Rockhound Trip Report: Copperopolis, California

Rockhound Trip Report: Copperopolis, California

Last week I took my Niece out for a first real rockhound excursion.  Jessie is in her late twenties so this wasn’t a “give a little kid their first taste” trip.  She’s randomly looked for rocks when she’s been where she sees things she likes, but this was her first real down and honest “lets go get these things” type of trip.  I’d already been to the site so I knew that we were in for a good day and was pretty excited about the trip myself.

It was around 10:00, clear, and sunny when we got to the hill and it was pretty obvious that early that we were in for some heat later on.   Here’s the view from the dig site:

The pointed rocks on the outcrop on top above the site almost looked like they were gigantic coated crystals of some sort themselves. If it hadn’t been so darned hot I might have gone and checked those out.
We really enjoyed having this great bit of scenery to look at when we headed for a break in the shade.

That early, a lot of the site was still in the shade so we started out on a comfortable dig.  The ground at the pit was dry and a little harder than I’d have liked, but with a hammer, crowbar, garden claw, and shovels we were able to get through enough of the rocky clots to to reap some good rewards.  Around noon the sun was starting to make life rough for us and there was no longer any shade at the pit. Now and again we’d wander to a shady spot and do a little scraping around but wandered back to dig some more when the shaded location didn’t produce.

RIcki had a good morning exploring, but when the sun started getting high, it didn’t take him long to decide where he was going to spend the hotter hours of the day.

Part of Ricki’s winning fight against bone cancer is a lot of interesting hikes and fresh air.

We enjoyed most of the wildlife we saw, but this next little guy didn’t get the same reaction that the cute little dear playing along the roadsides did.

This guy startled us when he climbed out from under a rock while we were digging

After taking a few minutes to try to figure out what kind of spider he was and snapping a picture of him, he was escorted onto the shovel and off to a spot far enough away to ensure he wouldn’t be sneaking back to the pit.  As hot as it was getting, he probably was glad to be where he could crawl off under a log to hide for awhile.

By  mid afternoon the heat and sun were getting the best of us and we’d finally had enough and decided to go back up to the rig and have some lunch and be on our way. Back at the rig we noticed this odd tree formation.

This tree formation looks just like the devil sitting on a stump playing a fiddle.  Was he waiting for us to sell our souls for a good strike?

Even without knowing yet that I had a hole in my bag and was leaking out a few crystals on the walk back to the rig (Big oops), the devil didn’t stand a chance of a deal because there were plenty enough crystals between the two of  us for Jess and I to call it a pretty successful day:

These are some of my finds for the day. There are a few close ups of a couple of them in the photo gallery

Jessie had some of that good ole beginners luck that we’re all so familiar with and took home about three times as many as I did – she got the biggest and the best of the day, too.   Of course, I was a light weight in all the heat and sun and took more breaks than she did so she deserved the heaping cache she took home.

We made few more more stops on the way home.  One was the Milton Cemetery.  That place was spooky even in the daylight.  On the road near the cemetery, Jessie found a piece of jasper (might be chert, I didn’t look at it that well) that was a greenish blue with tan orbs in it.  It reminded me somewhat of Bruneau Jasper.

Anyway – for you haunted cemetery lovers — here’s a few glimpses of the cemetery.  There are a few inhabited homes in the area but for the most part, there is nothing around to suggest there ever was a town here.

The Cemetery Main Gate

Here’s a shot of one section in back of the cemetery.  Behind it you can see some of the hills in the area.  Definitely would like to go back and check those out a little bit.  They are part of the same rock formation that the dig site is so there might be some good hunting in those hills — if there is any public property out there, that is.

This pic from the back of the cemetery shows a little of the age and condition and why it seemed so spooky in there.

Now here’s an interesting concept in cemeteries.  When the headstones fall, just prop them against a tree and let the visitors guess which of the unmarked mounds the people are in.  Judging from the look and feel of this place someone (or something) would probably show up after dark that would be glad to show you.

Well, they are there somewhere. We tried hard not to step on anyone. Unmarked mounds are all over.

Well, that’s the highlights from this trip out.  We had enough fun that we’ll be going back in a few days.  Um….this time I’ll be checking my pack for holes before I go.

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