White Raven Mine Field Trip
July 14, 2007

by Todd Shannon


Wow, I just got home from the field trip to the White Raven Mine near Ward, CO. That place never ceases to amaze me with the amount of good material that one can find. We had a group of nearly 25 people and we all found some pretty nice pieces to add to our collections.

The day started at the meeting place in North Boulder; it was great to mingle and shoot the schist with my fellow field collectors. We set out from the meeting place at about 9:15 a.m. and drove through the gauntlet of road bikers up and over Lee Hill and then through Four Mile and Left Hand Canyons. We must have passed nearly 100 bikes on the 15 mile drive to the mine.

Once we arrived and got parked it took us very little time to begin collecting. I gave a very short demonstration about what the silver vein material looked like, and off we went. People spread out over the modest tailings pile; far enough apart to have their own space, but still close enough to be neighborly. The mine tailings of the White Raven are very rich in calcite, siderite, and lamellar barite. Many people found specimens right off, and it took some people a little time, but everyone seemed to fill their respective bucket or bag.

Lunch time snuck up on a few of us. We were all having such a good time that it was close to one o’clock before most of us ate lunch. The digging slowed to a crawl while most of the group ate. But there is one or two in every bunch (I am usually the “one,” but sometimes I am the “two”) who don’t stop for lunch because the thrill of finding something overpowers the thrill of the sandwich.

One at a time, people found their ways back to their digging spots. Some people decided to try new spots. As the digging started after lunch, it started at a very subdued pace. This is read, “I ate too much, and now I need a nap.” The afternoon session was off to a much more relaxed pace than the morning session had been. That is, until the clouds gathered and the lightning started to flash. At one point, I leaned over to Jim Davis and asked him if he had noticed the change in the pace of the digging. He agreed that he had…we both looked at the sky.

For anyone familiar with summer weather in the Rockies, a summer shower can go one of two ways. Either it lasts for 15 minutes or it goes for a much longer time. We got lucky and had one of the former. But the short burst of rain did convince a few of us that it was time to call it a day. The larger part of the group took a few minutes to lounge and relax, but then were right back at it. This is a testament to both the “hard-coreness” of the members of the club, but also the richness of the tailings in providing good specimens.

Sadly enough, I was one of those who left at this time. I had planned on leaving at 1 pm and the rain started about this time. I was only 45 minutes late getting home (my wife knows this to be the norm when I go rockhounding, gosh I love her). I drove home thinking of the successful day. Many people made good finds, a few made excellent finds, but I felt pretty sure that everyone had a good time.

Thanks to all who came. This was only my second time being a field trip leader. The first was only last month when I brought the Flatirons Mineral Club to the White Raven. I had a great time, and look forward to the next outing.

Happy Rock Hounding, Todd Shannon