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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