Sunday, 28 January 2007


This beach site just 10 kilometers south of Campbell River on Vancouver Island is the only known location on the planet where one can find the fossil crab Longusorbis cuniculosus. A low tide offers the best success in collecting the gritty concretions that weather out of these Cretaceous shales

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Thursday, 11 January 2007


2014 Fossil Field Trip Olympic Peninsula, WA For this field trip we will be exploring some of the fossil sites of the Clallam Formation, a moderately thick, predominantly marine sequence of sandstones, siltstones and conglomerate with a limited onshore distribution along the northwestern margin of the Olympic Peninsula, western Washington.

The specimens we’ll find at Clallam are mostly shallow-water from the late Eocene to Miocene. Time, tide and weather permitting, we will be sampling the south flank of a syncline at Slip Point, near Clallam Bay; we may also try our luck at two or three other fossil sites, the Twin Rivers Clay Mine (with permission), which yields great gastropods and ghost shrimp claws in concretion, a site near Neah bay with crab fossils in concretion and, Majestic Beach, a site where we can find elusive fossil whale bone. 

Getting there… Directions: From Vancouver it is a 5-6 hour drive to the Olympic Peninsula. Head South on Oak or Knight to connect up with Hwy 99 to the US border and continue South on Hwy 5, past Bellingham, take Hwy 20 to Anacortes. Head South on Hwy 20 until you get to the Keystone Jetty. Take the ferry from Keystone to Port Townsend. From Port Townsend take Hwy 20 until it connects with Hwy 101. Turn right onto Hwy 101 and head West. You will pass through Port Angeles.

This is an excellent place for you to top up your food stores and fill up with gas. Just after Port Angeles, look for a sign for Hwy 112 (towards Joyce, Neah Bay & Seiqu). Turn right and head West. It is about another 30 kms from Port Angeles to Whiskey Creek. From the turn-off it is about 10 miles to Joyce. This little town has restaurants and gas stations. 

From Joyce it is another 3 miles to our campsite at Whiskey Creek where Joe or Ronee can help direct you to your cabin or campsite. 

Where to stay… We will be staying at the Whiskey Creek Campsite, 1385 Whiskey Creek Beach Road, Port Angeles, WA, 98363, Tel: (360) 928-3489. Whiskey Creek is a saltwater beach on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, 19 miles west of Port Angeles off Highway 112 – 3 miles west of Joyce. The owners are Joe and Ronee, P.O. Box 130, Joyce, WA, 98343.

The Whiskey Creek Campsite is open from May 1st to Oct 1st for tenting and year-round for their cabins. Cabins range in price from $70 - $80US/night and sleep 4. They are all right on the ocean except for one, which is set back a ways. Several of the cabins have in-suite washroom, incl. Showers, kitchenette & stoves. Codfish Cottage is all propane and has an elevated Queen bed and a hide-a-bed. The higher priced cabins are full propane and the cheaper ones are wood heat. 

They book up early, so call early. For camping, each site holds 4 and is $15.00/night and an additional $2.50 for every extra person. They do not showers, electricity or phones. There is a general store in Joyce, just 3 miles East, that sells food, ice, propane, firewood, etc. The campsite is dog friendly. Dogs must be kept on a leash and all poop scooped. They charge $2.00/day. Cabins:  Jasper Inn ($70/night sleeps 4)  HH  CQ  CF 

* Please note that the Lyre River Campsite closed permanently as of Sept 2003. What to bring… If anyone is joining us, they want to purchase a Washington State map. Maps are available at many of the gas stations once you cross the border. Runners or hiking boots, rubber boots, sandals, sunscreen, food and US$ for gas and ferries.

You’ll also want a backpack, chisel, newspaper to wrap fossils, hammer, goggles, gloves, hat and outer wear. A notebook and pencil for field notes. Tide & Ferry Info… Tide Tables On-line: www. (look for Crescent Bay, WA) Washington Ferry Info: Tel: 1-800-84Ferry Sidney, Vancouver Island: Tel: (250) 656.1531 Kilometer Markings… 

EAST: From Lyre River Campsite to Port Angeles – 31.6km east WEST: From Lyre River Campsite heading west to…. • Magestic – 1.8kms • Twin Rivers – 11.3 kms • Clay Mine Parking – 12.7 kms • Pillar Point – 26.4 kms • Pysht Pay Access 7 Beach – 28.2 kms • Pysht Tree Farm (correct side of river) – 31.2 kms • Clallam Bay/Seiqu turn-off – 37.1 kms 

NB: When returning from Slip Point, Clallam Bay to Lyre River, remember to take the left turn at the sign for Joyce. Collecting around Washington: There are a few campsites near Porter. Olympia Campground is open all year and offers flush toilets, a rec room, groceries, propane & a coin laundry. They accept MC & VI. If you choose to stay here, you’ll need to make your own site booking. Rates range from $18.00 - $24.00 for 2. They also have cabins for $30 for up to 2 people. Tel: (360) 352-2551. 

South of Kelso and the Coal Creek site, there is a campground at Kalama. Camp Kalama is open all year and offer flush toilets, a rec room, groceries, propane & a coin laundry. They accept MC & VI. If you choose to stay here, you’ll need to make your own site booking. Rates range from $11.00 - $20.00 for 2. They also have cabins for $30 for up to 2 people. Tel: (360) 673-2456. 

Option A: Porter, WA We’ll need to check to see if this site is open. The Oligocene Lincoln Creek Formation has produced several dozen different species of molluscs and is well known for crabs. The Oligocene Lincoln Creek Formation is exposed along the east side of the road through the town of Porter. Please use caution, as you’ll be collecting right beside the road. The exposure is massive, tuffaceous siltstone and sandstone with concretionary beds throughout. You may want to bring a rake to encourage the hard to reach concretions to come your way. The site has produced several dozen different species of molluscs and is well known for crabs. Bring eye protection & boots with good tread. There is a store and small restaurant in Porter, but no other facilities. 

Driving to Porter: From Hwy 5 turn right onto Hwy 101 and at Hwy 8, turn left and head west on Hwy 8 for about 40 km and make a left to head south on Hwy 12. 

Option B: Coal Creek, WA. We will be visiting the Eocene marine site at Coal Creek, Cowlitz Formation., south of Porter near Longview, WA. This beautiful site located in a picturesque ravine behind the Jehovah Witness Hall with large maple trees and a slow moving river boasts wonderful cockles, gastropods & bivalves. Bring a lunch, water, a heavier rock hammer, chisel and rubber boots to make the most of the great collecting here. We’ll be parking in the Jehovah Witness parking lot near the back and walking down the path. 

Option C: Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The Burke Museum is open daily and weekends from 10 am to 5 pm. It is located on the University of Washington campus, near the intersection of NE 45th St. and 17th Ave. NE. From I-5, exit east at NE 45th St; from Highway 520, exit at Montlake Blvd. NE. Tel: (206) 543-5590. Fossil collecting in Oregon… 

Directions: From Vancouver, head south on Oak or Knight to connect up with Hwy 99 to the US border and continue south on Hwy 5, past Bellingham, through Seattle, past Tacoma and turn right at Hwy 4 near Kelso, WA. Head east to Hwy 101 and then take Hwy 1 south to Astoria. Tillimook, Lincoln City and Newport Beach are all south of Astoria on Hwy 101. 

Option A: Tillimook Bay, OR The Astoria Formation outcrops at a road cut near Tillamook Bay, Tillamook Co., OR. Head to the south side of the bay and look for a road cut along Ocean Bay Road, 1.8 km west of junction of Ocean Bay and Netarts Highway, just east of an oyster farm and a boat launch. This Miocene sites yield many bivalves, including Anadara, Macoma and Chione. 

Option B: Moolack Beach, OR The Astoria Formation outcrops at Moolack Beach north of Yaquina Head and south of Moolack Beach parking area, Highway 101, Lincoln Co. OR. Look for bivalves, gastropods and vertebrate material in the soft mudstones and cemented blocks. 

Option C: Beverley Beach, OR This site yields… Camping in Oregon: There are a few campsites near Newport. Beverly Beach State Park campground is open all year and offer flush toilets, swimming, fishing and nature trails. They rent some sort of structure called a yurt. If anyone takes them up on this, please report back on your experience – with a photo! 

If you choose to stay there, you’ll need to make your own site booking. Rates range from $13.00 - $19.00. They are located 7 miles north on US 101; at Spencer Creek, 198 NE 123rd St. Tel: (503) 265-9278. Near Tillimook, OR, is the Cape Lookout State Park. Their campsite is open all year and boasts flush toilets, swimming, nature trails and fishing. 

They also have two yurts for rent. Rates range from $12.00 - $18.00. They are located 12 miles south west off US 101; 13000 Whiskey Creek Road. Tel: (503) 842-3182. References: Armentrout, J.M., Molluscan Biostratigraphy of the Lincoln Creek Formation, Southwest Washington. Moore, E., Fossils of Oregon. Weaver, D.W., G.R. Nornaday & A. Tipton 1975. Future Energy Horizons of the Pacific Coast. Paleogene Symposium & Selected Technical papers. Annual Meeting – Pacific Section. American Association of Petrol Geo & Mineralogists, Soc of Econ Geologists. Long Beach, CA.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Majestic Castle Peak 2007

I've just returned from one of those adventures that goes down as a trip of a lifetime. Eleven elite paleo enthusiasts were flown into the Tyaughton area near Castle Peak north of Goldbridge in a new Jet Ranger from CC Helicopters out of Lillooet. Great company, competent pilot, Scott Taylor... newest member of the Vancouver Paleontological Society... he's hooked.

We were interested in the local geology and fossils from the Jurassic/Triassic exposures high in the alpine. Camping at about 7,500 ft, we were treated to all four seasons and some great collecting over the course of the week. Past trips have included grizzlies at close quarters. This year we saw fresh tracks each day, but the bears were actively avoiding our camp but still leaving enough scat to give us the heads up that this is their territory.

We were able to get some shots of other wildlife including a fabulous moment with a resident marmot. A few whistles and her curious little face was immortalized for all to see. Over the course of the week we also saw a buck with a sexy set of horns (always a hit with the does... ) flocks of Franciscans and a majestic lone wolf.

The area is home to active research by UBC paleontologist, Louise Longridge and boasts abundant ammonites, bivalves & belemnites AND have a chance to see the Triassic-Jurassic boundary – a rare treat. As with all collecting, our search for treasure has a higher goal. All of our finds are lovingly photographed, catalogued and available for study. If fossils are your thing, visit to find a local society and get on out there.

Originally published in