Palmer Divide Petrified Wood

Here are some of the petrified wood pieces that I picked up at my friend’s property in Northeastern Douglas County in Colorado this last weekend. The wood in Douglas County dates back up to 55 million years ago. To put this in perspective, the last phase of tectonic activity formed Rocky Mountains around 80-55 million years ago; so these are wood from the forests on the craggy, new Rocky Mountains! Interestingly, much more recently in time (about 100ish years ago), wood forested from the Palmer Divide was used to build cities like Denver. Forests have covered the land here in east-central Colorado for a long time!

So how did I find it, well, I just walked around and picked it up off of the ground, for the most part.  It tended to be all together, so once I found something on the surface, I could search around that area and find more.  I also tried digging some, and there was more under the surface as well.

Still searching for the intact logs on this property like was found recently at the Cherokee Ranch in central Douglas County!  Anyone have any suggestions for lapidary treatment of petrified wood?

What a great find!

What a great find!

This was one of the larger pieces I brought home.  About 16 to 18 inches long.

This was one of the larger pieces I brought home. About 16 to 18 inches long.

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These red and orange pieces are just beautiful!

These red and orange pieces are just beautiful!

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Some of the pile, you can see the variety of color and agatized wood.

Some of the pile, you can see the variety of color and agatized wood.

I especially liked the color on this piece.

I especially liked the color on this piece.

This has the neat bark and also a view into the beautiful golden yellow wood.

This has the neat bark and also a view into the beautiful golden yellow wood.

Arkansas River Petrified Wood

Discovered some petrified wood while camping this last weekend.  We went camping in the Arkansas River valley across from Mt Antero, Princeton and Shivano.  Our secret private campsite at Ruby Mountain.  It was a muddy camp trip because of the monsoonal moisture, but that heavy rain helped cool it off in the evenings making for great camp sleeping!

I wanted to check out rocks in the Taylor Mountain / Missouri Hill area around some of the Marble and other quarries.  A fellow rockhound James was kind enough to give me some directions and advice on visiting this location, however he warned me that the road required a high clearance 4WD vehicle.  I went in our non-4WD knowing that I would probably have to park and walk a mile or two, however by the time I got up there the rains were coming in and I was running short on dry clothes.  I went almost to mile 4.5 of about 6 but eventually turned around and headed back down into the river valley.

I visit Ruby Mountain at least once per year and am not overly excited about the hard to find garnets and elusive topaz, and have more than enough apache tears from this location, so since I had a couple of hours left I decided to head down to Brown’s Canyon area as my only other visit several years back yielded nothing.  As described in Steve Voynick’s Colorado Rockhounding book, most of the side roads off of Chaffee County Road 194 past the private land lead to old Fluorspar mines.  I picked one side road and headed on a hike with my trusty Rock Hound Dog Boogie.

Boogie standing in the shade on this hot August day

Boogie standing in the shade on this hot August day

It was a hot day and we ended up at the mine which now is a nice makeshift gun range. It wasn’t that large of a reclaimed mine but I started to wander around and scout what was there.  I picked up many red, green, black and other cool colored stones that would I feel be great to tumble.  I found some fluorspar but nothing that great.  I was looking for smaller  fluorite crystals without any luck.  I did happen upon some agatized petrified wood and spent the rest of the hour or so I had looking for this.

Fluorspar mine in Browns Canyon

Fluorspar mine in Browns Canyon

Found a couple of really great camping sites while hiking as well; I hope to bring my kids back to this site someday and do some target practice, camping and more rockhounding!

The collection of nicer wood samples I found

The collection of nicer wood samples I found

Great texture and color in this sample

Great texture and color in this sample

Petrified Wood, love the way the wood grain turnson this one

Petrified Wood, love the way the wood grain turns and twists

Cool agatized petrified wood

Cool agatized petrified wood full of color!

Petrified Wood

Petrified Wood

Agatized petrified wood

Agatized petrified wood, the first rock I found this day

I love the detail on this piece of petrified wood

I love the detail on this piece of petrified wood

Random river rock with some cool patterns

Random river rock with some cool patterns

Cool river rock with Amethyst

Cool river rock with Amethyst