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A Day In The Trenches at Aurora

The drive down to NC from Calvert took about 6 ½ hours and it down poured a good portion of the way. Visions of three inch tall pedestals with five inch Megs perched on top danced through my head. I checked in at the hotel affectionately known by DW as “The Roach” and carried all I could in one trip, through the rain, up to my room. My stay here last year wasn’t so bad, but then maybe I was unknowingly upgraded to the presidential suite. As I approached the door to my room, I could immediately see a 6 inch tear near the lower corner of the curtain. All I could envision as I opened the door was a mildewed room, wallpapered with cockroaches. I turned the light on, and to my surprise the room didn’t look too bad (though it wasn’t any Econolodge). I put down my stuff and drew the curtain closed only to find out that it left 4 inches of the window uncovered. Then it hit me, the tear in the curtain wasn’t a flaw, it was a feature! - it hooked perfectly around the doorknob and nicely covered the remainder of the window - everything was coming together. The following morning, I woke up early so I could be at the parking lot in plenty of time. As I was driving down Rt 33, I passed the DPW spoil piles and looked at the clock. Hmm. I could easily squeeze 20 minutes in and with all the rain last night... - so I turned around to hit the piles. I had done real well at the piles last year, scoring 2 really nice Makos and a complete 1 1/4" Chubby in only an hour of digging. I pulled into the lot, got out my hand rake and went to work. After not finding anything in about 10 minutes of scanning I started digging with the rake and out it popped: an 1 5/8" mako in really nice condition. What a way to start the day!! I dug for another 5 minutes, but not wanting to push the fossil gods, I departed for the mine. I arrived at the PCS lot at about 7:15 where I met up with the rest of the crew. After all the introductions and story swapping we boarded the bus into the mine. The area was relatively small and after an hour and a half of finding nothing, I decided to find a patch of Pungo to dig in. I started digging with my hand rake into the side of a good size mound and after a couple of rakes, out pops a dusky tooth. As I’m cleaning it I realize it’s complete, and has a double tip!! I give it a couple more brushes and just as fast as I found it - back into the pile it drops (my hands were numb from the wind and 35 deg weather). I searched for about 15 minutes before deciding to recognize my self defeat. All I could think as I left the mound with my stomach in knots was that, that tooth, could have been my tooth of the day and would have made my whole trip. Keeping a positive attitude I moved over the next hill and noticed all sorts of trenches eroded into the terrain, some of which were fairly fresh. Remembering the three S’s of fossiling: Structure, Structure, Structure (or is that the three S’s of fishing?) I quickly moved down to the largest trench and started doing the Pungo crawl. After a short time, I quickly scored my 1st nice 1 3/4 inch Mako and the teeth slowly but steadily kept coming. I worked the trenches for the remainder of the day, following each one from bottom to top and ended up with some really killer teeth. It was a great day, lost patho-Dusky and all. I made my post hunting stop with the amazing Pat Young and thanked the other volunteers who do such a great job in making the day as enjoyable as possible for everyone. - Thanks Again!! I bought a couple of Riker mounts from John Everet (who was nice enough to give a lesson in cow shark sex identification) swapped information with new friends and headed on back to Jersey.
Location Lee Creek Mine, Aurora, North Carolina, USA

ID443
Memberxiphodan
Date Added3/12/2005

The fruit of 15 minutes at the spoil piles!
This is the 1 1/8 inch Mako at the right side of the main picture, just as it was about to fall out of the side of the trench.
This was how I found the 1 3/4 Mako top center of the main picture. The dark hole to the right is actually a 3 foot tunnel carved by water as it ran through the trench.
A nice Tuna Vert.
This was near the area I was working. The small trench in the forground was tyipcal to the ones yielding teeth.
  

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