Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gila Water Festival Report

Gila Water Festival Report
by Kyle Meredith (Rolling Stones 2nd V.P. for Field Trips)

The 6th Annual Gila Water Festival at the Lichty Center outside Cliff took place about a month later than in past years. That made it very pleasant to set up along the river, without the near-freezing temperatures that we had to endure previously. The redwing blackbirds were still there singing for us as we prepared for the groups of fifth-graders to come learn how to pan for gold throughout the day.

Our first group showed up on schedule at 9:15, and we began our routine as I talked a bit about the history and consequences of gold panning and mining, followed by David Rinsch showing the kids some gold he had found a week earlier. Then Roger Dombrowski talked about the physics and technique of gold-panning before we turned the kids loose with a pan of sand and BBs and a tub of water. Some learned very quickly while others struggled before getting a feel for the method to separate the BBs from the sand, but I think most of them eventually succeeded in accomplishing the task. Undoubtedly they (and we) all had a lot of fun.

I want to thank all the volunteers who showed up. Besides Roger and David, we had Ansel and Shirley Walters, George Skiba, Greg Conlin, and Josh Reeves. We wouldn't have had enough pans and tables if not for Ginger and Ed Coombs, and thanks to Judy Allen and Lee Stockman for the use of their pans, as well.

Emory Pass Field Trip Report

May Field Trip Report
by Kyle Meredith (Rolling Stones 2nd V.P. for Field Trips)

Sometimes a Rolling Stones field trip isn't just about the rocks. Although people were carrying bags and buckets of rocks up the steep, more-than-half-mile trek back to the vehicles, the quality and quantity of collectible material at this site wasn't that impressive.

But did I say I was disappointed in the trip? No way! We were at the bottom of a narrow, shady canyon with a stream bed to pick through and ominous mine shafts to peer into. There were apache plumes, yellow flowers that I still can't identify, maples, and a sweet fragrance in the air that no one could quite put their finger on. The creek was dry where we entered it, but those who hiked up the limestone (and marble?) chute came upon clear, flowing water that we followed up to a spring pouring from a crack in the rock.

Some of us along that hike saw a bat lying in the path, a toad in a pool, unusual butterflies, and best of all, snakes! Now, I'm not talking about rattlesnakes or garter snakes. As the small group of us was coming down from the spring, Bob Cwik was standing ahead of us looking at something on the bank. We cautiously approached, and he pointed out two gorgeous red, black, and white kingsnakes twined together. He had already taken some photos, and others photographed them as the amorous snakes slowly sought out more privacy in the rocks. I looked them up when I got home, and they appear to be Sonora Mountain Kingsnakes, which, according to the Peterson Guide, are entirely out of their range here.

It's too bad that not everyone got to witness this special event, but I got the impression that everyone had a fine time. When anyone asks why you're a rock hound, you can say, "It isn't just about the rocks."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wheel of Fortune

What makes a great Gem and Mineral Show?

I thought in this thread we could show some of the individual parts that will work together to make the 26th Annual Rolling Stones Gem and Mineral Show a great success.

The Kid in all of us loves the
Wheel of Fortune
  • Everyone wins
  • Choose the mineral or polished stone you most admire
  • Pay your 25 cents
  • Give the wheel a spin
  • Urge it to space where you want it to stop
  • Collect your winnings
Wheel of Fortune manager, Ginger Coombs collects and tumbles stones all year long to provide a clever variety of possible winnings for the Wheel. She is always happy to receive tumbled stones or especially pretty stones to assure that there are plenty of prizes for the more than 2000 spins of the Wheel expected for the 26th Annual Rolling Stones Gem and Mineral Show.