Caught Up! Sort Of!
Alright, I am now posting for the previous weekends trip. I am sort of caught up! Sorry this is sort of a long post. But I typed it all so I am going to paste it all in anways!
So after four months of faithfully serving me as best a screen could, it was time to retire my screen. Its ¼” mesh was coming apart in several places allowing for even large pieces of gravel and what I feared the most, teeth to fall through whenever I rinsed a screen. There was screening coming away from the staples where it was attached to the frame, even the foam padding that I attached to it so it would hopefully float better was coming apart and the staples holding that in place were coming out. So this week it was time to build a new one. So gradually through the week I started my new project: to build a new screen. I slowly got things started and did a little bit more each day of the week. One day I bought the wood, screening, handles and large wood screws. The next day I built the frame and then drilled holes every four inches up and down the frame for zip ties. Then I attached the two large, heavy door handles to the top, one on each side. The next day I started stapling the screening to the frame, wrapping the edge of the screen in duct tape, and trimming as much of the jagged edges as I could. I realized I was drastically short on staples. I did that last part on Friday. After which my lazy side got the best of me and I went to bed early, which the idea failed me because I woke up about four hours later and it was 9:30pm. So I decided to go watch the new star trek movie coming out.
I set the alarm for an early rise and to start my day. After it woke me up initially and I fought with it for awhile I grabbed my bag, threw it in the car and started driving to aurora. After seeing Greg’s meg he pulled out of there the previous week I had the hopes of finding one for myself. Well, when I got there I found a lot of the usual small teeth in an hour and then before I noticed what was happening I was surrounded by little kids. So since I hadn’t found anything really great except for a cow shark tooth I started giving them all my teeth. I forgot about the cow shark tooth momentarily and they got that too. If I didn’t I definitely would have kept it but I am sure its not the last one I will ever see. So I stuck around for a bit showing the kids what to look for, pointing out different teeth all over the ground and then departed for a different site. I didn’t get far when I heard a cheeseburger call my name. It was coming from lyle and shirley’s diner. So I stopped to find the cheeseburger and devour it. I have been there twice now and they have amazing burgers. Now that its on my mind I am going to have to stop by there during the fossil festival. If the line isn’t our the door and wraps around the building which I have a feeling it might be.
So anyways after eating I made my way to Greenville and after picking up some staples and zip ties at Lowes checked into the hotel. At the hotel I finished stapling the screen to the frame, and then loaded back up and went to target for some pool noodles. Then I drove to the GMR. When I got there I first had to zip tie the noodles to my screen, but upon first inspection, the ties weren’t long enough. FAIL. Oh well, that’s when it was time to adapt and overcome. For some reason I have carried a rather large roll of 550 cord in my car. So I cut several pieces of it and started tying the noodles to the screen in several places using the holes I drilled. Once I was satisfied I got into my waders, put on my fishing vest, grabbed my new screen, picked up my shovel, said a quick “I hope this new screen works” and started making my way towards the creek.
Before I get too far into it, as I was saying I built a new screen, I got the idea from Greg to use ½ inch screening. Sure you miss a lot of the smaller finds, but you can go through a lot more gravel that way. And I have so many small teeth already it only made sense to focus more on the slightly larger teeth.
So I find a spot with some gravel crunching under my boots on the bottom and start shoveling away the gravel, sand, sticks and leaves into my screen, hoping the entire time that the screen would be a success. Of course as the first screen of the trip usually goes the excitement prevented me from filling the screen up completely and after about eight shovels full of gravel I dropped the shovel grabbed the screen and started rinsing out the muck. At first I don’t see anything except a couple belemnites. Well shoot, how do belemnites get stuck in a half in screen? Wouldn’t they be the first to go through the ½ inch screening? I never figured that out the whole weekend. Well I pushed a little pile of gravel aside and there it was my first find of the day, a very complete Mako. It was small, but it had most of its root and a full blade and I couldn’t be happier with it. Well, so far so good! The next screen wasn’t too bad either. More belemnites, and the only tooth was a great condition squalicorax pristodontus. Well, the evening was looking up. My third screen and my evening was made as I pulled out a decent great white with some root damage but other than that it was in great shape, and was giving me great feelings about the whole evening. After that the finds slowed down and everything else I found was beat up, missing some part or another. I spent 2 hours in the creek and found a bunch of belemnites, and only found 15 or 16 teeth, which was an all time low for me, except while beach collecting, because I hardly ever find anything at the beach. But 15 teeth, I have found twice that many in one screen before. But, I have told myself since I started; I would give up finding hundreds of teeth to find a few complete/great condition teeth. I am sure everyone would agree. By that time it was dark and time to go so I called it a day.
The next day I sort of slept in, which didn’t help, since I got up and got a phone call from my brother so my entry into the creek was delayed by a few hours. Once I finally got to the creek it was nearly noon. I decided without much hesitation that I would try the same spot the night before, right where I left off. So when I got down to the creek, I saw two people there, right in that spot! Well, shoot. Oh well, there is a lot more creek to cover so I figured I would just head on through. I usually dont come across people already searching in the GMR, I am usually the person searching who people come across. But I still walked up to ask if they found anything good. They had just got there and did a quick test screen and had found a few teeth. Introductions were made, and it turns out, it was Fatboy and his sister from Maryland! They were really nice and we instantly started talking about there trip into the mine the day before, and how it was there first trip into the GMR and every other topic fossil hunters could talk about. It is really awesome meeting members from this site, I think I am up to nine now, though my count might be a little off as to I have probably met more but I never found out if they were members or not. Before I knew it we were all digging and talking and I don’t remember if it was my first or second screen, ok maybe my third but I spied a root through some gravel. Well, I pulled it out and it was the best great white tooth I have found in awhile. About 2” long but with most of the root! The blade was a little dinged up but not too bad and it definitely made the day. Well I continued screening and after a few more screens pulled out another great white, this one had most of the root missing but what was left was worn away evenly. And it actually had an interesting curve that I don’t normally find in great white teeth. What a great day it was turning out to be, great fossil hunting company and finding great shark teeth. I found a few more teeth today then the night before, I think I totaled around 30 which is far fewer then what I normally find but again the finds were a lot better. At one point I found a 3 ½ inch beat up and worn meg, missing about a third of it. Which a little while later a couple kids and someone who was probably there grandparent struck up a conversation with us about what we were doing. So Fatboy tossed them a few belemnites and explained what they were, and I walked over and tossed up the meg and told them they could keep it. Fatboy, now I think it was after they left that he pulled out a huge chunk of a mososaur tooth. If it was whole, I bet it would have pushed 2” long, but unfortunately that would not be the case. But as if it was a sign of things to come he soon after pulled out a complete mososaur tooth. What an awesome find. There is something about finding one that just makes the day a great day!
Well the time flew by and we started finishing up when I saw back down with another screen to sort on my lap. I saw what looked like the root of a tooth 2/3’s the day through the half in screening so I grabbed it and pulled it back through. To my surprise it was definitely a root. And a meg root at that. And not just the Meg root, but it turned out to be a posterior meg tooth. It had a chip on one side which is a shame, but it still had the bourlet and its serrations!! Its small, but it’s the best meg I have ever found in that creek!! Well, the day just turned awesome! Two great whites and a great meg! Shortly after that our stomachs were telling us that it was time to get out of the creek. Not to mention Fatboy and his sister had a 5 ½ hour drive ahead of them. Which is funny because they wanted to leave a couple hours earlier; but you know how it is when you are out fossiling. Previous plans usually have a tendency of flying out the window; especially when the finds keep coming. So we packed everything up and decided to head over to sonic for dinner. So we sat around, went through all our weekend finds and ate some great burgers! Then it was off in our respective directions and so ended another great weekend!
Two my two new fossiling friends, it was great meeting you guys and thanks for letting me dig with you. Hopefully we will be searching together again!
Until next time, good hunting!