Book Cliffs Trip #1 Report
May 12 - 13, 2001

by Judy Knoshaug


I guess only the hardy souls attended the Book Cliff field trip in May. Those hardy souls were Bob Loeffler, Ron Knoshaug and myself. Everyone else must have thought it would be too hot. And you know they were right! It was hot, hot and hotter! On Saturday, we three hiked a short way to the collecting area. Since this was Bob's first trip to this area, he spent the day poking around a small pocket of barite crystals. Returning to camp at day's end, Bob already had his specimens arranged and displayed in about 30 of the 1" plastic boxes. I have never seen anyone so well organized and prepared to handle specimens on these trips as Bob. He must have been a Boy Scout. The second day Ron and I invited Bob to dig in our nodule if he wished. He accepted the invitation and asked, "Would it be OK if I dug here on this side?" Sure we told him. Well, you won't believe what happened next. After working pretty hard to remove a thick cap layer, it was apparent he had opened a pocket. He started digging around in the powdery fill and out popped a very nice barite crystal. He kept digging around and barite crystals kept popping out. Ron and I had to leave about noon to return home. Bob said he dug until about 7 p.m. when it started to rain. Rain in Grand Junction? When it rains at the Book Cliffs, the clay turns into a sticky slippery mess that is extremely difficult for driving even for a four-wheel drive vehicle. So now that others have had a chance to view the barite crystals on the web site and at the June meeting, we understand quite a few wish to have a return trip to the Book Cliffs this year. We would love to do another trip. How about in October when the weather is cooler?