The following pictures show just a few of the many fine specimens collected
by the group. All specimens without a name attached were collected by yours truly.
We finally dragged ourselves down the trail at around 5:00 PM. I joined Ron who
had walked over to Bassey Bennett's house to generously give him a couple dollars for parking, even
though Ron parked in the Forest Service parking area. As Ron stated last week on the McRocks
"There is a book out called "Mines, Miners and Minerals of Western North Carolinas
Mineral Empire" or something like that by Mr. Presnell who lives in Yancey County wrote. Mr. Presnell
comes from a local mining family and he has really done a good job in this book of talking about the
mining in Western North Carolina with several chapters consisting of interviews with the old miners.
There is a chapter in the book about Bassey Bennett. I highly recommend this book, I find myself
reading it over and over again. There is a small parking area just inside the National Forest at the
mine but I like to park at Bassey's just to say Hi and give him a few bucks. The men like him who
worked these mines in the 30's, 40's and 50's are a lot tougher than we will ever know and they have
earned my respect. It is sad but there are very few of them left. I believe Bassey told me he started
working in the mica mines at 16 and lost a brother and close friend in the mines."
to stop by Mr. Bennett's house to give him a couple dollars if you ever happen to go to the Ray
Mine. And better yet, try to spare a little time to sit a spell and talk with him as he sure
enjoys the company.
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