We make it to the edge of the Rim Overlook.
beautiful site. Gene and I walk down the steep switchback a little ways
that leads to the cabins. Gene is trying to decide if he wants to take
his Truck down it, on the way down there's a huge boulder in the road. I'm not too keen on driving down the steep road so I say, "Ah man, that's
a big boulder Gene. Looks like we'll need to walk down". Gene says "Ahh
we'll just move it over to the side", Without a second thought, he
bends down and starts pushing this 500+ pound boulder. Well, not to be
out done by this seasoned citizen, I help out. Of course , the boulder is
not round and it makes it all that more difficult to move it up
the side slope of the road. I'm thinking to myself..." Boy, this guy is
pretty strong for his age". Anyway, we get it done and Gene
starts taking his truck down slowly.
View From The Top Of The Rim
Gene and I walking up after taking a
look at the road below
Gene moving the boulder. I helped a
Just some tires and she'll
Thom and Gene sharing a story
We get to the cabins and Thom Lane
tells us that the Cabins were built by Jake and Tom Caldwell (one of the
miners of Morrisonite) and tells us
some funny stories about when he stayed out here and was mining
Morrisonite with Gene. One story is that Gene let him sleep on the
floor of the cabin, but the rats kept him up all night sniffing his face,
so he slept outside in the front seat of Gene's Scout every night with
his feet hanging out the passenger side window. We then began to look
over the next set of switchbacks that end up at Jake's Place
claim. Here the roads are really bad and steep and have
deteriorated greatly since the last time I was here a few years
ago. Gene decides to only drive down a 100 yards. The rest is
very dangerous, even to walk down. Most of us
decided to make the hike down
anyways, except Thom , who has a very bad shoulder. The shoulder
is so bad , it needs
to be replaced. For him to slip and fall would not be a good
thing way out here. So Thom stays at the top with Kathy.
Brent, my wife Linda (white hat)
and Fabiola clearing the road. I was supervising.
The Road now clear, Gene Starts
The Nasty part. We walk the rest
of the way.
| My fearless wife, Linda, myself, Gene,
Brent and Fabiola make it to the pit which is filled with large boulders
of the white welded
tuff Matrix, which contain very small webs of Morrisonite
jasper veins. The site is BLM land so basically , mine and yours, but the
site itself is still under claim, so digging or taking any jasper is not
permissible. There's nothing there but the matrix anyway. Gene starts
pointing out the very small seams of jasper in the host rock and gives
us a geological overview how it was formed.
Gene pointing out the boundary
between Jake's Place Claim and the Veronica Lee Claim.
Morrisonite Jake's Place
My wife, Linda, Brent and Fabiola started back up the switch
backs about a half hour before Gene and me. Gene and I stayed back a
while longer sitting down on a large boulder, legs hanging over edge of the pit's cliff
eating lunch, looking out over the beautiful vast Owyhee's and talking
about mining. It was one of those memorable small spaces in the time of
your life when everything is...balanced. No computer, phone, "honey do
list", grass to cut or dog crap to pick up. Just sitting there in the
raw open vastness, talking with one of the people you admire and
Gene and I start the steep walk back up. I look far up
the road and see my wife looking down at me waiting. After being married
26 years, I know what's she thinking...smiling to herself , " He's gonna to
die". After trudging about 30 yards up , the breathing gets a little
faster, the shirt gets a little wetter. I take a quick glace over at
Gene . He has not even broke a sweat. "Ahh man...I can't stop and let him
take the lead. It would not look good." So, I do the next smart thing... I
ask a question. Gene stops, looks around , takes a deep breath and starts
to answer my question. He begins to walk again while talking! Don't get
me wrong . I'm in good shape, but having Gene paced with me is impressive.
Especially, at his age and being a diabetic. We get close to where
everyone is waiting by the truck and I see my wife and of she's of
course smiling. "How did it go" ,she says to me. Being a male, I
slow my breathing down like it's no big deal . "Oh"... Clearing my throat.."Not so bad". I look over at Gene. "I had to stop for Gene a few
times... but not so bad". My wife looks at me and says.. "Yeah, rrrright..."
Gene gives a big smile and a chuckle.
We all get in Gene's truck and slowly go back
up the road to the cabins. We meet Thom and Kathy at the top and share a few stories.
begin our way back to the top of the Rim where I have my truck parked.
We all unload and walk over to the Rim to take a last look. The road
back to the main "road" is very tough going. It's takes and hour to go
Gene gives it one last look
What a fantastic experience it was with Gene and
sharing it with friends and family. One memory I'll talk about for a long time.
Thanks Gene and Thom.
Here's something I emailed to Kathy when she was
writing the article for Rock and Gem about Morrisonite back in 2008. I think it fits
When I'm out in the Owyhee desert there is a
...hearing your life pulsing in your ears...
...no birds singing...
...no wind in the trees...
...no bug sounds...
At the Morrisonite mine you can sit at the
edge of the cliff and look out over the Grand Canyon- like
features of the Owyhee Breaks. Layers... eons of time
revealed in different shades of color, representing countless
cycles and life and death. A look back over your shoulder
you see... the cutting down into the flesh of the Earth
blasting, ripped open like a wild animal tearing at a fresh
kill...exposing vein's...Mother Natures
capillaries...flowing with wonderful masterpieces of color
and design... vein's that give life to the
surface...feeding, ever sustaining.