California Fedeation of Mineralogical Societies
Annual Thanksgiving Rockhounding Field Trip
to Wiley's Well Area

by Adam Dean and Shep Koss
CFMS Field Trip South Co-Chairs - 2008, 2009

Adam Dean
Shep Foss
It is a dog
Onthe road
Turtle or Tortoise
After the rain
Back at camp
Pot luck
Camp Fire
Off Road I'm ready
Look at what I found Look at what I found
Look at what I found
Look at what I found

Shep Koss Report
Thanksgiving Field Trip to Wiley's Wells Area

Wow! Can we talk weather? Even so we had well over 60 people show up not counting kids and dogs. We came in all sorts of vehicles and camped in RVs and tents in the mud and rain. For those who arrived Tuesday, they were met with all day rain lasting into Wednesday. For those arriving late Wednesday, we were greeted with a "roads flooded" sign where Wiley's Well Rd became graded dirt for twelve miles to the campsite. And flooded they were; numerous mud holes covered with water to the camp but when arriving, we were greeted by a warm campfire and hardy souls with friendly faces.

By Thanksgiving morning over 15 vehicles carrying over 45 people were itching to hit the road to Pebble Terrace. After a brief lecture by Adam Dean and a signing of waivers we left to look for a variety of material including agates, jaspers, fossils, chalcedony and petrified wood. Much of each was found but we then found the weather changing again as a large storm cell came over the mountains appearing to aim for the campground producing bright lightning and loud thunder. We regrouped and headed back in case of flash flood in the ravines we had to cross but not before stopping near Opal Hill Mine to search the area for fire agate.

Arriving at the camp and our waiting feast we found they had been pounded by the storm turning our camp in to streams and ponds. Our worst fear struck home. While our camps were dampened our spirits remained high and dry. After getting a warm fire going we feasted to our potluck dinner. Thanks to ALL who contributed and those who stayed behind to cook.


The next day brought the arrival of even more Rockhounds but we found Adam and Teresa ran into transportation problems while running home for personal business and would be unable to return. They were sorely missed. After drafting Matt from the Palomar club and Jon Lovegren from the Orange Belt club to assist we revised our plans due to road conditions, made sure everyone was in a 4WD and headed for the psilomelane mine nearby. The flash floods the day before uncovered countless new veins of material and we scattered to hammer out and collect massive, botryoidal and druzy psilomelane. Then we headed for Hidden Saddle to collect black agate from veins and geodes.

Saturday brought in even more Rockhounds as we hit three geode areas: the Cinnamon Beds, the Potato Beds and the Hauser Beds. Thankfully each day since Thursday morning brought more sun and warmer weather drying the roads. Each night at the campfire we were privy to meteors streaking across a magnificently starry sky. We sat well into the dark swapping stories and tales. Again, Matt and Jon did a great job of assisting and guiding.

The week and the campout came to an end much too quickly and by Sunday morning (after being treated to a violin solo by a camper at sunrise) most of us headed for home and warm showers. Others waited until Monday to leave.

All in all a good time, good food and good company was had by all. Coyotes serenading at night and violins in the morning. It was an adventure.

Happy Hunting, Shep Koss

From: John Pickett

Thanks to all the wonderful cooks in the on our Trip. Thanksgiving dinner was incredible (never thought Thanksgiving dinner would be possible out in the middle of no-where with limited resources. What blew me away was that even the desert was home-made! (no pre-made Costco stuff) The Ham and Turkey were simply incredible. I usually don't do salad but even that was special! Emma led our festivities with grace. There's still a lot to be thankful for through these hard economic times. Pebble Terrace was a huge endless treasure chest.


Thank you to our leaders Adam, Teresa and Shep! The rain was just bad enough to make it interesting and more fun. The rocks weren't cemented into the ground as usual on an up-note. Got a chance to meet Shep as he had to put up with me on the drive to Pebble Terrace. What a cool guy! He shared some of his treasure hunting stories with me! If you're curious you should ask him about his special find (I won't ruin the surprise so you'll have to ask him). Take care all!

From: Timothy Harned

A big thank you to Shep and Adam for leading our trips. Thank you to all the good cooks. The food and fellowship was great. The rain will leave a memory for all of us.


We had everything including food, fun, rocks and ... a violin player!

From: Adam Dean

Well, I think Shep Summed it all up. It was a Successful trip, lots of good food, Rocks and friendship. The trip in was a lot of fun skipping though the puddles, the morning air was clean and a nice breeze scented with creosote greeted us along with an awesome sun rise. We ended the day with our belly's full of food, our sacks full of rocks and plenty of good stories around the campfire. I'm already excited about next year, hope to see you all there.


Fifteen photos of this trip are above.

Adam Dean
The Agate Hunter
O.B.M.S. Federation Director
CFMS Co/Chair Field Trip Southern CA
(909) 489-4899

California Fedeation of Mineralogical Societies
Annual Thanksgiving Rockhounding Field Trip
to Wiley's Well Area

by Adam Dean and Shep Koss
CFMS Field Trip South Co-Chairs - 2008, 2009

This trip is open to all CFMS Affiliated Society Members and their guests that agree to abide by the AFMS Code of Ethics, the directions of the field trip leader, and practice safe rockhounding. A Consent and Assumption of Risk Waiver of Liability form must be signed upon arriving at the campsite.

TRIP LOCATION: The Wiley Well District is 10 miles southwest of Blythe, CA and is one of the most popular collecting areas on the Colorado Desert.

WHEN: Thanksgiving Weekend, November 24-30, 2008. There will be folks camping all week.

SPONSORS: CFMS Field Trip South Co-Chairs

LEADERS: Adam Dean and Shep Koss
Please notify us, if you plan on attending. Feel free to email or call us if you have any questions or need more information:
Adam: Ph: (909) 489-4899 e-mail:
Shep: Ph: (661) 248-0411 e-mail:

DIRECTIONS TO CAMPSITE:: From the 10 Freeway, exit on Wiley Well Road and turn south from the freeway, 14 miles to camp. Around a mile or two down the road, the pavement will turn towards the right. Don’t follow that road; stay straight onto the dirt road. Stay on this dirt road past Fire Agate Mine and the Coon Hollow. You will see a sign for the Imperial County Line. The camp will be just past this sign on the right-hand s If you get lost, call Adam at (909) 489-4899.

COLLECTING TRIPS: November 27th, 28th, and 29th. Open to all CFMS affiliated society members and their guests.

Each day we will leave camp at 8:00 am and return in the late afternoon except on Thanksgiving Day when we will be back in time for our Feast at 2:00 pm. Be sure to carry your lunch and water when we go to the collecting sites, we will not come back to camp during the day.

27th – Pebble Terrace/Fire Agate.
28th – Paisley Agates, Black Agate, and Nodules.
29th – Geode Beds

VEHICLES: A 4-wheel drive vehicle is not a “must” for this trip, but is highly recommended. No low-clearance vehicles advised. A 4-wheel drive vehicle “is” necessary to get to Fire Agate and Pebble Terrace. We will make arrangements for those without a 4-wheel drive to ride with those who do. These sites are remote, so bring food, water and all required supplies. The nearest stores are in Blythe, California.

CAMPGROUNDS & FACILITIES: This is a dry camping area, no water, no services, no hookups, no toilets. There is a dump station at the rest stop at the Wiley Well exit off I-10; however, there is no potable water. Blythe has a free dump station and good water 2-blocks south of I-10 at the Lovkin Ave. exit. Blythe is also good place to get food, supplies, ice and gasoline. It is approximately 25 miles from Blythe to the campsite. There are numerous good motels in Blythe with a wide range of rates. The closest town to the campsite is Palo Verde, approximately 16 miles through Coon Hollow and over the Mule Mtns. There is a convenience store (food, etc.), gasoline, a couple of restaurants and rock shop in Palo Verde, the road is okay for 4-wheel drive vehicles but not 2-wheel drive vehicle.

SAFETY CONCERNS: Do not lick the rocks, use sun screen, when needed, stay away from rattlesnakes, use bug spray, be aware of flash floods, be extra careful, team up with a buddy and don't get lost.

CLIMATE & WEATHER: We are planning on nice weather—sunny days; cool, clear, star filled nights. But remember it can rain this time of year so be prepared and plan ahead.

MATERIAL TO COLLECT: Fire agate, geodes and a large variety of miscellaneous fossils, limestone, jasper, petrified wood, agates and very old Stromatolites. Also, we plan to search for the Paisley Agate Beds, Black Agates and nodules.

TOOLS: Sturdy bags, hard rock tools, safety glasses and gloves. It may be wise to carry a first-aid kit. I also recommend a dust mask as the volcanic ash may irritate your lungs.

CLOTHING: Wear clothing in layers as it can be very warm during the day and extremely cold at night. Bring extra jackets and blankets.

DINNER: Thanksgiving - 3:00 pm; O.B.M.S. and C.F.M.S. will host a potluck dinner for all those willing to contribute. Please bring your own plates, utensils, drinks and chair. We welcome everyone. If you plan to join us for dinner, here is the guideline to follow:

Reminder: Please help preserve our deserts and pack out what you pack in. Let’s leave it clean for future Rockhounds.

All those attending the collecting trips will be required to fill out a Liability Waiver form.

For further information, please contact
Adam Dean @ (909) 489-4899 or e-mail him:
Shep Koss @ (661) 248-0411 (Home Phone) or e-mail: