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Cowboy Pass, Utah Ammonites


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Picture Heavy!

 

On my first day in Millard County, I started out at the U-DIG quarry. I got lots of trilobites, but nothing too spectacular. (I'll share them in a separate post as there is quite a bit of prep work to do!) Honestly, I got a bit bored at the quarry. Sure, I enjoy digging fossils, but the challenge just isn't there. So after four hours, I decided to drive through Marjum Pass to Cowboy Pass.

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This is the view exiting Marjum Pass. (That is a truly epic drive on its own, but I didn't stop at any of the fossil sites in there!)

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Almost there! For those that don't know, distance and time behaves a bit strangely when solo in the desert. Finding road signs is even stranger. If you do decide to do a Millard County run, you'd better be able to use a topo map and a compass because you cant trust GPS maps and mobile phones have no service out here. I found that even the road atlas was untrustworthy.

 

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It took me three months of research to pinpoint the exact locations of the exposed Thaynes Formation areas of the Pass. Doing the homework paid off as I was able to find the "easy" site almost immediately. I'm not really into giving out exact locations, but I will say "The Book" is correct and accurate and that this photo shows the landmark referred to in an old Millard County rockhound guide. I know I could have just asked folks where they were, but a big part of this hobby for me is the satisfaction of confirming my research skills.

 

One can easily drive to the "easy" site, but the other two (actually three...) require a pretty rugged hike. However, as you are about to see, it is well worth it.

 

I found my first in the overburden some hack left behind. In fact, at the easy site I didn't even need to use any tools as whoever was there last ignored dozens of nice specimens!

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I will also add, I hope it wasn't someone from here...as I cleaned up all your %#!$%^&* trash for you. Three full bags of garbage and you left a virtually brand new gad pry under the pile of beer cans. Thanks. I needed a gad pry later!

 

Anyway, Here are some of the specimens I collected from the various sites. Most of them need lots of prep work. Here's a few as they were found:

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I'll post more pictures at a later date as there is a lot of prep work to do on many of the specimens!

 

So, in short, Cowboy Pass is well worth the excursion. Be prepared to do some real work, and study up on the site before you go.

Also, don't be a jerk and leave a mess like the one I found...that is how public lands get closed to the public.

 

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DeepTimeIsotopes

Very nice finds and thanks for picking up the pile of trash even though it wasn’t yours! I’m also glad to see you didn’t get stopped by the rain we just had. Those roads get crazy slick when they get wet.

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Nice finds and report. Another thanks for cleaning up the mess left by the last visitor. Can't tell you how many beer cans/bottles I find left in the Peace River, FL and along the banks.  The lack of respect for these beautiful natural environments never ceases to amaze me.  I always bring an extra bag for the junk I know I will find.

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5 minutes ago, UtahFossilHunter said:

Very nice finds and thanks for picking up the pile of trash even though it wasn’t yours! I’m also glad to see you didn’t get stopped by the rain we just had. Those roads get crazy slick when they get wet.

I was out there dodging the rain! Cowboy was basically knee deep tinder as far as the eye could see and when that dry thunderstorm rolled in, I cut my excursion short and made for the the shelter of the quartzite mined cliffs at Tule Valley Road. I was trying for Fossil Mountain to camp, but it was getting slick in places and night was fast approaching after I spent all that time exploring Cowboy. (I checked Painter Spring as it has sheltered camping, but a cloudbust made that road a bit to risky to try solo.

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10 minutes ago, PODIGGER said:

Nice finds and report. Another thanks for cleaning up the mess left by the last visitor. Can't tell you how many beer cans/bottles I find left in the Peace River, FL and along the banks.  The lack of respect for these beautiful natural environments never ceases to amaze me.  I always bring an extra bag for the junk I know I will find.

I feel like the Native American in that old seventies commercial when I see public lands trashed. It makes me think that the littlebugs and vandals are probably the ones that complain the most when the BLM closes areas to vehicles and camping. I kid you not, I picked up and hauled around 50 kilos of other people's trash from 16 sites across three states last week.

 

I laughed aloud at some of them as they had dumped their trash right on top of great fossils and could see where they had been digging in the wrong places!

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Uncle Siphuncle

Your DIY attitude and approach resonate with me.   Well done.

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3 hours ago, Uncle Siphuncle said:

Your DIY attitude and approach resonate with me.

Dan, DIY ? :zzzzscratchchin: Dot It Yourself ?

 

Coco

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Uncle Siphuncle
2 hours ago, Coco said:

Dan, DIY ? :zzzzscratchchin: Dot It Yourself ?

 

Coco

Yes

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Nice ammonite finds!  Looking forward to seeing them prepped out! 

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I agree with Monica!:ammonite01:

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These sites are.well worth the effort. I met a real paleontologist at Fossil Mountain the next day and he was impressed with my finds. ( I haven't revealed the best specimen yet, All I will say is that it is unusually large for the Thaynes formations and needs lots.of prep.)

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