Here is a report of the trip up island to the Merry Widow mine site.
The Merry Widow field trip was a merry good time. There were a few of us that gathered at Canadian Tire and headed north. On the way up island one of our group's vehicles broke down and had to be towed back to Campbell River. It was a camper van so it could not be abandoned; so with one less field tripper we soldiered on.
We arrived a little behind schedule but all in good spirits. I flagged the way in so anyone behind us could find their way. The flagging worked pretty well for the late comers with only one wrong turn reported. Bob could not make it up the final leg of the road as his campervan lurched too much side to side; he found a nice spot to park on the Benson River and had a trail bike to climb the hill with.
Camp was quickly set up and exploring began. The site is huge and there was a lot of territory to search. The rocks are so beautiful our standards for leaverite went way up. Ron and Peter were assets on this trip because they could explain a lot of the geological processes surrounding us. Everywhere you look there is crystalline rocks of calcite, magnetite, garnet, epidote, and others. The site is very disturbed by all the historic industrial action so most of the rock is jumbled around. The potential for a great find can literally be under your foot. We cooked dinner that night and admired the endless solstice type sunset. Even the black flies could not deter us from having a great time.
The next morning we did a little hiking and exploring before I went to the bottom of the hill to meet the folks who drove up Saturday morning. The rocks on the roadside made me stop several times both on the way up and down. We were joined by six more people and all the vehicles made it up the rough steep road.
There is a variety of things to keep people busy at the mine site: some were working crystal vugs pulling nice sized garnets and other strange crystals; some hiked down into the main hole that is probably about 300 feet deep; others walked around the rock dumps searching for treasures; and someone had fun smashing chalcopyrite into carryable sized pieces (go Dennis!). Alma found a Lucite crystal that Ron identified. He was quite excited as until then he had only seen this in a book. I drove down into the 300 foot hole to collect a sizable calcite rock. We hiked around the mountain top, explored the many roads and the old mining operations, trying to guess how they hauled the 1,600,000,000 tons of ore down the mountain! It seems they moved billions more tons of leaverite to collect the goods. We ended the day with a little exploring of the Benson River. There is so much to see and collect in this area I look forward to returning many more times.
Thanks to all who made it out, the smiles made it all worth it.
July 14 - Horne Lake - interesting karst area. limestone, good quality Dallasite.
Hello, rockin' folks
Its time for the next adventure. We are going to Horne lake on Sunday the 14th. Gord and Jan are camping at Qualicum beach starting on Wednesday and they are willing to connect with some people for some "unofficial" rock hounding in that local area before the Sunday. Gords cell phone number is 204-0539 if you would like to connect with him. I will only be able to show up on the Sunday.
We will meet at the Horne lake turn off of the highway at 9:00 a.m. There is a good parking lot there where we can group up. Gord is going to bring hotdog fixings for lunch, so if you want a hot dog phone me so we can bring enough food. There is good quality dallasite there and some limestone to be had. If you have never been to Horne lake there are public access caves in the area so if you want to explore them bring a flashlight and a hardhat with a headlight. The rock hounding is in the creek flowing into Horne lake, the creek should have slowed down by now so we will be able to wade around in it, so bring some shoes that can get wet or gumboots. I don't think a dolly will help you so that can be left at home, but all the other outdoor gear, and regular rockhounding gear can come. The road is a fair gravel logging road so 4x4 is not necessary.
August 2nd - Fossils in the Trent River.
Its that time again.
The next field trip is to the Trent River for fossils. The trip is on Friday, August 2nd. We will meet at the Canadian Tire parking lot at 9:00 a.m. and leave from there. For those of you that are south of Campbell River you can meet us at the river which is right where the highway crosses the river south of Comox Valley at around 9:45 a.m.
You will need...
good footwear (the river is low right now so shoes that can get wet are good),
a bucket or something to collect your finds into
newspaper to wrap your fragile fossils in,
a pick or pry bar,
safety glasses for flying rock chips,
and of course pack a lunch.
The river has a few good swim spots for cooling off, so bring swimwear and a towel if you want.
great hope to see you there,
Sept 15th - Port Alberni area.
We began the day meeting at the 'top of the hump' on the way to Port Alberni. There were people from the Alberni Valley Rock and Gem club, the Courtenay Gem and Mineral club and our own Ripple Rock Gem and Mineral Club, about 18 of us in total. With lots of enthusiasm we headed for the hill. Driving on the narrow logging roads with steep drop-offs and tight turns, you quickly realize you have to be alert for forest workers driving like crazy. Lucky for us this was a Sunday and there wasn't much traffic.
Fifteen minutes in we notice the majestic peak of Mount Arrowsmith to our left. We drove straight up a side logging road for another 15 minutes making only one wrong turn (which was lots of fun with a long wagon trail of peeps). Thanks to the lack of trees up top, the view was amazing. Mt Arrowsmith is a very unique mountain, it has a shape like no other. Observing it from the mountain beside shows off its beauty and scale.
The weather looked great as we traveled up... unless you looked to the west. To the west dark clouds blanketed the landscape. After searching a couple of good Jasper outcroppings we decided to have a barbeque. Thanks Gord for the great job of cooking a pile of hotdogs.
During lunch we were treated to a fantastic lightning storm. As the previously mentioned cloud rolled toward and onto our perch on McLoughlin Ridge, it rose up like a giant rollercoaster and caused a magnificent lightning storm right in front of us. The bolts were close and very frequent as the storm rolled past us to the north.
The lightning was followed by a great amount of rain which washed off all the jasper and made it shine. I've never heard more wows and whoas than then, as the rock shone in the rain. The Jasper is banded with all colours of green and blue mixed with red. Some of the blue looked translucent. There was large chunks to small tumbler sized chunks for all.
After everyone had their fill of rock and rain we dispersed down the mountain back on the long journey home. What a day! Thanks to Don Dawson and the folks from the Alberni club for sharing their spots and joining us for this great day.