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

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

Field Trip Report: November 15, 2014

posted Dec 5, 2014, 11:31 AM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

                       Field Trip Report:  November 15, 2014

   On our way to the Salton Sea, we were dismayed to discover that the fascinating Mud Pots were now posted with “NO TRESPASSING” signs.

It is my thought that the area now belongs to the owners of the energy generating plant that sits to the immediate north east.

Fifteen of us gathered 1,500 pieces of Pumice at the Red Hill Marina for our Educational Rock Sample Bags. 


Marge and Lynda immersed them all in water to be sure they would float. (Great Fun!) 


Some of us found some pretty good obsidian, and some larger pieces for yard rock.  Marge kept us well organized, so the Pumice gathering went quickly, which left us plenty of time to visit the Bertram Mine and collect Glauberites. 


  This year’s trip to the Bertram Mine produced the most fabulous Glauberites (Na2Ca(SO4)2) our Club has ever found! 


    Some of us never grow up—it is still so much fun to dig in the dirt!!

   Special thanks to all who sent photographs of this delightful trip:

Mary Kirmil, Marge Buxton, Clarcie Thornburg, Fred Kalmar.

Submitted by:

Barbara Catlin

Scouting Trip, October 23, 2014

posted Nov 11, 2014, 3:18 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

Scouting Trip, October 23, 2014

This was the first trip for our newly established Scouting Committee. We chose the area of Kramer Junction to explore.

It took us about 2 ½ hours to get there, but we were not disappointed.  The area is vast, and there seems to be an endless amount of opalite in a wide range of colors, and red and yellow moss, much of it showing inclusions of fossilized stems and roots.

The Committee has determined that this would be an excellent place for the Shadow Mountain Gem and Mineral Society to schedule a field trip very soon.


Submitted by:  Barbara Catlin

With great sadness, we announce the passing..

posted Jun 4, 2014, 3:24 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

The passing of Richard Catlin   5/19/2014

As I write this I am very saddened to have to report the passing of Richard Catlin. We have all lost a very loved member of the club. Richard has been a member for more than 40 years. He has held many positions. Board member, news letter editor, trip leader and joke teller, sometimes telling a joke more than once but always getting a laugh. In all the years I have known him, I never heard him ever say anything bad about anyone. He was a kind and gentle soul, loved by all.

A few days ago when I spoke to Barbara, who is being very strong at this time, she told me she had a talk with Richard after his passing and told him she was mad at him for leaving before her. She explained she married him because he was younger and she wanted to go first! Well Richard i’m mad at you too.

We will all miss you and your sense of humor, jokes and words of wisdom. so i will close with these words.

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good!

May god put you in charge of joke telling and if you are on the board of directors in heaven, save me a seat.

A celebration of life gathering is going to be on June 17th, Richards birthday, at Dar and Marge's house, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Any questions please call me at 760-219-4388.

Darlene Bjork, 

President, Shadow Mountain Gem & Mineral Society.

Wrightwood, May 17, 2014

posted Jun 4, 2014, 3:15 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

Another beautiful Saturday for a rockhounding field trip. This time we headed for the mountains, the weather is getting warm on the desert valley floor. Our last trip before our summer vacation and the destination is Wrightwood, Ca. 

We went looking for Serpentine, the state rock and my favorite, Actinolite. First stop as always was Jensen's Market for goodies and a adventure pass. That taken care of, we drove up the winding road to where the Serpentine busts out of the mountain side. Easy pickens, we found what we came for and the view was just spectacular. Next, back down to the creek bed for Actinolite. It takes a bit to adjust your eyesight to spot this mineral among all the other rocks, but once you do, they jump out at you. I don't believe anyone left empty handed and everyone left happy.

On the way home, we stopped to see our good friends at the open house party held in their NEW clubhouse for the San Gorgonio Mineral & Gem Society. A wonderful hotdog lunch with all the fixings and chili too! 

This was a three society outing with the Hi-Desert Rockhounds joining the Shadow Mountain G&M Society while visiting the San Gorgonio Mineral & Gem Society.

Submitted by,

Roger Thompson

Photo Credit,

Darlene Bjork

2014 Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival

posted Mar 14, 2014, 9:53 AM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety   [ updated Mar 14, 2014, 9:56 AM ]

The  Shadow mountain Gem and Mineral Society afternoon crew in the Demonstration Booth at the Riverside County Fair and national Date Festival, consisting of Don Donley, "the geode slicer," Cristina Donley, Esta Baskin and Linda Layman, "the educators," on 2/22/2014, providing information about rock bags, petrified wood and floating rocks to both young and old.  You can see a small slice of Don’s back in Esta’s picture!


Submitted by:

Linda Layman and

Barbara Catlin

Ocotillo Wells Field Trip 1-21-2014

posted Jan 22, 2014, 4:40 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

       Twelve of us left the T/A in Coachella in 3 vehicles.  A short way down Hwy 86 South, Darlene radioed us to pull over; her Jeep was giving her trouble.  Darlene decided to park the Jeep and deal with it on the return trip. So now we had twelve people in TWO vehicles!  A little crowded, but still legal.

Everything went well for the rest of the way to the collecting sites.

      The State Park Service has now limited us to designated routes in the Eastern area of this Park.  We were able to stop in two locations and collect sufficient material without having to walk too many miles.  Thankfully the weather was beautiful so no one got overheated. 

      The Desert Lillies and other wildflowers were blooming, which was a lovely added benefit to our trip! 

      Now for the bad news!  We stopped at Darlene’s Jeep on the way home, only to discover that some not nice person or persons had stolen the battery and had taken some other items of value.  We all waited while Darlene telephoned for a tow truck.  Darlene and Marge assured us that the tow truck would arrive shortly, and that we should proceed without them, which we did.  It was an unhappy conclusion to an otherwise lovely trip!

      After we had been home for a while, we telephoned Darlene, and I am happy to report that she and Marge and the Jeep all arrived at the mechanic’s location, and home safely. 

Submitted by:

Barbara Catlin

Photo credit to Linda Layman.


posted Dec 23, 2013, 10:15 AM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

                                        CHRISTMAS PARTY – DECEMBER 7, 2013

        We met at noon at The Home Town Buffet in Palm Desert, each bringing a nice rock or hobby related gift for the gift exchange.  After we had all eaten more than we should have, I suspect, the gifts were delivered!  That was when the fun began, trying to figure out who gave which gift, so they could be properly thanked.  What a delightful time of sharing! 

      Outside, it was a cool, cloudy, rainy day.  But inside, with our group of 29, there was a lot of warmth and love! 


      Submitted by Barbara Catlin

1-10 of 56