Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fossil Hunting

We've been vacationing in North Carolina and have spent our time mostly playing in dirt piles and hunting for fossils.  I can't believe we lived here for years and never knew what a prime fossil hunting location we had--not that I would have been particularly interested in fossil hunting as a teenager :)

Our first foray into the world of fossil excavation was at Green Mill Run in Greenville, NC.  Chris made us some fossil sifters out of scraps we found at his uncle's and we went out to find the elusive fossil stream.  Elusive to us that is.  Apparently every one else knew to just park at the park next to the stream and walk down to the creek via the bridge.  We decided to try to get there by wandering through a very dense and very muddy forest only to find the creek bank entirely too steep and water too deep for the kids which meant we had to follow it all the way back to the bridge that was obviously the place to begin if we weren't such fossiling newbies.

The professional fossil hunters were all at the bridge.  Luckily they were very nice and gave the boys lots of tips and all the tiny sharks teeth they were discarding.

The boys had a lot of fun while I mostly made sure John Michael didn't drown in the creek.  I did get a chance at the end of our trip to try my hand with the fossil sifter and found our biggest shark tooth of the day.  Admittedly it's not a particularly large sharks tooth but still--I'm pretty sure my find makes me the current master fossil hunter extraordinaire of the family.

The most exciting part of the day by far though was running into most of the Small Things gang on our way out--being professionals, they knew to park at the park and not tramp through the mucky woods. I saw the kids piling out of their van and I nudged Chris and told him that I thought I recognized them from the internet.  Chris said I should introduce myself but I didn't want to be creepy and tell them I knew all about them from their mom's blog.  David took care of the situation by running down as soon as he saw the girls, introducing himself and politely dragging them over to the playground to play.  They were just as sweet and friendly as they seem online and we even got a shout out on their blog so now we're pretty much famous.

The next day we headed off to the Aurora Fossil Festival and did even more fossil hunting in the piles of fossil rich dirt they bring in for the occasion.  I think I prefer fossil hunting in the creek though.  It's a lot easier to sift through everything with water there to rinse away the dirt.  Shockingly, the boys were happy to dig either way.

We dug for a while and then walked around eating ice-cream and checking out the vendors.  There were a lot of interesting fossil exhibits and vendors selling ridiculously expensive specimens.  The boys were a little disappointed to find out that I did not think five hundred dollars was a reasonable price to pay for a giant megladon shark tooth, but they managed to get over it in time for the parade :)

I think I see many more days of fossil hunting in our future.  Lucky for us Florida is full of excellent fossil hunting locations....... 
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