Big Sandy, Wyoming Trip Report
July 1 - 4, 2000

by Ron Knoshaug

If you did not go on the field trips near Farson, Woming over the long July 4th weekend, you missed a great opportunity to collect petrified wood. It was hot and windy, usual Wyoming summer weather, but the wood collecting was terrific. A great part of the fun on these field trips is the comradery with fellow rockhounds, of which there were many. This was a joint trip of three clubs (Gates, RAMS, and North Jeffco) so we had plenty of fun both at the collecting site and in the campsite at the Big Sandy Reservoir

On July 1 at the Blue Forest area, Ted and Gigi Gildea found some spectacular wood. Others digging in this area, which is rather difficult, were Time Hillsten, Donna Hughston, Brian and Wendy Mitcheltree, and Judy and Ron Knoshaug. Everyone found some nice wood; some of us took a little longer than the others. The rest of the group left about 5 PM with good specimens. Judy and I didn't leave until 7 PM. After the usual stop at the Farson Ice-Cream Shop, we headed to the Big Sandy Reservoir for camp setup. With the wind blowing at least 50 mph, we camped in the sheltered area behind the dam. This was a bug free site since even the mosquitoes could not fly in these conditions. We were joined by Rose and Jim Reynolds and Don and Laverne Flitner. While Ted and Tim explored the Big Sandy wood area, Tim's tent almost became airborne except for one stake. All of the other stakes broke. Dan, Vicki, Kyle, Derek and friend braved the wind and camped on the shore of the reservoir. They did, however, have an RV. It would take quite a wind to blow it away.

July 2nd was spent at Wood Top, which is south and east of Farson. This trip was led by the organizer of the Big Sandy Rock Swap, Russ Simms. Tim almost immediately found a great spot for petrified logs. Later Tim moved to another spot and found a small log of chalcedony. Jim located a great spot to dig and pulled out many fine specimens. Rose found a rare petrified palm bud. Ted, Gigi, Brian and Wendy worked hard and found some nice wood. Judy and I dug many holes and found nothing. We were joined at Wood Top by Tom Klinge and Howard Harvey, who dug a large hole which paid off. They found some very nice logs. Tom, Renee and Sarah Knight joined us about 5 PM at the reservoir. They were headed to Yellowstone National Park on the Fourth. That night we had the usual wind (according to Russ, who lives in the area, the wind has blown since Memorial Day with the same pattern). On the night of July 3rd, however, we were treated to a spectacular natural light show (lightening) and rain. By morning, the ground was as dry as ever, so not much rain fell.

July 3rd was the most productive at the Big Sandy wood area. Gigi almost immediately started pulling out nice logs. Then with Ted's help, they collected some very nice wood. Don, who was very persistent and dug in the same location all day, located a root section, which was very nice. Ron and Judy came away with plenty of wood for grab bags, wood to give to future rock hounds, and a few nice logs. This was a very productive day of collecting. Sarah had fun watching a horny toad.

One ritual that occurs on this trip is the nightly run to the Home of the Big Cone in Farson. Tom and Wanda Klinge and Howard and LaDonna Harvey made nightly runs to Farson for the daily ice-cream cone. I did my part to support the ice-cream store also. The Home of the Big Cone sells an average of 1200 cones daily, which is over 50 large tubs of ice-cream. I guess by working very hard digging I can justify the extra calories in the small cone (three scoops).

With all the wood everyone already had, no one collected on July 4th but either traveled home or to other locations.