Browsed by
Month: August 2014

Soapstone and Crystals – Trip Report

Soapstone and Crystals – Trip Report

My recent trip took me to California, where I flew with my sister to Michigan to visit my father and dance with him at his 90th birthday party.  There wasn’t time to hunt some of the coveted petosky stone I would have liked to hunt, but I returned to my Niece’s house in Thornton, California with time for a whole weekend of hunting.

Our first trip out was to replace some soapstone that was heisted from me.  We picked a hot day to travel to Columbia – it was 103!  The Stanislaus River was surprisingly low, but still offered some refreshment from the heat:

Stanislaus River

I did as much sitting in pools in the river as I did hunting the stone, but we got some terrific stones.  Jessie was much more enthusiastic about carrying boulders of it up the hill and into the car than I was, but I got enough to replace my losses, and a little extra:

Stanislaus Soapstone

Columbia California Soapstone

I’m sorry the pic I got of the cleaned up stones didn’t take, but some of that is the silver/blue/pink that I was so upset about losing before.  Some is an orange marblish looking, and others blue with a little brown.  It’s beautiful, high quality stone.

While I never give exact locations of hunting sites out publicly (to avoid vandalism and shut-down of land),  I will give you a hint that you can find some very good soapstone if you can find the rock that looks just like a dinosaur head:

rock that looks like dinosaur

By Saturday the events of the week had me completely wiped out, so we mostly hung at the house other than to go pick enough wild black raspberries for me to make three of my favorite pies when I got home – black raspberry with buckwheat crust.  Yum.   Rocks aren’t the only great things you can find out in country and wilderness areas.  There was also a little guitar picking and singing in the shade,  so while not a rockhound day, it was an awesome one nonetheless.

Sunday my niece, her sweetie,  and I were all up early.  They followed me up to Peterson Mountain on the border of Northern California and Nevada for a day of crystal hunting in beautiful desert scenery:

Road to Peterson Mt

We got a little bit of a break in the weather – not much – but an overcast and partly cloudy sky helped to relieve the desert heat that I had worried about after spending two days in over 100 degrees, and knowing there’s no handy river to chill out in up Peterson Mountain.

The trip was uneventful for the most part.  I’d seen pictures of the road into Peterson many a time.  What I was not prepared for is the nearly vertical stretch of road  that goes up to the area.     It was so steep that I presumed we’d be walking up it.  Jay had to park at the bottom of the first hill, which was mostly just a walk up for the jeep, but I was a little concerned about making it up the hill with two extra people and a couple of dogs in the rig.  It turns out that the extra weight was exactly what I needed to get to the top.

Jess took a picture of the hill from the window of the jeep but taking it while being at the angle of the road makes it look almost flat.   This is a pic going back down – which even in first gear 4W I had to hit the brakes on now and again, and when I did, the jeep would skid on its own.  I’m betting it was at least a 75 degree slope – if not 80.   You can see the length of this steep slope.

Hill to Peterson

If you are going up in anything but high-test 4WD, my suggestion is to take a set of chains.  This is not a hill you want to back down – trust me on that one.  Once I took the other two back down I tried to get up it again, and failed.  Since it was getting late and I wanted to be home that night, I just gave up on a second try.

Up on the mountain, though, things were sweet and I was very glad we’d gotten in without a walk up so we could spend all of our energy hunting for the good stuff. Here’s a look at a few of the rewards of the day:

This one was a delightful surprise.  I had expected smoky quartz, but didn’t realize there was also some pretty nice citron on the mountain.

Peterson Moutain Citron

Here’s some of our finds washed up a little bit:

Peterson Mountain crystals

Jessie got the prize of the day.  A beautiful smoky with a few hints of purple hue here and there:

Peterson Mountain Smoky Quartz

And so ended another exciting adventure with Jessie and Jay:

The three rockateers

Life’s Short – Rock Hard

[sc name=”wscu-box”]