I think I have found some clay or at least I know what I found will pack well for the piece. After two days of driving, consulting geological surveys, coordinates, and maps; being invited to take samples from the private property of a woman working at the Soil Conservation Service – “We have a lot of clay! Take all you want!” (thank you to Evelyn! Wonderful dogs. Husband pulling up on his ATV and asking “What are you doing?”) It has been an adventure.
The place has three things I was looking for. Soil/clay veins, water source if needed, and easy, visual, public access. The third one was the most difficult in a way as private lands meld into federal which meld into some gray areas. I was driving along the Arkansas River Northwest of town after having consulted the soil Survey of Chaffee-Lake Area, Colorado, compliments of the US Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service and the Chaffee County/Salida Map and Recreation Guide 2006 compliments of Salida ArtWorks.
After some driving and wondering about the soil/clay behind all of the barbed wire and “No Trespassing” I came to a lovely place along the river and CR 163 in the middle of agriculture, horses, a holding lake and snow capped mountains in the distance. Slightly off of my map, I was hoping there still would be clay. Swallows were flying all over the desert lake about one foot above the water. Beautiful. (Swallow is Schwalbe in German.) I drove back towards another spot that I was considering and turned around and drove to the nearest home and property of the area that was calling me. A friendly dog met me at the gate that had a sign “Lock gate after entering. Horses loose.” I passed two older horses (soon to find out 25 and 28 yo) and knocked on door. Michelle answered and I introduced myself and my project. She had a white cooking apron on and had been washing dishes. She said “Cool” after I described the project. A few burros, several horses, and a donkey were happily grazing the spring greens in the adjacent field. Michelle talked of their mission to house the elder horses and company for the duration of their lives.
I was given permission to dig where I had described. The setting is breathtaking. I will post images over the wknd and work with the three samples collected in the last two days and see what unfolds at our shared work space. Sleep will be easier tonite.