Book Cliffs Field Trip #2 Report
October 8-9, 2005

by Ron Knoshaug, Trip Leader

The field trip to the Book Cliffs drew many members from a number of clubs. The people who braved the unsettled weather and long drive from Denver were Ted Gildea, Tim Hillsten, John and Barb Melby, Don and Gail Beamer, Sharon Perry, Ron and Judy Knoshaug, Eric Knoshaug, Bill Reed, Don and Emoke Hillman and boys, Vicki and Dan Aber, Kevin and K.C. Larsen, John and Lyn Daly (who came from Grand Junction), and Hilda (last name not known) and friend. Saturday started cool and windy, but then turned to be a great day, sunny and cool. After going to many different nodules with little success, I called it a day about 5 p.m. Most of the trip attendees had by this time left the digging site.

That night, the weather changed drastically. By 7 p.m., rain had started to fall and as the darkness deepened, the rain increased in intensity. Judy and I and our son Eric camped about a mile from the diggings. Bill Reed camped only about 100 yards from the dig. The campers had a long, wet night ahead. Everyone else headed for town for a hot shower. Judy lay awake much of the night listening to the rain and worrying about whether or not the road was going to be drivable in the morning. Luckily, about 3 a.m., the rain stopped and the drying started.

On Sunday morning the sun tried to peek out from behind the clouds and the day looked promising. Bill Reed called it quits and drove (or slid) down the muddy road. Kevin and K.C., Ted, Tim, Ron, Judy, and Eric headed up the road to the dig area. The road was passable, but a little slick. It looked as if we were in for another great day, with sun and drying conditions. About noon, a rain and hail storm passing us to the north suddenly shifted directions and nailed us. Before we could make it back to the vehicle, streams of water on the sides of the hills were forming, the dirt had turned to mud, and slipping and sliding resulted all the way to the 4 Runner. Driving conditions had changed and a passable road became almost un-drivable. Everyone made it out however, and headed for Denver.

Now the real adventure started. It was snowing, sometimes hard, all the way from Vail to Idaho Springs. Traffic was miserable; many people have forgotten how to drive on wet, icy, and snowy roads. Many of these people didn't make it without mishap. About 7 p.m., I-70 east bound closed for about 90 minutes so crews could clean up the mangled cars. We made it through the area just before the closure and arrived home about 8 p.m. All in all, it was a fun trip, but times a little more exciting than was planned.

Some barite was found but not as much as on previous trips.