A site for information on rock,mineral and fossil collecting as well as lapidary information for those around the Washington State area
Laurel and I got up at 5:30 on Saturday morning to start our trip to Lake Wenatchee for garnets. After packing a quick lunch and getting our gear together we climbed in the truck and headed up north. After about two and a half hours of driving and a many “are we there yet?” from my daughter we arrived at the Wenatchee ranger station. There we met several other rock hounds that were going on the trip.
At 9:00 we headed to another location where the rest of the group was camped. Here we met up with the trip leader Ed Lehman who leads many of the Mineral Councils field trips. Ed showed everybody what we would be collecting and gave people tips on how to find the garnets. A small group of us, those with pickup trucks, volunteered to go to a nearby quarry and pick up some rocks with actinolite crystals that we would hand out at the end of the day. We were able pick up several good samples in about half an hour and then headed up to the trail head to meet the rest of the group.
We arrived at the trail head just as the group was unpacking. We gathered our gear and headed up the trail. After about a mile of easy hiking we came to a fork in the trail. One couple who had been here several times before decided to take the right fork and hike an additional mile or two to where the creek flows out of heather lake. The rest of us took the left fork and hiked a short distance further and then cut over to the creek.
I picked a spot in the creek and started shoveling gravel into my screen. Right away I could see this would be a productive day. My first shovel full of gravel has several nice garnets in it. I shoveled gravel into my big screen and then brought it over to a large rock where Laurel was sitting. Together we sifted and picked out garnets and placed them in a quart water container that I had brought. After going through the screen full of gravel I would dump it out in a pile next to Laurel where she would continue to look for a few more garnets as I went back to my spot to fill the screen again. This continued for several hours until we had filled our quart container with garnets.
Just as we had filled our container part of the group decided to head to a close by rock outcrop to pick up some nice pinkish soapstone. We hiked back down the trail to our vehicle and headed back down the road to very nice lookout spot where we had a beautiful view of lake Wenatchee. Just a few feet from the lookout there was an outcropping of pretty pink soapstone. Several large pieces had already been knocked off the main outcrop so we just sawed them into pieces and loaded into our vehicles. By this time it was getting late and we needed to head back down to the campsite where there was to be a potluck dinner. We arrived at the campsite and unloaded the actinolite that we had collected earlier. After a good but quick potluck and short Mineral council meeting me and Laurel jumped back in our truck and headed home.