Geology 111 Fall Field Trip to the Ray Mica Mine
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
Yancey County, North Carolina
October 29, 2005
By Mike Streeter

I was asked by my friend and geology instructor, Dan Murphy, to lead his Geology class on a morning field trip to the Ray Mica Mine in Yancey County, North Carolina. Only one of the students had ever been rockhounding before, so the trip was meant to be both educational and fun.

We arrived and parked at the Forest Service Parking area around 9:00 AM. We made our way up the trail to the Ray Mine creek. From there, we continued upstream over jagged rocks and collected as we went. Some of students were eager to see some of the old mine workings, so we followed a trail up a steep slope the rose above the creek. From a safe distance, we peered down into several seemingly-bottomless abandoned mine shafts. We spent the remainder of the morning collecting in the spoil piles along the creek. Many decent specimens were found, including beryl, apatite, muscovite, garnet, thulite, tourmaline, quartz, and feldspar.

I'll let the following pictures tell the rest of the story.

Getting ready at the Forest
Service parking area.

The start of the Forest Service
trail to the Ray Mine

Hiking in.

Collecting along Ray Mine creek.

Turning boulders into rocks.

Rockhounding version of a G.Q. moment.

Opal and her new best pal, Jake.

Investigating an open pit.

Stopping to marvel at a
"bottomless" mine shaft.

Hiking back down from the upper spoil piles.

Ride 'em cowgirl!

Time to mosey back to the van.

Ready to load up and head home.
(click on the above picture to enlarge and for a list of names)

It was a pleasure for Chrissy, Opal and I to hang out with such a well-mannered and eager group of budding rockhounds.