Chester Emery Mine, Old Mine, August 19, 2017
Several CVMC members assembled on a sunny morning in the parking lot of the Old Mine in Chester. After a quick safety meeting the group made its way up the hill to the main collecting area. The trip up to the mines was a little different this time though in that a reporter from Mass Live and his father in law were along to report on CVMC and its activities at the mine.
Along the trail to the dumps the resident fungus population was in top form. The little spongy stars were all decked out in bright colors of red, orange, yellow, and even fluorescent purple. It was almost as if they all got the memo and had turned out to claim their 5 minutes of fame. It was quite a sight and many pictures were taken along the way.
I hung back with a few people at the lower main dump site while Andy took some new members and the reporter further up the trail to show them some of the more unique geological features of the mine. Terry commenced to digging his customary tunnel to China while the rest of us dug less impressive holes or scratched around on the surface. Diaspore was on top of everyone's list, but by the end of the day only a few “maybe specimens” were found. Several members found nice examples of margarite and dravite tourmaline. One or two nice calcite specimens and a couple pieces of multi-colored copper-bearing rock were also found.
The reporter and co. stayed with us until about noon. The spirit and enthusiasm of the group at the site that day worked to convince the reporter to look into joining our group with his son. The new members left shortly afterwards. It was close to 4 PM before the final three members, and it seems to always be the same three folks, namely Terry, Peter, and I, packed it in and headed down the hill.
Peter and I stayed back to explore the lower dumps along the river. Very slim pickings down by the river, but I got an unexpected treat nonetheless. The history of this mining operation was very evident in the remains of the trestles that held the elevated track and the enormous lag bolts rusting out of what was a large sluice. In the dappled evening sunlight and silence except for the sound of the breeze in the trees, the mining ruins were almost surreal. Picking at the huge pieces of coal slag buried in the leaves brought to mind all of the bustling activity and energy that was once in this place. One could almost imagine the sounds of miners at work, the creaking of wood under the weight of the steam engine, and the clang of hammers on spikes….now just whispers among the piles of rotting wood and rusted metal.
This drove home the fact that with every rock hounding site goes a significant piece of history that should not be overlooked.
In the future I hope to add a little history to my trips and encourage members to take time out to have a look at some of the other wonderful things we are lucky enough to have access to while getting some fabulous rocks. All in all this trip was one fabulous day spent with a bunch of really nice folks.
Saturday Trip Leader – Report & photos - Sharon McKechnie