Rimstones Rock Club Field Trips

Field Trips

The sign says it all… Welcome to Rim Country. It is here that the Payson Rimstones call home. The surrounding area has an abundance of fossils – like corals, snails, clams, brachiopods, gastropods, sponges, crinoids, trace fossils, to name a few; minerals – including gem-worthy crystals in a variety of colors; and rocks – anyone like petrified wood or pretty agates?

Favorite Locations

Typically, the Club plans a couple of local Club rock-hounding trips each month, weather permitting. We also keep an eye out for trips sponsored by other clubs and locales that might be of interest to members. The Club has numerous local rock-hounding options – on the Rim searching for fossils, in the Payson area gathering geodes and brightly-colored agates for polishing, or seeking that perfect crystal at Diamond Point. For those who are willing to adventure a little further, you can find petrified wood, picture sandstone, peridot, copper ores, amethyst, Apache Tears, and more.

Petrified Wood Find

While there are quite a few dedicated field trippers who rarely miss an outing, in most months groups of about 5-20 form naturally around factors such as specific rocks and minerals native to the trip area, driving distance, the walking terrain, etc.

Below are summaries from the field trips we have taken in 2022. We tend to vary the locations from year to year to keep everyone interested and the experiences fresh; the 2022 trips will provide fun for all!

January 2022

1/20 – 22/2022 – Blythe CA & Quartzsite AZ

Trip Leaders: Bob/Joyce Hendrix, Rollo Pool, Dan Caspary
1/20/2022 – Hauser Geode Beds, Blythe CA
Fourteen Club members and one guest participated in this field trip. The Hauser Geode Beds is a famous geode site that yields crystal-filled geodes and beautiful agate nodules. This area is a well-known picking spot with more than eight defined sites.
1/21/2022 – Bouse AZ
Three Club members headed northeast of Quartzsite looking for “treasures” in the Arizona desert. The selected location turned out to be an excellent rock-hunt location; the group found hematite in many sizes and in quantity, plus colorful jaspers, white quartz and a piece or two of quartzite.

1/22/2022 – Brenda AZ
Four Club members ventured out to a collection site near Brenda, AZ. In a couple of hours, the group found many different rocks – from chrysocolla, jaspers, a couple marbly pieces, some fire agate, a fossil or two and some rocks that looked like petrified wood.

 

 

February 2022

2/12/22 – Sycamore Creek AZ

Trip Leaders: The West Valley Club with Bob/Joyce Hendrix

It was the Rimstones vs. the Buckeyes on the hunt for the best finds of the day. Everyone found some great stuff that they added to their collection. Club members found some beautiful red and yellow jasper (predominant in the area), multi colored rocks with very unusual markings and a nice piece of fire agate.

March 2022

3/10 – 13/2022 – Deming NM

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

March saw about two dozen Rimstone Club members head to Deming, NM for its rock club’s annual rock and gem show. One of the more popular parts of the Deming show are the three club-led field trips per day to local areas. These sites included the club’s claim Big Diggins (agates and quartz), Hatch (rhyolites and a few nice pieces of black-and-white petrified wood), and three stops on Fluorite Ridge (for a fluorite mine, Candy rhyolite, and petroglyphs).

April 2022

4/3/2022 – Camp Verde Salt Mines AZ

Trip Leader: Lynne Wheeler

Thirty-two rock-hounders from the Mineralogical Society of Arizona (from Phoenix) and the Payson Rimstones met in Camp Verde to begin a day of rock-hounding in the area’s salt mines. The group searched for halite and glauberite near the Original Salt Mine, gypsum and calcite pseudomorphs in Lucky Canyon Wash and aragonite and calcite pseudomorphs in Copper Canyon Wash. It was a very successful rock-hounding day in Camp Verde; Everyone found as many crystals and specimens they could carry.

4/23/2022 – Globe – FR 225 AZ

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Two dozen rockhounds (from two rock clubs) traveled to an area south of Roosevelt Lake and north of Miami on Hwy 188. On the itinerary were three areas holding marble, serpentine, painted Rhyolites, orange and black “Halloween” rock, hickoryite, and the elusive and rare Tigillites fossils. At the first location the group chipped and pounded on a 150-ft wall with marble and serpentine. Some members even found Tigillites fossils. At the second site, the hounders collected pieces of painted and striped Rhyolites. At the third location “spooky” orange and black striped Halloween Rock was found.

4/28/2022 – Diamond Point, Payson AZ

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

The Rimstoners had a perfect day to look for that “perfect” diamond. After a little briefing on the area’s geology and guidance on the best techniques, the group was off. It didn’t take long before everyone found something to add to their collection. The more experienced collectors ensured the novices did not leave empty handed.

 

 

May 2022

5/7/2022 – Young Road/FR 103 AZ

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

During early May, a small, enthusiastic group of Rimstones members enjoyed a sunny, cool day to hunt fossils and agates on the Rim – one hour east of Payson. Nine Rimstones Club members made the trek. We even enjoyed a lunch together after the morning search. Everyone found some nice specimens to take home: Devonian-period fossils included corals (horn and colony), a variety of brachiopods (shells), a few gastropods (snails), bryozoans (moss-like animals), and crinoid stems.

5/20-22/2022 – Luna/Reserve NM

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool with Gila County Club

It was a great turnout by both Clubs. Friday was a designated travel day. Most of the Payson faithful stayed in cabins, motels or lodges (in Alpine or Springerville), while the Gila County Club camped at the Luna Lake Campground. On Saturday, the rock-hounders drove to Luna NM before heading north on forest roads. After a day of searching at two sites, everyone headed to the Luna Lake Campground and enjoyed a potluck dinner, hosted by the Gila County Club. On Sunday, the group headed to Reserve NM. The target search location was an area above the Apache Creek Deaf & Youth Camp. This area was full of finds… banded agates, black and white chalcedony and the coveted Luna Blue Agate. Everyone came home with plenty of beautiful rocks to add to their collections.

June 2022

6/8/2022 – Pivot Rock Canyon AZ

Trip Leader: Polly Haessig

The Club met for their annual picnic on FR 149. At the meeting, the Trip Leader provided some very insightful information about when the cave was explored and documentation of its chambers. After enjoying some great food and company, the members headed further up on the Rim to the Pivot Rock Canyon area. Along the trail to the cave, brachiopods were observed embedded into the Karst geology along with native rose bushes which were blooming. The folks brave enough to trek to the cave were treated to flowstone features, stalactites and a natural spring which ran along the bottom of the cave.

August 2022

8/13/2022 – Apache Sitgreaves NF/FR 107 AZ

Trip Leaders: Larry & Becky Bagshaw

It was an early start for 18 enthusiastic Rimstone rock-hounders. Traveling on the forest roads offered some scenic views from the Rim. Once the Club members reached their destination, everyone spread out in all directions in search of petrified wood, colorful agates and jaspers, and maybe a fossil or two. Everyone found plenty of petrified wood to take home and one Club member even saw a nice stump/log on the ground. Another Club member found a beautifully colored sponge/jasper specimen. In addition, Club members collected their fill of brightly colored jaspers and agates for tumbling and cutting. The monsoon rains held off and after about 2 hours of rock-hounding, everyone made their way home with all their finds.

September 2022

9/10/2022 – Dobell Ranch & Joseph City

Trip Leaders: Rollo Pool with Daisy Mtn Club

The Payson Rimstones made their annual trip to the Dobell Ranch. The Dobell’s are always pulling out new material from their property, so each trip brings new finds. This year the selection was huge – from tumbling sizes to 100# pieces. Many Club members like to work with Petrified Wood. One Club member bought two enormous pieces that needed 2-3 folks to lift into his truck. …And, of course, lunch was served by the Dobells. A second stop on this day was Joseph City, 7 miles West of Holbrook and just off I-40. Here we found a different kind of Petrified Wood (white and black and a few pieces with colors) and an assortment of rounded agates in various sizes and colors. These agates are great for tumblers, as mother nature has done the first step for us. Trip leader Rollo Pool says that when he gets close to Winslow, Holbrook or even Show Low, his jeep or car knows to head to Dobell and Joseph City. He hopes to do more exploratory work in this area in the next six months.

9/24/2022 – Sharp Creek & Colcord Road

Trip Leaders: Rollo Pool with White Mtn Club

There was a good turnout of Rimstoners who rendezvoused with the Show Low Club near Sharp Creek. All were ready to search for zebra-striped jasper, several types of agates and numerous fossils. A caravan of vehicles trekked up the mountain sloshing through running water and straddling boulders to the first location on Christopher Mountain. Everyone spread out looking for jaspers and agates and some found fossils, including corals and sponges. At the 2nd location off Colcord Road, rockhounds were looking for fossils. A plethora of different fossils were littered all over the forest floor. At the end of the day, everyone was able to fill their buckets with plenty of rocks and fossils.

October 2022

10/13/2022 – Gisela Rd and Rye

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

What a gorgeous mid-October day to be out hunting rocks with our club – 17 of us in all for a short drive to Rye. Our first stop was along the Rye-Gisela Road. We walked up several washes along the route, searching for that elusive rock that has evaded our collections. There are many interesting washes along this route to check out later. An unplanned and second stop was the calcite location along Hwy 87, North of Rye. Here there is an area to pick near the highway, where cars can park, and a 4wd location about 1 mi further. The vehicles that made it up to the ridge found good samples of banded calcite – white, with black-gray band. Some had highlights of green or yellow. Most was laying on or near the ground level, while some needed a little coaxing with a pry bar. It was a very successful trip right in the Rimstones’ backyard.

November 2022

11/5/2022 – Superior and Tonto Basin

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Fifteen Rimstones members and two guests drove to Superior to look for Apache tears at the Imerys processing plant and quarry. It was a great weather day, plus plenty of sun and plenty of tears for everyone. Chris Pool says the Apache tear search here is like an Easter Egg hunt for adults. On the return to Payson, most of our club members stopped near Tonto Basin for selenite which is not common in our part of Arizona. The site proved to be an easy hunt, and everyone came home with pieces, large and small, of the soft Selenite.

11/12/2022 – Fossil Safari

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Fossils and Geodes Galore near Whispering Pines…
Two weekends in a row we scored great weather and great field trips for our Rimstones club. With members from our Club and the Gila County Club and guests, we travelled to the Whispering Pines area to fossil and geode locations. We twice crossed the East Verde River as yellow and brown leaves fell from the tall deciduous trees that hug the creek banks. The first location – a new site for our club – offered a fair selection of branch coral, colony coral, miscellaneous shells, lots of “Brain” rocks (geodes) and a few agates. Our second location needed 4WD and higher clearance to reach easily, so we packed our car and lower-clearance attendees into trucks and jeeps and used spotters (Chris and myself) to guide tires up rock steps to get on the forest route. This site was more plentiful than the first, and a few lucky folks got some nice fossil plates to take home.

11/14/2022 – Chilito Mine

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool with Gila County Club

It was an early get-up and a 2.5-hour drive to get to the Chiito Mine Rd north of Hayden, AZ; but those of us who went enjoyed the company of another club and another beautiful sunny Fall day. And, yes, lots of green and blue rocks. This was a joint trip with the Gila County Gem and Mineral Society. We had one destination on the 14th – the slopes along the Chilito Mine Rd near the former mine. The spur roads off the main road were 4WD, but our pickers found chrysocolla aplenty – some mixed with azurite and quartzes – along the main mine road.

Photos and field trip stories on this page thanks to Rimstones Rock Club members Ed Vos,
Rollo Pool, Joyce Hendrix, Sara & Sarianne Rittenhouse