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A New Discovery In Idaho

Back at home

    After our scouting trip, I thought to myself, “Man! This is going to be very hard for me to keep something like this quiet!” I need to though.  I don’t want to get any one’s
hopes up, just to find out later, that the rock isn’t any good or it’s not cost effective to dig.  First, I need to find out if the rock in the ground is viable. Although, seeing what Scott has picked up on the surface for over 20 years, there’s a great chance it will be fantastic. Then, ultimately my number one concern was the logistics of even getting an excavator out to the site at all. Google Earth would be my prime tool to asses if there was a way to travel to the site, by road. Looking at the map, I thought I had found a good way in that was not too difficult or far to “walk-in” the excavator. The thing about Google Earth is that the ground looks a lot different on the computer screen, than when you are actually on the ground. However, with trial and error, I found an existing road that was only a 4 mile travel distance. First hurdle over! Second, I had to write up the Mining Notice to the BLM. I have, of course, done these many times before with my other claims. With this particular notice though, I want to get it right the first time. Any questions or any lengthy revisions that BLM might want me to do, will just add to the time it will involve. This type of mining is quite different from what I am used to. I had many discussions with Gene Mueller, of situations I was encountering on the ground, and asked if I can bounce things off of him.  I’ve known Gene for years now and he has helped me dig, on several occasions, at many of my other claims. Also, I know he’ll keep it all, “Under wraps,” when I ask him to.

Fast forward to fall of 2021.

  I received my Notice approval from the BLM, with very few changes and should be able to begin digging in September. Now, I have to come up with the money to cover the initial costs. I calculated that I will need $10,000, before I even get any rock out. This is unproven ground, unlike my other claims in the Graveyard Point area. This site will be a larger risk. However, the rewards could be great for the rock lapidary and the specimen collector world.  Judging from what Scott found on the ground and what Scott had previously hand dug out, this claim has a real potential of being epic.  Again, I try not to think too much about it. Otherwise, I will have to resort to drinking a shot or two of whiskey every night, just to get some shut eye.

Digging Day, Fall September 2021.

I thought I would invite Gene Mueller out to help me dig. Maybe, he would enjoy getting away from the shop for a while and helping me make the discovery of this new claim. Since he had offered so much advice and insights into this expedition, I thought it would be a good way of saying, “Thanks.” I knew The Gem Shop was always such a busy place and I hoped he could find the time. As it worked out, he did have a time frame that he could come out. Between him and Brian Hendrickson coming out to help, I knew this was going to be a great time.
After walking the excavator the four miles in, we arrived at the site. We started prospecting with the aid of the excavator. Prospecting with the excavator is like using a garden hoe, but magnified exponentially. The process involves scraping off a little of the ground area, stopping, walking over to the exposed area and looking to see if anything has, “Popped up.” Repeating this process, over and over in the course of each day can be a very tedious process. In the beginning, we find nothing worthwhile. I’m getting a little worried. I stop digging, turn off the machine and just sit there contemplating. Brian and Gene are on the ground spotting. They look up wondering why I had stopped. Brian has been with me, at all my claims, and knows me well.  Gene is about to say something. Brian holds up his hand, says something to Brian and Gene stops. After a while, Brian walks slowly up to the excavator and says, “What you think’n Boss?” Then, Gene walks up. Together, we discuss this spot and all agree that the good stuff we are finding is just float from somewhere else up hill.  I point to the side of the hill from where we are currently digging.  I say to Brian, “Remember when Scott took us up here and we found that exposed boulder over there with the black nodules with orbs imbedded in it?” Gene and Brian look over to where I’m pointing. “Let’s walk over there and take a look on the ground”

First Prospecting
Exposed Boulder with the Black Nodule
Black Nodule in Rhyolite

The Black Pit.

We started digging out and around the boulder. Instantly, small nodules come to the surface. The boulder was part of a much larger deposit, full of black nodules. Jackpot! Picking up and then proving out the nodules with a small tap of the hammer revealed beautifully orbed and colorful, brecciated patterns together.  These patterns of orbs and brecciate together is truly unique. Neither Gene nor I have ever seen it in combination anywhere else.  We pulled out varied sizes from large marble to baseball sized nodules. The most exciting ones were the orbed nodules.  Some were very similar to the Bruneau nodules in some ways, but different in many other ways. Two main difference was COLORS! and orbs with brecciate or just brecciate.  There were Red, yellow, tan and green orbs with brecciate mixed in the orbs!…WOW!

As I dig, I find many more nodules, further down. Finally, I reach the base rhyolite host rock floor which happens to be loaded with thousands of black nodules cemented in it. This base rock is practically impenetrable with the excavator teeth, which are now worn and rounded by use.  I put on some fresh sharp teeth ($100 each) on the excavator bucket and it seems to help.  We spend about three days at this particular spot, which I name, The Black Pit. I only have a limited amount of time to focus on this particular spot. I don’t have the luxury of extra time to work through all the base rock and so I decide to save the harder extractions for the next time. For now, I make the decision to get the easier extractions and move on. I have other good prospects to explore still and I need to see what else can be discovered in the area.

First Black Pit Nodule!
Chunks of Base Rhyolite Host Rock Floor With Embedded Black Nodules
Embedded Nodule in Host Rock.
Some Black Pit Nodules

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