Paleo Field Trip to Brownwood, TX

March 13 through March 16, 2014

Details on where and when to meet will be e-mailed later. The trip dates are March 13-16, 2014. That means you can come for all or part of the trip, whatever your schedule permits. More details further down.

We have gone in all types of weather. That usually does not stop us. If I have driven that far, I am collecting some fossils.

Brownwood is still in extreme drought, so I don’t know how much erosional refreshing of fossils has gone on since last year.
Children are welcome, but you MUST supervise them closely as we will be in some areas where you can get hurt (or worse) if you are not careful.

For those who are new to the club and/or new to Brownwood, TX:

1. Where is Brownwood and how do I get there?

Brownwood is located in Brown County in north central Texas on US Highway 84. There are multiple ways to get there, depending on your own personal preference. Pull out your map or look at a map online. I usually find my way to TX Hwy 36 via I-10 or US 290. I take Hwy 36 to the Belton/Temple area, then US 190 over to Lampasas, then US 183 (which merges with US 84 at Goldthwaite) to Brownwood. You can choose your own route depending on what you want to see and where you want to stop along the way. I like to look for fossil collecting opportunities along the way. There are some obvious places in Copperas Cove and just south of Lometa. There are Zebras in Zephyr.

2. How long does it take to get there?

It takes roughly 5 hours to drive from Houston. Approximately 290 miles, depending on your starting point. You’ll probably want to stop for gas in Lampasas (assuming you go that way).

3. How much does it cost?

Our field trips are generally free, unless there is a fee to get into a specific location. This trip is free, but you are responsible for your own transportation, food, and lodging costs.

4. Where do I stay?

In the past, many of us have “roughed it” at Lexy’s historic old house, but the water pipes have finally died there. That will 99.9% not be an option for us this year. Tthis time you will have to find your own accommodations. There are several hotels in Brownwood and the Flagship Inn out by Lake Brownwood. Last year they offered a $20 discount. I have sent them an e-mail, but have not received a reply yet. There also are camping options at Lake Brownwood State Park. Google it.

5. What will I find there?

Primarily fossils of sea life, including urchin pieces, gastropods, bivalves, corals, brachiopods, the occasional rare shark tooth, sponges, and other goodies, and possibly some plants from the Pennsylvanian period. Maybe some Permian fossils and Cretaceous fossils too.

Depending on the weather, you may also find some hazardous Texas critters–such as rattlesnakes, scorpions, spiders, red ants, etc. You will need to keep an eye out if it is warm.

If you want to see a lot of pictures of fossils and trip reports from some of our past trips there, go to http://www.thefossilforum.com/ and search the Hunting Trips forum for Brownwood. I think you probably need to be signed in to view most of the pictures, so create an account and sign in. You’ll like it.

6. What do I need to take with me?

Appropriate clothing: This is Texas. The weather can go from 70 degrees to 25 in an hour. Check the weather forecast for Brownwood before you leave Houston. You may need T-shirts or polar gear or both. Be prepared. Seriously, you will need two changes of clothing per day (and shoes). One for hunting and one for after. Take a jacket. You will need it at night. I usually take more than I need, but I have it if I need it.

Collecting gear: Boots or old shoes, clothes that you don’t mind getting permanently dirty, knee pads (a personal favorite), gloves, Ziploc bags, pill bottles, plastic shoe boxes, buckets (whatever you might need to put fossils in), backpack, screwdriver or small pointy trowel, rock hammer (if you like to bang on rocks), aluminum foil or some other method of packing small and/or delicate fossils.

Other: a cooler, plenty of water to drink, snacks, lunch, sunscreen, hat, whatever you want.

Preliminary Trip Itinerary (subject to change):

Thursday – Since we are not able to use Lexy’s house this year, I suppose that most people will either be still working or will be traveling (including myself) to Brownwood. In the past, many of us have used this first day to collect fossils along the way to Brownwood. This year will be no different. If anyone wants to meet up along the way or in Brownwood later that evening, we can coordinate that later.
Friday – To Be Decided. There are plenty of places to go and most of you know them. Park Road 15, the old fish hatchery, spillway, etc. We are trying to find some new spots.
Saturday – This is the day that most people are able to attend. We will probably go to Wilson’s Clay Pit in the morning as that is the most productive and easiest spot to collect. We will probably spend 4 or 5 hours there with an afternoon trip to excursion to a nearby spot or to the Lake Brownwood spillway. Bring your lunch and plenty to drink.
Sunday – We will play it by ear. If we get a new spot to go to, we may shoot for it early in the morning. Otherwise, you can go on your own to revisit a spot or go to a spot where you haven’t been. You must leave the Brownwood area around 1:00 or so to get back to Houston at a decent hour.

Field Trip to Brownwood is a photo gallery of our almost annual trip to Brownwood, TX. It included some Cretaceous sites along the way there and various sites in the Pennsylvanian/Permian mish-mash around the Brownwood area in Brown and Coleman counties with a little more Cretaceous thrown in. Texas was in a severe drought at the time, and some places usually covered by water were able to be hunted.