Tar River 10-2011

The Tar River is one of my favorite hunting grounds for petrified wood. I probably have 50 pieces or more from here, with some of them weighing hundreds of pounds. Most of the wood ranges in age from the Pliocene to Miocene epochs. However there is one spot only a few hundred feet in length that appears to be Pleistocene to recent in age.  I have several pieces that are half stone and half lignite from this site. When Hurricane Floyd came through in 1999 it washed many trees into piles on several places along Tar River, Fishing Creek and other streams in eastern North Carolina. I think the same thing happened sometime during the Pleistocene. One of these piles of trees apparently got covered with sand pretty quickly. Over thousands of years the wood began to petrify. Then Hurricane Floyd came along and washed out the sand bar, which exposed the logs once again. A few years later a couple of old rock hunting geezers came along and discovered the piles of petrified wood.  After collecting several large pieces they noticed that these pieces of wood were different than other pieces found along the river. It was then that they decided to share the site with other people. And so began the Tar River petrified wood trip on October 8, 2011. We had a total of 9 people to show up for the trip. We gathered our collection of boats, kayaks and canoes and chucked them in the river pretty quickly, then proceeded to splash our way up the river.   About 45 minutes later we came across the first piece of petrified wood. It was about 6 feet long and probably weighs about 550 pounds. Since that is too much weight for this old geezer to pick up, I left it alone and splashed up the river a couple hundred more feet. Finally we made it to the main collecting area, where there are very many large pieces of wood with one piece probably weighing over 1000 pounds. Everyone beached the boats and started poking around in the mud to find smaller pieces of wood. I think everyone found at least a couple pieces, and I know for sure that everyone found plenty of mud. The day warmed nicely as soon as we started finding petrified wood.  There were several pieces large enough, that I had to struggle to direct the people how to get them in the boat. After all that directing I was getting hot and tired so I sat on my kayak to rest a few minutes. I looked down in the edge of the river and thought I saw a large fossil.  My heart stated racing immediately, but after a few seconds I realized it was just my reflection on the water. As I reflect back on the day now, I think everyone enjoyed being out on the river and away from the crowds. Can’t wait to go back again. Rufus Johnson