Quest for Rocks with Stripes   1 comment

Today, Saturday Feb. 22, I felt the need to get out of the house and get some exercise. Lately I have become aware, thanks to the teaching of my lady Ellen, that rocks containing stripes in the stone are unusual, and special among rocks. She taught me this several months ago, and now I keep my eyes open for them.

But today I decided to go hunting for them. I figured a riverbed would be a good place to look, a place where there are plenty of stones, and so I headed down 19th Avenue to the Salt River–a dry river that runs through South Phoenix. I have blogged about my adventures down there before. Today I decided to go to a rougher neighborhood, something that is not part of the Phoenix greenbelt park.

I found a place to park the car and access to the river. I am amazed and kind of unhappy about how dirty and rundown this place is. It is really out of the way, and I wonder how so much trash wound up on the ground here.  This trail was a small climb to get up to the riverbank.

I found a place to park the car and access to the river. I am amazed and kind of unhappy about how dirty and rundown this place is. It is really out of the way, and I wonder how so much trash wound up on the ground here. This trail was a small climb to get up to the riverbank.

Here I am looking down into the river from the south bank. To my right is the 19th Avenue bridge--a hangout for trolls if there ever was one.  The green area with the trees on the far side of the river is a small oasis created by wastewater that the city dumps into the riverbed here.  We have visited that place before in this blog.

Here I am looking down into the river from the south bank. To my right is the 19th Avenue bridge–a hangout for trolls if there ever was one. The green area with the trees on the far side of the river is a small oasis created by wastewater that the city dumps into the riverbed here. We have visited that place before in this blog.

The paved trail at the top of the riverbank leads down to this rough terrain at the bottom. The whole riverbed here is filled with millions of tumbled rocks of every variety that ever washed downstream. It should be a good place to search with a wide variety of different stones to examine, but the footing is treacherous.  You don't just go striding through this scree--you have to watch your step.

The paved trail at the top of the riverbank leads down to this rough terrain at the bottom. The whole riverbed here is filled with millions of tumbled rocks of every variety that ever washed downstream. It should be a good place to search with a wide variety of different stones to examine, but the footing is treacherous. You don’t just go striding through this scree–you have to watch your step.

I started off next to the bridge, and now you can see that I'm about 1/4 of a mile west of it.  I have looked at millions of rocks and have found about 7 that I can use.

I started off next to the bridge, and now you can see that I’m about 1/4 of a mile west of it. I have looked at millions of rocks and have found about 7 that I can use.

This is the King of the River. Do you see his royal stripes. He doesn't seem like much, but compare him to the smaller, drabber courtiers all around him. This rock was too heavy for me to take it with me--between 20 and 30 pounds--yes I lifted it.

This is the King of the River. Do you see his royal stripes. He doesn’t seem like much, but compare him to the smaller, drabber courtiers all around him. This rock was too heavy for me to take it with me–between 20 and 30 pounds–yes I lifted it.

Leaving the river behind, I continued going south on 19th Avenue until I reached the end of the trail. There I found a small parking lot, and a few signs announcing the edge of Phoenix’s South Mountain Park.  There are hiking trails here that would enable you to climb the big steep desert hills that we naively call mountains.  Who knew?  I must return and explore some of these trails.

Skyline of Phoenix seen from the slopes of South Mountain at the south end of 19th Avenue.

Skyline of Phoenix seen from the slopes of South Mountain at the south end of 19th Avenue.

Looking north from the south end of 19th Avenue. What  you are actually seeing is a considerable downslope back into the valley.

Looking north from the south end of 19th Avenue. What you are actually seeing is a considerable downslope back into the valley.

Looking at the hills, you can see a trail leading into them. I hiked a short distance here searching for rocks, but I was not equipped for any major exploration.

Looking at the hills, you can see a trail leading into them. I hiked a short distance here searching for rocks, but I was not equipped for any major exploration.

I did not take a lot of pictures on this trip because my camera batteries were weak, and sometimes the camera just wouldn’t even fire. I really have to remember to check battery status before taking off on these expeditions.

Again, there were literally millions of rocks I could look at, and I walked slowly with my eyes on the ground, searching for those that might have stripes. The variety of rocks here on the slopes is not nearly as great as it is in the riverbottom.

After half an hour spent searching, I took my few finds, and headed back home.

And here are the stars of this show! I call them the Riverbottom Rock Band, and there are 13 of them. Ten have stripes and 3 don't, but even though I was looking for stripey ones, I thought the other 3 were cool enough to join the group.

And here are the stars of this show! I call them the Riverbottom Rock Band, and there are 13 of them. Ten have stripes and 3 don’t, but even though I was looking for stripey ones, I thought the other 3 were cool enough to join the group.

Rocks are a lot like people or maybe people are a lot like rocks. They may not look like much on the outside, but they can have hidden qualities (talents) that make them stand out from the herd. All of these rocks have stipes except the little yellow one. Can you find the two stars in the group? Hint: they are neither the biggest nor the smallest.

Rocks are a lot like people or maybe people are a lot like rocks. They may not look like much on the outside, but they can have hidden qualities (talents) that make them stand out from the herd. All of these rocks have stipes except the little yellow one. Can you find the two stars in the group? Hint: they are neither the biggest nor the smallest.

Egg with a stripe.  I'd like a geologist to explain to me how that vein of quartz got into that rock.

Egg with a stripe. I’d like a geologist to explain to me how that vein of quartz got into that rock.

These three rocks don't have stripes. But they are still kind of special. Red, white, and yellow, they came from the same riverbottom as the others ane represent the opposite kind of stone, pure.

These three rocks don’t have stripes. But they are still kind of special. Red, white, and yellow, they came from the same riverbottom as the others ane represent the opposite kind of stone, pure.

The Riverbottom Rock Band has left the bricks behind and are now setting up their own rock garden. These guys are like superstars on this field of gravel.  They were lost and alone in the riverbottom, but here they are together and a landmark for all who see them.

The Riverbottom Rock Band has left the bricks behind and are now setting up their own rock garden. These guys are like superstars on this field of gravel. They were lost and alone in the riverbottom, but here they are together and a landmark for all who see them.

I call these guys the three amigos. They are a much rougher sort than the Riverbottom rocks, they are not polished at all, but they have stripes.

I call these guys the three amigos. They are a much rougher sort than the Riverbottom rocks, they are not polished at all, but they have stripes. These came off the lower slopes of South Mountain. They are fractured and broken by impact and by ice, but show none of the smoothing and polish of the river rocks.

This is a real rock star. He's a crystal, taking the form of an almost perfect rhomboid with 6 flat planar faces.  I don't know what kind of rock it is, but it was the only one among millions that had this squared off appearance.

This is a real rock star. He’s a crystal, taking the form of an almost perfect rhomboid with 6 flat planar faces. I don’t know what kind of rock it is, but it was the only one among millions that had this squared off appearance.

And now the Three Amigos plus One Square Guy take their place in the rock garden.

And now the Three Amigos plus One Square Guy take their place in the rock garden.

Strange beings come from Above to welcome the Riverbottom Rock Band and their Rough Rock brothers to their new home in the rock garden beside the great wall.

Strange beings come from Above to welcome the Riverbottom Rock Band and their Rough Rock brothers to their new home in the rock garden beside the great wall.

And thus ends the Quest of the Stripey Rocks.  It has filled my afternoon with a kind of creative/explorative pleasure, and I hope it has amused you as well. If you are also a fan of the Hard Stuff, why not leave a comment?

–end

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One response to “Quest for Rocks with Stripes

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  1. If you wet them, the colors will (temporarily) look much brighter and prettier!

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