We moved up the East Coast to Virginia one week ago today. We drove the 800 miles from Florida in two days, with a plan to settle in for 2-weeks in Virginia while the Maine weather warmed up. This was our first trip to the Thousand Trails in Chesapeake Bay, and we lucked out with a campsite. We are in E-6, a 30-amp full hookup site, right on the banks of the Piankatank River. There is even a little path that leads down to the water and a picnic table on the small beach right behind our RV. We did not have a lot of plans for exploring Virginia but we knew with 2-weeks here we would need to find some nice state parks to get out and enjoy some hikes.
Our first trip out was to Caledon State Park. We read that there were plenty of hiking trails through old growth forests.
This park is located on the Potomac River and the area is supposed to contain the highest concentration of bald eagles on the east coast. We spotted a few eagles on our drive in, but did not see any in the park. We decided on the Boyd’s Hole trail to the Cliffs overlook trail to get a view of the Potomac.
On our hike we met a very nice lady who lives “across the street” from the state park. She told us that you can find fossils, particularly sharks teeth on the beaches in the park. You are allowed to keep any of these that you find. We were intrigued and decided after taking in the views from the cliffs we would walk down to the shores to see if we could find a fossilized shark tooth. John and I looked on the waters edge and through the shells near the water line and did not find anything. We were ready to give up when the lady we had met earlier came around the corner. She spent some time showing us the best way to look for them. She likes to walk with the sun at her back along the edge where the small waves lap the shore and watch for the “small black triangles” to get uncovered.
We were very lucky and found 9 teeth of various shapes and sizes. I must say it is very relaxing watching the waves lapping the shores as you are looking for these “treasures”. We were definitely hooked after this first visit. We packed up our treasures and completed our hike of nearly 4.5 miles. We both said it was one of our most fun days of the trip.
We have spent some time since that first visit to Caledon reading up on finding fossils on the east coast. Beginning about 95 million years ago the sea alternately flooded and drained the landscape bordering the Atlantic Ocean. There is a theory that this area was a “nursery” for sharks so there was a high concentration of them here. This combined with the fact that sharks produce thousands of teeth in their lifetime explains whey there are so many fossilized teeth here. We learned that the campground on the Peace River in Florida, that we will be staying at next winter, contains fossilized sharks teeth as well. I see a new pastime in our future.
We decided our 2nd visit would be to Westmoreland State Park. It even has a beach called “Fossil Beach”. We visited Westmoreland on a Saturday at the tail end of spring break for the south. This is when we learned that not only are the parks busier but they cost more when you visit on the weekend. The hike to the beach at Westmoreland is only 1/2 mile, but it is down a pretty steep hill, great for hiking in, but it’s a pretty steep hike up on the way out. The beach was packed with people looking for fossils. They were all well equipped with colanders and “sharks teeth sifters”.
The teeth were not easy to find here but John did find two. The area is very pretty with cliffs on either side.
The fossils are in the cliffs and wash into the water as they erode. You are not allowed to dig for fossils in the cliffs. We enjoyed our stay here and left knowing we were going to need to find a “shark teeth sifter” for next winter’s adventures.