I was going through some photos that needed processed and found some that I really liked, so I thought I’d share them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
My dad and I are both new members with the Lake George Gem and Mineral club and were able to go on this great trip. The New Hope Amethyst location was claimed by the Canyon City Geology club and on BLM land, but you had to pass through multiple private parcels of land to get to it. As with any claim, you MUST have permission from the claim owner to collect; even though its on public land. The Canyon City club arranged with the owners to let us pass through their land and we headed out to the claim. There were a lot of horses on the first property that were running around curious of what the procession was all about!
Once we got to the site my dad and I went straight to the old mine area and started working on a slightly exposed vein. There was a lot of hard-rock work; pounding and using chisels and pry bars for this trip. I was very sore the next day! 🙂
The Canyon City club members there were awesome and taught us much about how to expend effort wisely using the hard-rock mining techniques. This was great information and something as a novice rockhound you can only really get going on these club field trips with the experts! Thanks! We ended up working with several folks to expose a nice vein. The vein of crystals were pretty brittle and would break apart along terminations easily if the vein was not excavated correctly. We ended up with a couple of pieces with the vein intact, but mostly just smaller crystals. All the terminations were coated with a white milky quartz. The crystals all had smokey quartz with the amethyst; so they were absolutely beautiful multi-colored purple/black with white veins! These are not like the amethyst you see in rock shows or shops, but they are unique and beautiful!
Extra thanks to both the Lake George and Canyon City clubs for this awesome day! It was great pulling purple crystals out of the ground!!! My favorite part is many of these crystals are in the shape of tornadoes; I know–pretty geeky–but makes the day extra special!
Last time I visited my folks I took some quick photos of their crystals…
Smokey on Matrix from Devils Head, 2009 trip.
Nice smoky on Microcline from the same pocket as above at Devishead.
Another picture of this cool crystals…
A nice Amethyst cluster from Brazil (?):