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Labor Day in southeastern Minnesota dawned clear with temps climbing into the 80s and an uncomfortable humidity level, but the wind was blowing off the prairie and it was a good day to hunt fossils. This year at 60 I have begun to feel my age and found that I do not hunt as often or as long as I had previously, and I'm taking more pictures of fossils than carrying rock. :)

My first stop was a favorite quarry that appears to be shutting down as they are planting grasses and only seem to be using it for storage of gravels and sand - no new blasting. I started out on the upper portion that overlooks the main quarry.

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The winds were light and welcome carrying the scents of willow and wild asters. The wild pigeons and, always odd to me here in Minnesota, the sand pipers alerted airborne and terrestrial creatures alike that an intruder had arrived in their domain.

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Within a hundred feet I spied this trio of fossils:

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I ambled a bit further and ran across this nice Maclurites gastropod - an Ordovician index fossil.

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Then this Mac and cephalopod.

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Then I peered down this huge fissure in the rock.

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I was just taking pictures of fossils in the rock and hadn't really found anything yet to take home - that I was willing to carry at least. :P

Then I came across this beautiful little Maclurites crassus. You can tell it is a crassus because of the open back. Only about 1 in 50 Maclurites, around here at least, are Maclurites crassus.

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The front looks identical to nearly all other Macs. This is how they look prepped out:

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I was thrilled! But my fossil dog,Gia, wasn't and just laid down in the shade of a willow.

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I was zigzagging along and ran across a small piece of chocolate Drusy Quartz! Pic later... :) That is the first time I have ever found my favorite rock, Drusy Quartz, in this quarry! I was picking up select fossils and ran across these in the bedrock:

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Another Mac crassus with worm burrow trace fossils so common in the Stewartville member of the Galena Formation here - holey rocks they call them around here. Very nice for planting hens and chicks. :D

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These two are Maclurites trace fossils. Like dinosaur tracks only gastropod trace.

I descended down into the lower part of the quarry and ran across these raccoon tracks.

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A fairly large coon. I could imagine it waddling along at night searching for bird eggs or whatever it could find.

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old dead things

I remember that quarry well Bev. Maybe we'll be able to collect it together again this fall.

Jim

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This deer track, fairly large wasn't far from the coon tracks. Suddenly a grouse whirred up from the underbrush! Startled me, but Gia barely gave it a glance - Collie's are not bird dogs.

Then we rounded the corner to the pond I had seen from the top of the quarry. I had not seen it this low in several years.

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It had dried back so far that sheets of algae were hanging like sheets from the surrounding walls. Gia, of course, had to go wading.

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And the wildlife tracks! THIS was a regular watering hole for all kind of creatures!

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I sat down on a rock to rest and just enjoy the quiet and solitude. Only one pickup truck had passed on the road since I had parked outside the quarry. The sun had gone behind a few clouds to provide a bit of relief and it was a blissful end of summer day. The quiet and being in nature is what I love about fossil hunting. Coming home and learning new things about my finds is always enlightening, but it is the quiet, the rustle of the wind in the trees, the call of the birds, the flowers, the clean crispness breathed in, nature, that draws me to the hunt.

Sitting by the side of the pond was like gazing into another world.

Continued...

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Very nice finds to add to your collection, and a nice trip to share with us.

I like your Collie, I had one just like him when I was a kid, many moons ago. His name was King, great dogs but they do shed a bit.

60's not so bad, I was 60 4 years ago and still fossil hunting, even with two high tech titanium knees, and two titanium rods in the back. Anything to keep on going. :rain dance::meg dance:

Edited by ZiggieCie
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Yes, great trip. Really nice, thanks for sharing. Dad used to have a border collie name Bim. They are nice dogs :D

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It is hard to take pictures of moving water. I don't think there are any fish in this pond, but the dragonflies! Incredible neon blue ones were hovering, darting and dancing just above the water. And the red ones! These were fluorescent red! I had never seen red or blue, in these dazzling shades at least, dragonflies before! Stunning and hypnotic to watch!

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I just couldn't catch a good picture of these enchanters, but I tried. :)

Then my eye and my mind wandered to the tracks in the mud. I imagined dinosaurs gathering in turns at water holes long past to drink, to hunt, and no doubt, to die.

As I left the watering hole, I saw one human track - only one. And I thought about the coming hunting season and how perhaps that was a hunter scoping out the watering hole for a potential hunting spot. We have way too many whitetail deer here - hope he gets one, two, three... I'm tired of hitting them on the road!

I wandered through the willows that are starting to reclaim the quarry. My, last year there were no willows here! Another grouse flushed up from the brush. Picture of the willows at the bottom of this reply. I wandered around toward the sand piles looking for a way out and to my truck.

I had never really noticed the sand piles before, but I saw a sparkle... Oh! Another piece of Drusy Quartz - champagne colored this time!

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This sand pile was not graded and there were all kind of small rocks that looked intriguing. I flipped off my sandals a dug my toes into the warm sand. Sand piles can be dangerous, swallowing a person if they get too high on the pile. I stayed at the bottom and picked up interesting rocks.

This deteriorated coral was interesting, and light. :)

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Edited by Bev
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These rocks were worn and abraded by the sand, but interesting.

Perhaps a worn blastoid? This must be Devonian sand! No blastoids in the Ordo that I know of!

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Coral? Volcanic? Just an interesting rock?

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Cool rock or a worn sponge perhaps?

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And this one little guy was just plain cute!

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And then there is this odd rock that when I put it up for ID came back as a concretion with perhaps Calcite ribbons in the cracks - very interesting though.

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Love this worn Drusy Quartz half geode!

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And my take from the sand pile?

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I adore those little ceph cups. :)

And from the quarry?

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Lots of pictures and one nice find, and odds and ends to give to kids in schools. :D

I walked back to the truck, tucked away my backpack and headed toward home, but wait, just one more stop?

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We had gotten over two inches of rain the night before and it might just be time to try that creek on the way home. Besides, it was hot!

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The temperature dropped at least 15 degrees by the side of this creek and the clear shallow water rushing over the rocks called to me. I rolled up my pants and went wading! No, no fossils that I could find in the water or on the other side of the creek, but how refreshing!

Time to get serious. The farmer had just cleared this area to make a drive to his lower pasture - no willow and no weeds.

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And within twenty feet I picked up my first Maclurites, then a ceph, then a water worn hash. What fun! Now if only Gia would join me. But she was tired and laying in the backseat of the truck. I knew what she was thinking, "Let's go and get my Dairy Queen pup cup!" Her treat after fossil hunting.

What did I find at the creek?

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Continued, just one more tiny hunt... :)

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Looks like a wonderful day of nature and fossils !!!

Nice report, Thank You!!!

Tony

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Even though Gia was ignoring me in the back seat, I thought, "What could one more tiny little stop hurt?" One of my favorite spots. Shade and bryozoans. People are a wonderful part of fossil hunting. I remember when I first met MinnBuckeye and we went to this spot. Heck, he was the one to find the bryozoan layer here! I smiled to myself as I pulled over. Fossil hunting friends seem to know that it is not about talking, but that comfortable silence when two people are in sync and just enjoying the outdoors and the hunt.

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Not one vehicle passed me as I picked out Prasopora sp. bryozoan buttons from the roadside embankment. Fossils of no real consequence, but something to restock the fossil sandbox and the baskets of fossils I give out. And then I realized that this was a "comfort" hunt. Kind of like a dish of macaroni and cheese is comfort food, this was a comfort fossil hunt. All of the familiar that I love so much with just a dash of the new - the sand pile. I looked up and saw the game trail faintly etched into the hillside and sighed...

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Yup, this is what I love about fossil hunting.

I heard a whine from the truck. Time to go and get Gia her Dairy Queen.

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I had enough fossils. And I felt a kind of glow, all was right with the world for just this moment. :zen:

The sun shone, the skies were blue, the breeze carried the notes of late summer, my toes were still damp from the creek, and everything was as it should be.

What a Wonderful, Fossiliferous, Labor Day Fossil Hunt.

And now, off to Dairy Queen. :P

May all of your hunts be "comfort" hunts. :)

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Great pics and finds Bev, thanks for sharing :)

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I remember that quarry well Bev. Maybe we'll be able to collect it together again this fall.

Jim

Looking forward to it Jim, and some new sites too. :-)

Thank you all for the comments! Collie's are good dogs, and yes they do shed a lot!

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Nice report! A very worthwhile outing. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks, I like the fossil hunt reports that attempt to take you on the hunt. To me, it is more fun than "I went out fossil hunting and this is what I found." But that is just me. :-)

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Thanks, I like the fossil hunt reports that attempt to take you on the hunt. To me, it is more fun than "I went out fossil hunting and this is what I found." But that is just me. :-)

I really like the more detailed reports also :D , but , unfortunately not all are as gifted with the ability to put experience into words. :wacko:

Bev, You do a wonderful job of painting with words!! :popcorn::envy:

Tony :blush:

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