February 7 and 8, 2009 Mississippian Fossils, NW Alabama, various sites

BPS members gathered in NW Alabama for a full weekend field-trip  February 7 and 8.   We couldn't have begged, pleaded or prayed for better weather!  Since we were slogging through a great deal of mud culling for Mississippian fossils, the unseasonal warmth was a treat!  Lots of conglomerate "collections" were found, featuring the remains of archimedes, brachiopods and crinoids.  Some blastoids were found, and Bob found a beautiful starfish on the scouting trip last week.   We visited several sites, met some nice folks who were curious about what all those adults were doing, crawling around on their hands and knees etc.

Saturday night brought camping in the Cane Creek Canyon Preserve.  This entire area is owned and beautifully-maintained by Jim and Fay Lacefield.  They welcome guests and keep clean (and welcome) rest-areas and picnic areas featuring well-stocked little privies and fresh drinking-water.   On Sunday, we were treated to a guided tour by Jim and heart-stopping rides around the trails on a six-wheeler with Fay.   Makes the biggest roller-coaster you've ever been on seem tame!   There are several overhanging caves in the area and Jim gave us a great overview of the tribes who made them their living-areas at various times of the year.  We then went on to the creek where Jim talked about the geology of the rocks all around, how they came to be there and discussed the flora that was starting to bloom.   At least one variety manages to survive the deers' grazing by appearing on the tops of some of the boulders that the animals cannot reach.

BPS owes a HUGE THANK-YOU to Jim and Fay for a fascinating day in a beautiful setting.  IF you wish to visit, be sure and call ahead and check in with the Lacefields and PLEASE clean up behind yourselves, making sure that campfires are completely out and pack OUT anything you packed IN!

Sunday photos taken at Cane Creek Canyon Preserve.

Saturday photos of fossil trip are below.

Photos courtesy Claire Smith, Jaimie Hill and Vicki Lais.