Maryland Outdoor Club
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Don't Hate Me! Fosiling Hike

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Westmoreland County, VA
Date(s) & Time:Thu, Jan 3 2008  8:15 am  (Carpool Departure: 8:15 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Thu, Dec 20 2007 12:00 am
Registration Cut Off: Thu, Jan 3 2008 12:59 pm
Event Duration:8-10h (from carpool loc.)
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Event Organizer(s):
Ruwan Alwis
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:6
Minimum Group Size:1
Number Registered So Far: 1 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No

It’s bear to start off like this during one of the coldest months! I hate to begin without a more basic or moderate fossiling event to build on. But,… I have my reasons for starting out this way (hopefully they will become more apparent, in good time).

Fossil hunting can be a very fascinating hobby/interest that can serve as a gateway into a career in and/or towards a greater appreciation of the natural sciences. In my opinion, the best fossiling is done in small groups, and the focus and patience required for serious surface collecting brings on an almost zen-like pure, peaceful state of mind. This effect is good, especially since finding fossils requires a whole lot of luck. And sadly, after looking around for hours, you may not turn up anything at all. There are other times when you may find some pretty neat stuff—some really neat keepsakes! In all cases, remember to think of your SAFETY first. Think and rethink the risks and consequences associated with certain acts while you are out in the field. Try to anticipate what may go wrong ahead of time so you can be prepared and keep things manageable. After many years of going on “fossil runs” and studying the subject, I’m starting to feel okay about the idea of leading beginner and moderate fossiling events. I feel somewhat okay with the idea of taking smaller groups of responsible/respectful MOCers out on more challenging “runs”.

Being on the day after George Washington’s Birthday, we will focus our search near our first president’s old stomping grounds along the Potomac in Northern Virginia. After a brief stop at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument (no collecting permitted at this park), we will venture over to the nearby Westmoreland State Park. This park offers short, easy-grade fossil kayaking outings to its fossil beach during the summer. Both the trail leading to this beach and the beach itself are very unpolished. As with all parks in the general Mid-Atlantic area, visitors are expected to be respectful and leave the cliffs alone. Opportunities to collect near cliffs may sometimes be available through groups like the Maryland Geological Society, Calvert Marine Museum Fossil Club, and the Virginia Museum of Natural History. The more serious fossil collectors in the area maintain websites where warnings and occasionally horror stories are retold about accidents while collecting.
Local museums and fossil clubs are also great places to learn more about the subject of paleontology.

Depending on how well we fare, we may look at hitting another collecting spot in the area. Some less obvious advantages of collecting in the winter include the occurrence of exaggerated low tides which leave lots of beach open for surface collecting and also perhaps a decrease in the convectional currents in the chilly water does not cloudy the water as much with the sandy silt of the riverbed/oceanbed. Great care and preparation must be taken to keep warm and comfortable while collecting in the winter. Don’t worry about being fashionable on this hike. I just want to make sure everyone prepares for comfort versus appearance (take a “function outweighs form” approach). I wore six heavy layers while scouting one of these hikes!

Things to expect: You will get dirty. Light-hearted coarse language will be expected and tolerated. With our small group using a teamwork approach, you will probably find some thing(s) that are neat keepsakes. You will work up an appetite. I hope you will feel good about having earned your possible finds and feel like the day was well spent.

Please be aware that variations of this hike will run later in the year and be posted for different hike/event objectives. If you get turned down from this hike at the leader's discretion, please note that another hike will most likely be designed/generated to fit your level/interests. More unpolished outings, as well as family/beginner-rated outings, can be expected down the road

Required Items to Bring:
Water, snacks, brown bag lunch, $ for gas+toll+park fee
Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
hiking boots for muddy trails, dress appropriately for the weather and for possibly getting muddy, $ for coffee n' fast food dinner on way home,

How to Get There:
Event Directions:From Google maps:

1. Head northeast on Greenbelt Station Rd 0.1 mi
2. Take the ramp onto Capital Beltway/I-495 N/I-95 N 1.1 mi
2 mins
3. Take exit 25 for US-1 toward Laurel/Baltimore Ave/College Park 0.3 mi
4. Turn left at Baltimore Ave/US-1 0.1 mi
1 min
5. Take the Beltway S/I-95 S/I-495 S ramp to Andrews AFB/Richmond VA 0.2 mi
2 mins
6. Keep left at the fork to continue toward Capital Beltway/I-495 S/I-95 S and merge onto Capital Beltway/I-495 S/I-95 S 17.9 mi
20 mins
7. Take exit 7A to merge onto Branch Ave/MD-5 S toward Waldorf
Continue to follow MD-5 S 12.3 mi
16 mins
8. Continue on Crain Hwy/MD-5-BR S/US-301 S
Continue to follow US-301 S
Partial toll road
Entering Virginia 38.1 mi
47 mins
9. Turn left at VA-3 17.7 mi
24 mins
10. Turn left at VA-347 0.6 mi
2 mins
Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):0Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 8:15 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions

- We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines at all times while participating in MOC events.
- Details of this event are subject to undergo a change at any point in time, with or without warning.
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- Notice any errors or problems in the information on this page? Please notify our Content Editor(s), Amy Lipsius, at

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:
Please review our Cancellation Policy carefully!