Recently I led the Park County Historical Society on a field trip to one of my mining claims, The Nicholas-Carson Mine, after being contacted by PCHS member Dr. Pete Modreski, Community Relations and Educational Outreach guy for the USGS. While Pete impressed all with his local geological knowledge, I was more than willing to share my limited grasp of the more historical aspects of the claim. This claim includes a pegmatite body that had been previously worked in the 1950s and '60s for feldspar (the purest, or whitest material was used for ceramic insulators and the like) and milky quartz (crushed for terrazzo stone for rooftops, garderns, etc.). The site is also known for rare earth elements (REEs) such as monazite, and semi-precious minerals such as topaz and fluorite. However, most of the topaz, although rich in color, is somewhat granular and only of specimen quality. Fortunately, I can lay claim to the first ever gemmy topaz rough recovered at this location, much of which has been cut into small stones and set in jewelry for loved ones and friends. Color is a medium blue, and occasionally apple green, but certainly unlike any other topaz found in the Pikes Peak region. Regrettably, I've been unable to duplicate the initial finds since first prospecting the area.
Through my research on the claim, I was able to determine where the original miners cut their dynamite (I believe it was required that the TNT be cut at least 300 feet from the active mining area, for safety reasons). It was also noted in the mining claim documentation that while the miners excavated the core of the pegmatite (where the purest of the recoverable minerals were mined), they intersected a spring that immediately flooded their pit and eventually forced them to abandon their claim. The pit is currently filled with about eight feet of stagnant water and untold layers of rubble that has fallen or been thrown into the pit over the years. The pond hosts quite an extended family of tiger salamanders!
One of the attendees submitted his trip report to the Fairplay Flume, which was published in the October 16th edition. A reprint of the article is located here (as published in the Park County Republican and Fairplay Flume (The Flume) on October 16, 2015).