Our Opal Mining Adventure - Comedy Open Mic Round 27

in steempress •  last year  (edited)

While on a short vacation/scouting trip to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, we stopped to look at some property in Burns Lake. It looked really good on paper, and when we went into where we thought the driveway was, we were quite hopeful.

Then we saw it was about ten kilometres down a mountainous logging road.

That would not be good in the winter; not by a long shot.

While we were camped out near the property, Gerri looked up other things to do in the area and it turned out that there was an opal/agate bed only a few kilometres from where we were camping that night.

We decided that we didn't have time right then but would stop and camp at the site on the way home. We both love looking for fancy rocks, so how could we pass up a chance to go mining for free?

We did a quick search and found out that John Shelford staked the claim in the 1980s after finding two pieces of precious opal but left the claim for the district to turn into a public reserve staking. This means that anyone can go up there and dig up some stones. There was a 1.9 km hike that was easy, with some steep sections but there are opals at the end of it.

Pretty cool, right?

I think that I like rockhounding because Gerri loves rocks so much and I love the outdoors. I also love searching for things as well as the thrill of finding them.

When I can do something I really enjoy and possibly give the love of my life something that she really enjoys, I think that's probably the best hobby you could have. It also gives us both a few things we crave more than anything.

Quality time together, relaxation, and adventure.

There are lots of other fantastic points, like mental and physical exercise, fresh air, the outdoors, and wildlife. We also like cooking outdoors and making coffee in odd locations.

Okay, back to the quest

A few days later we came back and drove into the campsite part of the John Shelford Opal Bed. There were some signs.

The campsite was pretty good, especially for free. There were a few spots, a couple of picnic tables with fire pits...

...and a really cool outhouse.

That sign is not the cool part, especially because we now had to fry the steaks. No, this is the cool part.

I could watch the stars from my throne. If only I could stay up that late.

We had some supper and then tucked into the old fartsack for the night.

(Seriously. After those beet tops and the tri-tips, it got a little gaseous in there.)


As you can see, we are very eager beavers. I couldn't even wait to put shoes on... or pants.

After a breakfast of leftover steak and potatoes, we were off and running.

This is the start of the trail the next morning.


The first half a kilometre was really nice. We scared up a cow moose with calf near the start, but I couldn't get my phone out quick enough.

I kept the phone out after that. This was the pleasant part. We're thinking the only reason it was good, was because it had been recently logged off.

There were nice, flat trails for a bit. Like this.

It didn't take long for them to get like this though.

You can see the trail in the centre of the last photo. We quickly learned that things have changed since the 2011 article that we were going by. It said the trail was easy. We have since notified them and it is now changed to difficult or challenging.

We made it to a few different sites, where we found stones, but we were pretty beat. We decided to hike back out before we lost the strength and the will to survive. We also didn't want to forget the way. (We're getting older, you see.)

There was more of this...

...but in the end, we made it back. Partly because we found a plethora of huckleberries to munch on along the trail.

There were literally thousands of bushes like this along the higher parts of the trail, which was good news, I think.

I figure that if there were bears (or people) in the area, these patches would have been robbed already. Most of the raspberries were drying on the plants and the huckleberries were at the peak of ripeness. If there was a bear around, I imagine we would have seen sign of it.


They just fill up on hikers that stop to pick the berries amongst a trap of deadfall trees.

A little worse for wear, but after some big gulps of green juice, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. Well, I was not feeling good about choosing shorts for the hike. These are some of the reasons.

When we were all packed up we thought we would boogie into Burns Lake for a swim as we had seen a nice little beach area when we passed through. As we came down off the mountain, we saw this.

That was the start of the Shovel Lake fire which has been burning out of control for over a week. As of posting, it is the largest wildfire in British Columbia.

Well, enough sadness. On to the gratuitous partial nudity!

The water was pretty cold, but it was just what we needed to rinse off the blood, sweat, and tears of a day of prospecting.

Speaking of prospecting, this is some of what we found.

And our favourite...

This is the one that made Gerri cry when we got it out without breaking it. We don't know if it's an opal or an agate but it will always be the reason we went on that trip.

We have no idea if anything we found is worth money, and we don't care. We don't even know what to do with them but we are going to start looking into lapidary tools and see if we can turn any of it into something beautiful. We have always loved looking for cool rocks but had never really known how rewarding it could be to go through such a struggle for the unknown and finding so much more than you were expecting.

I guess this is why there are prospectors.

When we got home to the computer, we figured out how to track ourselves, somewhat, with the location thingy on the phone. I traced it out for you. It's supposed to be 1.9 kms in, but we think it is a bit longer now to get around everything.

When we go back, we will be taking better tools and will be cleaning up a lot of that trail. We would like to spend a few days camping and really learn about how to extract these gems without smashing them into shards. We'd also love to pick a bunch of those huckleberries. I bet they make a delicious jam and maybe even a pie.

If anyone is interested in meeting up on a long weekend and having a rockhounding adventure, the site is about fifteen minutes from Burns Lake, BC and we would love to plan a trip for possibly the Labour Day weekend, but definitely for next summer.

You can reach us at [email protected] or via telepath crystals. We're hoping that a few of these hold those qualities.

We'd like to nominate @canadianrenegade and @alaskahippie for the contest, as we're sure that they have dug up a few funny stories here and there.

Posted from my blog with SteemPress : http://granolalight.com/john-sheldon-opal-beds/

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Hi granolalight,

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Thank you to @matytan for the great banner

This is so awesome you two!!! I had no idea that place existed.

hahaha "there were some signs" and "fart bag" ... I'm a camper so I totally get that one!

I'll be curious to hear if you ended up with something really worthwhile from the dig!

Passing this one off to c-squared :) Nice job!

We didn't either, but it sure was a nice surprise. Thanks, @lynncoyle1. Is camping something that they do in Mexico, or is it a gringo thing?

You're welcome!!

I think those who camp here are totally doing it out of necessity 😅 they'd probably think we're nuts, choosing to do it for fun!!

Hey @Bitfiend,

Come check this out. Another rock nerd.

Nice, I'm not the only one :p. Hey @granolalight feel free to use the #rockhound tag you almost had it (-ing) ...still a work in progress!

Cool, I just changed it. We're planning to get into this a little heavier as finances allow, so it will be good to have someone to interrogatequestion about it.

My lack of finances allowed me to agate hunt every day but now I got this day job....makes it tough to rockhound!

Just quit and live off of agate hunting. You might have to rob a liqour store as well.

Your post has been read and you did great! You received a 10.0% upvote from us for your post with the geology tag since you are not yet a member of the geopolis community.
You are always welcome to join us and get more recognition for your posts. You can find more information about geopolis here or join our Discord server.

I found this post through @geopolis and am delighted I did. You made the expedition vivid through your photos and your description--so vivid I'm really glad I wasn't there. The bit about the bear was funny, but kind of scary. And the piece about the fire was sad, and startling, that you should witness the beginning of that. Witness to history indeed.

When I was a young child, my brothers used to lead me through the forest by our house. This was in the foothills of the Shawangunks. As I recall there were cliffs and swamps and tall grasses over my head. Certainly untamed. I was a reluctant adventurer back then. Your piece reminds my why I was :)

I'm really glad you liked it. Thanks for the reply.

I've been through the Shawangunk area a few times when I was trucking out of Ontario and through the eastern states. It's a pretty area, if I remember correctly. Not a lot of people.

No. Not a lot of people :) That pretty much sums up my early childhood.

I'm still catching-up on all the great posts that were shared during PYPT last Thursday! Yours is one of my favorites, because I love pretty rocks like Gerri does! Very cool adventure, and you got some lovely specimens, no doubt! Thanks for sharing the story with us! 😊

Thanks, @thekittygirl. Yeah, it was such a fun trip, and the opals were the icing on the cake because we weren't expecting to do any rockhounding when we left home. Check out the chicken races post if you get a chance. It was another great time and we found out there is jade there.

This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.

Thanks, @c-squared. It's much appreciated.

Looks like you had fun! And that is pretty sweet finding these stones, I love those kind of stones, have some at home too.. Cool if you can find these "in the wild hehe"

Thanks to @anomadsoul making me "A whale for a day" by following my vote while he is traveling, my vote will be followed directly by his vote with the same percentage. So thanks to this you will receive a much higher upvote than I could give with my own Steem Power.

Good night :)

Thanks, Noukie. You're the fantastic-est, and thanks @anomadsoul.

:) that sounds so funny haha !

@granolalight! You're making me miss BC badly! We took a few trips down there together and loved all the scenery the hiking and biking brought us. Looks like you had an challenging hike but quite the reward at the end. So the property was a no go, eh? We looked in BC to and found similar problems. Plus, massive overhead powerlines, or just too much distance between the properties and a place to find work. Despite how much we love BC, the cost of living was too high and we decided we wanted to keep our support system close. Although, we have been encouraging a family relocation program to happen. Unfortunately, no comical stories are coming to mind at the moment but I will have a think about it. Cheers, Aimee

This was 320 acres with two lakes for $159900. Just too cold in the winter and it was mostly just logged off. I think there was 100 acres that hadn't been logged recently. We had to go see it at that price.

We really liked that whole area, but I think closer to Terrace would suit us better. Have to check out the winter climate first.

I don't really find the cost of living high here, as compared to when I lived in southern Ontario or southern BC. I had friends who lived in Edmonton and they said it was expensive living there. In the city.

I hope you can find at least one humorous story to lay on us. :)

Yes, at that price it would be silly not to at least check it out. The cost of living seems to creep up higher each year, sometimes in sneaky ways. We have discovered some food in slightly smaller packages at the same price to hide the price difference. I just remember visiting BC and being shocked at the cost of produce but I guess the area would make a difference too. I think my funny bone must be sprained but I'll throw a splint on it and see if I can't heal it up. -A

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damn, that's some serious dedication! And your faces getting out of the car hahaha

We love getting out of the car. It is our bliss.

Outstanding initiative!

Thank you.

oh my gosh - the one picture of you hanging out of the door - i was DYING laughing!!!!!!!! LOLOLOL

and the opals that you found - sooooooo cool! Great job with your post!!!!

Hey, thanks. It's pretty fun going through all the pics we take and putting them into a post. We never know what it will be like until we get home.

Hoping to have the chicken races post up tomorrow.