tungsten mine- Greenhorn Summit- San Joaquin club, the Sierra Pelona club, thanks Shep Koss!

Filed under: Rockhound stories — Gary September 30, 2006 @ 3:00 am


Hi once again fellow Hounders,
Well, my leg muscle spasms have finally eased and I can sit without leg seizures.
After getting up at 4:45AM to get to Bakersfield to hook up with the San Joaquin club, the Sierra Pelona club going by a different route out of my way, we stopped for a quick breakfast to ease the diabetics( me included), we headed for the sand shed parking lt at Greenhorn Summit and arrived slightly late finding a large crowd “patiently” waiting. After having release forms signed and being introduced to everyone being introduced it was quickly decided by Ron (the Sierra Pelona FTC) and I to divide into two groups. Ron and Mike (club president) led the first and smaller group to the Rose Quartz quarry while Lew (San Joaquin pres) and I led the other , larger group to the tungsten mine. Seems like I was basically the only one who knew the way to the tungsten mine (and I STILL took a wrong trail on the numerous side roads) but got the first batch of trucks to the dump area. It turned into batches because every few trucks got hung up on various berms (I’d only walked that trail on previous excursions) so having to hike back and forth to direct vehicles around obstacles rather than over them weall eventually made it although many vehicles chose to park on the soft shoulder on 155 rather tan chance it. Many hounders hiked in while others doubled up with high clearance 4x4s.

Spending about 3 hours at the dump site everyone found various specimens of garnet, epidote, quartz crystals, scheelite, usually in combination with each other. Even newbie hounders had smiles at what they found. I was shown pinkie sized nice green epidote crystals, massive cabable epidote, garnet clusters ranging from pebble sized crystals to larger grape sized crystals, small vugs with baby points to larger points with inclusions . I brought back only 3 specimens since I had my share from previous trips. Hounders searched from the bottom of the dumps to the top and did the “buttslide” method to get back down.

From there we went back to the sand shed around 1PM to have a quick lunch and switch groups to the other sites. Being basically the only one knowing the road to the tungsten site, I had to show Mike the trail how to get there so he could lead the other group.
Lew and I continued to lead the group to the quartz quarry where some from the first group chose to remain for a while longer.
Someday I’ll learn NOT to use a GPS as a compass. As we drove that narrow winding road the arrow pointing to the quarry kept dancing around making me think we dove past it. Made an unnecessary U-turn then U-turned again when I realized what I was doing. My apologies for that.
Making te short steep hike to the rose facing everyone went immediately to work and te sounds of hammers and chisels echoed throughout the valley. Many were content in gathering quartz debris. This debris includes pure pink boulders weighing hundreds of pounds. Many hounders immediately found the deeper raspberry colored quartz and the glass clear pockets.
The glassy tints ranged from a pale pink to a deep raspberry tint and much of that should asteriate if cut correctly. Much of the clear quartz burst into a rainbow when held up in bright sunlight.
We all departed around 5:30 for the drive back to the shed. I’m sure the deer hunters were glad to see us go. Wish I was warned it was the first day of deer season. Hearing the first gunshot echoes that morning made me think “Who’s shooting at me and why?” Thankfully nothing even close to an incident occured with the deer hunters.
Oursmall caravan was stopped before re-entering the main road by a ranger who asked “Are you the deer people or the rock people?”. After a quick spot inspection of our buckets and asking if our permits were in order, she held up a piece of clear rosy quartz and said “Wow! PRETTY!”. It became her gift. We told her the last truck of our group would wave as a sign our group is gone. She laughingly asked if that’d be a one or five finger salute. Thankfully everyone adhered to the guidelines that were laid down.
I think everyone was happy with their finds and, again, my apologies to those that got hung up on various road berms or suffered cuts and bruises along the way. Having been stuck on my trips often and being injured on virtually every trip I take I thoroughly sympathize with those events.
I thank the clubs that I remember participating in this expedition: The Sierra Pelona Rock Club; The San Joaquin Lapidary Society; The Searchers; The Yucaipa club; Jon Lovegren? sorry, not sure if I ever got the name of your club other than being a Diehard.
I also hope all the newbies that attrnded, and there were many, had an enjoyable experience. Advice to the newbies? Join a club near you for more such adventures.

Map Reference: 35°43’44″N , 118°31’53″W

Thank you all,

More info on scheelite/tungsten

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