From the Editor
Notes from Pat LaRue
Thanks from Jim Brace-Thompson
2008 CFMS Show
All American Report
Education through Sharing
Exhibiting, Competition, Judjing
Earth Science Studies|
Kids, Kids, Everwhere
From the Desk of Ruth Bailey
2009 AFMS Bulletin Editors Contest
CFMS Rules Committee
CFMS Scholarship Committee
Tri-Federation Field Trip
I want to acknowledge a few more hard workers this month. Please forgive me if I omit someone—all of you do a great job. You and your efforts would be greatly missed if we didn’t have your dedication and support.
Our All American Club is a one-person committee chaired by Dorothy Beachler. She and her late husband, Bob, worked together for many years. Dot continues to do a great job. I would like to encourage your club to document its activities and submit a formal write up to Dot. This is not a contest in the formal sense—all clubs are winners and receive recognition both at the CFMS and AFMS level. Call or email Dot for all the details.
Shirley Leeson wears so many hats it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all the service she continues to provide. She is our historian and doing a terrific job. Want to know some federation history? She’s the lady to call!
Speaking of programs, have you ever used our slide/video/DVD library chaired by Bill and Sharon Gissler? For the low, low cost of $7.50 your club can borrow one of the CFMS programs to use at your club meeting. When the Gisslers are out of town, Colleen McGann will handle sending a program in time for your meeting. Prefer a live speaker? Check out the Podium People compiled by Program Aids Chair, Cheri George. Podium People lists those persons willing to come to a meeting and present a program. In addition to the listing, Cheri published a section on program tips. A new edition of Podium People was given to each Director in attendance at the Directors meeting in Ventura. Copies are included in the packets being mailed to those absent. If you can’t wait for the mailing, the information is included on the CFMS website www.cfmsinc.org, along with a current listing of slide/video/DVD titles.
Does your club have tax issues? Our Tax Advisor, Mike Kokinos, has helped numerous clubs solve these problems. Then behind the scenes, he reviews almost everything financial that your Executive Secretary/Treasurer, Pat LaRue, does.
I ask that your club President or Federation Director read this report to your members or publish it in your newsletter so your members know that CFMS is working for them.
Have a great day and a better tomorrow. Remember, have fun!
Look what Bud McMillin of the Mother Lode Mineral Society found in an October 1967 edition of Gems and Minerals Magazine! Mike’s article probably appeared in an earlier edition of a CFMS newsletter and his words are as pertinent “now” as they were “then”!
The C.F.M.S. programs are for the benefit of all mineral and gem enthusiasts. Some of you do not receive a direct benefit from a few programs due to your failure to become a member of a society. Some of you do not receive benefits because your society doesn’t take full advantage of programs offered. It is easy to blame you but it would not be entirely truthful and would be buck passing. The GEMS officers and chairmen must share the responsibility. Our job should be not only furnishing benefits but being salesmen for them. You, the non-member, accept a challenge to look into the benefits of membership in a CFMS member society. You, the member society, accept a challenge to make sure you know the programs and make use of them. You, the officers and chairmen, accept a challenge to go visit the member clubs and sell our programs.
Michael Kokinos, CFMS President
Complete reservation information and banquet details for the November Directors Meeting will be published in the September newsletter.
The printing and mailing of the hard copy version of the September newsletter will be delayed until sometime after August 20th. The web version of the newsletter should be available shortly after August 15th when Fred sends the file to Don Ogden for posting to the CFMS website.
Are the correct people in your club receiving the CFMS newsletter? Please send any changes to me. Remember each club is entitled to receive up to 3 complementary newsletters. Anyone can view or download the newsletter from the website www.cfmsinc.org
My Juniors Report for this month will be short-and-sweet: THANK YOU!
THANK YOU, one and all!
It was fun and, thanks to lots of volunteers from many clubs, it was a great show! Volunteers came from the following societies: Contra Costa MGS, Shasta GMS, Woodland Hills Rock Chippers, Ventura GMS, Oxnard GMS, Conejo GMC, Orange Belt Mineralogical Society, North Orange County GMS, Mariposa GMS, Del Air Rockhounds, Mother Lode MS, Rocketomics GMS, Palmdale GMS, San Joaquin Valley LS, El Dorado County MGS, Victor Valley GMS, Santa Barbara GMS and Santa Clara Valley GMS. If I forgot anyone, I do apologize for omitting your club. This was YOUR show and we couldn’t have done it without your help.
If you missed the Cracker Barrel, you missed out on a great time. Thank you, Internet Committee and other members of the North Orange County GMS, for hosting and proving that the Cracker Barrel doesn’t have to be boring. We had food, games and prizes–all for the price of the play money freely provided by Don “Black Bart” Ogden. There were lots of laughs and not a negative grumble was heard from anyone. Thanks again to Don & Loretta Ogden and their crew.
Our dealers were all happy at the end of the show (this generally means they made some money). Thanks again go to Don and Cheri George for gathering our retail dealers and to C J Quitoriano for finding our demonstrating dealers as well as demonstrators. Bill and Izzie Burns organized our programs, which were well attended and greatly appreciated.
Special features included the Silent Auction organized by Ron Wise of the Ventura GMS. It was truly outstanding and Ron’s crew did a great job. Proceeds will be donated to the CFMS Endowment Fund in memory of Ray Meisenheimer who was not only a long-time member of all three Ventura area clubs, but had served as chair of the Endowment Fund from 2000 until his death in late June of 2007. The Endowment Fund also benefited from a successful raffle and sales table organized by chairman, Ray Quitoriano. Jim Brace-Thompson continued a long tradition of having kid’s activities ranging from games to plenty of hands-on projects. There was a steady stream of kids of all ages, including some scout troops that visited the show all three days.
Dick and Betty Pankey did a great job getting exhibits to enhance the show. This is the first time in many years that I’ve seen so many society cases promoting their clubs. Several special exhibits included the spectacular display provided by the Fluorescent Mineral Society, the Walt Wright petrified wood collection, and the Moorpark Mammoth.
Last, but not least, Nancy Brace-Thompson organized our Awards Banquet. There were 104 members and special guests in attendance including both CFMS Scholarship Honorees, the AFMS Scholarship Honoree from CFMS and one of the student recipients of the CFMS Scholarship. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Golden Bear Award to Bob Jones and Don Ogden in recognition of their outstanding service to CFMS.
Our Golden Bear Gem and Mineral Show is now history. This show was put on by us, the Federation. It focused on and highlighted the CFMS. Betty and I were responsible for the Exhibit Hall and exhibiting, and we were able to fill it with exhibit cases, competition cases, table displays, demonstrators, Junior’s Booth, silent auction, information tables, and Endowment Fund Raffle. There were 5 displays from our Executive Committee, 14 cases from Past Presidents, 5 Museum cases including the Golden Bear nugget, Nevada and California Minerals, all 3 sets of the Cab Cases, 21 displays from 13 clubs and 6 cases in the Juniors’ Booth. In total there were 128 non-competitive, competitive and club cases, 22 tables of displays including Walt Wright’s petrified wood, the Moor Park Mammoth, the fulgurites, and large polished rocks and specimens.
We would like to thank all of the exhibitors for sharing their collections and special talents.
A Big Thank You to all of the people who helped with the set-up, skirting and tear-down.
And a Special Thank You to the Mother Lode Mineral Society for the loan of their very fine display cases.
The judging results for the All American Program are as follows:
Even though only two clubs participated this year, both books were very well done.
This is the time to seriously plan your entry for next year. Since the CFMS show will be in April of 2009, all books will be due earlier in the year.
Start collecting club information NOW!
Oxnard Gem & Mineral Society is pleased to honor Dr. Kay Hara. He is multi- talented, a fine podiatrist,
President of our society several times, Show chairman, Program chairman, Class coordinator,
lapidary teacher, opal cutting, wire wrapping, and youth lapidary classes. He has been Federation Director
as well as demonstrating wire wrap and entertaining at Camp Paradise. He accepted a gift from a grateful
patient for the club of four Genie machines and two buffers to upgrade our shop. He is an accomplished
artisan, making and displaying beautiful and unusual jewelry at the fair and our show. On top of that he
is also a dedicated field tripper. We are honored to have this special man as a member of OGMS.
- Submitted by: Lois Allmen
North Orange County Gem & Mineral Society honors long time members Al & Trini Hermosillo.
Both have given untold hours for the club and its activities. Al is a silversmith and artist (painting).
Trini is a wonder in the kitchen and with beads and glass. They have both held offices and demonstrated
at shows and civic events, sometimes planning the events themselves. They make a great pair and we are
glad they paired up with us for so many years.
- Submitted by: Loretta Ogden, Federation Director
I have just recently attended an Exhibiting & Judging Seminar hosted by the Eastern Federation at Wildacres Workshop in North Carolina. The EFMLS requires that their judges be ‘certified’ to judge. The certification process involves taking the class at Wildacres. They are, at present, the only society that has a certification process. I think this is going to change in the near future. There were fourteen people in this class. All seven federations were represented. I went at the behest of the AFMS's program “Judges Training Seminar”, and my tuition and some of the other federation representatives were paid for by the AFMS Endowment Fund. The AFMS has been doing this for about 5 years with the intent to improve the quality, and lessen the regional differences, in judging.
I am now certified to judge in the Eastern Federation. It may be awhile before I have an opportunity to judge there. But, I can now take what I have learned and go the federations I belong to and pass on to those that are interested about ‘exhibiting, competition & judging’.
Why Exhibit? Why Compete? Why Judge? All of these are natural extensions of being a rockhound. How so, you ask? We start with collecting. Could be rocks, minerals, fossils, whatever. After a time, we need to do something more with them other than collecting, which most of us never actually give up, though we may become interested in other facets of our hobby. We might start doing lapidary, cabochons or faceting. We might start to ‘refine’ our collection of minerals or fossils. By refining, I mean we might start collecting only certain types of minerals, or minerals from one location, or only rare minerals. The same with fossils. After awhile, I might take lapidary and begin to make jewelry: soldering silver or gold pieces together, casting silver or gold into molds, wire wrapping a piece or baking PMC into an object d’art. I might start twisting wire into gem trees, making glass beads or fusing ‘lil slabs and bits of glass together. After we have all these things collected, we are asked by club members to put together a display case. Why? To show the general public what it is we do. To show other club members, and other clubs, where we are in our craft, individually and as a club. We have just added another aspect to our hobby. How to best display what we have collected or created (the art of exhibiting, if you will). Anybody can throw a few (or many) objects into a display case, and vóila, an exhibit. But, is it as good an exhibit as it can be? How do we tell? How do we compare our case with another exhibitor’s case? That would be in competition, where judges tell us how well we did. Where do the judges come from? They are us! People. People, who have exhibited, competed and then became interested in judging.
Do you see the progression I have tried to point out? From becoming involved in our hobby, to exhibiting, to competing, to judging - it is a natural progression. So, why are more people not involved with exhibiting and competing? There are maybe more than a few reasons for this. Perhaps we haven’t offered competition at the club level. Club members may not have been encouraged to compete. People may have heard horror stories about discontinouitous (not a real word, but should be) judging, and been discouraged by them. I say NO MORE! If we do not offer the best exhibits we can at our shows, we will not attract new members to the hobby. Our hobby will die. I am not willing to let this happen without trying to do something about it. Join with me and others who want to keep our hobby thriving. EXHIBIT! COMPETE!! And, oh yeah, competing and judging is a LOT OF FUN too. I am not a masochist. I enjoy exhibiting, and competing, and judging. You will too.
It has come to my attention that some people don’t know what E.S.S or Earth Science Studies is all about. If you have heard of Camp Paradise & Zzyzx, this is where the E.S.S holds their lapidary classes in the spring and the fall. Those of you who are directors, editors, and secretaries of your club, now is the time to spread the message; it is your responsibility to inform every individual in your society or club of this message.
As Camp Paradise starts on August 31, 2008, I have worked out and planned a few days of work at the camp with the camp director. It has not been set as to what we will be doing other than some clean up. Those of you who would like to come a few days early (like last year), please bring basic cleaning equipment and supplies: broom, mop, Lysol, dust mop, etc. Also, possibly small shop vac’s.
As of now, I am over half way to having a full house for our two weeks. So the one’s who are planning to come, we still have room. I also encourage those thinking of next year to consider this year at Camp Paradise, because in 2009 there will be an increase to $350.00 per week due to the price of everything going up, including the price of food.
See you at Camp Paradise!!!
Santa Clara Valley Gem and Mineral Society has been working on attracting more children to our annual show. In 2006 very few children attended our show. We had very little to interest children. Immediately following our 2006 show, I started working on developing an area that would turn out to be a kid magnet. Little did I know how successful this program was going to become.
In 2007 we had 700 kids visit our new Kids Area. The Kids Area was developed with a plan for an area where children could visit, earn a show patch, and get a beginning rock collection in a cloth drawstring bag. When I developed this area, I used two outside programs with which I am very familiar: Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. Starting with our 2007 show, Cub Scouts were able to earn the geology belt loop and academic pin; Webelos were able to earn their Geologist pin; Brownies were able to earn their Hobbies try-it; and Junior Girl Scouts were able to complete their Rocks Rock badge. The Kids Area was developed around these “badges” with a lot of other information that would interest children. Display boards were created, and experiments were developed. Rock bags were made, and rocks were collected. Scouts were invited to sign up in advance to ensure that they would get a patch, badge paperwork, and a rock bag with their beginning collection inside.
We originally thought that we would attract perhaps 100 scouts to the Kids Area. We were certainly surprised when the reservations just kept coming in. Our show was scheduled for April. By mid-February we had over 500 children signed up to attend, and we had to begin to turn away groups. By the time of the show, we had turned away over 200 kids, and we still worried about overcrowding and not being able to accommodate all the children and leaders. We had only 800 square feet available in the Kids Area.
It was raining on the first day of the show, and about 300 children came through the Kids Area. On the second day, over 400 children came through. I never saw more than three feet in front of my sign-in table for the first four to five hours of the show each day. Little did I know that on Sunday, the second day, my line was over 100 feet in length. The Kids Area was a great success. The leaders, parents, and kids didn’t mind being crowded. I was thanked continually throughout the day and by email and phone calls after the event. The kids were very enthusiastic and were reluctant to leave the show.
We expanded our 2008 show to three days so that we could invite school teachers to bring their students. The Kids Area was expanded to about 1800 square feet, and our displays and experiments were doubled. We also added the Boy Scout Geology Merit Badge program to our programs offered. We charged the scouts $2.50 each to earn their “badge,” and school classes were charged $1.00 per student to attend the Kids Area. All children under age 12 were admitted without charge to attend our show. We had just over 2000 children come through the Kids Area at our 2008 show.
In addition to expanding the Kids Area, we revamped our scholarship booth to have more kid-friendly activities. We had a spinning wheel to spin to win prizes, which was incredibly popular, and a memory wire bracelet-making station for kids to make their very own bracelets. We were also approached by a local Senior Girl Scout to do her Girl Scout Gold Award Project at our show. Her project was to teach the scientific process of mineral and rock identification to school-age children. Her project fit extremely well with our goal of adding kid-friendly activities to our show. We also had an incredible area where enthusiasts demonstrated various lapidary arts. These demonstrations were a great attraction for the students and scouts. Lastly, we were able to obtain a fluorescent mineral display which was especially noteworthy among the Boy Scouts.
Our Kids Area attendance was due to the enthusiasm of many great scout leaders and teachers. We had over 550 students attend on Friday. Over the three days of the show, we had over 600 Cub Scouts, 100 Boy Scouts, 300 Brownies, 300 Junior Girl Scouts, and many other children who heard about the area from advertisements on the radio and through our website and word of mouth.
My advice to anyone who wants to increase the number of children and families attending their show is to make their show very child-friendly. Your own Kids Area can be developed easily. I will make myself available to consult with any club who would like to develop their own Kids Area. I have CDs with the Kids Area information on them for you to use as you see fit. We have pictures of our Kids Area. Additionally, I can advise you as to how to make contact with children’s organizations in your area, and offer suggestions for how to adapt the Kids Area to meet your goals. Contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like information. My board has authorized me to make the Kids Area information available to other clubs. We ask that any club which would like the Kids Area CD to make a $150 donation to the CFMS Scholarship fund in the name of SCVGMS Kids Area.
The program that we have developed has been successful due to many hours of hard work and tenacity. It requires making a genuine project plan with goals and deadlines. Getting area scout administration on board was not necessarily easy, but finding the right person with the right connections is required and persistence is the key. The reward for me was seeing so many excited people who would never have come to our show without our Kids Area and the programs it has to offer, looking at our show as a new yearly family outing where their children enjoy the atmosphere and learn something new in the process. The SCVGMS Kids Area has not only met a need within our community for a family friendly experience, but it has met a need within our club to bring an educational aspect to our show. What improvements can you make to your club, to your show, and most of all to your community?
Usually when I get a call about the CFMS insurance program, I get asked: “What does our CFMS policy cover?” I respond with a McDaniel Insurance Services approved definition of what a “third party” liability policy is.
Our CFMS Liability Insurance Program is a policy to protect the Club and its member against damage that may be caused to another party (person or property). It is not the intent of this policy to protect the individual club member from damage they may do or may cause to themselves or to their own property.
The CFMS insurance is referred to as a “third party” liability policy. That is, it is written to protect the club and its members against loss for damage caused by or action of one of its club members against another party.
The CFMS DOES NOT offer an accident policy; all members should carry their own health/accident insurance plans.
Please note that this liability insurance only covers us for any damage done by those clubs (their members), which elect to carry insurance, while engaged i n club activities such as meetings, field trips and shows with less then 300 attendees. We are not covered as to damage done to our own members or club property since we are the insured and we cannot sue ourselves for damages.
If your club member has a group over at their house on a club sponsored meeting, work session or club sponsored learning experience (class) and there were not 300 or more attendees – there would be liability coverage as secondary coverage under the CFMS policy. The homeowner policy would be primary insurance.
Next month Patt McDaniel will explain the coverage for field trips. Be sure to mark your calendars for November 8th at the Board of Directors meeting in Visalia. Patt McDaniel will be there to answer all your questions about our CFMS insurance program. If your club insurance person cannot be there – send your questions with your CFMS Director.
Margaret and Bill Norton became members of the Santa Clara Valley Gem & Mineral Society in 1973 and were always very active in the Society. Margaret was President of the Society three times and also served in most of the other offices. She was editor of the Breccia for five years and received awards from the CFMS and the AFMS.
In 1984, Margaret was elected Secretary of the CFMS and served two years as Secretary and in other offices, serving as President in 1988. After her term as President, s he was active on the Long Range Planning Committee and worked with the Uniform Rules Committee. She was a Lapidary judge and chair of the committee. She was elected by the CFMS Scholarship Committee to choose a student for the CFMS Scholarship.
Due to a series of strokes, Margaret was unable to continue with her activities in the CFMS and her Society and she was pretty much confined to her home. After a number of years, she passed away on May 25th and was remembered at a memorial service on June 14th. She will be missed by all of us who knew her and worked with her.
What a great show!! We had a great time and hope you all did to!
We have a semi-serious problem in the Northern speakers in that they are dwindling away. I am sending a speaker form to Dave Musser as he requested and hope to add him to the roster. I will tell you that if you have a speaker whom you think is fabulous or even interesting to a bunch of rockhounds, please ask if they would be interested in traveling to other clubs to give their talk. If they are interested, please send me their contact info and I will invite them to be one our special people.
Happy summer!! Stay cool!!
New Editor – any size
Mini Bulletins, 6 pages or less
Small Bulletins, 7 – 11 pages>br /> Large Bulletins, 12 pages or more
We had a total, counting the supplemental trophies, of 31 cases in competition.
A special THANKS to all those who judged the exhibits. And to the clerks who assisted them. The measure of concern and interest shown by the judges and their conversations with the exhibitors after the judging was over was extraordinary. They all went above and beyond in helping each exhibitor with the various problems each exhibitor encountered.
Our Federation is blessed with more competitive exhibits than all the other regional federations combined so far this year. This is something we should all be very proud of. Next year with be the prelude to our own AFMS/CFMS combined show in Riverside in 2010. Start working on your exhibits for 2009 in San Jose. Remember, the CFMS show will be in APRIL next year. Plan accordingly.
a very proud……..Dee Holland
The CFMS Scholarship Committee invites your society to nominate one or more individuals to receive a CFMS Scholarship recognition. All that is needed is a short resume on why you think an individual should be an Honoree prior to the Fall Meeting in Visalia. is on the officer page of the CFMS Bulletin.
Method of Selecting and Honorees)
The announcement flier said, “Be prepared for a variety of weather.” And that is what we had! Over the next 6 days we found out that the Texas Springs area is a “Land of the 4 Seasons.” It was a warm summer-like Tuesday morning when we turned off the highway headed to the Tri-Fed Camp by Trout Creek. When we stopped to put up the signs to mark the way to camp we were joined by the Northwest Federation co-leaders Dick Parks and Patti Amos. Six and one-half miles from the highway we turned left into “grassy” area amongst the sage brush and shooed away the cattle. This was our camp. Shortly after noon Dean Richardson and his new wife, Bernice, and his son, Rich, arrived. Dean and Rich have been collecting in this area since the 70’s and helped guide our collecting trips.
Late in the afternoon the sky darkened, the wind picked up and there was an ominous, dark yellow/gray cloud coming at us from the western horizon. In less than 20 minutes we were hit with a dust storm with wind in excess of 50 mph that lasted close to an hour. By this time we had more than 8 rigs in camp and we closed everything up tight to ride out the storm. This is the last we saw of summer.
Winter revisited us with night time temperatures in the high 20’s and low 30’s. Spring rains returned over the next few days. They were mostly intermittent and spotty. They never affected nor stopped our collecting trips but they caused us to cancel 2 potluck dinners, a couple of happy hour get-togethers and a couple of campfires. On Friday afternoon it was beautiful, the sun was shinning and it was pleasantly warm. We set up for our tailgate exchange and map exchange with high expectations for a fun activity. People started to gather and so did the storm clouds. When the rains started we quickly put away our maps and tailgate displays. As the temperature rapidly dropped the rains changed to sleet, then hail and concluded with snow, which covered the ground and our vehicles like a winter wonderland. There were 10 tents as part of our camp and they were weighted down with piles of snow-sleet-hail. Within an hour the sky had cleared, the snow-sleet-hail had melted and the sun was once again shinning brightly. Our afternoon events and potluck dinner were washed away but we were able to have our first campfire.
Well, that’s enough about the weather. It was wet. It was wild. It was windy. And it gives us good stories, but it is not the total defining aspect of our Tri-Federation Rendezvous. And it never stopped us from doing what we set out to do, that is, collect pink agate limb casts and have a great time with other rockhounds. The Tri-Federation Rockhound Rendezvous was held for 6 days over the 2008 Memorial Day Weekend. Over 140 people from the NFMS, CFMS, RMFMS and MFMS came to our Rendezvous. They represented over 45 clubs from 12 states. We had rockhounds of all ages from 4 to 84. Most of our group camped with us amongst the sage brush. We had trailers, motorhomes, tent trailers, tents and pickup campers; a total of 41 camping units. Some chose to take advantage of the motels and full hookup campgrounds that were only 8 miles away in Jackpot. When people arrived at camp I had them sign in on the trip register, sign an Informed Consent Waiver and I gave them a copy of the AFMS Code of Ethics. When camping on BLM land, we practice the Leave No Trace principles. That means we “pack-out-what-we-pack-in”. We leave the area cleaner than we found it. This should be our practice no matter where we camp. I walked around our camp on Monday evening after most of our group had departed and I am proud to say that there was no trash or garbage left anywhere. We did tear up some sagebrush and left some tracks in the dirt, but they will grow back and wash away with the next few rains.
Texas Springs Canyon is located approximately 25 miles southeast of Jackpot in the northeast corner of Nevada. The Texas Springs area is well known for spectacular pink agate limb casts, as well as other agate and petrified wood. Although this area has been popular with rockhounds for many years, prized material can still be found for those who are willing to dig for it. And many were successful! On Wednesday morning Dick Parks and I took off for a scouting trip of the five planned collecting sites around Texas Springs. The sites were 15 to 22 miles from camp. We marked the roads, turns and collecting sites with fluorescent orange ribbons for easy identification and travel. The five planned collecting sites were identified as: the “Classic Pink Limb Casts”, “Past the Pink”, “Rich’s Hill”, “Snakeskin”, and “Small Pink Limb Casts and Bog”. The 2 most popular sites were the Classic Pink and Rich’s Hill. Because of limited parking and to minimize the collecting pressure we had sign-ups for these sites, with a limit of 50 people per site. The other 3 areas were self-guided sites. Dean, Rich and I led the trips to Classic Pink and Rich’s Hill.
The group assembled each morning at 8:00 for information about the sites, instructions, safety information, and announcements of the other activities for the day. We lined up our vehicles and headed down the road at 8:30. The Classic Pink site is a sparsely foliated hill of ash and dirt. There are many holes and old digs from previous rockhounds. While a rare piece can be found as float, collecting at this site is accomplished by digging and many of the holes are deep. As the name denotes, the sought after material here is pink agate limb casts that range in size from twigs to large masses over 100 pounds. Some of each was found, but most were in the ounces to a couple of pounds range. Rich’s Hill is named for Dean’s son who discovered the area where he found a number of fair sized logs and casts last year. Rich’s Hill is about one half mile due east of the Classic Pink area. The material here ranges from twigs and small limbs as float to small logs and limbs 10 to 12 inches below the surface. The digging was easy in this loose topsoil. The material is mostly a brown jasp-agate. The most productive digging was at the bottom of the hill. On Saturday Dick Parks led a group to an agate area near Opal Springs a couple of miles north of Texas Springs. Dick also led people to some travertine/onyx sites that were only 8 miles from camp.
Of the three self-guided sites the Small Pink was the most productive, the Snakeskin had the most unusual material and the Past the Pink was more of the same and harder to dig. The Small Pink is a low-lying hill about one half mile long. There are small, finger sized pink agate limb casts all over the east side of the hill. Although this was not planned to be a dig site someone tried digging and found small logs like those on Rich’s Hill. Soon everyone was digging. There was gray/brown bog agate at this site also.
There are two geode sites near by. One at Contact about 18 miles south of Jackpot and one 5 miles north, just off of the highway, at Rabbit Springs. On Sunday I led a group of over 40 to collect some geodes. The Contact geodes were found in trenches and in shallow digs on the hillside. They are hollow geodes that are filled with calcite. The Rabbit Springs geodes are hollow and chalcedony lined. They are just off the old highway, about .3 miles in from the turnoff. Broken geodes litter the surface and whole ones can be found with easy digging in loose/ashy soil. The Rabbit Springs geodes were abundant and are fluorescent. This was the best day of geode collecting that I have ever experienced. The geodes were in the top 12 to 24 inches of loose ashy soil. Everyone who dug filled their bag and buckets with baseball to softball size geodes.
Our afternoon activities were the most affected by the rain, snow and wind. We had a speaker from the BLM scheduled for Thursday’s happy hour, but his talk and our potluck dinner were canceled because of rain. On Friday afternoon we were all set up for our Tailgate and Map Exchange when they were washed away by rain, hail, sleet and snow. But on Saturday the weather cooperated and we finally held our Tailgate and Map Exchange. We had 12 people participate in our Tailgate. They pulled their trucks up or set up a table to display what they brought. Several people brought rocks and specimens from their home areas to share. There were minerals and specimens from several locales including Wyoming, New Mexico, Oregon, Nevada, California, and Arizona. Several people brought buckets of specimens to give away to the group. We had good participation in the Map Exchange with 15 to 20 maps from California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nevada and Montana collecting areas: some really good, detailed maps to some excellent collecting sites. Enough to fill our field trip schedule for a long time.
One of my favorite activities when camping is the campfire. There was a lot of wood brought for our nightly campfires but we didn’t get to use it until Friday evening. We had so much wood that we had a hard time burning it all and sent a lot home for the next outing.
As the weekend drew to a close, the big question from all was “Where will the Rendezvous be next year?” My answer to them was “Anywhere you want to lead it!” This Tri-Federation Rockhound Rendezvous was a great, fun, rewarding event. It was more than a fieldtrip, it was a rendezvous, a coming together of rockhounds to do and share all the things we like to do. We had a great time together. We met and got to know a lot of wonderful rockhound friends. We collected some interesting rocks. We enjoyed the beauty and majesty of this great land of ours. I hope that someone out there will pick up the ball and arrange for our next Rendezvous. Our Inter-Regional Field Trip Committee is ready to help. Call or email me with your ideas and suggestions.