Clear Creak Mines
San Benito County, California
April 29 to May 1, 2005
Last Friday I loaded up the heap, er Jeep, and headed out to Clear Creek. I got
there early and saved a camping spot to the others to show up later. Clear Creek on the weekends
is very busy with cross country motorcycles and 4 wheelers. The first day I poked around in the
creek near the camp and found a few pieces of plasma agate and jadeite, nothing particularly
exciting. That night as I usually do, I barbecued myself a steak. Steak and beer and chicken
salad and I am in hog heaven.
The following day we headed up the creek and looked for jadeite, plasma agate,
and uvaravite. Clear Creek is a premier location for finding many minerals and you are never quite
sure what you will find. I checked out a yellow jade area but didn't find anything. I went back
down to the creek with the others and found a beautiful 60 pound piece of plasma agate.
After thrashing around in the creek all day I headed back to camp for the
potluck. After a great potluck with all the trimmings you would expect from a bunch of
Californians and sitting around the fire, I crawled into the back of my Jeep for a good nights
sleep under rain threatening skies.
The rains did not appear, and the next day I headed out for the Clear Creek Mine
with a number of folks to check out some green opal and cinnabar. To get at the cinnabar we had to
break open several hundred pound boulders with 20 pound and 30 pound sledges. Swinging a sledge of
that size will quickly sap your energy.
We found several pieces of brilliant red cinnabar, some with small beads of
mercury. We also picked up several pieces of green opal, mostly cracked, but some definitely
looked cuttable. As a good omen a "sundog" appeared in the sky.
After lunch we headed over toward the Junnila mine, first stopping at a small creek to collect some magnesite nodules. We stopped at another location and I found a great 40 pound piece of jadeite, mostly white jadeite.
I also found a tiny piece of Joaquinite in a piece of naturalite.
It was a very good trip, with an uneventful trip back to the Bay area stopping
in Hollister for a Mexican dinner.
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