Search and Rescue Report

6/16/2004 to 6/20/2004
Jurassic Ammonites from Central Oregon

Dateline: Wednesday June 16, 2004
We departed the Portland area mid afternoon, beginning the 6 1/2 hour journey to our central Oregon destination. Arriving about 11:30 PM at our mile high road cut bivouac, we set up camp cots by headlight and lantern. Some of our more stalwart members liked the headlamp idea so well they grabbed their rock hammers and searched the cut area adjacent to camp for ammonites. Guess they thought those fossils might get away while we slept! Low temp about 40 Deg. F.

Dateline: Thursday June 17, 2004 Snowshoe Formation - Crook Co. OR
Next AM we worked the campsite locality for ammonites for half the morning. Found a few nice small 1/2" to 2" specimens in shale matrix and casts. Mid morning, we ventured down the valley a few miles to meet the rancher who owns many square miles of the property we wanted to explore. A classic gentleman and student of geology in his late 60's, Lawrence granted his blessing to explore his grounds, and offered to guide us to another locality of interest the next day. Lawrence informed us that the hills surrounding us were once an archipelago of islands extending from the Jurassic age mainland. He advised the ammonites were prime food for vertebrate shallow sea dwellers. Like squid sushi perhaps? Enthusiastic, we set off to explore some areas of interest during the afternoon. We were soon trekking around the hills in about 85 deg. Temp. In quest of the perfect 14" ammonite. Unfortunately, somebody else found all those, all we actually found were cast fragments of any 8" and larger size. We were able to locate a few nice specimens in the 1" - 2" range and partials in the 3" - 4" range. The preservation was markedly better on the smaller examples. The formation also yielded numerous species of clam remains.

As afternoon headed toward evening we returned to our campsite. Another couple of hours work provided a few small specimens. Our early evening entertainment was provided courtesy a rock cut tire, no spare tire lowering device or quite an appropriate tool to jury rig same. Memo: Beef up out back tool Kits! Observation: Out here in the high desert the Milky Way really takes up some sky! You can almost taste the pine sap in the smell. High about 85+ Deg F. Low temp about 50 Deg. F.

Dateline: Friday June 18, 2004 Snowshoe Formation - Crook Co. OR
Following breakfast we set out to Lawrence's ranch, we then followed him through the hills about 7 miles to the Devonian Formation. This outcrop is Oregon's oldest formation. This exposure is refered to as the Birdsong limestone and is part of the Grindstone Terrane. In the two hours we were on site we collected a few coral specimens and others TBA. Some microscope work for diatom remains will be in order to see if any conodonts are included in the limestone we collected. We returned to the ranch to thank Lawrence for his hospitality and went back to re-look at yesterday's hill sites. We found several juvenile mass mortality plates and small specimens then our lucky photographer AKA: Dog Lord found a great 7" ammonite cast complete with desert varnish. Good Eye Jerry!

We departed the Snowshoe Formation mid afternoon destined for Mitchell. OR and the Hudspeth Formation. En route we stopped at a diatomaceous formation just west of John Day. Set up base camp outside the Painted Hills unit. After a brief rest we went out to look around for a couple of hours before dark. Found a few small eroded specimens in a new locality. We retired too much needed R & R by fire: beefsteak, medicinal libations, and tomorrow's planning session beneath the Tick Tree completed the day. A misnomer, as no ticks were gained from this particular tree. Others? Oh well. High about 85+ Deg F. Low temp about 50 Deg. F

Dateline: Saturday June 19, 2004 Hudspeth Formation - Wheeler Co. OR
We began our exploration this morning near the city recycling center. Not finding much by late morning we ventured to another area we normally collect.

Hudspeth Hub Central: As we ventured up the hill we found recent footprints spaced about 10' to 20' apart extending laterally across the hills for our visible distance. As we achieved higher elevation we could see 2 vans about 1/2 to 3/4 mile away. We decided we had been out- fossiled for the day. After looking about and finding a few small specimens, we returned to our rigs to be passed a few minutes later by 3 white vans transporting est. 25 to 39 professors and students from Corvallis (we later found out) Right on Beaver Paleo dudes and ladies!

John Day Formation - Bridge Creek Flora - Wheeler Co. OR
After a lunch and refreshment break we drove a few miles to a BLM leaf locality. During our mile or so hike to the site we came across hawk carcass remains and further down