January 16-17, 2010 - Cambrian Fossils, Cherokee Co, AL

This weekend trip to northeast Alabama was delayed due to several weeks of below freezing weather.  When the day arrived, a high percent of rain was predicted.  However, being the troopers we are, and seeing that it has been so long since we've been on a field trip, 21 of us showed up anyhow!  Amazingly, the weather cooperated.  A light drizzle first thing in the morning that cleared up by mid-day, and the temperature rose to 50.  We were excited, and Bob had brought his boat so we could go to our favorite site on the lake.  We got to our first collecting location, and began scrounging through the pebbles.  Nothing.  More looking.  Still nothing.  This is the first time in many years that we have had such poor collecting at this site, and since we missed coming for the past 2 years, we thought more would have been washed in.  Not.  So, off we went to a different site that the group hasn't been to.  A few of us scouted it 3 years ago and found a few small trilobites.  Pickings were slim at this site too.  Yes, there was plenty of Conasauga shale, but it was low in trilobites.  Ok.  Let's go to the main lake site.  We showed up there fully intending to put the boat in first.  However, the weeks of below freezing weather had frozen the lake!  Never had we seen it like this.  Several members spent some time skipping rocks on the frozen lake, to see where the ice ended.  It didn't.  Every rock thrown sat on top of the frozen lake.  So we resigned ourselves to collecting near the boat ramp, and saving the other site for another trip.   

Eight members stayed in a cabin overnight, playing games, watching tv, and generally having a good time.  The next morning, the lake had thawed, but we decided not to go out without the bulk of the group being there.  After about an hour of collecting along the lakeshore, we headed home.

Several nice trilobite pieces were found, but the collecting was sparse at all the locations where we stopped.  Whether this area played out due to our once a year collecting, or the site is frequently collected by locals and other people who found out about it is unknown, but it looks as if this site may be on the back burner for a while.

Photos courtesy Claire Smith, Ted Nicolle, and Vicki Lais