Eleven elite paleo enthusiasts were flown into the Tyaughton area near Castle Peak north of Goldbridge 007-style in a shiny new Jet Ranger helicopter. 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 trip we saw fresh tracks and fresh scat, but the bears were actively avoiding our camp, just leaving enough evidence to give us the heads up that this is their territory. Over the course of the trek, we collected some beautiful ammonites, several of which are new species, and saw a buck with a sexy set of horns, flocks of Franciscans and a majestic lone wolf.
The area boasts abundant fossil marine specimens and 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.
Aside from the abundant specimens and breathtaking beauty, the area holds a special place in my heart. A few years ago, Dr. Louise Longridge, a paleontologist who specializes in the Taseko Lake fauna, bestowed a great honor on me by naming a new species of ammonite from Castle Peak after me, Fergusonites hendersoni.