Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Field Trip Fever!

Well, dear friends, it's almost ... well, okay, so it just seems like it's Spring!
The flowers and hay fever are blooming, the grape vines have decided to start budding, and the Water Wars are heating up for another growing season.

And, so soon after Valentines Day, the rockhounds heart feels the warmth of the Sun, and turns to thoughts of Field Trips! So, lets talk details!

Yes, I know that you know about the "Going Home From Tucson" Field Trip, scheduled for Saturday, February 27th. This was originally planned for the benefit of Rockhounds@drizzle e-list members who're attending the winterr gem shows, but has greatly expanded since I hooked up with the Fresno Gem & Mineral Society. At this date, it looks like we should have at least 20 folks on this Field Trip to the Little Panoche Reservoir site.

I'll be out at the I-5 & J-1/Little Panoche road off ramp by 9 am to put up signs for the directionally challenged. Be sure to take a good look at the Google Maps link, and remember that the site is 3 miles west of I-5, on the north side of J-1. If you reach the power lines, you've gone too far.

If you're coming from Fresno, you've got lots of choices for lunch. If you're coming from the south on I-5, the closest stop is at the Panoche Road/I-5 off ramp, with fast food & sit-down dining opportunities, and a good motel. Coming from the north, Santa Nella, Los Banos, and the Nee's/Firebaugh exit from I-5 feature lots of food & lodging choices. The Chevron at Nee's has a good Subway's inside, and friendly service.

The materials to be collected at this site are a grab bag of California favorites, with jasper/agate, chert, fossils, jade, serpentine and many more identifiable and "mystery" materials.

A high silica serpentine (I think!) with hematite inclusions

A high silica ironstone concretion ... Takes a mean polish!

We will be out at the site just about 9am, and will stay there 'til at least 1:30. Be sure and bring water & lunch, and extra snackables. There is a larger parking area and porta-potties 5 minutes further west on J-1, at the Little Panoche Dam. If Mark & I see enough enthusiastic folks who can't get enough great cutting material, visiting additional sites that day is a possibility.

If you plan to attend, please make sure that I know, so I can bring along a special "surprise" for you! Also, be sure to bring along stuff to "swap," especially if you're coming from "away's." Remember, what you think is pedestrian may be another rockhound's treasure, and vice versa!

FYI, this is not an official Club, Society or Federation event. All attendees do so at their own risk, and will be asked to sign a "Waiver of Liability." The conditions at this site are as safe as most roadsides in western Fresno County, so this is just a formality to cover our as*es.

In March, we're planning a multi-day Field Trip to the Mojave Desert, with from the 26th through the 29th. We'll be basing ourselves in Barstow, at the Motel 6, but would welcome adventurous souls with RV's who want to camp "onsite." Lavic is great for this, if you don't mind the trains!

Collecting certainties so far are the Lavic jasper/agate area & the Sierra Pelona Travertine Claim.
Other possibilities are Opal Mountain, Kramer's Junction, Castle Butte, and Chambliss. Acton Canyon, Cadiz and many other sites are easily accessible from Barstow, as is Calico Ghost Town.

View Directions to Lavic, California in a larger map

If you can attend for at least one day, please let us know ASAP, to aid in coordinating the trip. We'd like to get together with as many rockhounds as possible, and do a little cleanup at the collecting areas, to be reported to the BLM.
We all need to make as much of a statement about keeping the Mojave accessible for rockhounding as we possibly can, since many "Environmentalists" would like to shut us off of these "public" lands.

If you have a trip going on, or one to propose, don't hesitate to contact me. I'll gladly help to plan or promote Field Trips, or tag along!

'Til next post ... KEEP ROCKIN'!


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