stalking the wily fossil
First, you have to get there. These mountains are a recent addition. The Cascade range did not exist when the lake did.
The Stonerose Fossil Center is located just on the outskirts of Republic, Wa. It's an old mining and logging town, small and isolated, so sometimes businesses combine services not usually seen together.
Here's a view of the fossil strata with a bit of bustling downtown Republic in the corner.
The lakebed compressed over the millenia to a nice, fine-grained shale that is easy to split in layers like a cake. The trick to fossil-hunting is to chisel out a good-sized hunk of rock from the side of the cliff, then taking your hammer and chisel and very, very carefully tapping it until it decides to flake open. And if you are lucky, you will find something interesting pressed in between the flakes of stone. Mostly you find nothing. Now and then you get generic lakebottom crud, or the ever-present worm tracks (I noted, with suspicion, that while wormtracks were everywhere nobody ever found a fossilized worm. Theories vary, mine is there was only one worm that lived for a long, long time.)
My fossils are below (you are allowed to keep 3 per day of digging, as long as they aren't of scientific signifigance). I was given the signal honor of having one of my fossils confiscated for further research. They promised to send me the results once they figure out what it is.