By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY – Staff Writer
Recently Lisa Wilson, a homeowner in Crestline, made a remarkable discovery while tending to her garden. The rains and snows created some erosion in the yards on the mountain areas, after last winter’s storms, so many people have needed to spend significant time this spring to get their gardens back into shape.
Lisa recently lost her brother, Justin, 28, in April, who worked on the mountain for the family business, PTL Exclusive Cleaning Service. She decided to take up serious gardening to help with her grief in a healthy way. While digging in her garden, Lisa uncovered two substantial rocks which she initially knew were unusual in appearance. She put them aside on a rock pile to investigate some more a little later.
Then family members gathered together at the vacation cabin in Crestline to console each other at this difficult time. Some came from Canada, some from Victorville and Las Vegas, and others from other areas of the western states. One family member, a daughter of Chief Jim of the Haida First Nation, did a First Nations chant and song to bring a spiritual calm to what became a quite large family gathering to mourn Justin and his unexpected death.
One evening, Lisa showed them the unusual rocks and said she thought they were petrified wood. They debated late into the night over what it really was; half agreed with Lisa and thought it was petrified wood and the other half were not so sure. They Googled for support and shined flashlights on them for close examination. They remained divided.
Finally, at 3 a.m., they agreed they would take Lisa’s “rocky finds” to the Jurassic Fossils store in Lake Arrowhead.
The next morning, the entire family trooped into Lake Arrowhead Village. It was there that the knowledgeable paleontologist Kelly Hanna looked at the samples, brought out a special light and confirmed Lisa’s suspicions. These pieces were indeed petrified wood, and she was particularly impressed by Lisa’s discovery, emphasizing its uniqueness for this area.
Hanna said that making such a find in Crestline was quite exceptional and classified it as an amazing occurrence, as these soils are not known to make petrified wood as good these pieces were.
The petrified wood specimens have a unique beauty and intricacy to them. Lisa plans to put the petrified wood into a glass case, which will protect it and also serve as a memorial of Justin, as she always thinks of him when she looks at it.
The discovery gave the family a chance to marvel at the wonders of the natural world and they all shared in the excitement of making a truly exceptional find, all as a result of gathering together in honor of Justin. They hope it might inspire and encourage others to explore the world around them with curiosity and appreciation.