We arrived at Elm Street Park shortly after 8AM on 9/14, got geared-up, and walked down to enter the stream between the apartments and 10th Street overpass. As we stepped through on the other side of the tunnel we saw our first gravel bar, so we stopped to check it out. Large pieces of bone and several belemnites got our excitement level cranked-up to an even higher level!
As we slowly walked downstream from here we were scanning the streambed for fossils. We got fooled a number of times by leaves that were lying on the bottom doing an excellent impression of sharks teeth, but we had only gone about 50 yards when I saw the tooth in the first ground shot: a badly worn 1¾” upper. My first GMR tooth!!
We continued onward, finding a couple more teeth fully exposed on the bottom, and we also began to find areas showing a lot of excavation activity. Not wishing to begin our day in an area that had recently been sifted, we walked quite a distance. Finally we found a spot that I felt looked promising, and began digging. We found quite a few small teeth, and a number of pieces of larger stuff. Not having been to GMR before, though, I had no idea whether or not what we were finding would have had more-experienced hunters ‘happy,’ kept them digging there, etc. [I should have tried to get together with someone from BRF for a trip, first, before my wife and I made ours… We discovered that our sifter---- which I made the night before we left, using ½” mesh---- was letting a lot of small teeth escape, too, and I also noted that we were not finding any belemnites, here, either. Digging too deeply, indicative of a ‘bad’ spot, etc?? I was clueless!] Regardless, we decided to stick it out, and hope for some ‘beginner’s luck.’
After about 3 hours we decided to grab a bite of lunch from our backpacks. We ate while bending over, searching the gravel bank (as my wife calls it, “eating while standing on your head.”) Hey, it works if you chew a bit longer, and swallow twice with each bite! The second ground shot shows what I found right next to a recent excavation. Note the little Crow Shark tooth below and to the right of the Beenie-Weenie can, as well.
We continued digging for a couple more hours, and then decided to head on back towards the Park. We stopped a couple of times to ‘test’ areas we had bypassed on the way down. At one of these, we found the nicely colored Tiger and the largest ½ Meg (close up) in one sifting, but nothing afterwards.
After about 6 hours of work, our major finds for this first day included the above-mentioned teeth, along with a sweet chunk of brown-colored wood, a piece of vert with possible bite marks, a bulla, and possibly a badly worn turtle head (Cucullaea).
On our second morning down in eastern NC, my wife informed me that she wasn’t ready for an immediate return to GMR, so we drove down to the Aurora Fossil Museum. We had called prior to the Labor Day weekend and were told that they had ‘turned’ the spoil piles that Wednesday, so we had some hopes of finding a few decent teeth. Unfortunately, this was not to be. Had it not been for my wife finding a few larger teeth it would have been a really, really bad day, and it still was our worst day, ever, of playing in the spoil piles. Plus it was, like, 90 degrees! My best find of the 6 or so hours we hunted was a small brown Hemi.
However, this served to crank-up our excitement, again, at the thought of returning to GMR for day #3. We got back to the Park just before 8AM, and headed back to our site from day #1. After about 3 hours of being stubborn, failing to acknowledge that the area was not willing to give up anymore treasures, we moved up the creek a short distance. There, I excavated out a large area near the bank where we found 2 GW’s (one with most of the root), a Mako blade, and a piece of turtle shell.
Facing the long drive back home, we quit after about 5 hours. Our major finds this time included a badly worn whale tooth, a partial Sand Tiger in iron matrix, the little cusped lateral (?), several Crow Sharks, and our last sifter of material as we neared the overpass yielded the dark black, badly-worn 1¾” tooth. (lower Meg or Mako?)
Nowhere near what you guys with more experience find, for sure (and I hope to post some questions on the Forum seeking advice/suggestions to enable us to do better on our next trip down), but it was a lot of fun! I guess we’ll have to hope for one more opportunity to get back down before cold weather… but for now, its time to mow the yard, LOL!