Awake high in the hills overlooking Canon City we rolled into town and headed for the local BLM office. The forest ranger inside called for the local BLM geologist to help me look up the claims in the area we were headed toward. Out came a pretty young thing–she had a very familiar face. After being the most helpful US government bureaucrat I have ever experienced I asked her about getting some maps. The geologist asked the forest ranger and the forest ranger had one useful map but none of the topos I wanted, so she inquired if I was local and knew where a certain map shop was. I told her no, and that I was from Seattle. To which the geologist asked if I was from Bainbridge Island. She was Amy Titterington. A girl in the class behind me in high school! No wonder she looked so familiar… Duh! She was thinking the same thing about me too. Thanks for the help, Amy!
We left the BLM office and drove North to Denver to meet up with Aren and Erik. It was a hot morning in the 90s and a bland drive being on the boring side of the Front Range. We arrived in Downtown Denver in front of Aren’s Brother’s Apartment about Noon and we all got some lunch at a pub called Park & Co. The food was good and our waitress happened to have gotten her degree from UH Manoa so everybody had a Hawaii connection. The waitress thought our Hawaii meth jokes were hilarious. They are.
We said adieu to Lars (Aren’s brother) and his girlfriend Echo and drove towards Ft. Collins. We spent some time in Ft. Collins stocking up on food and gear. Dave decided to push on ahead and set up camp before we got there while Aren, Erik, and I did some shopping. I gave Dave my Colorado atlas and off he went. About an hour later we followed North on US287 and then turned off on Colorado Road 80 (we drove this road last year too). It was dirt, the we split onto an even rougher road and studied our GPS intently as we didn’t exactly know how to get there, even more so since Dave had my map.
Eventually we got to the Creedmoore Lakes Campground–I mean parking lot. There was nothing there to indicate that it was an official campground; just a flat patch of dirt. There was also no Dave. Uh oh. We set up our tent and crashed for the night right there in the parking lot. About midnight we heard a truck coming down the road. I jumped out of the tent thinking it was Dave finally finding us, but no, it was my cousin Sam! We set up Sam’s tent and crashed again
In the morning we awoke and slurped on cereal and breakfast bars, when Dave finally showed up. He drove about a hundred miles too far to the West the previous day and the dirt road he found us on was going to be his last stop before he gave up.
I decided we were going to try one of the “Lost Lakes”, a group of kimberlite pipes about five miles to our East for our first day of dredging. The drive was green and lush, I think this part of Colorado has received a lot of rain since the fires in June. The first couple of Lost Lakes were dry but the third one had water and that is where we set up shop. The lake is more poop than water thanks to an endless supply of thirsty cattle that relieve and refresh themselves daily there. It was gross. It is gross. It will always be gross!
With the dredge set up on the Northeastern shore of our lake I loaded up the sluice box with my petroleum jelly and Crisco concoction (diamonds are hydrophobic and love grease) and we started sucking. It was late in the day so we did about three hours worth of mining and called her a day. I scraped the goo off the sluice box into a pot, filled the pot with water, boiled it, and then set the pot to cool in the lake.
We decided to move camps to the lake since it’s next to our minesite and nicer than a dirt parking lot. When we finished relocating the grease had settle in the pot and I checked our fist day’s spoils. Diamonds!!!
We got about three carats of diamonds that first day. Solid! That makes up for the poo we get to muck around in. It doesn’t take long to settle into a routine. Throw sticks for Mud, eat food, tell fart jokes, suck some mud/poop out of the pond. The clay in our hole has proved problematic but once we got passed it we started into actual kimberlite blue clay itself. At the end of day three we now have about 15 carats of diamonds with several stones pushing 2 carats each!
Today was day four of mining and the pressure hose in my dredge sprung a bunch of big leaks. Into Red Feather Lakes we traveled for repair supplies, a blog post, and probably the rest of the afternoon lost to the bar and its pool tables.
I have photos but I forgot my camera back at camp so those will have to come later. Sorry, I know many of you want to see some diamonds; soon, my friends. Soon!