Fossil digs a good summer outing
The Sportsmen’s Report
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By Bill Hanson  July 11, 2014 12:00 am

On your summer sojourns, consider reading up on fossils of California.

One online guide ( is an excellent source).

The website lines up fossil digging sites in a nearly pinpoint guide. Also consider a guidebook to take along. The list is huge, so search Amazon with “fossil guidebook” as your search. 

If you have GPS or an App for the same, consider buying “The GPS Guide to Western Gem Trails” by David A. Kelty. It’s money well spent if you plan to add fossils, gems and minerals to your outdoor adventure.


Fishing update

Fishing the mountain lakes and rivers can be a challenge, because the water levels are low across the map this year. Consider using the low water levels to find rocks like petrified wood, California jade, jasper and agate.

Camping tips for newbies

Escape the heat and go camping. If you are new to camping, go easy.

Use fun as your guide and skip worrying about equipment by sleeping on a tarp and eating cold cereal and fruit for breakfast, sandwiches from the cooler for lunch and weenies over the campfire for the big meal.

Take off ASAP on Friday if you are limited to the workweek and be ready to set up before dark. Also, bring a flashlight for every camper.

You may get lucky and score a campsite that is hard to get during the high season by asking the ranger if there is a waiting list. Also consider walk-in camping. With a minimalist slant to your gear, it should be easy. One of the most popular coastal camps within two hours is MacKerricher State Beach just north of Fort Bragg. Drive up Highway 101 and turn west on Highway 20 in downtown Willits. It is a twisty, winding road. The payoff is the beautiful coastal communities within a short drive once you reach Highway 1.

The hamlet of Mendocino is an excellent way to spend a day, as the cute shops and stores overflow with treasures. The best beach is a few minutes south of Mendocino. Van Damm State Beach graces a small bay with a huge gravel beach and lots of water fun for kids of all ages.

North of town is the famous Jug Handle State Beach. It is a bit more work getting a parking spot and hiking down the rough trail. The reward is a beach of fine sugar grade sand and good protection from some waves. Never, ever let the kids play without very close supervision. Once a child is rolled by a wave it becomes a rescue mission, and you need to be prepared. One abalone diver and his friends from the South Bay region went for dip with heavy wave action; his was the third death this year for the Mendocino Coast. Our ocean is beautiful but demands respect at all times.


Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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