Cedar Ponds Petrified Wood

Hello all!  As you know, I have been working to complete development of the Cedar Ponds area for next year.  Cedar Ponds includes locations with spectacular jasper, including a vibrant blue variety, and fossils, including petrified wood.  The region was explored by Ed Lehman in 1986; his descriptions and maps are now a part of the Mineral Council Guidebook.

Since 1986, much has changed in the area.  Over half the roads to choice locations, which were open when Ed completed his survey, are now posted.  The main road through the region, which was open in 1986, is now gated and bermed, making what had once been an easy to drive to many collecting areas, a long, strenuous hike, barely manageable in a day.  

Many areas have changed substantially since they were first definitively explored,  almost 30 years ago. Saplings have grown into respectable sized trees, and overgrowth of moss and underbrush have erased  all traces of some collecting locations, leaving only their tantalizing descriptions to taunt frustrated rockhounds (like me).

Ed described one such area as being a new exposure of unique petrified wood; black with dramatic inclusions of pyrite and marcasite.  Following his directions exactly, I have explored this area many times, finding nothing but steep, difficult terrain, mosquito infested forest, and frustration. 

He observed logs up to 3 feet thick protruding from a cliff wall.  Despite several trips, I have been unable to locate the wood.  Terrain in this area is a significant problem.  The forest is thick, with rotten, moss-covered, unstable wood all over the ground.  Elevation varies dramatically from slightly inclined to almost too steep to negotiate without help.  There are many small cliff areas hidden between stands of dense cedars, some only a few meters high.  One of these crags contains the wood we’re searching for. 

The Timberwolf Mountain trip will not be happening this year.  In fact, because of the distance and travel times involved, it may not be a reasonable target for next year either, at least as a part of the regular Field Trip schedule.  In its place this year, I propose substituting a detective adventure to Cedar Ponds, directed at locating the petrified wood exposure.

I’d like to submit this to the membership for consideration at the next meeting. I'm proposing Saturday, August 25. I will develop a search grid over the entire area; with an early start and at least 8 people, we should be able to comb the whole region in a few hours.  I will urge an earlier than usual start, leaving around 6:00, which will allow us to complete the hard work before it gets too hot.  In the event we come up empty handed, there are several nearby jasper locations (other than Stubbs Hill) to guarantee nobody goes home empty handed.


Chris Herter

MRGC Field Trip Director