I had a earned day off on Friday of Father’s Day weekend and so I decided to go crystal hunting. Hunter and his friend Trevar have always wanted to go with me so I figured with they being off for the summer it was a perfect day. We left at 7am and headed up to Devilshead. The plan of the day was to try and find a hole that had long been abandoned and check out the bottom to see if there was anything left. Then once it got warmer we’d head back to where I had luck last year. Well, that plan never worked out…
We never found the hole I was looking for and we hiked quite a bit, so I decided, since it was on the way, to hit a spot where we could likely pull some “scraps” from other digs–give the kids a chance to get “in the mood” and then get them digging! While they were checking out the tailings, I decided to check out a pit where I found my first two crystals ever to see if there was anything. The hole had been worked since last year so I figured it was stale; but after about 10 minutes I hit a little “mud”. That is where I stayed all weekend!
Here is my work environment with the large crystal in the vug
I worked in some mud and was finding some interesting crystals; nothing “perfect” but definitely 2 or 3 faced smokey quartz and somewhat large. I had some hard rock in the way of a crystal I found so I excavated that section and discovered the pocket was larger than I thought. I started to work on the right side of the pocket and discovered some flat sides on a “rock”. I worked this side of the pocket for the next couple of hours.
Here is the large crystal after at least 90 minutes of excavation work
For some reason the big crystal wouldn’t move; I finally was able to get it to move slightly and found that it was hung up on something behind the crystal. I removed some mud back there and discovered another crystal attached. I was able to pull the crystal out of the mud finally, and to my surprise there was a point on the other end! Wow, a huge crystal (I never dreamed I’d find) in my hand!
To my surprise a terminated crystal! HUGE!
After pulling this out, I figured out what it was caught up on, another small little crystal fell into my hand when pulling this huge one out.
The little crystal that was holding up excavation of the huge crystal
The kids were pretty impressed too but they decided to continue on their fort made with sticks and a hole. There were a couple of large (one larger) crystals in the same pocket so I with renewed energy started working on those. Ended up the biggest crystal hit the bottom of the pocket after about 4″, so it was huge in girth but didn’t do anything as far as a point. I have that in the rock garden out front as a momento. The other crystal in the back of the pocket looked promising and I worked on that the rest of the day; but didn’t get it out by the time we had to leave–working in that pocket mud/clay is somewhat difficult and you have to be extremely careful so you don’t break any other crystals.
Nice Microcline crystal
I found a couple of cool Microcline crystals this first day and also some neat double-terminated flat crystals.
Cool double terminated flat crystal
The pocket continued…Saturday AM.
We had a birthday party to go to at 2pm, so I woke up early and headed back up the hill to see what I could excavate in the 4 hours I had. Not messing around, once I booked it into the hole I started by excavating more area to work in so I wouldn’t have to lay down like the day before. That ended up being a good 30 minute investment for sure. I ended up pulling out a lot of the pocket and found some great smokeys and microcline crystals, including several funky double-terminated ones that were great. The large crystal ended up terminating into the granite so there was no point; but it was worth the effort for sure as I pulled out some great other crystals in the process!
Nice thin crystal from the left side of the pocket
Nice gemmy fatty! Part of a cluster that I have yet to fully excavate.
Another cool microcline crystal.
This microcline is the coolest one I’ve ever seen. This was sitting below the granite dividing the two sides of the pocket. Ultra cool crystal!
Ultra cool microcline beast!
The Giant, all cleaned up
This is the second big crystal that took a while on Saturday to pull out. Even though it isn’t terminated, it is really neat with lots of detail in every side!
Big crystal #2
Here are a couple of the double terminated crystals I found immediately behind the big crystal #2. It was time to head back, but there was a lot of cool stuff behind this crystal…ended up still home early so no damage done!
Sweet double terminated smokey
Super cool double terminated with tiny tip
I was pretty excited when I pulled this big guy out. Like a lot of the crystals I pulled out, they do not have very straight sides but instead have a lot of character.
Sweet large crystal
This one was nice and gemmy, but obviously had another rock at its tip…
Gemmy flat sided crystal; one of the few with flat sides
Here is the collection of nice microcline crystals I pulled out and cleaned.
Microcline collection from the pocket
There were several more really nice crystals, you’ll just have to pay a visit to take a look at them I also found more imperfect crystals like this one that were way cool; several that were thinner than glass and in a small “pane”.
Cool flat crystal, not terminated but interesting shape.
This is terminated on one side, very cool crystal!
Between the success at Devilshead, the Saturday birthday party and the Sunday BBQ, this was a great father’s day weekend! Thanks everyone, including you, mother earth!
Another big day for weather. The estimated Instability (CAPE values of around 2000) were not as large as the day before, but there WERE going to be big storms. The storm that formed around 3:00pm over Golden that put down 3″ of hail on the ground (and 1″ hailballs) I believe was the straw that broke the camel’s back and prompted a tornado watch for all of eastern Colorado. I was getting off work and looking west the storm was just going to go north of us. So I decided to check it out, since I was there and all….
Radar of the Supercell as it was Tornado Warned
As I got out of town I heard the storm was Tornado warned, but Radar (not visual), so I figured I’d stay on this. I got north of Bennett and parked for a while.
Supercell East of Denver
I drove north a bit and the storm was looking pretty mean so I jumped out and started to take some picture and film. I heard that there were funnels reported near Barr Lake (just north of my location) as well; so everything was looking ripe.
Suspicious cloud - could not detect rotation
Could not detect rotation
For all of these shots, some looked like tornado(s) to me, but I couldn’t detect if they were rotating. There were no confirmed tornadoes in the SPC reports; so either I’m the only one that saw these (doubt that) or they were not tornadoes…I can’t report them as tornadoes unless I’m sure, which in all cases I wasn’t…
Very suspicious looking clouds....
Very suspicious looking clouds....
I suspect the ominous looking formations I was seeing were something like this, and with a hill in the way they appeared to be on ground but perhaps weren’t. Regardless, really great structure and clouds!
What a Scuddy Mess!
Nice outflow cloud getting sucked back into the storm
While south of Prospect Valley, I was watching the storm with a volunteer firefighter and we saw this. Not sure what to make of it; it looked very ominous but I could not detect rotation. Cool structure for sure!
Not sure what to make of this. It was in the outflow of the storm, but look at the structure it had as it was sucked into the storm.
Nice little hook.
This was embedded in the rain, but it was weird…and suspect!
Haven't figured out what this could have been, any ideas?
Then I saw this…which is very ominous! Not sure if it was rotating though, so can’t call it a tornado…but it sure did look that way!
Only lacked visible rotation; but it was pretty far away.
This was neat. There was an outflow that was hitting the ground and then getting sucked back up into the storm. This was visible for over 15 minutes, and was very visibly moving.
Outflow cloud getting sucked into the storm
The structure of this storm was worth the price of admission for sure!
Structure was awesome!
Just south of the storm was some surreal clouds.
What a day. Ended up not feeling too well (headache, sure it was allergies) and so I decided to head home. I ended up merging with a storm in Strasburg that put down some 2″ hail. Yikes! The overall structure of this storm was great. An awesome chase!
Awesome Supercell and Chase!
June 10-13 were big and weird weather days here in Colorado. On June 10th, upon the drive home, a huge “mothership” supercell formed over central Douglas county. I had left my SLR camera at home but did have a video camera, so all of the pictures of June 10 were either video capture or from my phone.
Supercell taking on Mothership structure
Talking with Scott Bennett who lives under this beast he stated that it was awesome with lots of rotating scud directly under this thing. I decided to chase for a while–but having some work to get done at home I knew it would be a short chase. I took this shot just east of Parker, south of County Line Road (Arapahoe/Douglas/Elbert area).
I suspected big hail so I didn’t want to punch through this thing to get on the other side; so I decided to follow it (having a great view and good contrast). I saw several large rotations (funnels) in the clouds and lots of cool structure. I’m sure from the front this beast looked like the mother of all motherships. I decided that the storm was far enough north of my road to jump in front of it, I came over a hill and saw this…
No Rain, BIG Hailballs everywhere
I hit the brakes to get out and look at these things. Note that I saw NOTHING smaller than 1.5″ and no rain…that was weird.
Holy Hailballs Batman
I was almost with the storm when I saw this, so I thought twice about trying to pass it; there was no rain at all but hailballs everywhere, so these were obviously flying out of the south side of this storm. Given that these probably fell in the last 5 minutes, and looking at the homes I was passing with huge holes in their windows, smashed windshields on parked cars, and the frequency of these things laying everywhere, I decided punching through this stuff it would be too big of a risk.
Big 3 Inch Hail
Big 2.5 Inch Hail Everywhere
I followed the storm to Deer Trail and then realized I couldn’t get in front of it so I went home. Note there was a Tornado 4 miles NE of Deer Trail reported; I was probably watching it but being behind the storm I didn’t see it. But the structure, rotation and big hail were worth the trip. I saw some photos from the front side of this storm and it was incredible mothership structure; too bad I was too chicken to tempt the hail and get in front of it
Castle Rock Sunset