Field Trip to Boron, California, September 22, 2007

Field trip leader, Lew Helfrich
reports via LA ROCKS

by k9caninek9@yahoo.com

The forecast was for rain, but we went anyway. Thirty or so vehicles full of rockhounders converged on Boron, CA with a vengeance. A rainbow danced a slow waltz in front of me, gradually shifting this way and that, as I made my way to the meeting place along side the road, but the rain, it was not ready yet and only spit at me with weak breath.

First, we traveled down Gephardt road, past old cement ruins and walls of days gone by. A towering chimney was all that was left of one relic. Once we stopped, Sesame Pooch leapt out of the vehicle with glee, fitful after being trapped inside for so long without a way to vent her energies. Agate was to be found, but not in great abundance. You had to walk if you really wanted to find the best material. I found a piece of nice clean white druzy quartz and some small amygdules of agate with white and clear fortification patterns inside. One amygdule was purplish but only time will tell if the color will hold true after polishing. Others found agate with a bluish grey cast.

Our next stop took us down a sandy road and some low riding vehicles were left behind in a safe place before heading onwards. An especially tricky sand trap at the end of the trail temporarily ensnared several travelers, but we were able to push them out and on their way to the collection place just ahead. The agate was more colorful here, reds, white, clear, rust , and lavenders were to be found and some of the pieces were quite large. I didn't have to walk far and many people quickly filled their buckets to ridiculous overflow. The rain clouds had cleared without another drop and a perfect blue sky watched over Lew and Shep as they helped with the quick repairs to the one flat tire of the day.

Finally, we headed back onto the freeway to Kramer Junction and found another small path in the dirt. Several right turns took us to agate and common opal (or `Opalite' if you are from the Bakersfield club! ;-). Sesame Pooch looked down and found me some green opal in amongst the many blobs of boring white and chalky opal. Just a tiny vein of brilliant translucent green like the color of epidote, but it was enough for a cab or two. I cast around the area and found several other small pieces of green before moving on to sort through the copious amounts of bog agate and other assorted colors of agate, but my mind kept returning to the green, of which I was now seeing none. I returned to the area of the green, but now other wolves were circling the prey. Some sharp-eyed children and parents were on to my secret and the few remaining pieces of green were quickly scooped up.

More time than we had would be needed to plow around the area and see if those pieces of green were weathered out from an actual live vein or just leftover tailings from long ago. But we didn't have time for weathered veins because the weather itself was turning against us. A few tiny sprinkles caught our attention. Lustful eyes tore away from the ground and saw the towering black waves of clouds coming quickly from the North. It was like a cave was coming to swallow us and I could see that Lew was becoming fidgety. Perhaps he would not have been pleased to see us all washed away in a giant flash flood so he began to suggest strongly that if we didn't leave now, we were on our own. Hounders were reluctant to drag themselves away, only Sesame Pooch pulled eagerly to take cover, but the clouds were intimidating and many of us eventually chose to leave before the dirt turned to mud. This time, the rain would come for sure.

Traveling back towards the freeway, the dust stopped flying. The ground was wet. The storm had already been busy leaving its mark in front of us. But on my truck were only round craters in the dust, no actual rain, just speckles. At the restaurant, the roads were painted black and giant puddles had accumulated on the sides, but I had not yet turned on my windshield wipers. We went in to eat, contented after a good trip.

Coming back out afterwards, the towering clouds were now to the south. My truck was still dry. I chased the clouds back towards my home but still they only halfheartedly spat at me. Perhaps the rain doesn't like me. Halfway home, I saw another rainbow in the clouds ahead of me, but the rain, it never came. It's dry right now outside my door and my truck is still covered with desert dust and rock. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

by Shep

WOW! What a day! Storms and weather remained threatening but the rock gods were on their toes. Around 34 cars met at 8:30am on the berm of Gephart Rd near Edwards AFB coming from as far away as San Diego to search for a variety of agates, jaspers, opals and wood.

After Lew Helfrich gave the usual preparatory speech, forms were signed and photos taken we headed out to the first site. This site held the promise of blue/lavender agate, plume and moss agates in a variety of colors and patterns, multi-colored chert, jasper, rhyolite and common opal. Also at this site are the ruins of an old stage coach stop holding the possibility of antiques (although one has to dig through heaps of rusted junk to find anything worthwhile). Everyone found something although each trip you you have to travel further from the parking area to find the better material. For myself I found a few small quartz crystals in vugs and some fairly large blocks of light blue agate which hold promise, about 5 lbs of "promise".

So far the weather cooperated.

From here we drove to a nearby jasper area but the road became extremely sandy the last few hundred yards so the sedans and vans parked safely and we doubled up to get everyone there. In theory this was a good idea. Only one truck got mired in the fairly deep sand but others pitched in to dig out the rear wheels and everyone was under way again. Thankfully from the stuck truck to the parking area was only a hundred yards. Lew pointed out where to search while I directed where to park. Ruth and Paul rode their burro......ok ok so it's NOT a burro but a nice 4wd ATV to explore the rode conditions before we got there. THANK YOU! We allotted two hours for this stop. Within an hour everyone filled their buckets (some filled a FEW buckets) with multi-colored jasper and jasp-agate. A few dragged back boulder sized chunks (wish I had a saw large enough for those boulders!) I fought my instinct to do the same and settled for melon sized chunks. Everyone seemed satisfied with their spectacular finds and the newbie hunters were thrilled even when unsure of what they were picking up. Adults, kids and dogs scattered over two hillsides. And the rains were still absent! But, ahem, the clouds grew more numerous and thicker.

Leaving this site ahead of schedule (delayed only by one flat tire which was easily changed) we headed for Kramer Junction aka Four Corners and the dendritic agates and opals and the petrified palm root and bog agate. The roads were good and we arrived without incident after refilling gas tanks, tummys and emptying bladders at the gas stations. As Lew told everyone after arriving at the site, you'd have to be totally blind not to find material here. By the way, this is a good area to camp for a weekend to explore the many square miles of various materials. Where we were everyone quickly found dendritic agate, dendritic opal and bog agate in large palm sized pieces, quickly filing bags and buckets before becoming more selective. I said silent prayers thanking guardian angels that I was, so far, not assaulted by squirrels with attitudes that tend to seek me out on my trips. But I had my large Bowie just in case hehehe.

But the weather......what can I say about the weather? As a few rockhounds started finding pieces of a spectacularly beautiful pistachio green translucent opal the sky grew menacing. The area we had just left an hour earlier was being pounded by rain and wind. From 15 miles away we still got hit with "spray". Thankfully that's where it ended.....just spray but we could no longer trust the weather so wrapped things up slightly ahead of schedule so everyone would have a safe drive home.

Looking forward to the next inter-club trip to wherever whenever. Meanwhile, I'll still take my personal adventures exploring old areas and looking for new ones.
Happy Hunting,

by Maxine

Wow it's kind of hard to improve of Sheps report on Saturdays Fieldtrip...So much fun had by all & what a great turnout... It's been awhile since I've seen so many show up specially when mother nature is working against you...

Lew ya did a fine Job!!!! Look forward to the next trip!!! I personally enjoyed getting a double thrill rocks and relics...first find was a childs marble, some would think not much of that but I collect marbles..Then I found a silver and somekind of stone inlay not sure what yet I haven't cleaned it yet celtic cross approximately 1" in the drop...I was amazed!!!!

Again kudos and thank you Lew for the great day...

Boron Field Trip Photos

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