A Novice's Guide on a Field Trip by

Barbara Braun 

September 26, 2020

Richard and I joined ETGMS in February of this year. We were excited to go on field trips and learn how to find fossils and stones of all shapes and kinds. Saturday was our first field trip and we had to make an early exit to get to the meeting spot on time. It wouldn't be good if we were late! We got up shortly after six that morning, so early. It was a good thing we loaded the car with buckets, shovels, pick hammers, gloves and anything else we would need on the dig site since our minds were not quite up to speed that early in the morning. Once we toasted our breakfast to be eaten down the road, let the dog out, and loaded ourselves into the car, we were on our way! The morning was foggy so we had to be careful on the drive.

We made it to the Tiger Mart on time and saw the group we were going to hunt for Septarian nodules standing out in the parking lot. The game was on! After making sure everyone  who wanted to be part of our expedition were there, we took off in a caravan to the hunt field.  As we made our way to the “mountain,” we could see the deep ruts in the trails heading to the parking area. We got out of our car and were immediately hit with a horrible smell. Something was rotten, and it wasn't in Denmark! It was right next to our car!  We hastily grabbed the buckets filled with our tools and made our way up the hill, and boy was it steep!

Having no idea what kind of rock would be the mother of a Septarian nodule, we began to follow and watch others were doing who knew what they were doing.  We caught on quickly. It wasn't as difficult as we thought it would be. As we were perusing the trash on the ground, it was pretty bad, we walked over to an area that looked promising and the dirt wasn't bedrock. Richard spotted a rock and began to eat away at the thing to see how far it was covered over with dirt. Once he discovered that total rock edge, he began to dig it out.   He borrowed a sledgehammer, whacked it, and broke it into pieces, revealing the different colors within. Now we were cooking!

I meandered up the rough road to a spot and saw a bit of rock peeking out of the dirt. My mind could imagine wondrous things inside of this plain ole ordinary grayish brown rock. It was rounded on top and smooth on one half and the other half was bumpledy. Kind of lumpy you could say. I began to dig the perimeter of the large stone to see how much of it was buried in the ground. It was huge! And it was somewhat deep. If a cow had stumbled into the hole it left, it may have twisted a hoof! So onward, we, Richard and I, worked together to get it out on top of the ground. Eureka!  We got it! Again, we borrowed a sledgehammer and Shelly who was in our group, took a good whack at it! It didn't crack, only leaving her with both arms tingling form the impact. As she walked away rubbing her arms, Richard took a swing at it. He clobbered it!! As he rock opened up to reveal a beautiful crystal formations, color, and who knows what else was in it, I was just thrilled. It looked like our early morning rising was worth it!  Richard took another swing at it to break it into smaller more manageable pieces, and we said that was good.

The hardest part of the trip was taking the stones down the fairly steep hill to the car, still in the stench of the dead animal. We had to move that car! Once moved, we began to load our treasure into the rear of the Durango. Taking a bit of a breather, I once again trudged up the hill with my empty bucket to capture another load. I wasn't looking forward to that. We saved the bigger ones for last. I can say that I had to take a break about halfway up the hill to catch a breath and stop my legs from shaking. Not being in the best fitness since we began this COVID thing, I thought it best to pace myself. So, once again on top and at the rock pile, we loaded our buckets again. Saying goodbye to Shelly who was up on the hill in near proximity, we made our final trip down the hill. We were heading home!

We got to get a better look at our stones once we took them out to the patio and hosed them down. I may have Richard cut me a nice display stand to show off the pretty one I call the  "Egg". We are novices  no longer, and we look forward to our next field trip with the gang!

Webmaster Comment:

Please check out a picture of "Egg" on the cover of the October 2020 ETGMS Newsletter