A September field trip to several of our favorite sites in St. Lawrence County has become a WCGMC tradition the past several years and 2017 was no exception. We collected at Benson Mines, Rose Road, Powers Farm and other sites along the way. But this year we also returned to a site we had not visited in several years. We sought tourmaline and tremolite at Bush Farm on Welch Road in Gouverneur.
If you read my blog much, you know that I am an active member of the Wayne Country Gem and Mineral Club of western New York State and that I edit the club newsletter. You may even know the club motto: WCGMC is always looking for new places to dig. Well, this fall we ventured in New England on two occasions looking for new opportunities to include in our 2018 field trip season. In mid- September, two of us scouted out four sites in western Massachusetts and came back happy to report that several of them could form the basis of a trip to that region. In mid-October several of us plan a similar trip to visit several sites in western Connecticut. Later this fall or winter I’ll probably summarize that trip.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the Massachusetts trip was collecting rhodonite at the Betts Manganese Mine in Plainfield, MA. Rhodonite is the Official State Gemstone of Massachusetts and after a few hours hunting in the dumps it was easy to see why. After the location’s Minerals Coordinator, Rick Cernak, showed us the two quarries on the property and the location of the dumps, we set to work pounding and breaking rocks covered by dark black dirty manganese oxide.
Do you remember your nursery rhymes?
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
OK, but you probably have not heard these two:
Amphibole Arnie sat in a ledge, Til WCGMC came along with their sledge. After much mauling and sawing and sweating, To their chagrin poor Arnie was crumbling.
Apatite Annie sat in some calcite, Resting so nicely each day and each night. Then came the chisels, the saw and the carts, And Annie came out in four miserable parts.