Work brought me back to the Greenville area so I was able get a couple
short trips in at the Green Mill Run (GMR) late last week. I made it to the creek late one evening and
decided to try some new territory south of the Green Spring
Park area. I met a couple who had a unique system of
“extracting” teeth from the creek. The
wife sat on a chair by the edge of a gravel island and the husband would stand
in the creek and shovel water / gravel up on the edge of the bank and she would
pick the teeth out after the water subsided from the bank. This was definitely a two person system and
judging by their haul (about a half of a quart Ziplock full) appeared to be
rather a productive / efficient way to collect teeth, no screens needed. I found
a gravel island / area further down and decided to set up shop. In the limited amount of daylight left, I
managed to find some meager finds before heading to a local hotel.
The next morning I got up bright and early after debating if
I should take advantage of the few opportunities to sleep in. With a couple cups of coffee in me, I was
off to the Run. I got geared up and
after a good twenty minute walk along the park’s walkway and through the creek
I started my quest for fossils. I found
a nice gravel island and started my dig.
After my third shovel load…. the unimaginable happened…. “CRACK”.
For an instant I though it was my lower back. But soon realized my fossil hunting friend just
had a terminal fracture and died in my hands.
There are a lot of sentimental memories with this shovel for
it used to be my Grandfather’s and later came into my father’s possession after
my grandfather’s passing. My dad ended
up giving it to me some time back. You
know that a spade shovel has had some use when it starts to morph into a flat
edge shovel. Oh the stories that shovel
could tell. How many potatoes, peanuts,
beets and carrots he has dug up for my grandpa.
All the gardening / landscaping projects he has completed for my dad and
I. Well, I retired his gardening days
and utilized him mainly for slinging gravel at the GMR for the past two years.
I almost lost him on one of my first trips there. I (stupidly) tried to put in by the 10th Street
Bridge after an area rain storm not realizing how dangerously high the water
levels got. As I put my shovel in to
test the depth, the rushing water grabbed the blade and took it from my hands. I watched in horror as it disappeared into
the murky brown depths. About three
months later, to my surprise, I found him in the creek close to where I lost
him. I believe my Grandfather was
looking out for me in heaven. At the
time I tried to put in there, I noted that the water level went up to the top
exposed roots of this large sycamore tree.
The depth of the water to the bottom from this point was well over six
feet. It still makes me sick today
thinking what would have happened if I went in the creek there and if my feet
got tangled up in the roots.
My fossil hunting friend was there for my first ever fossil
shark tooth found at the Run, the first crow, the first goblin, the first tiger,
the first mako, the first snaggletooth, the first sawfish, the first pycnodont,
the first cookie, the numerous belemnites and who could ever forget when he
scooped out the 2.5 inch great white…his proudest moment. As I
sobbed holding my new short Bo Staff, I soon realized it would be very unlikely
that I would encounter any Green Mill Run ninjas to put my shidokan skills to
test. So I picked up the Ingersoll No. 2
blade, packed up and headed back to my car.
After the 20 minute walk I came up onto some park staff who
directed me to the nearest shovel outlet.
I arrived at Walmart only to find they were out of spade shovels. Can anything else go wrong I thought? The employee directed me to the Home Depot
and I finally located a shovel worth replacement. I went through the self check out and the
damn thing wouldn’t scan. The
“assistant” tried to help and even tried to punch in the UPC code. She ended up having to go back to the shovel
display to get some additional code number.
After an apology for the wait in addition to 10% off for my
inconvenience, I was back to the Run and re-geared for battle.
After another 20 minute déjà vu walk I was back in the creek
to screen out the usual suspects with only a couple of great whites found. The GWs were “decent” finds if you don’t
factor in the typical worn roots and smaller size. I also found a decent tiger, some fat Devil
Toenails (Gryphaea convexa) and some
coinage (quarter and four pennies).
Then to my amazement I flopped a Meg in the basket. This has to be a saddest looking Meg to most
of you, especially when you admire the gorgeous 1.8% of the enamel left on
it. The root was, for the most part,
complete in addition to the general “shape”
of the tooth. I am now the proud owner
of my largest found Meg, just shy over 3”.
Yeah, part of the 3” plus Meg club.
My daughters were later impressed with my find, which put an additional
smile on my face. These teeth always
look bigger in my youngest daughter’s hand.
In addition, there was also a nice fat lower GW in the same screen that would
have put icing on the find if only it didn’t have the feeding tip damage. With that I made it back to the hotel for a
quick shower before my noon checkout.
I plan on fixing my old fossil hunting friend, but will keep
a back up “buddy” in the car next time.