Cinco de Mayo 2013: A New Hope

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Today was a great day and my second outing for the year, this time to the New Hope Amethyst lode claim as guests of the Canyon City rock club.  I was with the Lake George Gem and Mineral club , there were 5 or 6 clubs on this field trip.  Lots of eager Rockhounds wanting to get out find some amethyst quartz crystals!!  The day was slightly overcast which was perfect for a day of digging–bright but not too hot or sunny. I started the day doing some prospecting and walking around the claim and surrounding public lands.  I found some epidote in quartz/granite which was cool; but nothing else per se.  Richard, the field trip leader for the club, had given me a clue on where to find some calcite crystals so I went on a hunt for them.  I was able to find the area he mentioned; but obviously someone had been digging there already and I didn’t see the calcite crystals he mentioned.  The seam that had been dug out had some dried red clay and I figured I should see what that was about so I started digging in that carefully.  I ended up finding a small plate of small quartz points which was exciting (thanks to Carl Carnein for his help with identification).  Unfortunately the host rock was extremely brittle and even exercising great care it was hard to extract the plates without everything busting into tiny pieces.

Cute calcite cluster found in the maroon clay
Cute quartz cluster found in the maroon clay.  These will scratch glass.

I continued to dig into the clay and uncovered more small plates of quartz crystals, again they were very brittle but I was able to extract a couple 1.5 – 2″ pieces intact which was exciting!  Continuing into the pocket I the clay turned iridescent maroon colored and that is where I found a couple of really pretty plates, one, the back/side of the pocket was able to be extracted intact that was rather large, 4-5″ long.  Sweet! The below cluster was one of the intact small clusters which came from this area of the small pocket.

Calcite cluster without the coating of calcite
Quartz cluster that was pretty clean…
Awesome large cluster of calcite crystals intact!!
Awesome large cluster of quartz crystals intact!!

Once I got to the end of this small pocket I broke into a small but pretty smokey and amethyst quartz vein.  It quickly pinched out and I decided to see what everyone else was finding and relax for a little bit. Overall the calcite pocket was about 3-5″ high, 1-3″ wide and about 4″ deep at the largest points.

"Zipper" Vein of Smokey and Amethyst Quartz at the end of the Calcite pocket
“Zipper” Vein of Smokey and Amethyst Quartz at the end of the quartz pocket

Everyone was having luck about two feet deep digging an amethyst vein.  There was a lot of folks digging in a tight space so I decided to try and intercept the vein a little ways away from the crowd; 10 yards or so uphill.  I dug and dug in all directions but did not find the vein…it either made a significant turn, went further down than I was wanting to dig (which was 3+ feet!); or pinched out.  After a couple of hours I reclaimed my prospecting and just hung out and listened to everyone talk and enjoyed the stories and watching everyone find great little clusters.

Small amethyst, milky and smokey quartz clusters and points
Small amethyst, milky and smokey quartz clusters and points

I went through some of the tailings and found some cool little points, and after everyone was done they offered me a chance to dig in the excavated hole and I enjoyed about an hour of finding great small milky quartz covered plates before it was time to head home.  It was a wonderful day with great people; I’ve really enjoyed visiting this claim and appreciate the opportunity to do so!

Needs a little more scrubbing; beautiful amethyst quartz!
Needs a little more scrubbing; beautiful amethyst and smokey quartz!
Calcite crystals in close proximity to quartz vein
Quartz crystals in close proximity to quartz vein

 

3 Comments

  1. Sounds like you had a good time! I assume that I will eventually get to collect at the New Hope claim as my club did a dig there several years before I joined it. It looks like the calcite must be be part of a hydrothermal vein process, Pretty cool near association with that amethyst vein! What type was the host rock? What was your first outing for the year?

    We (the club) were scheduled to collect at Joe Dorris’ Topaz Mountain mine last Saturday but it was cancelled (area had 4 inches of snow) to hopefully later this summer. I went to Devils Head instead as the road opened on Friday but the snow at the campground was around 6 inches deep with 95 percent coverage!

    This Saturday I’ll be collecting at my Crystal Peak claim with an invited guest and then the following week go to the open date dig at Joe Dorris’ Topaz mine site. Maybe I will see you there then. I’ve only gone out twice this year for collecting so far – my claim and North Table Mountain. I hope to get a topaz claim fairly soon if I like the look of the ground.

    James

  2. James. This trip was my second time out; and I’ve been to the Lake George area three times thus far (twice since New Hope)…the first was a prospecting trip with my son and his friend, the second I found some good crystals and the third was with a fieldtrip with the CSMS club where I continued with where I was the last time. I’m cleaning those crystals now and will post a summary once I have some pictures… soon! Been a lucky year thus far; maybe it will continue? My next likely trip will be at the Dorris Topaz mine on the 25th so look forward to seeing you there!

  3. Oh, and you made me realize I missed posting one really neat photo of the Calcite and Quartz proximity!

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