The Mojave desert is a mineralogically rich area. One small town of less than 30,000 people serves as a great jumping off point for dozens of fantastic collecting sites. Many of these locations are Southern California classics, found in field guides dating to the early 1940’s and surprisingly, still producing to this day. The Cady Mountains are an endless source of material, in fact, in 2016 a brand new find of “Baxter Blue” agate was found that rivals blue agate from anywhere in the world. You can be sure that enough time spent in the loving folds of the Cady mountains will reveal some mind blowing treasures to the lapidarist.
Just a few miles outside of Barstow you hit the Calico Mountains with a vast silver district, an amazing series of borate deposits, celestite for days, tons and tons of fine selenite and ample supplies of petrified palm root just pouring out of the hills…and silver lace onyx and calcite concretions that can have celestite and quartz replaced spiders and flies inside! That is just the things you can find in a small mountain range just four miles north of highway 15!
One of the reasons Barstow is such a great starting point for rockhounding in this area is the prime location. Just 2 hours north-east of Los Angeles and 2 hours south-west of Las Vegas, this town has most everything you need for traveling in this area. Gas, groceries, hotels, restaurants, even the Diamond Pacific Rock Shop, attached to the Diamond Pacific Lapidary Equipment factory. Emergency services, like tire and vehicle repair can be found in Barstow so that even in the worst of conditions, there is somewhere “local” to take care of any problems. Convenience is what Barstow provides and there is no reason why that is not a good thing!
Just a half hour south of Barstow, and conveniently, a half hour closer to the LA Basin, the Mining Supplies and Rock Shop of Hesperia proposed this project, wanting to provide a field guide for the local area to visitor to their rock shop. The shop runs a very robust field trip service, providing guided field trips once a month to locations around the High Desert. They sell 6 monthly trips for $50 on their website MiningSuppliesandRockShop.com
Who better to write and produce this Barstow rockhound field guide than the field trip leaders, Justin and Brandy Zzyzx – locals to the area and avid rockhounds, each of the locations in Rockhounding Barstow have been visited by Justin and Brandy. Justin wrote the text and Brandy designed the maps, as you can see in the sample below.
Many of the locations have been written about before, while some of them are being published in this field guide for the very first time. One of the locations that is very exciting is the North Cady Mountain collecting, including the Top Notch claim, prospected by Bill Depue and John Pickett, of Diamond Pacific. This spot has been producing some really lovely material, bright red, golden siderite, fortification and banding of clear and lavender agate. Oh, a day collecting here just can not be beat! You are going to get directions to this very spot and over 20 more locations, just waiting for you to come visit.
Another interesting feature is the interactive rockhound map provided in the guide. Simply type in the website address and on your phone google maps will open up and you’ll be provided with a pinpointed map featuring all the locations in the book PLUS additional locations, each of them showing you EXACTLY where to collect. Most of the locations in the books will have cell phone service, allowing you to use the interactive google map as a guided satellite directly to the collecting location. Truly a first in terms of mineral collecting field guides!
By now I’m sure you are chomping at the bit to find out how to get your copy of this booklet. This digest sized field guide, with a color cover, color photographs of what you can expect to find, over 20 collecting locations, all this can be yours for $7.99 plus shipping and handling! That’s right, just $7.99 gets you a fountain of information, right at your fingertips!
The Rockhound Barstow booklet will be shipping from the printer January 20th, available for pickup at the Mining Supplies and Rock Shop in Hesperia or delivered to your home by ordering from their website, MiningSuppliesandRockShop.com
Simply use PayPal to order directly by Credit Card or your PayPal account, or send a check or money order for $11.49 (price with shipping) to:
Mining Supplies and Rock Shop
9565 C Avenue, Suite K
Hesperia, CA 92345
You are going to enjoy this field guide and be sure to check out the field trip schedule on MiningSuppliesandRockShop.com