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McRocks "The Gathering"

July 4th - 9th, 2006

Spruce Pine, NC

  What could possibly possess nearly forty seemingly sane people to drive for hundreds of miles to gather covertly atop the Blue Ridge Mountains in a secluded glade miles from civilization? Rocks... Nuthin' but rocks, pure and simple... Well, that's the common interest anyhow. I suppose the real reason is to spend time with friends, really great friends from all over the country, and indeed even the other side of the globe!

  Once again the members of McRocks gathered at Bear Den Campground just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Spruce Pine, NC for fellowship, food, fun and yea, ROCKS! This being the 4th year for the gathering, and my second time in attendance, I have to say that meeting with all of my friends has to be the highlight of the trip. I was honored to finally meet some of those whom I have known for several years now, but only just met at the gathering this year. There were some new faces this time, but no strangers, not with this bunch! If I took time to name all the new faces, I'd fill this page with 'em! Instead I'll link to Mike Streeter's Group Photo page, use your browser's back button to return here for the rest of the report!

  My wife (Regina) and I left from Broken Arrow, OK around 2:00pm on July 4th and headed for Spruce Pine. Our plan was to drive at least to Memphis and stop for the night so we could check out a Miocene exposure for Selenite crystals that both fluoresce, and phosphoresce on Wednesday morning before continuing on to Spruce Pine. As hoped, we were able to drive to Jackson, TN that evening, where we spent the night. The following morning we got an early start and got to the site in short order.

 We spent nearly an hour searching the site for crystals to no avail. It had just rained most of the day before and that morning, in fact, we seemed to following the rain eastward. After looking and not finding any Selenite, I began noticing some small concretions in the washes of the shale that seemed to be more than just concretions. I found one that was split in two, and to my wonder, I found it contained the claw of a Miocene age crab! Hey! I never found any crabs before, this was even better than the Selenite! I found several more that contained claws, and collected many complete concretions to work on at home.

  Just as we were about to give up on the Selenite and head back to the car, I suddenly discovered a small area strewn with them. In short order, we collected fifty to seventy-five fairly good crystals. By now it was around 9:30am, and due time to get headed for Spruce Pine! We cleaned up the crystals in a water puddle and wrapped and stored them appropriately for the extended trip and got on our way once again.

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VIRGIL G. RICHARDS

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