Christmas Kyanite and Mountain Vistas
Chamber's Mountain
Clyde, North Carolina
December 24-25, 2004
By Mike Streeter

It was Christmas eve 2004 in the Fullwood home at the foot of Chamber's Mountain in Clyde, North Carolina. Chrissy's parents (Leo and Barbara), brother John, Chrissy and I had gathered to enjoy a holiday meal and exchange gifts. A large smoked turkey and all the fixin's were cooking in the oven and a football game was playing on the television. Word from the kitchen was that it would be a couple hours until the food was to be ready. So, John and I headed out the door and made our way up Chamber's Mountain to do a little rockhounding.

Rocks composed mostly of pale blue kyanite blades up to 6 inches in length and 1-1/2 inches wide can be found as float material on Chamber's Mountain by walking the pastures and forest. The kyanite-bearing rocks are few and far between, but I have yet to be denied finding at least one decent specimen any time of many that I have been on the mountain. There are no prospect holes or pits to be found anywhere as digging is strictly prohibited at this location. To find kyanite, you simply hike up, down and around a wide area keeping a sharp eye on the ground for any hint of blue. It helps to be in decent shape because of the somewhat steep terrain to be traversed.

John and I made our way down to a spring where I always seem to find at least one kyanite-bearing rock. This area is frequented by thirsty cows that continually kick up new batches of rocks for us to investigate. Nothing doing this time around, but that was just as well as finding a big rock at this spot would have meant having to carry it back up a very steep slope to the road. As you may gather, I like to rationalize my failures so that they seem more like sucesses (just kidding myself).

We made our way back up out of the forest into the open pasture. The expansive view was breathtaking. The surrounding mountains and nearby forests and pasture grasses were partially covered with large swaths of sparking white rime ice creating a sharp contrast with the barren winter landscape. A dark blue sky could be seen in small patches between billowy white and gray clouds. While walking the pasture, I took many opportunities to stop and enjoy the view. I regretted my decision to not bring my camera along. Oh well, I'd simply have to remember this day.

While walking a section of pasture that I had been over countless times before, I looked down and noticed a flash of blue amidst the green grass and cow pies. It was kyanite rock, alright, but how big? Next thing you know, I had uncovered a boulder that was full of large kyanite blades. It was a dandy. I carefully and completely filled the depression from which the kyanite rock was plucked before John and I carried the rock over to the truck. It is very important to never leave a hole in a pasture so that livestock can not possibly harm themselves by stepping in it.

The following is a picture of the kyanite rock after I got it home and cleaned it up a bit.

Kicking myself for not bringing my camera only lasted a day as Chrissy and I returned to Chamber's Mountain on Christmas. We didn't go to collect rocks but we hoped to capture the views with a digital camera. Each day in the Appalachians brings with it a fresh new perspective as climatic conditions can often change drastically overnight.

We arrived in the open pasture area of Chamber's Mountain around 10:30 AM. We were thrilled with some of the most spectacular views that either of us had ever seen. But rather than my waxing poetic about the experience, I'll let the following FTR-A tell the rest of the story.

Click on each picture to enlarge

Click on each picture to enlarge

Click on each picture to enlarge