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Gold Camp Road, My prospecting journey (from day 1)
nate
post Nov 21 2015, 06:49 PM
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I've enjoyed reading some folks' posts of their adventures and figured I would document the start of my prospecting career. Hopefully some of you will enjoy the read, give me tips, and come join me as I hike out into the woods on an adventure. I live on the southwest side of Colorado Springs and have found that only about 15 minutes away is national forest land! Parts of gold camp road are on city park land, some go through private land, and still some adventure out into the great national forest! The first 2 are off-limits without permission, but as long as its not claimed all of what i have found in my first couple trips is open season for digging in NF Land.

Trip 1: My wife and I on tuesday 11/17/2015 went on my first trip to start my Gold Camp road journey. Im going to copy my post that i made after that trip from my thread "glen cove"

"My wife and I went up around gold camp road exploring today. The mountain actually wasnt too bad covered with snow, but it was still very windy. More specifically, we were trying to locate any old/new pegmatites around gold camp road. Not to dig, but just learning more about what to look for when it comes to pegs. Because of the weather, we didnt do any real exploring, but we did find the huge tunnel right where gold camp road meets, old stage road. Gold camp road is closed past there, but there is a huge tunnel (at least 20x20 feet and 150 feet long that appears to have been from an old pegmatite vein right where the roads meet. Im not sure what was mined there, but there are definitely remains of pegmatite heading into the walls and ceiling. It looks more recently to have only contained high schoolers sneaking away to drink bud light. Anyone familiar with the area around cheyenne mountain? Im super curious because that area is only about 30 minutes from where i live. Made for a great after-work adventure."

Trip 2: November 21, 2015
25 and sunny. Thats what the weather was when i started hiking. A warm november day......as long as you were in the sun. After looking at a few maps and checking in with a park ranger about digging, I started my hike up gold camp road from north cheyenne canon. I only had about 5 hours before I had to be home, but knew I could get a fair amount of exploring done. The ranger I talked to said that after 1/2 mile, I would be off of park land and be on national forest land, clear to dig. yippee!

About a mile in, the trail goes up and over an old tunnel originally used for the train that connected colorado springs and cripple creek. That is where I found my first piece of pegmatite. It was laying out on the far side of the tunnel a little bit off the old road. And it was a beauty! I cracked it in half and the mica that i saw inside had me thinking it was gorgeous little smokies for a minute. Very black and high luster. Close, but no cigar. I checked around to see if I could find a vein, but only found a large vein of white quartz right along the path by the tunnel.


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I decided to keep moving. After hiking out for about 45 minutes or an hour total and taking a turn to follow the creek, I decided to get a bit off-trail and start looking for possible dig sites. I sat down on the trail for a bit of a snack, and lo and behold, there sat another piece of peg! Its amazing what you can find when you just sit and look at the ground for a minute..... I decided to move uphill from this spot and try to find the source. I hiked on up a ravine for 5 or 10 minutes, taking my time to look around. About 100 yards up the ravine after having tried several other spots, I sat down facing a somewhat pegmatite looking rock. There was a vein that had some small quarts and mica pieces. Time to dig. The rather bad quality almost deterred me, but I was curious. You never know what just below that next layer. As i dug further in, the layers of brittle rock started to separate into more distinct layers. About 8-10 inches in, as i was still finding mica, the dirt changed from a dark brown(almost black) color to a more orange-brown. This kept my attention so I kept on prying back layers hoping for crystal. My hopes were high, but as i got into the new dirt layer in the rock the handle on my $4 pawn shop rock pick broke.....i knew i should have brought my new one, but i loved that classic looking beat up thing. Anyway, I used a stick to pull out all the dirt from within the rock layers I could to no avail. Nothing shiny. Even so, I enjoyed exploring and digging a bit. Realizing it was time for me to head back, I packed up my things and left while noting where my location was in case i want to explore further.


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Happy as a lark about having a half-day out in the mountains, I started my hike back down the road. As if i were a kid, i was kicking the sandy places and watching the patterns the sand made as it hit the snow. This put my eyes to the ground where a big hunk of quartz caught my eye. I traced uphill looking for the origin and there at the top of a bank was a big hole underneath a pine tree. Of course I just had to see what was up there, so I climbed on up. There hidden beneath that tree was a beautiful white vein of pegmatite! Some previous rockhound had dug out enough to reach his hand back about 5 or 6 feet. Hoping they left something for me, I rummaged through the rock that was laying about inside the hole and pulled off a few loose flakes. Thats when I saw it! GOLD mica. Of course my hopes wanted to tell me it was actual gold, but immediately I knew it was mica by the flakiness of it. First time seeing that outside of creek beds. Is it an indicator of anything specific? There was a 4-5 inch pocket of mostly the gold mica mixed with dirt. That was fun to find! Not wanting to cause further damage to the bank that is directly beside the road, I did what anyone would do and hiked up the hillside behind it. Of course some previous hounder had done the same thing! I found 3 or 4 spots where there was a bunch of white quartz dug up, but it appeared like there wasnt much on the surface in the way of a specimen to keep. Short on time, I headed back to the road to hike out.


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Now realizing I was making the rookie mistake of looking at the view down the canyon instead of up the hillside to look for any signs, I cast my eyes on the hillside and continued on. Only a couple hundred yards up the road I saw another hole in the bank! Again curious I walked up to it and looked inside the openingto gaze down a 30+ foot tunnel! The opening was just big enough to slide in on my belly, but once inside i could sit up straight. And what a sight it was! There was so much to take in that I hope I remember it all! Along the ceiling was a vein of red clay about 4 inches wide paralleled by a vein of golden yellow (distictly different) clay about an inch or 2 wide. If that wasnt cool enough, the right wall of this mini-tunnel was about 30% green! I dont mean it had been tarnished, I mean rock with a coloring of a certain microline feldspar ...amazonite! I think anyway....There were no hunks of crystals. Just a splash of it here and there in the rock. Who would have thought that my coolest find of the day would be while i was hiking out! Im hoping to find out more about that tunnel and not knowing its status, I left well enough alone. The tunnel seems long since abandoned other than the occasional litterer who thinks it would be fun to throw trash in some random hole in the ground. punks..... That tunnel left me with more questions that i can type. Who dug it? assuming it was manmade.....what were they digging?....is the pegmatite worth exploring? what about the red clay? the yellow clay? the green splotches that could be amazonite-ish? PLEEEEASE someone have some answers for me. If anyone would like to see it up close and personal, Id love to show you. Just message me. Its quite easy to find and not a long walk in. If i can find out anything from the rangers about that location and its dig-status, I fully plan to go do a bit of mining.....with my new pick in hand! I took pictures all along my journey to document what i was seeing and will post them shortly. Unfortunately my phone(camera) was dying and I didnt get too many in the tunnel.

What do you think of all i saw?

-Nate

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The Amazonite-looking rock splotches.
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nate
post Nov 21 2015, 07:21 PM
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A bad picture of the vein of clay, i think. It was within 5 feet of the entrance. My thinking is if someone dug this tunnel, they should have explored the clay? There seemed to be some pieces of rock in the clay. I pulled one down and it looked like a bad semblance of a piece of smoky quartz.


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Crusty
post Nov 22 2015, 06:49 AM
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Great writeup! How much snow is up that way? I'm down to check out the tunnel and show you a few spots I know up that way; hit me up next time you're available.





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nate
post Nov 22 2015, 07:25 AM
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QUOTE (Crusty @ Nov 22 2015, 06:49 AM) *
Great writeup! How much snow is up that way? I'm down to check out the tunnel and show you a few spots I know up that way; hit me up next time you're available.


Most of the snow has stayed further north. South facing hills are mostly clear. The dark sides may have 3 or 4 inches, still not bad.


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MikeS
post Nov 22 2015, 12:01 PM
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I like how you tell the detailed story of your adventures nate! Thanks for sharing! thumbsupsmileyanim.gif

It looks like they were chasing some amazonite in that hole. The clay is usually a sign that there is more. They may have stopped following the clay if it stopped producing what they were looking for or if they saw a safety issue. The white quartz veins can often lead you to pockets in or around the quartz. Feldspar, Mica and other indicator minerals can give you clues about where crystals are forming. The bigger the grains in the pegmatite or bigger crystals of mica indicate bigger crystals of other minerals it grew with.

Be careful about asking the rangers for areas to dig. They usually know where the public lands are but they usually don't know where the active claims are on that public land. I recommend diving into researching the land status. If this is properly done then you will step into the field with more information and confidence than the rangers. research.gif info_grin.gif


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nate
post Nov 22 2015, 01:48 PM
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QUOTE (MikeS @ Nov 22 2015, 12:01 PM) *
I like how you tell the detailed story of your adventures nate! Thanks for sharing! thumbsupsmileyanim.gif

It looks like they were chasing some amazonite in that hole. The clay is usually a sign that there is more. They may have stopped following the clay if it stopped producing what they were looking for or if they saw a safety issue. The white quartz veins can often lead you to pockets in or around the quartz. Feldspar, Mica and other indicator minerals can give you clues about where crystals are forming. The bigger the grains in the pegmatite or bigger crystals of mica indicate bigger crystals of other minerals it grew with.

Be careful about asking the rangers for areas to dig. They usually know where the public lands are but they usually don't know where the active claims are on that public land. I recommend diving into researching the land status. If this is properly done then you will step into the field with more information and confidence than the rangers. research.gif info_grin.gif



Thanks mike! I knew they were indicators and I sure wish I knew why they stopped. Im heading back up there tomorrow afternoon and will take more pictures. Also, I will definitely be doing some more research on the area as a whole. info_grin.gif

Prospecting is turning out to be even more enjoyable that I anticipated. Every trip I come home with more questions that typically get answered within a few days! Part of me is wishing I had a degree in geology instead of business. Whats better than spending time in the great outdoors, treasures or not?

-nate


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nate
post Nov 25 2015, 03:24 PM
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I dont know if ill have time to fully tell the tale, but I wanted to post some teasers. First the pictures, then if i have time, STORY!

Trip 3: 11/23/15 Joined by Crusty

In short, Crusty and I went back to the tunnel I found during trip 2. So many questions......

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Trip 4: 11/24/15
I finished work about 1 p.m. and with north cheyenne canyon being 5 minutes away, I decided to go for a power hike. I decided I would follow a runoff creek, that Crusty had found a couple of interesting pieces in the previous day, straight uphill......for an hour. The hike was arduous, but as i continued up the wash I saw lots of quartz and even a couple flakes of green! I ventured out of the wash to check multiple areas of exposed rock and after over an hour of uphill hiking i discovered a pocket! NO REALLY! It was a pocket! That had eroded and showed off the green beauty within. Unfortunately I dont think I was the first one to pass by and it had definitely been exposed for a long time. Most of the rock was worn and there were no loose crystals with any size to them.

Here are some pictures! will post more about what i saw later about the overall area around this amazonite!
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johnnybravo300
post Dec 13 2015, 08:58 AM
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Nice! I know the feeling man. It's exciting and mind numbing at the same time for me. Yes, it usually leads to more questions also ha-ha. That's all part of the detective game but sure is fun! Looks like you've got a nice area there to scope out. I've been up gold camp alot riding dirt bikes at captain jacks but never prospected there. I've had a few close ups of the dirt but not by choice! Ha-ha
Amazonite is one of my faves.


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Crusty
post Dec 13 2015, 11:28 AM
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QUOTE (johnnybravo300 @ Dec 13 2015, 08:58 AM) *
Nice! I know the feeling man. It's exciting and mind numbing at the same time for me. Yes, it usually leads to more questions also ha-ha. That's all part of the detective game but sure is fun! Looks like you've got a nice area there to scope out. I've been up gold camp alot riding dirt bikes at captain jacks but never prospected there. I've had a few close ups of the dirt but not by choice! Ha-ha
Amazonite is one of my faves.


Lots of Amazonite and Smoky in that area... but don't look for it while riding! lol


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Crusty
post Dec 15 2015, 05:06 PM
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Pics from checking out the cave/tunnel

Interesting colors on the walls


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We found out where all the skeeters in the state hole up for the winter!


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Crusty
post Dec 15 2015, 05:10 PM
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Serious clay band runs the length of the roof of the cave to the back wall.

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Crusty
post Dec 15 2015, 05:21 PM
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Hooked up with Nate to check out his spot up the hill. THat hour hike up the hill ain't no joke!! lol
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Crusty selfie


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Nate checking out his hole


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Lots of plates with Amazonite


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Set my pack next to a tree... and then accidentally kicked it... and it rolled 100' down the hill. slaphead.gif


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Didn't find anything exciting, so I hauled this little fella down the hill, because I need another yard rock lol. Weighed my pack when I got home... 60 pounds!


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nate
post Dec 15 2015, 05:30 PM
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Thanks for posting all of those crusty! Been meaning to update this, but have had gold swirling in my brain.


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swizz
post Dec 15 2015, 05:39 PM
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Excellent pics Mike... great looking trip you guys! happy088.gif


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Silky
post Feb 29 2016, 11:38 AM
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QUOTE (swizz @ Dec 15 2015, 06:39 PM) *
Excellent pics Mike... great looking trip you guys! happy088.gif


I wanna go! I wanna go! I can't wait to get to Colorado in the Spring! I am still in Houston planning my trip and wanting to live in Colorado so bad that I am actually checking out billyland.com online to check out the properties being auctioned. Tell me about the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. Has anyone found anything of significance up there? Just curious.

Anyway, I have been teaching myself a crash course in geology but even without it, common sense tells me some things of importance. And the other things I am trying to remember. I hope I remember when I get there, if not, I have a notebook full of info to check back on.

I'm looking for a rockhound partner for when I come up. I have several "day trips" with maps and time it takes to get there planed from my BNB in Salida and most of them are within two hours. All of the "day trips" are to mines or good rockhounding areas. I think I have one day trip to some turquoise mines where they say you can pick through the dump site. If they are looking for large pieces of turquoise, then I'm sure there are "just the right size" ones for necklace and watch band size in the dump. Same goes for a Rhodonite mine within a 2-hour ride.

I have a whole section of my notebook filled information on abandoned gold mines and/or places to pan and use my new metal detector. I also have a hand-held pinpointer that works really well. I'm also making a "tool" let's just say, for finding gold in the creeks and streams that don't require me to bend over, sit down, sluice or pan--EZ gold finder. I have ordered the pieces to make the tool before I get there.

Again, I've enjoyed reading about your trip. Since the trip was in October and Dec 2015, what was the outcome of your finds up there 4-5 months ago?

Later,

Ms. Terry
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