(adapted from article written for the Boston Mineral Club Sept 2018 newsletter)
We visited upstate New York in late July to dig for Herkimer Diamond Quartz crystals. Though we drove through a day of thunderstorms to get there, Jared and I were gifted with two days of beautiful weather for digging.
We hadn’t yet worked in the new extended area of the Boston Mineral Club (BMC) claim, so we were excited to see what was there. Here’s what the new part of the BMC claim looked like when we arrived:
We made a lot of progress in clearing the new part of the claim. We removed overgrown vegetation and rocks, and started a rock wall (as well as a place for sifted soil on the right side of the wall) along the boundary. We were joined by many mosquitos in this endeavor, despite our frequent application of DEET. We also used natural insect repellents - unfortunately we didn't have much success with any of them, natural or not! (As a side note, I always prefer to use natural products when possible, but with the number of insect-born diseases increasing in the Northeast and our location deep in the woods, we opted for adding DEET for this trip...unfortunately it didn't help much!) Here's a photo of the progress we made, despite being feasted on:
While some parts of the new claim area had no crystals when we sifted the topsoil, some other parts were productive and we found crystals at the same pace that we found them when first clearing the original BMC claim a few years ago. There is plenty of topsoil left to sift in this new area, and the ledge below likely has not been worked either, so we have many opportunities ahead!
Back in the original claim area, we were amazed at the progress that other mineral club members had made in the difficult work of removing the hard rock layer that hopefully sits atop the pocket layer. We spent some time with our hand tools breaking up the ledge a bit deeper still (though we didn’t get too far since we didn’t have power tools). We believe that we have now hit the water table, as the originally dry hole began to refill with water on its own as we got a bit deeper. We removed countless buckets of mud/clay/sand, but didn't find any crystals, other than two that were close to the surface.
As always, digging at Fonda is a lot of hard work but we really enjoyed ourselves. Some of us worked harder than others!
We’re looking forward to returning soon!