|Guide and Directory to High Desert Entertainment, Events, and Recreation|
Planning, Equipment and Safety
|Careful planning, especially in the desert areas such as
we are in, is essential if a gem or rock hunting trip is to
be successful. Some guidelines to follow are:|
Decide where you are going.
Become familiar with the appearance of what you hope to collect.
Acquaint yourself with how and where to look for it.
|The base lapidary shop (now closed), museum displays
and shops dealing in gems and minerals are some places to look
for the kind of rough material you hope to find. From owners of
such shops or from a fellow collector or a hobby magazine, the
name of a person who lives near the place you plan to visit
can often be obtained. Write or call him and ask his help.|
Information of the same kind can frequently be obtained from a Chamber of Commerce, the geology department of a nearby college, the state geologist, or a local mineral club. The Cal City/Edwards Gem and Mineral Society (may not exist) meets at 7pm on the second Tuesday of each month at the library in California City. There is also a rock club in Boron (may not exist)that meets periodically. Both of these are excellent sources for your gem and mineral local information.
|Maps are essential. Common road maps, such as those provided by gas stations and state tourist bureaus are valuable, however, more detailed maps are frequently needed, such as topographic maps published by the United States Geological Survey. Each map shows a quadrangular area designated by the name of the town or prominent natural feature. These maps can be purchased for $2.00 (price may have changed) at High Desert Blue Print on Avenue I (they've moved)in Lancaster. Topo maps are of primary value to the gem and rock hunter intent on finding a described location. Geological maps, which add further information about rock formations, help guide the hunter to rocks associated with the gems he or she is seeking. (special gem and mineral maps can be found in towns such as Randsburg)|
|The rock-hunting vehicle, whether jeep, camper, trailer, or family car,
should be put in first-class condition before it is taken on a trip. Most
cars are not designed for rutted roads or trails across the desert. A
four-wheel-drive vehicle is ideal for venturing where only a mountain goat
or antelope would feel at home. Most of the areas listed in this guide,
however, can be reached with the family car.
Some equipment that would come in handy once in awhile are:
ROCK HUNTING EQUIPMENT
|The choice of clothing and rock hunting equipment depends on the type of
area where gems will be sought, but there are some items that are always
OUT IN THE FIELD
|You must not forget common courtesy and good manners. Many areas with
excellent gem materials have been closed forever to collectors because
someone was careless, insolent, hoggish, or a litterbug. (Some
desert rats can have serious attitudes and should be approached only
with caution) Some things to consider:
|Rock hunting, like any other outdoor activity, is not without physical
hazards. Rocks can fall from a shattered quarry wall, a frost weakened
cliff, or an overhanging mass. Open mine shafts are obvious dangers.
Children and pets must be kept close at hand and constantly supervised.
(There is at least one mine North of Cal City that enters horizontal
then, without warning, goes straight down onto sharp and shattered
timbers and big rocks. Always use a flashlight and check every
Safety in rock hunting, like safety anywhere, is based on common sense and moderation. The greatest risk is getting lost. Leave word where you will be going and when you expect to return. Try to stay within sight of your vehicle. Old mines present a clear hazard. The best advice is to stay out of them. Poison gases, rotten timbers, hidden shafts, roof rocks ready to fall, snakes and wild animals can make an old mine a deathtrap. (Wild burros are known to use old mines for shelter)
Dynamite is often abandoned around ghost towns and old mine sites. It has become touchy with age and may explode at the least jolt.
Rocks in some desert areas harbor a fungus that can cause serious illness. The careless collector who licks a rock to make its pattern visible could contract the disease. Even breathing the dust stirred up by collecting activity may spread the infection. Wash up thoroughly before eating.
If you get stuck in the desert, try these remedies:
Rattle snakes and scorpions are the most commonly encountered poisonous critters in this region. The best advice is to stay away from them. Snakes take shelter from the midday heat under bushes and logs and sun themselves in cool weather in open spots. They are more active at night. Keep hands and feet out of holes and crevices. Turn over rocks with a stick first. (Do not walk quietly through the desert. You could surprise a sleeping rattlesnake and get bit. If they hear you coming they'll get out of your way.)
To summarize, when you hunt for rocks, gems, or mineral material, know
what your looking for. Know how to recognize it when you find it. Give
yourself plenty of time. Go prepared for the kind of work you'll have to
do. Respect the rights of the man who owns the land you're hunting on, even
Uncle Sam, and of those other gem hunters who will follow you.
The attached collecting areas list the rocks and minerals that can be found in the Edwards area. Directions to all the areas has been researched, but not actually been visited in all instances. If you have occasion to visit the areas listed and find the directions in error, please keep track of your mileage travelled and a better description of the area. Report this information to the base lapidary shop (The shop has long since closed. Notes should be sent to the webmaster of this site.) so that we can update this guide. Of course if you know of other areas not listed in the guide, let us know that also. With your assistance, we can make this an extremely comprehensive guide for rock hunting in the Edwards area.
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Page mirrored on High Desert Insider by permission from: Glenn Olson
Original Page Created: 25 Dec 97