Oregon Micromineral and Fossil Trip
Lemolo Lake - Kahler Creek
Burnt Cabin Creek - Fossil
May 7-12, 2005
By Doug Merson

Saturday, 7 May 2005

The alarm sounds at 0430 and is time to roust the wife out of bed and finish packing the truck for our trip to the spring meeting of the Northwest Micro Mineral Study Group. What a joy to get an extra hour of sleep in the morning after working ten hour shifts. It out the door at 0600 and headed south for Hillsboro, Oregon and the Rice Museum. We arrive there about 0900 after an uneventful trip. Others are arriving and the room is quickly set up for the meeting. Joe Marty is the featured speaker with a talk on the Minerals of the Colorado Plateau. His program is excellent. It is done on Power Point and project with a digital projector. Joe does a very good job taking his photos for his presentations. He will be inducted into the Micromounters Hall of Fame later this year. Prior to and following the presentation folks spend their time looking over each others treasures, selling, buying, or browsing the give away table. Of course one must view the museum to see what new displays have been added since our November meeting. If you are in the vicinity of Hillsboro, you should make it a point to visit the museum. After the meeting eleven of us head for a local eatery for dinner. Don Howard and Joe Marty decide to meet us Diamond Lake in southern Oregon the next day. We hope to collect at Lemolo Lake and Summit Rock. After dinner we head on down I-5 to Springfield and get a room for the night. Don takes Joe home for the night.

Sunday, 8 May

The day dawns with showers. After a quick breakfast in the room we head for the Willamette Pass highway to cross the Cascades and pick up Highway 97. We stop at Salt Creek Falls for lunch and to stretch our legs walking to see the falls. At 268 feet, it is the second highest water fall in Oregon. With the run off from the winter snows, it is running full. It is then on to Diamond Lake. There is an excellent campground on the east shore. We used it a couple of years ago on another collecting trip. We find a site that allows us to string a large tarp to keep the rain off. The afternoon is warm and dry with good views around the lake. Don and Joe arrive at set up camp near us. After dinner the rain sets in. It is a cold rain with the temperature at 35. Around 2000 the rain turns to snow and we all turn in for the night.

Monday, 9 May

We awake to continuing snow but no accumulation. After breakfast we head to Lemolo Lake to look for pseudobrookite, magnesiohornblende, tridymite, and other micro minerals. As Lemolo Lake is a few hundred feet lower, the snow has changes to a cold rain. We think we all found good material but it difficult to tell with the rain. Around 110 Joe decides he has had enough and leaves for Reno and collecting in warm weather. The three of us remaining keep hunting until after 1400. We leave the spill way area and go to the borrow pit below the dam to look for rock containing a varied combination of minerals that need further study. I find a boulder that supplies Don and I with all we need. It takes us an hour to dismantle it into pieces we can handle. We decide to call it quits and return to camp. Don packs up and heads back to Portland. Becky and decide to spend another night and then head to the eastern Oregon zeolites areas. We spend the rest of the afternoon on a five mile hike along the lake in heavy snow. Still not sticking. We eat a late dinner and turn in, hoping the morning will dawn clear.

Tuesday, 10 May

We awake to a white world. There are a couple of inches of snow on the ground. It takes awhile to break camp after breakfast. All the rope holding up the tarp is frozen. At last it is down and we are on the road, hopefully to warmer and drier collecting. The snow increases to about 8 inches as we pass the road to Summit Rock. We had passed on collecting there as the road was still under several feet of snow before this new addition. reached Bend. It was then up to Prineville and east to the BLM campground at Mule Creek. This is near the junction of Service Creek with the John Day River. The John Day is running full as there has been 3 -4 inches of rain in the past few days. This is close to half the normal yearly amount. This is the country of juniper, ponderosa pine and sage with basalt cliffs cut into valleys by the rivers and creeks. The air is fragrant with the scent of sage and juniper. The cliffs have water streaming down them from the recent rains and the John Day is mud brown. We plan to spend two nights here before heading home. After camp is set up it is time for dinner. We are serenaded by many unseen birds during dinner. So far it has been cloudy but dry. During dinner the clouds thicken and during our after dinner walk the rains start again. It is off to bed with the hopes of a sunny day on the morrow. The music of the rapids lulls us to sleep.

Report continued . . . . . . .

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