Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rockhounding Quincy Lakes, WA

I'm going to pass up all the political ranting this time around - just want to talk to the rockhounds in the group as promised when I planned my excursion to the Quincy Lakes Area of central Washington.

Sorry I didn't come back sooner - but my best friend and rockhound buddy, Munchie, got pretty sick. I thought I was going to lose him, which is not a surprise because Rottweilers aren't supposed to live 11 1/2 years as he has. His diagnosis is congestive heart failure, but he's been put on diuretics and they are making him feel much better again. Tomorrow he will get his x-rays to make the diagnosis official, and then will get some meds that will prolong his life with quality. I am hoping we have the summer to explore and really make wonderful before he checks out of this berg.

Our day in the Quincy lakes area was quite eventful. I hadn't realized there was so much fabulous opal down there. It seems to mostly be derived from wood replacement from what I can tell. I actually got a few pieces that were very obviously wood - one round and a few pieces that look like petrified bog.

At the lakes themselves there are many trails. If you plan to go there, do note that if you want to park in the rec area to take off on your hikes, you have to have a permit so get one before you go. We wasted some energy walking in that could have been used better later in the day.

On the north end of the lake chain there are a few old opal digs. Most of it is common opal and not very revealing of any petrification of anything - but it showed the possibilities of the area.
We headed south from the lakes to Silica road....because, well - the name of the road was just plain intriguing coupled with opal digs. On the portions of Silica road just north of highway 28
there are a few mines. Judging from the white powder soil, I am presuming the mines are talc rather than opal, but then again, from the amount of opal, they may actually be opal mines.

While the mine areas themselves are off limits (might be able to get permission, haven't checked yet) there is a lot of land very close to them that is not posted, so we stuck to those areas. I found a few white mounds and dug in for some pretty sweet results. The petrified round I got isn't the best wood I've ever seen but still has some of the rings and it's solid. Much of what was in the area was pretty flaky - the layers would not take a cut. The surprise of the day was digging up a few chunks with a pretty bright flash of colors. It is layered so is the type used for doublets and triplets rather than whole cabs, but I sure didn't expect to see it.

Most of this opal is green and brown, but I did get one piece with orange bands - almost red enough to qualify as fire opal, but not quite there. Again - enough to get my nose open.

All in all it was a good day. While I probably won't go back to the lakes themselves, I expect to go back to the Silica Road area again - and probably to the areas across the river close to the petrified forest park there.

If you are a rockhound who is reading this - the forums, photo gallery, etc on my site are down for repairs right now but will be back up soon and most of my trip reports will be listed there. I will drop a line here, though, and let everyone know when that is back up. There are portions of the site which are still online and you can find those at:
www.rockhoundstation1.com

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