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My girlfriend, Valerie and I planned a two week trip to New Mexico and Colorado to visit friends, see scenery, and attend the Peach Festival in Palisades.  Of course fossil collecting would be a part of it. I spent a full day with PFOOLEY outside Albuquerque in the Puerco Valley hunting ammonites in the Carlile Member of the Upper Cretaceous Mancos Shale.

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Not even ten minutes into our walk we encountered this:

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Any early morning fatigue was quickly wiped away. We explored a nearby ravine and it wasn't long before splitting concretions revealed my first find of the day, a Coilopoceras over a foot across. Unfortunately, it was too big to bring home:

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The scenery is quite breathtaking. One day I really got to get down there. Going out on a hunt with PFOOLEY in the Puerco Valley is high on my bucket list! 

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Later, while exploring the top of the ravine I encountered another rattlesnake, a western diamondback coiled in a crevice. I kept my distance. unfortunately couldn't get a good picture of it. Lying in the open was this Prionocyclus hyatti. 

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This is PFOOLEY scanning the terrain. He had a great day of finds. This is a Coilopoceras springeri that PFOOLEY gave me in a concretion to break out. It came out fine and it was small enough to transport. 

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He also gave me this Prionocyclus hyatti in a concretion to break out. It came out well too. 

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Looks like you had fun. Mike is a very generous fella as witnessed by the auction of which he's on the doorstep of winning.

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Following the Puerco, we headed north to Durango, Colorado. On the way we took a short detour and hunted on BLM land for petrified wood. Petrified wood is relatively scarce in my part of the country by I take it is fairly common and widespread throughout the Great Basin. Sauntering through the desert was an opportunity to also see and photograph plants and wildlife we aren't used to seeing in New York. The petrified wood was abundant and scattered about. It was Paleocene in Age  from the Nacimento Formation. 

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In addition to the petrified wood there were also chunks of lignite. I brought back four pieces of petrified wood ranging in length from 4.5 to 8 inches. Valerie brought back a large number of small pieces. 

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We stayed in Grand Junction for three days. While there we took a trip up to Douglas Pass, only an hour and a half away. We only stayed a couple of hours  and the tools I brought were inadequate for splitting. These were some of my finds:

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I also found a partial mayfly nymph but unfortunately misplaced it. Have to check this site out again. So, for many reasons this turned out to be great trip. I used to live in Colorado and I've spent a lot time in New Mexico, but I keep wanting to go back. For Valerie who's never spent much time in Colorado, it was a revelation. Oh, and as you can see, the fossil hunting was a lot of fun too.

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Looks like you had a nice trip and were in good company! I have a bad (or good... :zzzzscratchchin:) habit of bringing large fossils home. I’m sure the Coilopoceras  was way to heavy to move very far,  but I can just see me trying to drag that sucker out of there. Lol 

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Nice finds! I love how you built fossil hunting into your vacation. I’ve made a few trips to New Mexico but I still haven’t made it to the Puerco. Someday!

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Beautiful ammonites - wow!!! :drool::ammonite01:

 

Congratulations!

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Uncle Siphuncle
16 hours ago, Ludwigia said:

Looks like you had fun. Mike is a very generous fella as witnessed by the auction of which he's on the doorstep of winning.

Mike is indeed quite generous with his finds, I can assure you of that.  Adventurous too.  As much fun as the collecting was the winter camping we did out there last Jan. Good times!

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Great trip report Jeff! Glad that you had a good time and were able to find some nice specimens.

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Wow, beautiful scenery, good company, and nice finds, sounds like a great trip! 

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I'm determined to get out there in the coming year or so. Thanks for sharing your trip, Jeff. I don't think I can hike all over the desert any more, but if I can find some sites where I don't have to walk too far I'd love to do some collecting. The last time I got out there I was about twelve, sixty years ago. Somehow my mom and dad put up with me and my two brothers in the back seat of a chrysler for the journey from New York. I do remember finding some fossil plants somewhere "out west" on the side of the road, but I have hardly any idea where we were.  I need to go back soon. I'm glad you had a good trip, with some awfully good finds. You sure get around.

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