Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Friday, June 27, 2014

Crystal Hunting in Bear Creek Canyon *Updated 4 July

Set off bright and early planning on going to Lake George when the TV weatherman said it would be only 80F today and 10% chance of rain, I took him at his word and went to Bear Creek instead. Bear Creek is known for crystals but it gets a lot hotter and more humid in the summer due to the lower elevation so we tend to go there in the fall. While heading out to Bear Creek due to the cooler weather we found our way blocked by a closed road. Evidently last fall's heavy rains closed the road which meant an extra mile or so of walking up the canyon instead of driving. We decided the walk would do us good and it was cool so off we went. The closed dirt road is at about a 10% grade, so we warmed up quickly. We saw no bears, nor any fish in the creek. I believe this area is under consideration for closure to preserve an area for the green cutthroat trout which were all probably flushed out of the creek into Fountain Creek due to last fall's rains.
Bear Creek Gurgling Along
We rock hounded an area we had tried before, but had previously run out of time digging there. We had the whole day in front of us. While Bob was thinking of going up towards an area called Sentinel Rock, I was happy to dig in a well formed pegmatite further down the hill. By 10AM I was finding crystals, so Bob aborted his plan and decided to dig near me and try his luck as well.
May be a quartz scepter
By 12 o'clock Bob was finding crystals as well, so we never made it to Sentinel Rock this day. There are probably claims ringing it now anyway, but we'll get up there sometime this summer or fall to check it out.
After following a root through a pegmatite the pegmatite started opening up and getting moist with dirt. Soon I pulled out a rather large worm... lucky for me not so for him. I tossed him down the hill and started finding quartz with faces. Then I started finding full blown crystals. I called Bob over when I pulled out a 7 incher with fluorites attached.
7" Crystal Combo With Fluorites
I'm not sure about the color of the fluorites since they have not yet been cleaned, but they appear to be green to me.
6" Smoky With Fluorite Attached
Clay Encrusted Plate With Fluorite (upper right) and Quartz
A picture of the above plate in the collapsed pocket
Next up was another well formed fluorite followed by plates of smokys with fluorites and microcline. This find ended a somewhat dry spell crystal-finding for me. Bob decided to go to work almost exactly where I had thrown that worm. Now I don't think he found the worm, but he did find crystals. I guess I should have kept that lucky worm.
Bob's Nice Quartz Grouping
 By 1:30 PM the sky began to cloud up and thunderclaps were rumbling in the distance. So much for that 10% chance for rain. I decided I had more crystals (plates) than I could carry so we headed back for home. Forty pounds of rocks with equipment and 55 year old knees slowed me down some, but Bob was gracious enough to carry some of my crystals. I buried about a third of the lesser crystals within the pocket and then covered up the hole. Its a pretty remote spot, but no sense giving away the rest of the crystals with potentially more in the unfinished pocket. Not sure when I'll return, but it will have to be a cool day.                             Update: I returned to Bear Creek on 1 Jul to clean out the pocket. There were a couple of nice quartz crystals unearthed, but all were hooded (see picture).
The "Godfather" With Crystal Arms Oustretched {4" tall}
None of the new plates had fluorite on them either. As I continued to dig into the mountain following the crystal pocket, the crytal-bearing void continued to narrow down and the crystals grew smaller. The crystals on the plates were all laying down parallel to the host rock. The quality of the specimens I was finding did not merit further digging in my mind, so I filled in the 6 foot hole not planning to return anytime soon. On the 2.5 mile trek back to my vehicle we prospected an area dug for amazonite. I found a nice green fluorite on the edge of one of the digs which will probably bring me back to that site some day!
Blue/Green Fluorite with phantom

Overgrowth on smoky with pagoda top

Green Fluorite With Clear Late Stage Overgrowth Fluorites
Today's Haul of Crystals! Now for the cleaning to start. Looks like these will need a lot of phosphoric acid

1 comment:

  1. wow these are amazing!! i prospect up in that area often, but never found anything quite like those smoky/fluorite combos..holy WOW..

    haha, any chance you'd share an approx. area with me?