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

Salton Sea & the Bertram Mine, Dec 14,2013

posted Dec 23, 2013, 10:03 AM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety

                                                         Field Trip Report – December 14, 2013

                                                     Red Hill at Salton Sea, and the Bertram Mine

      A beautiful clear day with a bit of a breeze!  We gathered and cleaned lots of Pumice at the Red Hill, and even found some pretty good Obsidian. 

All 15 of us gathered Pumice, but Darlene and Marge did all the work washing and seeing if it would float for the youngsters at the Date Festival.

      There were no mishaps traveling to Bertram Siding on the Union Pacific Railroad, and taking Range Road toward the Bertram Mine for the wonderful, elusive Glauberites. 

I guess they are not so elusive, if you find the right spot to dig. Note the photo of Lance and Paula Gillespie with the monster glauberite dug by Paula! 

We all got pretty dusty here with the earth being very dry and the breeze blowing the dirt back in our faces as we were digging! None the less, it was lots of fun, and very exciting to find a pretty glauberite.

       It’s not a complete trip without a stop for refreshments, which most of us did, at the T/A restaurant in Coachella, called “The Fork in the Road.” A very satisfying end for another satisfying field trip.

Submitted by Barbara Catlin

Vidal Junction Field Trip – November 19, 2013

posted Dec 6, 2013, 4:47 PM by ShadowMountain Gem&MineralSociety


   This was a close to perfect day for collecting chalcedony at one of our frequently visited locations East of Milepost 19, on US Hwy 95, North of Vidal Junction.  No wind, moderate temps and slightly overcast skies kept the sun from shining directly in the drivers’ eyes.

     15 SMGMS members plus 2 guests, and 4 members from the Pasadena Lapidary Society made up our complement of 21 eager rockhounders traveling in seven 4 X 4 vehicles.  Although the trail was a bit rough from September rains, it was carefully and successfully navigated and led by Richard and Barbara Catlin.

     4 different areas were chosen for collecting chalcedony.  They all offered an abundance of material from the smallest desert roses to the larger pieces with characteristic streaks of iron and lighter material that could be used for slabbing and cabochon making.

    This was a very successful trip and one of our longer ventures.  From the T & A departure point on I-10 to the collecting area and back, the distance was measured to be exactly 251 miles, well worth the time and distance.

     Submitted by:  Mac Jones

Actually, there were 8 vehicles!

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