Mining Takes From Summer 2021

SUMMER 2021: We operated on both the Smoky Hawk and the Sky Hawk. This will not be an article per sey but some shots and takes from the summer. Many of these specimens will be offered a year from now. Pieces we are preparing for the upcoming shows came from last season’s production.

Operations, for the most part, went smoothly. I had two excavators at times operating. Tim usually ran the rental machine, a John Deere 350, while Linda and Carl operated our John Deere 992. That old workhorse has swung more dirt than any machine operating, I do believe.

Our goal on the Smoky Hawk was to remove about twenty feet of overburden and previously mined rock up to the upper section of the excavation in preparation for permanent reclamation. We have been doing this now for three seasons. Our intended target is some deep pegmatites that were adjacent to the Icon pocket. We anticipate one final season (2022) in getting down to this level and hopefully finding continuing structures.

We did not anticipate finding significant pockets this season since our experience over the last several years has shown that the upper area (above the deep pegmatites) is generally barren. No large pockets have come from this area. We have found some scattered smaller pockets, of which some were excellent.  (Betty Jean, Black Crown).

This season tracked with our experiences. We invested two and a half weeks before we reached any significant structures.  Operations on the Smoky Hawk lasted for about three and a half weeks.

Approximately the first part of July, we moved operations to the Sky Hawk. We had been following some very fine-color pegmatites that rarely opened. This continued during 2021. We did find a couple of nice pockets with fine amazonite and smoky quartz in combination. We also found some unusual fluorites and goethite. The goethite were in the shape of balls and had overgrowths of cryptomelane. 

 Some of the amazonites appeared a nice translucent blue-green and we did find a couple of manebach twins as well as a baveno twin.

It appears the pegmatites at the Sky Hawk can be likened to several sheets of paper spaced slightly apart. Something depressed the center, and at the lowest point is where the pockets occurred. This point was about 45 feet below grade. Unfortunately, this area was not a large area, which means next year, we will have a mountain of dirt to move.

Fortunately, pockets did not occur exclusively at the lowest point and we found two large, but narrow pockets, one almost twelve feet in length, and a second, four feet in length, that had nice microcline plates, some with lustrous smokies, and a few scattered fluorites.

The gallery below are some takes by Linda, Carl, Tim, and myself during the mining season. Enjoy.

If you have questions on any photos, you are welcome to shoot me an e-mail.