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Talking Rock Tours began in conversations between John McLarty and Gerry Bryant, a geologist, while Dr. Bryant was in the field directing the work of a geology graduate student. John had so much fun interrogating Gerry about the rocks that were the subject of the research, and Gerry had so much fun teaching a novice, that we decided to share the experience with others. In 2015 we led our first Talking Rocks tour. Some people have come every year. Participants have been as young as nine years old and as old as 88. Groups have included engineers and chefs, school teachers and ministers, doctors and dentists, biologists and musicians, accountants and poets.
After a hiatus for Covid, we resumed tours in 2022.
John McLarty is a poet, artist, and amateur geologist. He co-founded Talking Rocks with Gerry Bryant.
Gerry Bryant earned his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Toronto and is the founder and director of the Colorado Plateau Institute. His specialty is the Navajo Sandstone a formation that spreads across 200,000 square miles. Dr. Bryant is the science director of the tours and is the lecturer on geology.
Robert Johnston. Robert is a retired chemist. He has been our chef since halfway through our first tour. The food on our trips is incredibly good. Cauliflower and eggplant and portobello mushrooms and peanut sauce are some of the ingredients I remember in menus that seemed to come from a topflight restaurant.
Masters of Logistics
Ted Hoehn joined the team in ??? and quickly made himself indispensable. He is the discoverer of the Triple Horn formation, a fantastic preservation of Paleozoic marine fossils near the town of Pahrump. He has worked with Stephen Rowland of UNLV and a grad student in research on the Triple Horn. He helps with all sorts of logistics.
Kevin Lilly has been exploring the desert with McLarty for decades. When Kevin is around, everything runs more smoothly, and everybody is happier.
2019 Guest lecturers
Stephen Rowland is a professor in the Department of Geology. He received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1978. Professor Rowland’s primary studies are in the areas of paleontology, paleoecology, stratigraphy, and the history of geology. Dr. Rowland spent a few hours with us interpreting fossil trackways in Valley of Fire State Park in 2019.
Marli Miller, author of the Roadside Geology guides for Oregon and Washington and member of the Geological Sciences faculty at the University of Oregon , guided us for one day in Monarch Canyon during our 2019 fall tour in Death Valley.