Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lake Geoge Rock Hounding

Another beautiful day at Lake George, although a bit warm.  84F is not so hot at sea level, but at thinner air and sitting in the sun it got quite warm.  The heat didn't bother me much after I started finding crystals.  I went back to Lake George again and worked a spot that I had dug previously.  It was too warm for prospecting, so I just set myself down in an area that looked to have promise. 
 You can see some of the tools of the trade here.  I am working a seam of peg just below a burned tree. My digging buddy is working up the hill from me in the upper left of the picture.
 Here are bits of the pegmatite dug out.  I'm looking for pocket where groupings of crystals can be collected.  I noticed on the peg I dug out that there was some amazonite and smoky quartz.  However I also noted there was some damage to the crystals, probably due to pocket collapse and shifting of the earth over the last few millions of years.
Here is a picture of a pocket located along a seam of enhanced minerals within the pegmatite.  You can see some microcline and smoky quartz.  I managed to get this out mostly intact.

Some specimens, soaked in water overnight.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scientific Method & Rockhounding at Lake George CO

We all use the scientific method from time to time, usually not even realizing it.  I decided to more formalize my rock hounding using the scientific method.  There are 6 parts to the scientific method, (1)a question, (2)background research, (3)a hypothesis, (4)testing the hypothesis, (5)analyzing and drawing a conclusion, (6)communicating your results.  I will update this posting from time to time.

(1) QUESTION: What's the best approach to finding crystals in the Lake George Intrusive area?  There are several parameters/restrictions involved including things like areas privately owned and claimed, what is the best elevation, where have people had success in the past, are more remote areas more likely to be less picked over, how does erosion play a role in crystal discovery.

(2) BACKGROUND RESEARCH: My background research will be a culmination of my experiences in the last 2 years of rock hounding combined with rules of thumb and questions I've gleaned from old-time prospectors.  The Lake George Intrusive area includes parts of sections: 33, 34, 35, 1,  2, 3, 4, 8, 9,11,12,14,15,16,17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27 in Park and Teller counties. I will not include crystal finds for areas I have not prospected. This would include private claims and private property which are well documented for finds, but unavailable for prospecting.  I will include some finds on private claims for which I received permission to prospect. I will construct a database that will include section #, elevation, whether or not it is in the Hayman burn and how steep/incline the site is. I will also include a notation as to the remoteness of the site, as well as what was found and its quality (somewhat subjective discriminators). This database will be a close hold item as I don't want to reveal the specific sites of my finds!

HYPOTHESIS: Steep areas in the Lake George Intrusive area that were extensively burned by the Hayman fire within +/-500ft of 8500ft in elevation that are at least 1/4mile from any road should have the best prospects.  This hypothesis is based on experience.  While I have found crystals within 20ft of a road it seems most crystals are found off the beaten path.  I must now begin construction of a database to review my finds and prove or massage my hypothesis to better fit the data.  Testing of the hypothesis went hand in hand with its construction.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rockhounding Pikes Peak

A friend of a friend of a friend said they knew where we could rock hound on Pikes Peak and find nice big smoky quartz crystals.  Well this is not the last red herring I will have been on nor the last.  It was a nice day and the forecast was for no thunderstorms (which is rare on Pikes Peak in the summer) so I went with a few freinds.  We started out around 630AM from my home and got to the top of Pikes Peak around 830.  I found a few smoky quartz crystals and what I believe to be fluorite, but the directions we had for the honey pot of crystals was somewhat spotty and lacked detail.  We hiked down the Barr Trail from the top of Pikes Peak about 3 miles and did our prospecting.  We had an enjoyable day and made it back to the top around 630PM.  The hike back up was difficult and I was almost glad I didn't have a backpack full of crystals.

We left Barr Trail and hiked around some boulders to the suggested spot.  At first I tried to step lightly on the Alpine tundra, but I soon realized my safety was more important and walked where my feet were securely planted.
Reservoir looking east from PP
 Here is a picture of one of the high mountain reservoirs.  The last couple of winters have been very dry and the reservoirs are somewhat low this year.  Hopefully the summer monsoon rains will come soon and help alleviate the drought we are experiencing. 
Big granite rocks

That's why they call them the Rockies!

In this picture you can see some friends prospecting in the middle of the picture (you may have to zoom in on the center).

When the animals come out to play its time to get off the mountains.  This deer blended in so well in the evening dusk that I almost missed her.