Typically rockin season doesn't start here in the Colorado Rockies until April timeframe, sometimes a bit later when the snow is all melted and the ground good and thawed. But this winter is a little different and I have been out prospecting several times since early February already! Yes, there is snow to contend with, but not enough to keep me indoors!
The first trip was a spot I need to visit again. Found some great stones in the general area but never been on these mountains. It was one heck of a hike, a couple of miles only but nearly 1500 feet vertical each way. The vertical was a massive boulder field as you can see in this picture--a full body workout! Not much snow on this steep incline, but down lower it was between ankle and hip deep!
I was searching for quartz and feldspar which I'd then follow uphill to their source. Once the signs disappeared, I knew I went too far and followed my tracks until I could triangulate the source, then I dig! This is called "following the float" and is common during prospecting trips!
I found a couple of small "crystals" but not the gems I was looking for. There is potential however so I plan to make another trip up in the area this spring! Prospecting trips are 50/50 if I find -anything- at all; this one I came home pretty much empty-handed. Boy the view was spectacular from 10,000+ though!
I did have a couple good prospecting days where I was following float (this time actual crystals) up a hill. I still haven't been able to find the source of these crystals; but I plan other trips soon! The above is a smoky quartz covered with hematite which makes the quartz really sparkly, think super tiny glitter sparkling at every angle! The hematite is a secondary coating over the entire crystal. This was about 8 inches underground between the organic soil layer and the decomposed granite making it pretty easy digging; but you still have to take your time as you don't want to bust a crystal with the pick!
The crystal below is what started me on my trip up the side of the hill; it is fairly large and making me excited for the destination! If this eroded out of the ground and rolled down the hill millions of years ago, what still exists locked away in situ in the crystal pocket I haven't found yet? Note that this crystal has a crack down the center. I'm assuming the pocket exploded under the pressure and temperatures, breaking and quickly rehealing before the pocket fluids were completely solidified...about a billion years ago to put everything into perspective.
Below is another crystal I found a couple of feet uphill from the one above. This one is truly spectacular to hold! It is a double terminated smoky quartz with hematite covering and then a milky quartz secondary growth. Oh, and did I mention, its double-terminated!
I have only lightly cleaned these in Super Iron Out because I don't want to take away the hematite or secondary growth coating in an acid bath; so I can't decide if I want to take the cleaning any further. To this beholder, they are quite spectacular as-is! Below is the view of the crystal as I found it in the ground, and below that is the other spectacular side!
I also have found some really unique parallel elestial growth quartz crystals along with some gemmy fluorites. These parallel growth crystals are typically only grown on one side, but this winter has been good to me and provided double terminated and crystal growth on all sides of the crystal! These are really interesting and cool clusters! The fluorites are really gemmy going from clear to green to purple in color, sometimes with all three in one stone! They have pyramid inclusions which is neat!
Still needing some additional cleaning but thought I'd post the crystals straight out of the ground with just a water rinse and mild toothbrush scrub!
Been a wonderful winter so far; and spring is just around the corner! from a billion years ago, in the present we call it Rural Colorado!
The above Fluorite shows purple and clear gemmy presence. This one will suck the time out of your reality, just stare for a while and you'll see what I mean! A whole different world awaits! Below shows some of the purple non-gemmy material I found. I also found some darker gemmy purple too.
The above cluster is amazing! It has a green tint to it, and is terminated everywhere. The other side, below, is equally as amazing but completely different crystal growth! What a find! This was found several feet underground in pocket mud, which was a bit of a challenge to deal with and made a rusty mess all over my gear!
Above is another amazing cluster. The clear quartz crystals are larger and terminated around the edge where there was a little more space in the fissure between two plates of quartz; and then you get the parallel growth with thousands of facets where there wasn't as much room to grow!
I need to research and perhaps reach out to others on the above piece, it has a really interesting green tint to the quartz; it was found in an area with green fluorite, so perhaps some combo of the two or some staining? Note to self, don't clean this one too much or I could remove the cool color!
The below crystal needs some serious cleaning to remove the pocket clay from the cracks between the crystal faces, but holy-elestial-quartz-batman, this is a killer! I'll need to repost this one I have it all clean and sparkly!