Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Friday, June 9, 2017

Rock Hounding Attempts at Lake George CO

Hail Hail Go Away Come Again Some Other Day--the mantra as of late.
That's hail not snow on the way home
video
Tried rock hounding a few times in the last couple weeks but thunderstorms keep chasing us off the mountains. We’ve been finding some minor pockets with amazonite, smoky quartz, microcline, goethite and even some fluorites but nothing extraordinary.  We seem to just get settled and find a place to dig when storms start filling the skies.  No amount of gems are worth getting struck by lightning or getting stuck in the mud.  The area I am currently prospecting and digging is difficult due to the amount of digging done there in the past.  Much of the claim has been worked by bulldozers and track hoes. While the areas remediated after excavation are quite easily determined the quartz and pegmatite pieces strewn about from prior excavations makes it difficult to determine possible float from yet to be unearthed pegmatites or strewn about pegmatite debris from prior mechanized disturbances. You might wonder why I don’t go elsewhere, but there are few places left unclaimed to go to. 90% of all pegmatite bearing land within the Lake George intrusive area is claimed.  There are some small areas between claims that are open, but in the more productive areas claims overlap each other a few times over. So I go where I can and use my detective skills to help determine the viability of prospecting an area. Is the area open for prospecting or do I have permission to dig in the area? Has the area been previously worked and remediated—hopefully not. Are there pegmatites under the ground with viable crystals? Before I can search an area and prospect much leg work must be done.  Having said this I now have permission to dig on over 1600 acres. Nearly half of this area has been machine dug. Conditions by the claim owner have been placed on my prospecting to even including what specimens I can keep.  Still there are specimens to be found, hills to prospect, fresh air to inhale, minerals to dig and crystals to cherish and share.  Having mentioned all the excuses I can think of for not finding much, my digging partner and I are having some small successes.  Bob has spent a lot of time along a prominent pegmatite which runs uphill from the northwest to southeast. While much of the pegmatite near the top of the hill has been dug, he has expended his efforts midway up the hill.  So far he found a large pocket of microcline plates and another pocket of smoky quartz.
Nice palm size plates of microcline
Unfortunately you actually can collect too much microcline (nobody wants it) and the smoky quartz crystals have been fractured and predominately side wall specimens (incomplete). I started my digging above an old dig hoping the pegmatite continued to run with a yet undiscovered pocket of crystals.  I found plenty of smoky shards and some goethite masses, but nothing much to write about. At one point I hit a whole pocket full of shards of quartz... was it left there by somebody else or did Mother Nature just destroy almost the entire pocket?  I also picked up a few massive pieces of goethite and they too may have been left behind by someone else. There were a few 2 inches smokys I pocketed, but that was about it.
2 Inch Smokys
A little Miracle Grow Does Wonders
I kept tabs on my digging buddy, Bob and found a spot near him on the northwest side of the hill that looked promising.  The pegmatite looked good, but the crystals were mostly locked in and only pale blue, so after a day of digging poorly formed amazonite there I moved up the hill.  Soon I found another spot that appeared to show some promise of better colored amazonite but that too played out quickly with only a few small collectible crystals. Next I swung around to the southwest side of the hill noting some small smokys laying on the hill. I wasn’t sure whether these small smokys were from a nearby source or float from digs up the hill. I gave the spot a try and was rewarded with another softball size pocket of fluorites and smokys.  Unfortunately nearly all of the plates of crystals that had fluorites on them were also surrounded by a brown mass of pseudomorphs of iron mineralization after carbonates. While I took some of these plates home, the collectibility of this material is questionable as they will not clean up, but better than getting skunked.
My final try on this hill was last week. I prospected over towards where my partner had been digging and decided to just set down in an undug spot along the pegmatite and give my luck a try.  Within a couple minutes a few small smoky shards popped out of the ground and then goethite. I did manage to get a fairly nice goethite with some smoky quartz points and another pseudomorph of goethite after what I suspect is fluorite with some onegite which is a bit of a unique find. I’ve never had much luck when I’ve been on a hill with goethite. Usually the goethite intermixes into the pockets and makes a mess of the smoky quartz crystals and amazonite.  I think its time to move off this hill and look elsewhere.
I will enlist Austin, a young friend, to see what we can find in another area. We've started a new dig which has shown some small amazonite and will hopefully develop into something noteworthy. So far we've found some small amazonite and a couple of float smoky quartz crystals. There are digs up the hill from us but the slope is quite gradual so I'm hoping we hit something before we get too close to the old digs.
Austin getting ready to tear it up!
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