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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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 – FR225 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.
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; 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.
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.
Photos and field trip stories on this page thanks to Rimstones Rock Club members Ed Vos,
Rollo Pool, Joyce Hendrix, Sara & Sarianne Rittenhouse