Devil’s Head Prospecting Trip – October 2013

Had an open Sunday so I decided to venture up to Devil’s Head Colorado to prospect in a new area that has much less digging than the typical Virgin’s Bath area.  From my neighborhood, I could tell there was snow up on Devil’s Head and the Rampart Range but I decided to give it a try anyway.  Worst case, I figured, I could hit an old site or even prospect some of the old mines that are on the map that I haven’t searched before.

Upon driving up the snow was covering the ground in the trees but the flatter, more open areas appeared to be snow free.  I decided there was enough snow-free area to make it worth a prospecting hike.  I headed a couple miles off of the road and started to see some good signs; but alas there was digging in the area where all looked good.  All the digging was very old; but still it seems that there is no virgin ground around!  I ended up finding a nice white quartz point in that area but decided to continue further off the beaten path.

A little after noon I found a snow-free spot that had some quartz shards that weren’t very crystallized but pretty clear; and some pegmatite so I started to dig.  I ended up pulling an okay crystal of good size out (about 2.5″) and then a great looking microcline crystal; so I figured there could be some finds.  I pulled out the camera and shot some video of the crystals I dug out.  Check it out!

The sun started to get low on the horizon and behind the clouds and with the wind the nearly 40 degrees started to fall quickly; and the clouds were encroaching while flurries started.  Given the car was about 2 miles uphill (much of it very steep) I decided to bury the hole and head out.  Nearly an hour later I was heading out in a cloud/fog looming over Devil’s Head.  All in all, a wonderful Sunday adventure, perhaps the last one of the season for this locale!

Bigger crystals than usual, the largest is about five inches!

Fun crystal seam at Devil's Head

Fun crystal seam at Devil's Head

Thanks to James for identifying the microcline (smaller of the two below) crystal as a Carlsbad Twin due to the 180 degree reversed twin!

3" Twinned Microcline, 4" Quartz and LARGE Microcline

September 2013 Flood – Wallstreet perspective

And the rain kept coming…

Destruction on four-mile

Destruction on four-mile

Even the Trouble Department can't fix this

Even the Trouble Department can't fix this

On the night of September 11th the rain started; and continued for 4 days with double the annual rain in just a couple of days for many places along the front range of Colorado, including Boulder and its western gultches that feed Boulder Creek.

My bandmate and pal Jeff Holland lives in Wallstreet on Four-Mile Creek and he and his community were heavily impacted by the flooding.  It’s nearly five weeks later and currently snowing; and the roads are barely passable and most of the residents still have not come home.

Here are some pictures that Jeff took (and a couple of mine as well) of the days of the flooding and aftermath as it unfolded.  I’m narrating from a 3rd party perspective and my words can’t even come close to the stories and nightmare that the residents all over the front range of Colorado have gone (and continue to go) through!  Jeff has asked me to share some of these photos to give a Wallstreet perspective.

Jeff's riverside terrace as the water quickly left its banks

Jeff's riverside terrace as the water quickly left its banks

Looking up Four-Mile Drive at the start of the event

Looking up Four-Mile Drive at the start of the event

Looking up Four-Mile Drive as the water continues to rise

Looking up Four-Mile Drive as the water continues to rise

Looking up Four-Mile, water continues to rise

Looking up Four-Mile, water continues to rise

The rain continues over Wallstreet

The rain continues over Wallstreet

The road became a second streambed

The road became a second streambed

This is one of the few bridges remaining; however it is impassable.

This is one of the few bridges remaining; however it is impassable.

Not quite sure where the road was...

Not quite sure where the road was...

Salina was hit especially hard!

Salina was hit especially hard!

Just an example of the level of the little Four-Mile Creek

Just an example of the level of the little Four-Mile Creek

Water was flowing through this garage

Water was flowing through this garage

This house was also hit hard!

This house was also hit hard!

Roads were impassable in many places, so the only way to evacuate was via the air.  This was after the rain subsided, 4 days into the event.

Rescue coming to Wallstreet

Rescue coming to Wallstreet

I can't image what it must be like to have to leave your home in this way...

I can't image what it must be like to have to leave your home in this way...

It is amazing what a small creek can do, but obviously canyons were forged over time in a very destructive manner.

Four-Mile Canyon road, or what is left of it

Four-Mile Canyon road, or what is left of it

Lower Salina into Wallstreet was impassable

Lower Salina into Wallstreet was impassable

Looking east from the old Wallstreet Mill

Looking east from the old Wallstreet Mill

Just below Salina on the hike into Wallstreet to start the drying process

Just below Salina on the hike into Wallstreet to start the drying process

The event is not over yet; all the erosion and undercutting have left very large trees hanging in the balance.  Trees are falling whenever there is wind; and as winter approaches there will be a lot more tree issues.

Trees are still falling

Trees are still falling

These large trees continue to topple

These large trees continue to topple

During / After shots of Jeff's Terrace

During / After shots of Jeff's Terrace

The stream takes on a whole new path down the canyon.

The stream takes on a whole new path down the canyon.

Many thanks to the volunteers, donors and organizations that have been helping all the Front Range communities get back on their feet.  There are even many out-of-state crews that are providing assistance which was wonderful to see the kindness of fellow Americans!

Red Feather Lakes Crystal Hike

For the kids fall break I took a couple of days off of work and we visited my folks in Northern Colorado.  On Sunday morning my dad and I were talking about visiting Chicken Park where we have heard stories of Kimberlite Pikes (diamonds, we are in that part of Colorado), gold, Amethyst and other fun stories of the area.  Given that is a 20 minute drive from their house we decided to check it out.

Our journey was abruptly cut short, however, due to a road closure.  There was another way; but it would have been at least an hour drive so instead of turning around and heading home; we decided to check out another road; the only one available.  After a rough road we got out and took a hike.  A little while into the trail we came across some float that caught our attention and we decided to dig a little to see what we’d find.

Float that sparked our interest

Float that sparked our interest

Another float that started the digging...

Another float that started the digging...

Dad ran back to the truck to get the pick and rock hammer while I stayed and scoped the area out.  By the time he returned I had an idea where we should dig and we started.  We spent about an hour digging and pulled out a bunch of rough chunks with faces; almost all with crystallized formations showing.  I ended up finding some red clay and small crystal clusters started coming out.

Some nice crystals that we pulled from the red clay/mud

Some nice crystals that we pulled from the red clay/mud

Some of the clusters we pulled out

Some of the clusters we pulled out

These took me a while to clean up; the mud was really sticky.  We had to get home for lunch and so we left the diggings to come back the next day, a little more prepared to do some serious excavation; except it snowed six inches!  Oh well; my dad said he’d check it out further on some warm day–the luxuries of being retired!

Some chunks of quartz showing crystallization

Some chunks of quartz showing crystallization

Some of the nicer clusters; for dad's cabinet

Some of the nicer clusters; for dad's cabinet

A shot of the take home; most garden rock

A shot of the take home; most garden rock

All in all a wonderful hike with my dad and adventure on the mountain back roads in his area!  Hope to do this again soon!