Catskill Quarry in Autumn

One of my favorite places locally, especially this time of year, is a seldom used quarry just on the other side of the ridge from my studio. One section of it in particular is rife with fossils – cephalopods, gastropods, and lots of brachiopods. There are so many to be found that my greatest difficulty usually is trying to keep my bag light enough to hike out. And once again that proved to be so a few days ago when I ventured in there after a long absence.

I have learned the hard way that summertime gets a bit tricky when climbing around on tall rock piles. Hornets seem to like the underside of larger broken rocks and find them to be safely undisturbed – a great place for a home. And I’d think that’s a pretty safe bet for them to make. After all, who or what would want to be climbing around on loose rock? Ha! Too many times I unsuspectedly overturned a rock to find an angry horde of hornets all too willing to strike back at an accidental “assailant”! Fighting them off is far too hazardous to willingly wish for. So no quarry visits in the summer. Snow covers everything in winter. Spring is too wet. And that leaves Autumn.

Coincidentally, Autumn just seems like the very best time to hike up in there. The picture above is the view out to the west. From the ridgetop you look out at the eastern escarpment of the Catskill Mountains. And directly below the quarry (out of frame) is a beaver pond nestled at the base of the next ridge. Then, of course, there are the colors of autumn. While they may vary somewhat from year to year they are always beautiful and a true joy to behold.

So here is where it really comes out – the truth about this “fossil hunting” business. What better way to spend time then be alone on a ridgetop surrounded by a multicolored forest on a crisp sunny day. Getting to crack rocks in this big playpen, uncovering marine animal fossils from further back in time than I can comprehend all amounts to icing on the cake! And while it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll ever find anything of earth-shattering importance for the scientific community I find objects of visual and sculptural wonder at every turn.

Here are some of them from this last trip:

And on a final note I would like to wish a happy and joyous 84th birthday to my dear sweet Mother, Mrs. Hilda Veronica Gaudioso Murphy. I’m working on a fossil bouquet for you!

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Thank you for the visit. More images at

3 thoughts on “Catskill Quarry in Autumn

  1. looks great Art, i have a couple of stones I’ve been keeping for you with fossil in them if you like to pick-up when you are around our hood. We are in Catskill all weekend so swing by. Best my friend keep up the good work. Best Gerardo

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