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Our Fun Times on Field Trips

Virgin Valley

The Virgin Valley field trip turned out to be a very good time. Five members, Allen Hart, John Church, Leah and Marv Stump, Don Perryman and his brother Eric, made the trip. The weather was hot Friday afternoon but no smoke from the fires.

          Saturday morning was cloudy and it stayed that way until 3:30, when the sun broke out and it got immediately hot. Don, Eric, Leah and I went to the Rainbow Ridge mine and dug through the tailings. Allen spent his day gathering carnelian with good results.

          At the mine, I gathered my tools, walked to the top of the tailings and immediately found a very nice small black opal with red, yellow, orange, blue and green fire in it. An hour later, I found a small white limb two inches long with fire in it. Not long after, Don found a nice small black fire opal with fire in it similar to the one that I found. All four of us spent the day raking and breaking dirt clods and found many small pieces of opal, many with fire. Among the treasures was a two-inch cone, no fire, found by me, and a two-inch long “candle”, again no fire, found by Leah. A candle is the new growth at the end of a limb, and this one is well preserved and shows where the individual needles were growing on the limb. This is quite a find.

          Sunday morning, John took the five of us to one of his claims to dig for opal. This was a claim that required removal of over burden before we could start digging in the opal layer. As we were digging, we could hear thunder in the distance and eventually we could see lightning and the thunder got louder. About 10:30, it started to rain and we immediately exited the claim, growing “taller” as we made our way through the mud to the vehicles. A few pieces of wood had been found, some with opal but no fire. All in all, it was a good trip. Saturday evening, about dusk, all of us sat gathered around the “citronella candles” burning in place of a fire and watched a lightning storm on the westerly horizon, which on the dessert is a real treat. Most of what we saw was lightning on top of the clouds. In good company, we all enjoyed the trip.

Marv Stump

Here are my photos. I can’t read what Marv wrote but will comment that Cindy and Dwayne came on Monday and also found some great opals. Unfortunatly, I did not get any pictures of them. 

The first photo is an approaching thunderstorm. As usual, I did not have my rain fly up. The second photo is of Marv demonstrating his ability to stop rain by napping.

The last two photos are of the group working John’s claim on Sunday.



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