The day after Lee Creek Mine: March 29, 2009
The day after going into PCS Govinn and myself jumped back into the GMR. The water had gone down considerably since Friday, and it was warm and sunny out. What more could you ask for?
Even though the water had gone down it was still quite muddy from the weeks rain but then again who really see's what they are stabbing their shovel into when screening for fossils anyways?
So we got started and in the first half hour Govinn had already picked up a great white and a really nice big tiger shark. Compared to me finding nothing but little broken stuff. But we kept at it and after moving some big rocks around I got my first good find, a dark great white just shy of two inches long. A lot of the root was missing but the blade was intact and I have definitely found a lot worse specimens.
After not finding anything for awhile we gave up on the spot and started moving upstream to the spot where I found the two awesome great whites a few weeks earlier. Again with all the gravel on the banks in that spot before I usually pass it up and it was apparent that the rains had washed most of the gravel off the banks and back into the water. But we started digging around and the toothy treasures started showing up.
After awhile I started getting into a pocket of large tooth pieces. Which usually doesnt mean anything to me in the GMR except more broken pieces and not finding anything substantial. At which one of my next shovels of muck and gravel I was surprised to see a large blade sticking out! I hurriedly brought my screen into shore, announced the finding of a big tooth with the cry "holy cr*p"! which got johns attention and he came over to look at what I had found. The first noticeable thing was that a whole root lobe was missing. Then how stream worn it was. But you could still see where the cusps had been. So my quick determination was a chubatensis. Then I second guessed myself due to it had a pretty straight blade but later I was told again it was probably a chub.
After the excitement of the big find and the hope that an even more complete big tooth was lurking in the murkey water waiting for one of us to find it we continued our searching. But nothing big came up.
After awhile I glanced up and spied a man with two kids walking up the bank towards us with a shovel and a roll of screening in his hand. He waved at us and I returned the gesture and he came down and stated he read online that you can find fossils in the creek by screening. So being the friendly person that I am I told him he was correct and they quickly all got down into the creek, unravelled their screen and the two kids each held an end while their father started shoveling mud and anything else from the bottom of the screen. After a minute or two of watching I made my way over to them and told him to feel out for the gravel in the creekbed and scoop that up. Then started handing him smaller teeth finds, belemnites, pycnodont grinder teeth, ray grinder plates and other such things so he would know what to look for. I have them a bunch and then pointed out bones that we had accumulated on the bank of the creek. They continued shoveling and searching for quite awhile and visited with us every so often. At that point a couple came down to the water and started talking to us as well. The man's name was George and he and his wife were up from Florida on a fossil hunting trip. They would have been in the mine at that time but unfortunately they had cancelled the trip an hour into it due to storms being in the area. At that moment we all looked up to see a bright blue sky and one or two little fluffy clouds. It didnt take too long to convince them that they were at the creek, might as well screen for a bit. So they joined us for awhile. The man's name was George and he has a website called www.hogtownfossils.com I believe. If you get the chance, check it out. Its a pretty good website.
So with all the new fossil hunting company I got back into searching. After a couple more screens I was again filling up a new screen when I brought the shovel out of the water, the top mud and gravel of course washed off but sitting right on top was another great white. I could tell the root was a little beat up but other then that it wasnt too bad. And just sitting on top of the muck like it was a pedistal. I laughed a little and mentioned it to Govinn and started walking towards him when he stopped me saying he would come to me so I didnt trip and drop it back into the water. So he came over, laughed, picked it off the shovel and handed it to me, Which was a great call by him because on the way back to my screen with the shovel and muck still in my hand I stumbled and dumped everything on the shovel back into the water. Ha.
After awhile I pulled out the third great white of the day and about that time everyone started wandering off to different areas of the creek. I stuck around in the spot for a bit and after awhile, decided to walk upstream where Govinn had already left for earlier. As I walked further up the stream I didnt see anyone so I kept going and going. Then at one point I felt my foot, in stride, hit a log in the water. No problem, I will just raise my foot a little higher, miss the log, and step over. Now where have I heard this before. So as I raised my foot higher I cleared the log, but then my foot hit a branch sticking out the top of the log. Seeing as I was already walking forward and off balance I knew what was going to happen so I grabbed my wader tooth pouch, and my tooth case dropped my shovel and screen and belly flopped over the log and into the water. BLAHHHHHHH. Into the damn creek again, water rushed into my waders, soaked my tee shirt, everything. Twice in one weekend. Never happened before, but twice this weekend I got a toxic bath.
You will all be glad to know, no fossils were lost or damaged during my plunge into the water.
So I continued up the creek and didnt find anyone so I walked back down to the creek to find everyone back around and digging. And then wondering why I was completely soaked. So I told them the story.
We continued the search for a bit but no other good finds were found that were worth mentioning. So we called it a day and packed up. And so ended a great weekend.
Until next time, good hunting!