RockHoundBlog

Rockhound Story Submitted by Reader- A Lost Geode -Granite Creek, Coalmont, Blakeburn, Tulameen, the goldrush

Filed under: Rockhound stories — Gary September 24, 2006 @ 12:47 pm

The story was submitted by a reader, I did some research and found a couple interesting stories associated with this spot, check it out. Its a good read about the early days of prospectors and the goldrush…

http://groups.msn.com/GhostTownsofBC/history.msnw

http://www.geoqwestexcursions.com/geoqwesttulameen.html

THe story submission:

A Lost Geode

Almost thirty years ago I took up gold panning as a recreational/vacation hobby. I managed to luck out and was in the Princeton Gold Commissioner’s office when the clerical staff processed the cancellation of a gold claim on Granite Creek. The claim covered a kilometre (by ½ k wide) up and downstream of the confluence of Newton Creek – a small tributary of GC which in turn joined the Tulameen river, near the ghost town of Granite Creek – about ten miles downstream from the claim on NC. I got a map of the claim location and stopped at the local lumber yard to buy the makings for a small sluice-box.
The road that parallels GC to the NC and beyond was scenic for it passed through an abandoned coal mine community – name forgotten now – and we had to ford a small stream at a Provincial Forestry Campsite – about 1 ½ miles from NC. Not knowing the location of claim markers I broke a trail downstream (south side) of NC and pitched a tent on a sand bar on GC below the mouth of NC.
Did I mention I had my two boys and the dog with me so the next morning while they slept in I hiked back to the Ford Station Wagon/boat and made a few trips hauling in the sluice-box wood, some tools and other camping gear.
On one of my beast of burden hikes, from the car parked at the creek crossing, I spotted a broken rock (50 to 100 lbs). I could see lichen covered shapes that looked to me like a crystal cluster –within a broken egg-shaped-rock. I was not at that time into rocks but now that I have retired and have taken up an interest I realize that what I had seen on the edge of NC was a large geode – that today if cleaned up could be worth something. The rock was a short stone-throw from the road, less then 100 yards downstream of the Newton Creek culvert.
I spent two or three years camping and panning on GC. We found a perfectly dry double shake-roofed, hard-rock miner’s cabin within the boundaries of the claim. There was a perfectly good trail down to it, from a parking spot where the claim marker stood at a nearby bend in the road. In the warmth of summer you could stand the chill of the water for a swim/bath. I was able to use the sluice for two years running but it was too warped for the third. I did find a little nugget and still have the specs of gold and platinum that I found. There were a few fish in the stream and although not much for wide expanses of scenery, there were no bears and our only pest was a pack rat – who enjoyed rattling our pans on wall of the cabin – in which we pitched our tent.
I regretted giving up the claim when I moved back to Calgary in 1982. The guy I sort of turned it over to gave it up after the first visit, when his wife was trapped in their camper by the Park Bear, while he and the boys walked to the claim from the ford in the stream. I doubt that the road is anymore then it was thirty years ago. It could get sticky in a rainstorm but in the rain-shadow of the Coastal Range the area is quite dry in the summer and fall. Undoubtedly, the claim is claimed for the price of gold is rising again – as it was in the early 80ties. Recreational panning is still permitted any where in BC except Provincial Parks, so sniping along the streams should be OK unless you cross the path of the red-neck whose name is on the claim marker. The broken geode in and along Newton Creek road rough and tumble may still be there. I might look for it sometime when I’m passing through sometime. Hopefully, for your sake you get there before me.

thanks Dick!

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