forward to the detailed blog posts to follow.

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redleaf101

Haha thanks guys. Its fun when you end up making discoveries. You could hit your foot on a slab of rock, bend down to check if you have a broken toe, and gawk at a set of prints. Thats how it felt at that beach. I can't wait to go back soon. In the meantime I'll put something up real soon.

Oh and I'm soooooooo out of shape. I think its just my sturborness that kicks in not wanting to do a halfarse job. =P

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Wrangellian

No halfarse jobs, I know what you mean. Better to be proud of the results of your toil.

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