Ring, ring, ring. Ring, ring, ring. Click. Scratch, scratch, scratch - voicemail answers:
“Sorry, Can't get to the phone right now - out looking at another gold, diamond, or colored gemstone deposit or just visiting an old ghost town, or I might be underground mapping a mine.
Yes, I remembered my .44 magnum and boots this time. It does make better bear repellent and the boots are not bad for kicking diamondbacks off diamond-bearing kimberlites. Why are those snakes so interested in diamonds anyway?
If you are a telemarketer, you have the wrong number. A politician – I don’t vote for your kind. A rock hound, leave a message and I might get back to you after I roll this rock out of the back of my pickup”. Beeeeeeeep.
Above photo - one of these guys was me in 1988 after we found what is now described as possibly the most important mineral discovery in the world. And I was there!
Over the years, I explored for gold, diamonds and colored gemstones in Alaska, Australia, Canada and all over the US. I found many right under your nose along highways; even along I-80. At one place, Albany county used roadbed material consisting of high-quality labrodorite gemstones sitting right next to a diamond pipe! I can visualize these bureaucrats taking a 3-hour lunch break with a dump truck filled with gemstones and sitting on a rock in the middle of this diamond pipe complaining about their rotten pay.
I spent summers in a tent. One summer, I didn’t see another person. Yes, that’s the way I like it. To be in the middle of nowhere (I don’t use the term wilderness because that term is for Greenies and politicians who think they are earth conscience, but have no idea what mother nature really intended) with my tent, rock pick and singing songs every night with my local coyote band.
I enjoy writing: my bibliography of publications on gemstones, diamonds and gold are found on another page of this website (I excluded most abstracts). I enjoy sharing ideas with prospectors and rockhounds as most are my kind of people. Someday, I hope to write a book about some of these unusual personalities. Once, I was so much in demand for field trips, that I led more than 400 excursions including talks to local mineral and rock clubs and traveled to professional associations. Even so, one burro-crat, Mr. Ronnie, director of the WGS, told me I didn't know how to communicate. Imagine that, a director who drove away more than 40% of the productive staff and advisory board. So who doesn't know how to communicate?
Ok, Ok, I agree, I’m a workaholic – I would personally describe myself as a polymath. I’m good at things that interest me but just as bad at things that don’t. I’m a geologist, gem hunter, gold prospector, diamond prospector, martial artist, public speaker, artist, writer, former astronomer, and former musician. Did I mention I write books? There’s likely a few other things that even I don’t know about myself that I’m good at. I love to break rocks - either with a rock hammer, or with my hands. When I'm not using my rock hammer, I'm usually teaching karate, kobudo, samurai arts or self-defense.
Nope, not a mechanic; Can't fix anything without good photos. Good business practice escapes me; computers were invented for nerds – not the old school geologists. I’m not good at being politically correct, not good at politics, not good at …. Guess I’ll stop there in case your kids are reading. Did I mention I once worked with lunar rocks held in the glove of Neil Armstrong.
Rattlesnakes? Don’t like the buggers, but they seem to like me. While in the Iron Mountain district, we had a falling out. The snakes seemed to like diamonds in kimberlite where I was mapping, so a writer for Outside Magazine tagged along one day so I could introduce him to some of the snakes.
I worked around mountain lions, bobcats, bears and the most dangerous of them all - irate ranchers. At one place in the West Cooney Hills, I found billions of carats of a gemstone known as kyanite. At a nearby abandoned mine, I walked into a rattlesnake den. The mine floor was alive, so I did an about face, and published a map labeled the Rattlesnake Den mine. At another at South Pass, I labeled a mine “Wet Dream Mine”. When I later met the owner, I never heard the end of that one. Some people have no sense of humor.
I mapped old gold and copper mines and found most still had significant copper and gold (if they originally had gold or copper). I offered a couple South Pass prospectors some beer to dig holes in old mine adits so I could get in to map. I was the first person in many in 50 to 100 years. In one, I could see where a miner wrote in the mud on the wall “1890”. Amazing it was still there after all of these years. I just returned from an old mine in California, where miners in the 1911 and in 1939 did the same – but instead they used paint and burned numbers with candles. I mapped mining districts in the search for precious metals and stones and found a major gold district missed by all others not too far from Casper. After 30 years, a company finally identified commercial gold mineralization right where I said it would be and first found it.
To the east of this district were mining scams so I was asked to assist the Postal Inspector’s office. One involved a professor who reported 287 million ounces of gold reserves had been drilled at a site at Pine Mountain, but there was none. The professor was not fired, instead awarded. Makes one wonder.
In 1871 and 1872, probably the greatest mining scam in history took place. Nothing was there, but many politicians (seems like nothing really changes) were tripping over one another trying to give their money away to buy into this scam. More than a 100 years later, I panned 4 diamonds, 17 rubies and 24 pyrope garnets from this location - all 1872 salt! These old scam artists accidentally picked a place in Colorado not far from three known diamond districts.
I took my annual leave each year to consult on projects around North America and was on the discovery team of one of the largest gold deposits ever found in North America – as large as the great Homestake mine. We found this in 1988 and it is scheduled for production in 2015. I left the Wyoming Geological Survey for a position as VP of US Exploration for an Australian diamond company that had additional interests in Botswana. While working for the Aussies, I found a few hundred deposits in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming, but the economic crisis of 2008 put them out of business.
I found many gem and gold deposits - so many that Wyoming is now recognized as the Gemstones State! In 1977, Wyoming had jade. Today, it has jade, diamonds, pyrope garnet, almadine garnet, spessartine garnet, peridot, chromian diopside, Cape Ruby, Cape Emerald, blue barite, aquamarine, helidor, common opal, fire opal, precious opal, gold, iolite, ruby, sapphire, apatite, jasper, agate, onyx, epidote, kyanite and others . Most found by one person.
Well, got to go!
Getting ready to go underground at the Inspiration Mine in 2011
Wow, I made it on the cover of the ICMJ Mining & Prospecting Journal. Yep, the good looking guy with the Indiana Jones hat is me.
I accidentally learned to sketch in 1990 - this one entitled 'STAFF MEETING' included our team players at the - See if you can pick out Ronnie, Dickie, General Custer & our sleeping Sports authority.