Rather wet in the Shirley quadrangle this week. Rain over the weekend brought the Middle Fork up, and we crossed it on the old train bridge at Shirley on Monday. About three miles upstream, there are a couple washouts and parts of the old railroad bed have slumped into the river. We managed to get around all that, but then ran into a gate at Bear Branch. That was the drainage we needed to get anyway, so we hiked up and got a Witts Springs/Cane Hill contact in the ditch of an old road. At that point the rain caught up with the thunder we’d been hearing for a while and we got soaked through, but not for the last time this week.
The next day we did some work in the headwaters of Lost Creek. Again the day looked threatening. We started down the drainage and almost immediately found the trace of a small fault (probably).
We traced it though a couple more side drainages, and got soaked again around noon. It continued to rain on and off the rest of the afternoon. We did see some good examples of Asterosoma, ripple bedding, and sandstone concretions (“Prim boulders”). Also saw what I think is a native spider lily for the first time. Ended the day by climbing 300 feet up one side drainage, followed a bench over to another, and climbed back down to the main drainage, then 500 feet back up to the Jeep (Goldy). All was wet and slippery.
The next day the sun came out and the air was much cooler and drier. What a relief! We started by going to an area marked “Chimney Rocks” on the map. It is near the the top of a mountain where a massive sandstone unit has weathered along its joints to form several large blocks and pedestals which are slowly creeping downslope away from the bluff from which they originate. The weathering of the pedestals slows down tremendously once they detach from the face because they simultaneously become disconnected from groundwater. The area, though small, is very scenic, and I took many photos.
After that we drove to the bottom of Good Spur Hollow and walked upstream and down until we ran out of time and had to get back to Little Rock. Couldn’t ask for better field weather on Wednesday. Hope it holds out!
See you next week!
Snake count: 1
Tick attacks: low to moderate