McRocks Ray Mica Mine Dig & Kyanite Hunt
Yancey County, North Carolina
July 5-6,2007
Report by Mike Streeter

  Page 2

On Friday, a McRocks' contingent gathered at the Ray Mine and spread out to dig in various spots along the creek. I joined Ethan in a monster pit in the spoil piles that I had started some weeks before and he and Bruce Skubon had continued earlier in the week. While Bruce and Ethan took turns digging in the pit with me, Jenni and one-handed Everett washed dirt off rocks using buckets of stream water. Everett had planned to be digging himself, but unfortunately his cut finger prevented him for doing so. Beryl, apatite, tourmaline and other minerals can be masked by dirt, so the best way to find these is to wash and bust the rocks as you dig. The stream that runs through the heart of the Ray Mine spoil piles is an ample source of fresh water.

Jim Stoops tried his luck nearby by digging his own hole while Dale Walker applied a more freelance approach of turning over and banging on rocks that were piled up along the stream. It didn't take long for Randy Mauritz to get started digging in the spoil piles above the creek.

Jim Stoops

Dale Walker

Bruce Skubbon

Randy Mauritz

The "assembly-line" approach to working the Ray employed by the "group of five" proved to be highly successful and many fine specimens were recovered. The following pictures are reprentative of some of the more common Ray Mine minerals.

Lots of beryl specimens were also recovered, big and small. Having been to the Ray more times than I can count, I have more beryl specimens at home than I know what to do with, so, I let my digging companions have just about everything we found . . . except for one noteworthy specimen that they would have had to pry from my cold dead fingers to get. While were were digging, I managed to pull out a rock from very deep in the pit that contains the best aquamarine in matrix that I have found in my 15 years digging at the Ray.

Click on each picture to enlarge.

By late-afternoon, my muscles and bones were way over digging and busting rocks, so I bid farewell to the remaining group. On my way out of the forest, I kept a close eye out on both sides of the trail for El Bandito Everetto because I knew that he coveted my new gemmy beryl specimen and maybe he thought that owning it himself would be payback for my role in cutting his finger . . . ;~)