DIY ‘Field Trip’ to… Quartzsite, AZ!

QIA PowWow photo credit by Sue Peng

For the month of January, many members of Pasadena Lapidary Society join the ranks of rockhounds and lapidarists across the nation – and beyond – in an annual sojourn to our ‘mecca’ of rocks – Quartzsite, Arizona. While this isn’t a fieldtrip that requires a rock hammer, shovel or other tools, it’s a great opportunity to see what wonderful gems and minerals exist in our world – all in one place. There are several gem and mineral shows which are held between December and late February in this town, which swells to over a million visitors in the month of January from a paltry 3,714 +/- residents the rest of the year. One of our favorite shows to check out is the QIA Pow Wow, which takes place this year from January 19 – 23, 2022, with free admission and free parking and way more than a day’s worth of treasures to see. It’s like a giant open air swap meet held under the beautiful blue sky with giant puffy white clouds floating overhead – which sometimes open up with a quick light rain or a heavy shower – then dissipates as quickly as it starts. Quartzsite is just 18 miles east of the California border, along Interstate 10. One can make it a full day trip, or if you’re able to secure lodging in Quartzsite or Blythe, CA, turn your visit into more than one day so you can visit the other shows taking place as well, such as Tyson Wells or Desert Gardens. If you prefer to take an RV and camp, there’s plenty of open space just on the outskirts of town. How to get there? Take I-10 East until you get to Quartzsite, about a four hour drive from Pasadena when traffic isn’t bad. We often make a quick stop at Chiriaco Summit either on the way to or from AZ, where one can fuel up and stop for a bite or snacks.

Baxter Wash Rockfishing Report

   

Unlike fishing, the good thing about rock hounding is you pretty much never get skunked.   Here’s my fishing-for-rock report from the Thanksgiving 2021 weekend field trip to Baxter Wash, near Baker, CA. 

Weather:  Light winds, temperatures 75/40

Sea (Road) Conditions:  heavy sand 12” deep or more.  4wd definitely required

Anglers (Rock hounds):   13

Species caught (rocks found)

          Angel wing agate

Green angel wing agate

          Lace agate

Top Notch agate

          Blue agate nodules

This nodule is about the size of a baseball!

          Sagenite

There’s better sagenite where this came from but you gotta’ dig for it!

          Amydules and chalcedony extrusions

Morning sunlight on chalcedony extrusion

          Marble and green/purple fluorite

Emerald Green Fluorite (photo by Gabe Morley)

Entertainment value:  limits for all

Kids and campfires

Cost-free

If I don’t see you in December, be sure to join PLS for the upcoming 2022 field trip season!

‘til next time,

Rex

September 18 Field Trip to Palos Verdes for Agate and Glaucophane

Boy, is it hot outside! Nothing beats summertime rock collecting at the beach!

CHANGE IN DEPARTURE TIME! Our next trip will be at 10AM to Palos Verdes on Saturday, September 18th, 2021 to collect striped root beer agates, yellow agates, and bluish green glaucophane. For more information, please contact Sue D at: apple_pis@yahoo.com

Yellow Green Agate from Palos Verdes
Glaucophane from Palos Verdes

Pics above of striped root beer agate, yellow green agate, and glaucophane were provided by PLS member Rex N.

Field Trip to Prescott/Jerome AZ

This August 6-8, 2021 field trip will include rock hunting in Jerome, AZ and visiting the Prescott Gem and Mineral Show in Prescott Valley, AZ. 

We’ll be searching for agate (pictured below) in Jerome, AZ on August 7th. Our guide will be a local Prescott Gem and Mineral rock club member.  Note that rock hunting is on Saturday, August 7th ONLY! 

When it gets too hot, we’ll check out the Prescott Gem and Mineral rock show in the Findlay Toyota Center at 3201 North Main Street in Prescott Valley, AZ.  The show runs from Friday to Sunday and there is a $5 entry fee.   There is free dry camping for self contained RV’s at the show, or you can camp for free in Prescott National Forest. For more information, please email me at rexch8@yahoo.com with the subject “Prescott AZ field trip.”

Lavic Siding February 13th, 2021

Miles from Pasadena, about a third of the way between Barstow and Needles, is the sleepy town of Ludlow, CA.  Most of the time, people never even notice it’s there, unaware that a well known jasper collecting area beckons in the blistering desert heat.  Such is Ludlow most of the year. 

Ludlow in the dead of winter is totally different. The ground is stripped of vegetation, blown away as tumbleweeds, or consumed by moisture-loving denizens of shifting desert sands.  The barren landscape causes the jasper to magically appear on the desert floor waiting for us to pick it up.  February’s trip will be on Saturday the 13th, to the renowned Lavic Railroad Siding jasper location near Ludlow, CA.  Our meetup spot is 148 miles from Pasadena.  We’ll meet there at 9 AM. Late arrivals will miss the fieldtrip. Read on for further information.

All colors, shapes, sizes of jaspers and agates cover the ground at Lavic Siding.

Since this is a semi-local trip, it will be for one day only.  We’ll explore the traditional Lavic Jasper collecting areas and the brindle jasper location in the foothills north of Ludlow.  

Red, ochre, brown, black… jaspers, agates… one in back has some drusy.. all found in the vicinity of Lavic Siding.

A high clearance vehicle is required for this trip, but 4wd is always better. Attendees will need to sign a waiver of liability.   RSVP is required.  Please email rexch8[at]yahoo.com for directions, inserting LAVIC FIELDTRIP in the subject field of your email.

QIA PowWow at Quartzsite, January 2021

A peek inside one of the display cases at the QIA PowWow 2021, held last month.

Pasadena Lapidary Society member Sue Pang shared some pics she’d taken during her visit in January to the annual QIA PowWow in Quartzsite, AZ. Members who didn’t make it out there this year were certainly there in spirit, as we’re not just lapidarists; we’re ROCKHOUNDS. For those who don’t know, the QIA PowWow is a rockhound’s mega candy store.

A Noreen Jasper slab from Australia fills the bottom of this lovely pine needle basket, created by Pamela Caskey. Pamela has taught other basket weavers.
Vendors George and Sharon hold spiderweb stromatolite at last month’s QIA PowWow in Quartzsite.
Artist Pamela Caskey developed a way to set pictures in resin to use them as basket bases.
Polished slab base in basket and lovely pendants below were on display at the QIA PowWow in Quartzsite last month.
One of the many unusual stones offered by vendors at the annual QIA PowWow in Quartzsite, AZ… leopard agate
Some sizable chunks of beautiful Lapis Lazuli, at vendor booth of a past year’s QIA PowWow in Quartzsite.

Christmas Tree Agate

We couldn’t resist sharing pics of Christmas Tree Agate, found by a member of Pasadena Lapidary Society while out visiting the Southern Cady Mountains/Lavic Siding area.


North Cadys Fieldtrip; Nov. 27-29, 2020

PLS Members visited one of our favorite spots for gemstones in the North Cady Mountains, about three hours northeast of Pasadena, over Thanksgiving weekend.

The Cady Mountains have produced more gemstones than almost any other Southern California location and we explored the northern part of the range, looking for jasper, agate, fluorite, calcite, and amethyst in places where few rock hounds go. You can join us in the Cadys sometime in the future, by becoming a member of Pasadena Lapidary Society. Check out the photos below to see some of our finds.

Black and blue agate

Blue agate

Botryoidal blue agate

Jasper agate

Calcite with fluorite

Mud tube agate

Orbicular red jasper

Top notch agate

Whittier Claim Field Trip Report

By Joe Goetz

Friday morning turned out to be a perfect morning: The temps were not too hot or cold. The sun was shining as Marcia and I were trying to get ready to leave. We caravanned out with Sylvia Cliffe, Carolyn Duncan, and Charlotte Bane. The traffic was flowing better than I had thought, and a couple of hours later we were at the hotel. We got there safe and hung out for the rest of the day. All too soon I was dreaming about the rocks we would collect on Saturday, which came all too fast, and the sun was just barely up and breakfast was in the schedule.

We were getting things ready as people (30 in all) began showing up, and we talked about the upcoming day’s events and got release forms signed. Before you knew it, it was 8:30 a.m. and I gave a little safety talk. I reassured everyone that if you got bit by a snake, we’d get you to help. Of course, along the way we might just have to stop to collect some rock here and there. But we’ll get you there (just kidding).

The first place we went was the Whittier Club camping area. We stopped at a rock pile where some members have brought out their overflow and deposited it there for anyone to collect. Chances are you could find a piece of something there that you might not be able to collect anymore. Then it was off to the claim itself, and after about 30 minutes or so we headed over to the red moss agate area. I think everyone got some agate of different types as well as some of the red moss agate.

We headed back to the hotel for lunch. From there, we headed over to what we call Jason’s place. It is an area below some of the transmission towers. The reason we call it Jason’s place is that longtime Junior member Jason Badgley had told us he had been there, and when we got there every stone had been chipped. Stones were collected, and after 30 or so minutes we were off. Jay Valle led the group, and Marcia and I were bringing up the rear as we headed to “the wide spot in the road.”

Marcia and I decided to take the road a little further, passing Steve Cady who hiked up the hill. Marcia started to dig out what she thought was a double-fisted size piece of agate. However, it just kept getting larger and larger. I took over the digging, and it still got bigger. It started to wiggle in the hole a bit, so we asked Steve Cady for some help. He grabbed the stone with both hands and yanked it out and carried it to the truck bed (oh to be young again!). After we showed off Marcia’s little pebble, we all decided it was time to go back to the hotel and ready ourselves for dinner at Peggy Sue’s. Dinner was excellent as it always has been.

Sunday morning arrived, and we were getting ready to head out to some other locations. We had three guests from the San Diego area that day. We headed out and went to the silver lace onyx area. I do believe everyone who wanted it got some of the material. Marcia and I picked up little pieces for putting in grab bags for the CFMS Show in March 2019.

Next, we headed out to Mule Canyon to the algae agate area. We all found out just how much the canyon had been rearranged by rain. We did find the right road and got to the spot. I found lots of black agate; Jay found a nice algae agate. Someone asked if the green was indeed algae. The answer was the area at one time was much wetter, and there were ponds all over the place. In the ponds, there was in fact algae and pond scum growing. The area was suddenly covered with volcanic ash, and over time the algae and scum were petrified. The algae agate shows as a very distinct algae pattern in the stone. As for the pond scum, well, that was compressed and then petrified. If you think about that black agate I found…