May Field Trip Report
by Kyle Meredith (Rolling Stones 2nd V.P. for Field Trips)
Sometimes a Rolling Stones field trip isn't just about the rocks. Although people were carrying bags and buckets of rocks up the steep, more-than-half-mile trek back to the vehicles, the quality and quantity of collectible material at this site wasn't that impressive.
But did I say I was disappointed in the trip? No way! We were at the bottom of a narrow, shady canyon with a stream bed to pick through and ominous mine shafts to peer into. There were apache plumes, yellow flowers that I still can't identify, maples, and a sweet fragrance in the air that no one could quite put their finger on. The creek was dry where we entered it, but those who hiked up the limestone (and marble?) chute came upon clear, flowing water that we followed up to a spring pouring from a crack in the rock.
Some of us along that hike saw a bat lying in the path, a toad in a pool, unusual butterflies, and best of all, snakes! Now, I'm not talking about rattlesnakes or garter snakes. As the small group of us was coming down from the spring, Bob Cwik was standing ahead of us looking at something on the bank. We cautiously approached, and he pointed out two gorgeous red, black, and white kingsnakes twined together. He had already taken some photos, and others photographed them as the amorous snakes slowly sought out more privacy in the rocks. I looked them up when I got home, and they appear to be Sonora Mountain Kingsnakes, which, according to the Peterson Guide, are entirely out of their range here.
It's too bad that not everyone got to witness this special event, but I got the impression that everyone had a fine time. When anyone asks why you're a rock hound, you can say, "It isn't just about the rocks."