The field trip reports are one of my favorite parts of this website. Now that I've read through most of them, I thought I might add the story of our first Rock hounding Roadtrip. I didn't take a camera with us that day, but included are some photos of our finds .
My Dad had taken us to the "Singing Bridge" near Au Gres, Michigan (pronounced "aw gray") when I was a kid, I think it was Smelt dipping time. I seem to remember finding a small Petoskey Stone on the beach then. Just a few years ago my Dad reminded me of seeing them there, so I thought this would be a fine place to start my rock hounding adventures.
Our early January thaw was warmer than usual, so at a time when we
wouldn't normally consider going to the beach, I started making plans. January 7th turned out to be the right day for my wife Litha and I. Our two horses were getting their feet trimmed that morning, so we had to wait for the Farrier to leave. He was gone by 10:00, and we were on the road by 10:15.
We arrived in the Au Gres area around 12:30 and easily found the Singing Bridge river access/ parking lot. The Singing Bridge crosses what is known as the
Whitney Drain on US23, and is so called because it used to have grid work that hummed as cars drove over, but years ago the bridge was "modernized" and the grid work was removed.
There were two other cars parked in the lot when we arrived. One was a man wading and fishing in the Lake, he also appeared to be looking down for rocks, hmmm, competition?
Living in the middle of farm land, it was very nice to hear the waves washing up on the beach for a change. The sound of the waves along with searching for rocks is a meditative and relaxing combination.
We started down the beach in opposite directions. One of the first stones I noticed was this fossil, I later identified as a rugose coral, showing nice details.
I found some nice little pieces of what I think are yellow quartz, white quartz, and white quartz with rose quartz inclusions. Together we found three, not very impressive Petoskey stones, Litha finding the biggest and best piece.
We got back in the van and drove up the shore to the Tawas Bay area. Even after our January warm-up, Tawas Bay still had quite a bit of ice. We saw some fossils in the large limestone boulders along the beach, but I wasn't prepaired to chip at boulders, and the beaches we found in Tawas were either limestone or groomed sand, so we moved on.
Our most northerly stop was the town of Oscoda. Next to a pier there we found an area of sand and gravel that looked like it had been brought in from a local quarry. Amongst the gravel I found what I think is white feldspar. I picked up a few pieces, and by then it was close to 4:00, so we decided to head back.
On our way back through Au Gres, I noticed a pier next to the Au Gres River that we hadn't checked out, so on a whim, I turned back. The road to the pier
took us right out to the Lake, so we could park close to the limestone
boulders that line the shore here. I decided to make the precarious climb over the boulders to check out the shoreline. That's where I noticed this yellowish rock just sticking above the mud. Removing some of the mud I noticed banding and thought right away that I found a lake agate. It certainly seems to be agatized wood of some kind.
It weighs in at around 10 pounds, and will be here when I get that tile saw (eventually) to reveal what's inside. I would later discover that the specimen is actually a piece of "vein quartz." One of those Pet Wood impostors I've read about on the McRocks message board recently.
After that we called it a day and headed home, returning around 6:30. It turned out to be a very nice mid-winter diversion, and what I believe to be the start of a very enjoyable pastime.
Next up, a Petoskey Stone hunt near Mike Streeter's old hometown, Charlevoix.