Ocotillo Wells SRVA Field Trips, April 18, 2015

posted Apr 27, 2015, 12:52 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

The field trip on April 18, 2015, brought to mind some of our previous trips. The three dates of these pictures are not all of the trips we have made to the Anza-Borrego area, but each trip has yielded wonderful material for our Educational Rock Sample Bags for the children (and many adults) who attend the Date Festival.

Submitted by Barbara Catlin

Pebble Terrace/Bed Spring Hill/Opal Hill Mine Road, March

posted Apr 27, 2015, 12:35 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

Pebble Terrace March 14, 2014

The trip started out with 15 people and 5 dogs in 6 four wheel drive vehicles.  We were afraid it might be too hot out there, but there was a light breeze which made it quite nice.

We spent 2 hours at the “Bed Springs “ area, and then things picked up when we moved to the fire agate area and started finding some nice Chalcedony with possible fire in it. While at this location we met some folks from the Borrego Springs Rock Club. They were taking the Opal Hill Mine Road to where they said was the source of the Chalcedony Roses.  So, some of us were anxious to follow them, plus find a shorter way back to the freeway. Well, we were too slow in following after them, and lost the road past the Opal Hill Mine. The road was quite rough, too, so 4 of the vehicles went home the way they came.  I (Fred Kalmar) was with Dave Kelley and Rosemary Stonick in my Hummer, and Al Granger in his Jeep with guests, Steve Meyers and Sam Hestrop, who all wanted to try again. We found the right road and found the other Club.  They were right!  The roses were plentiful, and I found some Chalcedony that had nice crystal cavities, almost like geodes. From this location, it was a breeze to get back to the freeway. The Wiley’s Well Road was in exceptional condition, having just been graded. We passed the little red Suzuki from the rest of our group going back on the freeway to our refreshment stop at Chiriaco

WHAT A DAY!!  A lot of fun!

Submitted by Fred Kalmar & Photos by Barbara Catlin

Riverside County Fair, February 2015

posted Apr 27, 2015, 12:14 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

We had a wonderful time at the County Fair.

Quartzsite Pow-Wow Trip, Jan. 24, 2015

posted Feb 9, 2015, 2:11 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety   [ updated Apr 27, 2015, 1:49 PM ]

Quartzsite Pow-Wow Trip, Jan. 24, 2015

Pow-Wow by bus. We played our version of stuff the bus with rockhounds. What a wonderful way to do Quartzsite shopping. 


Preparing for the Date Festival. Jan.17,2015

posted Feb 9, 2015, 1:34 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

                                         Preparing for the Date Festival

On January 17, 2015, a lively group of Shadow Mountain Gem and Mineral Society members and friends met at the home of Darlene Bjork and Marge Buxton to fill the Educational Rock Sample Bags. At break time we were served delicious donuts. When we had filled 912 bags, we had assorted pizza for lunch!


It was a time of good fellowship and camaraderie, while we were accomplishing something for the good of our Club!  And fun, too!  

Submitted by Barbara Catlin 

Kramer Junction, January 10, 2015

posted Feb 9, 2015, 1:14 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

Nine of us braved the threatening looking weather and headed for Kramer Junction. By the time we arrived at the collection site, the sun decided to shine, at least for a while, and we spent several hours surface collecting and also digging this beautiful opalite, agate, palm and bog in a wild variety of colors!

The photos here do not do justice to the beautiful material! We did have some light rain on our return trip, which seemed to be no bother at all, except for the passengers in the little blue Jeep!

Several members missed this trip due to illness. We wish them a speedy recovery, and hope they will join us on our return trip to Kramer Junction!

Submitted by Barbara Catlin


posted Feb 9, 2015, 12:12 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

MARY E. FLAGEL             

Our beloved Lifetime Member, Mary E. Flagel, is pictured here on May 5, 2006, receiving an award for 25 years of service as Treasurer of The Shadow Mountain Gem and Mineral Society.  Mary left this world on December 22, 2014, after a long illness. Those of us who were blessed to know Mary benefited from her vast knowledge of gems and minerals. She taught us many things, and shared her knowledge with us generously. Her displays in the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival always won the top prizes. 

When Mary became ill, part of her wonderful collection became available to our Society, and we are still reaping the rewards from all those beautiful items.

Thank you, Mary, for being part of The Shadow Mountain Gem and Mineral Society, and part of our lives.

Submitted by Barbara Catlin, Recording Secretary and Historian, Shadow Mountain Gem and Mineral Society

Scouting trip to Borrego Springs Dec. 20, 2015

posted Jan 2, 2015, 1:58 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

Don’t believe everything you read. Several years ago, a friend passed along a Rockhounder article from 1972, describing an accidental find of apache tears in the “Borrego Sink.” After a couple fruitless attempts on my own, I proposed this potential to our scouting committee and a real search was in the works.

On the beautiful morning of December 20th, the top dogs of our club set off with 6 human rouckhounds armed with vague 40 year old directions. Along a 3 mile stretch of route 22 west of Salton City, where these obsidian nodules supposedly were “lying about by the hundreds”, we stopped everywhere there was room for 3 cars. Spending no less than 30 minutes at each stop, we fanned out in all directions scouring for even a shard of volcanic glass. After 4 stops we threw in the towel and the only evidence of tears were those of disappointment on my face. Fortunately, they dried quickly amid the stunning geologic scenery. I guess sometimes, Mother Nature sticks her tongue out at you.

Making lemonade from the lemons we were dealt in the morning, we headed down the road toward Ocotillo Wells for petrified wood. The first hour of collecting was meager for some of us, so we backtracked a bit. Within feet of our cars there were great specimens for the Date Festival bags! As always, never being too old to learn, there was a lively discussion around what appeared to be entire logs which were buried, but not ‘cooked’ long enough become petrified. Rather, there were fragile wood-like fragments, surrounded by powdery, yet colorful hematite, limonite or related iron compounds. Of course, specimens too large for the bags, had to go home with the finder.

On second thought, Mother Nature wasn’t taunting us, just pointing us to look further to the right! By the way, for us fluorescent collectors, the wood is a beautiful yellow-orange in shortwave UV!

Footnote to trip – The AM/PM at the corner of 22 and 86 is well worth a stop. From delicious carne asada tacos to banana splits big enough for two, they have what it takes to replenish a weary rockhounder!

Submitted by Bill Beecher

Garnet Hill, December 6th 2014

posted Jan 2, 2015, 1:42 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety   [ updated Apr 27, 2015, 5:45 PM ]

The  third  try  was  the  charm  for  this  trip  after  two  cancellations  due  to  high  winds and  blowing   sands.  Our  happy  and  enthusiastic  troop  of  18  members  met  at  9 a.m.  at  the  Motel  6.  After   being  placed  into  4  wheel  drive  trucks,  we  took  off  to Garnet  Hill  at  approximately  9:15  a.m.



Taking  the  back  way,  we  ran  into  some  problems,  water  and  mud  on  the  trail.  One truck  got   stuck  but  Mike  Attard  pulled  him  out  with  his  red  jeep.

 We  did  not proceed  on  this  path,  but   found  a  better  one  and  up  the  hill  we  went,  stopping  a couple  of  times  to  look  around.  When   we  reached  the  top,  we  found  what  we were looking  for rocks  that  were  beaten  and  covered   up  by  wind  and  sand.  I  saw Darlene  on  her  hands  and  knees  pushing  sand  about  and  she  found   her  glory hole several  dozen  garnets  which  went  to  the  youngest  member  of  our  club.  

Thank you  Darlene. 

I  believe  everyone  in  the  group  found  something  wonderful  by  noon  and  we  went back  to  our   meeting  place  for  a  break  and  refreshments  before  driving  off  in search of  Wonderstone.   Everyone  found  something  to  take  home.  It  was  a  very  successful trip  and  everyone  was  a   happy  camper. 


Submitted  by  John  Zedler,  field  trip  leader.

Scouting Little Chuckwalla Mountains, November 24, 2014

posted Dec 5, 2014, 12:23 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

    Scouting the Little Chuckwalla Mountains and Graham Pass Road on November 24, 2014

    “You can’t win them all.” So the saying goes!  We had beautiful scenery, wonderful desert vistas, and a very nice day, but not enough collectable material to support a Club field trip!

   The Bureau of Land Management has closed all the vehicle routes to the areas of good material, and what is within hiking distance of the open route is VERY picked over and pretty rough country.


   To soothe our disappointment, the seven of us decided to check out the Chuckwalla Bench for blue nodules, only to discover that the Chuckwalla Valley Road (old Highway 60-70) was closed due to storm damage.  We used the Corridor K power line road to reach the nodule area where we didn’t stay long.  Maybe we didn’t stop in the right spot, because the material was scarce there, too!

   We were discouraged to find that the old highway was closed from the Graham Pass Road all the way to the Corn Springs Overpass on Interstate 10, with wash outs and bridges out, and we had to keep returning to the power line road to reach Interstate 10 from the nodule area. It is interesting to note that the power line road is well used and in good condition, whereas the County might not be able to afford to repair the Chuckwalla Valley Road.

   We hope the next scouting trip will bring better results. We won’t give up!!

Submitted by Barbara Catlin

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