2004 Trips

TRIP 2004 A--3 April 2004--McFadden Beach, Jefferson County, Texas

Those who went on this trip were: Beverlie Millen; Maureen Millen; Delilah A. Proctor; Terry Proctor; Anna Stanley; Jay Vinluan; Joel Vinluan; and Julien Vinluan. Several who had signed on to make the trip had to work. Our condolences as it was one of the best trips we have made, both at to weather, beach condition and results.

For more information on this trip, go to the bottom of the page for this trip to McFADDEN BEACH, TEXAS. If you want to make this trip on your own OR the next time we go there, you can get some additional information on the page we provided, before the trip on upcoming trip to McFadden Beach.


HGMS Members and guests met at 8:30 A.M. at the Knox Fuel Stop, I.H. 10 West Exit 723. Those who showed up followed the leader to the place to put the canoes into the water. Some early arrivers parked under the I.H. 10 bridge so when canoers arrived and got out, there was transportation to shuffle folks back to the starting site. HGMS members were on the Brazos River by about 9:00 AM and out of the River by 2:00 P.M. On these trips, you can bring your own canoe or you can rent a place in a canoe by checking with the Field Trip Chairman for HGMS or PMNS. The rental cost is not great.

TRIP 2004-C EISENHOWER STATE PARK TRIP--September 4,5 & 6, 2004

HGMS & PMNS member, Peter Ragusa was in charge of this trip. Members met at the Park Headquarters Parking Lot at about 9:00 A.M. each day, to start that day's trip. Peter had handouts at the HGMS Clubhouse. Those going were advised to bring water, lunch, sun and chigger stuff. Serious hand tools were suggested. Neal Immega who provided a of 5 foot bar and sledge hammer. A crack hammer and chisels were suggested as tools to bring.


A joint HGMS & Annual PMNS Trip was held. Members of both groups met at the Highway 21 Bridge over the Brazos River, going West between Bryan and Caldwell. We will met about 8:00 A.M. in the area described as follows: After crossing the Brazos River Bridge on Highway 21 headed West, there are cars pulled off to the right. Those who dig there do a U turn to the right, across the shoulder and then park along that area between the highway and the RR Tracks.. Diggers then walk East down the path and then to the North along a bushy trail, to get down to the dig area on the Brazos River Bank, which is on the Southwest side of the Brazos River. Always bring long sleeves and leg clothing, as there is poison ivy on the way down (I took some Roundup and sprayed the area, so hopefully next year it may not be so covered. Diggers should bring sun lotion and Insect protection spray. Tools used are anything from knives and spoons, paint brushes, trowels, small shovels, chisels etc. The dirt is hard, but not that hard. The main thing is to dig carefully and not destroy your prize find of the day. At Stone City, you find Middle Eocene gastropods but fewer bivalves (at least ones you can get out in good condition). Many gastropods come out great but the bivalves seem to want to break up in excavation, even with great care. There are also Scapholapods, Bryozoans, Coelenterates (corals), Brachiopods, squid beaks, shark's teeth and other marine reptiles.

This year, on one trip back to the cars, I discovered one of the group of scouts from Troop 512 at Holy Trinity United Methodist Church, stopped in his tracks. He was pointing and saying s-s-s-s-n-n-n-a-a-k-k-e. I stepped on the head and then grabbed the snake behind the head. I though it was a pygmy rattler, but it turned out to be a juvenile Western Cottonmouth. I had it in the law office for a time in a terrarium for others to see. After attempting to give it to the Houston Zoo and the Jesse L. Jones Park in Harris County, neither of which wanted it, it was released in a non-populated area.

The interesting thing was that we put a white mouse in the terrarium for the snake to eat in October, 2004. By February, 2005 the Cottonmouth had not eaten the mouse or even tried to strike it, after the first day. It also did not eat the minnows or the fetal mouse I had bought at Petco to feed it. I have photos and video of the mouse ignoring the snake and even standing on it and nipping it on the nose. Apparently the snake knew the mouse was too large to eat and didn't want to waste valuable venom on the mouse to bite it.

After digging until about 1:30 P.M., we adjourned to the Ranch of our friend, Terry Stiles. Terry Stiles, as he does almost every year, barbecued chickens for us. The members and Boy Scouts and other guests each brought trimmings of chips, salads, cold drinks, dessert and other trimmings. Terry Stiles is the Administrator of the Texas A&M Veterinarian College and has hundreds of feet of frontage on the Brazos River, downstream from where we will be digging.

Western Cottonmouth (juvenile)
(Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma)
and a white laboratory mouse
(Muridae Mus musculus)
for more pictures go to the page for modern reptiles on this web site

TRIP 2004-B--now being planned--check periodically to the UPCOMING TRIPS page.