Sunday morning; up again at the crack of dawn for some more fossil hunting today, this time around another hill, not too far from yesterday’s location, some 1,600 meters above sea level. I took my nine-year old along, who turned out to have quite an avid eye for fossils.
Yesterday I only ran into bivalves, today it was gastropods all over the place. Even though both locations are quite close, less than 2 kilometers away, the types of fossils were totally different. At some spots there were only sea urchins.
Upon request of my brother; a gastropod (also known as snail) and an echinoderm (popularly called ‘sand dollars’)
I ran into those trail signs again, took a picture this time. They must be part of the Lebanon Mountain Trail, which is 'the first long-distance hiking trail in Lebanon. It extends from Al-Qbaiyat in the north of Lebanon to Marjaayoun in the south, a 440-km path that transects more than 75 towns and villages at altitude ranging from 600 meters to 2,000 meters above sea level (source).' Yet another thing for my bucket list.
And so we walked along part of that trail, looking for fossils. (here are some other people that did )
|Mount Lebanon Trail marker; this one means 'trail goes to the right'|
You’ve got to get up really early if you’re looking for fossils. The moment the sun climbs into the sky, i.e. around 9 o’clock, the light gets very sharp, and all stones start looking like each other. The soil was wet, so it’s easy to pry them out, but some are so massive, there’s no way you can haul them with you.
The rainy season has started, and my daughter got herself some rain boots. A very Dutch accessory, but not easy to find in Lebanon until they became a fashion item. Who would want to wear rubber boots for fun? Unless you go puddle stomping.
It was so early when we got there, everything was still covered in dew. The crocuses were out. (Did you know, Ysbrand, that the cultivation of the crocus was started around the Mediterranean and that they were brought to Holland – where they are now a sign of spring - back in the 1560s from Constantinople by a Flemish ambassador. Why cultivate crocuses? That’s where you get saffron from! For a gram of saffron, you need about 150 flowers, for a kilo 150,000. A pound of saffron can range between $500 to $4,500. The saffron is the stigmas of the crocus, and each flower has only 3!
Well, I've bored you enough with my gastropods and crocuses. Tomorrow's Monday, and so it's back to work.