McRocks Ray Mica Mine Dig & Kyanite Hunt
Yancey County, North Carolina
June 26-27, 2008
Report by Mike Streeter

As part of the McRocks 2008 cookout and rockswap, I led a field trip to the Ray Mica Mine near Burnsville in Yancey County. Showing up at the appointed 9 O'clock hour on Thursday were the usual suspects along with a few on their first trips to this famous location. We hiked up the trail to the creek and proceeded to an area that has been very good to me and others over the years.

Ray Mine Creek

Harry Polly from North Carolina, Ernie Walker and Jim Stoops both from Georgia settled in on their own respective spots that have become familiar ground for them.

Harry Polly

Ernie Walker

Ernie Banging

Jim Stoops trying to hide

Found him!

With Chrissy's advice, Ray Mine newbies, Don and Kris Walker of Florida, worked together on a spot in the creek.

Don Harper

Kris Harper

Chris Howard
I put Everett Harrington from Michigan and Chris Howard from Georgia to work opening up what I hoped would be a productive hole in the spoil piles above the creek. My plan was to dig down to the base of the spoil piles so that we could reach rock that has not seen the light of day since it was dumped by the original miners. Since the deeply buried rocks have never been inspected by prior rockhounds and the miners were only interested in mica, I have found the majority of my best beryl and other exotic mineral specimens by digging deep. A monster hole in the spoil piles up to 15-feet deep is not unheard of at the Ray. The trust that both men had in me may have been shaken when, after a couple hours of moving many tons of rock, we ran out of spoil piles at only 5-ft below grade. Rat spit!!!! The spot that I had chosen turned out to be a real clinker! Oh well, it happens . . . I showed young Chris another spot between Harry and Ernie where he might have better success on his own. Hard to say, but it appeared that he actually still believed me about where to dig - or maybe he was just glad to get away from a slave driver.

Chrissy decided to take over our shallow hole and managed to find a few smallish keepers there before she gave up and moved on.

Since it wasn't our first dud hole, Everett and I went to work on another. After all, Everett hadn't driven all the way from Michigan to give up that easily and before long, he pulled out a real dandy.

Everett Harrington

Click on picture to enlarge

As the afternoon progressed, the hole got very deep and much narrower so Everett and I had to take turns digging. We found a couple more respectable specimens before calling it a day around 5:00 PM.

Mike Streeter

Click on each specimen picture to enlarge

Report continued . . . . . . .

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