All aboard! The first of us load up and head out in the tour bus. As we round a corner all you can see is a monstrous earthen wall. Takes one by surprise if you haven’t been there before. We unload on a calm and quiet morning. Wandering over to the fence overlooking the lake and spillway. It’s an interesting view, nice but not spectacular, interesting. Plain in the far away visual way I suppose.
We read the kiosk board. Evacuation. 7 feet above spillway. Ran for 6 weeks. Wait, what? Wow!
The second load busload arrives and off we go on a grand adventure. We head down a gravel road and through a locked gate. A stop here, a stop there. Mud cracks. Water drops. A stop, a stare and suddenly you are thrown back into ‘The Land of The Lost’ looking at a row of dinosaur tracks. Worn over time and spaced a good 2-3 of my normal walking steps. A picture is passed around. It reminds me of a T-rex, walking on back legs and short front arms (it’s not a T-rex, unfortunately I don’t remember the real name). Estimated to have been traveling at 3 mph. A decent speed for me but probably a leisurely amble for this guy.
Suddenly it feels like the start of an infomercial: But wait, there’s MORE! We travel down a manmade rock stairway, at the bottom is a huge boulder full of holes. Questions start flowing…
“I’ll get to that…” Our poor guide and my poor ADD, its pinging like a kid on Christmas morning. Our guide pours a bottle of water in a hole. A few moments go by and suddenly its running down the side of the boulder. I’m not talking a hole or two. I’m talking Swiss cheese times 10, a good foot thick and as you look around it is all over! But what are the holes? Bugs, they are called bugs. How neat is that? Maybe I’m easily amused.
A few more steps and a freaking clam fossil the size of a baseball! Oops, SQUIRREL! Look around, more clams! No way! Enters kid in candy shop…. ADD full speed ahead! Bivalves, he called the clams bivalves. Although they are now rock, they remind me of summers and going clamming on the coast. But wait, what’s that? The size of a football and 2/3rds entombed in rock is a shell that reminds me of a conch. Have I said recently, that’s so cool!!
Glancing around, more clams. Suddenly Geology seems so spectacular! Sees a basketball sized rock, grey on one side and white on the other. It reminds me of a skull but feels gritty to the touch. Moving along I look up and suddenly before us is a beautiful blue pond. Cat tails blowing in the breeze and 5 carp gliding along. The kid in me wants to sit by the pond and watch them for a while with a whimsical look. The adventure continues and the gentle sound of a waterfall fills the air. Ferns grow all around on the rocks. Another thought of ‘I could sit here all day’ flits through my mind but I want to see what’s around the next bend!
Off we go across the small creek and up a bank. Not long after the water just disappears like a dream. Boulders and fault lines all around. Beautiful in its own way. Cracks, drops and divides. Desolate rock and forest side by side. It’s amazing how quickly things can change. A bathroom break while I stare at a boulder that fell and landed at least 90 degrees from its starting point, on end. The bugs slice staring into the dry creek bed looking forlorn. A scramble across the dry bed, up the other side and around a curve and suddenly a milky blue pond appears as if the water never went away at all. Another waterfall gently flowing into it.
We wander up a hill through a gate then back along a trail onto a series of small drops and little waterfalls. Wooden plank crossings so we don’t get our feet wet. Tiny fossil grains and slick algae covered spaces.
Down another set of stairs, cement this time and around a corner into a fossil treasure chest.
All along the ground are hundreds of fossils! Green algae balls that remind me of marbles, more snails, clams. All over the ground and in the loose rock wall in front of us.
Apparently, I really like fossils. 😂
I probably missed out on quite a few facts being so enamored with fossils from days gone by, but I had a blast. I still learned and the dopamine that flowed was spectacular.
If you have the chance to go on this trip, I highly recommend. Your inner child will thank you. 🥰
By Stacy Anderson