The McCain Valley Rockhounding Trip

We woke up and got this thing rolling. We were on the I-8 East by 7:00 am and the morning marine layer had just started to lift up and away as we rapidly gained elevation outside of El Cajon. Then we were cruising through the mountains, with the yellow sun beating us head on over the ridge-tops. Then the oddest thing happened… the temperature plummeted to 43 degrees and this insane mountain fog showed up, thick, wet and freezing. I had to document:

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So we drove through that, and got out to McCain Valle Road, which is miles of dirt road all pretty well maintained, to my surprise. And there were lots of open use campgrounds with no rangers but pay boxes for your $6 per night fee. Pretty cool. We saw some people camping in the freezing cold and I remembered my recent trip to the so-called Lake Morena. Ah, memories.

 

We went out to the spot I picked, and did our best collecting at that first site. I knew the back of the valley would have the highest chance of yielding collectable samples, and I was mostly right. The terrain was far more bushy than I had thought it would be, and my uncovered legs got pretty scratched up as we hiked through narrow granite riverbeds and low brush. Eventually we had walked out into another campsite, and just took the road back. Actually, we collected some nice samples right out of the gravel road, which had been seeded with local till as well as gravel. I picked a very nice rose Quartz while we went on our way back. On the way out of the valley, we stopped at a lookout and I used my pitiful iPhone camera to capture the Carizzo overlook, and the desert floor below.

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With Moo up to her usual antics

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After that, we drove down into the Jucumba flats area, and hit two more collecting sites, a dirt turnout near old highway 80, and a long river-wash near some hilly outcroppings. The last site yielded some fine Feldspar samples, mostly white, but with remarkable features.

Once home, we washed the samples and laid them out for a picture, which didn’t come out very well. But hey, I’m not expecting much from my phone after all.

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So, a successful, and fun trip. I should not have forgotten my sunglasses, as the white granite and sand was utterly blinding me. But you can see the rose Quartz I picked up, as well as a nice Amatrine my mom found, and the Feldspar is the white stuff.

 

Great adventure, fun day, phew, I’m tired. Good show. See you later.

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