Memorial Day Weekend tailings digging at the Rainbow

Hiya all; Well all you Opalholics, summer is NOT here. Opening day at the Rainbow never got warmer than the 50s. It was cold and windy with showers. The mud welcomed us and the road into the tailings was one lane of two fresh scrapes down below the 3 inches of mud. I didn’t even consider driving down the other side of the valley that afternoon. Less than half of the normal opening weekend crowd was there. The line of cars got stalled as folks got stuck going in. By 9 we were all digging tho’. It was miserable so no one was wandering around gloating with big ones from the piles to show off in the gloom and drizzle. I did hear repeated finds from a couple piles. Walkin’ tall with mud gloomed onto the boots for sure.  6 or 7 loads were sold and I saw opals from at least 3 of them. Like I said it was a bad day light wise. I’m sure ounces went into the tailings in muddy dirt clods that night. Everybody got back out of the mine Ok. Today was snowed out but it’s supposed to be clearing for a couple days around Monday.  Did not talk to any other valley diggers so I can’t give a sitrep on the Peacock or Bonanza mines. The campground was barely populated,but I blame that on the oil situation and the economy going belly up on peoples savings instead of just a couple bad banks.  Give us a couple warm days without rain and it will all be dry again. Even with the rain the tailings were dry when you got below the surface (2-3 inches). The montmorillite here soaks up water and breaks down fast but it sort of swells and makes a waterproof crust of dust and the rest of the water just runs off. I have seen tailings from 20 or 100 years ago still like that. Smooth dirt crust on top and originally mined rough chunks under the surface. Well I did find the usual suspects of opal. About 1 -5 gallon bucket all told of every thing including dirt clods and rocks. The un expected big one and some cones. Here’s photos.

Fresh tailings opal from Rainbow Ridge 2011.


The season is open again. Have not been around the digs to here what was found so far. There’s been many rainy days to dampen every ones spirit, but the diehards are out in their raingear walking tall. The big news for this year is that the Opal Queen Fee Dig Mine CLOSED to the public. The owners have gone back to private operations this year. The other Fee digs; the already open Peacock Opal Mine, the soon to be open Bonanza Opal Mine, and the last to open Rainbow Ridge Opal mine, will have basically the same hours and rates as last year. The Denio Jct has been seeing more traffic regardless of the cost of gas. Wish so many weren’t passing thru on hopes of greener fields when they arrive. The Diamond Inn Bar is open and going strong with live music nights and Birthday parties again. The Town BBQ is scheduled for June 4th this year. Again it will be a steak dinner with all the potluck fixin’s we can make and a raffle with many splendous prizes. (That a word? Guess not by my speller but it sound good so I’ll add it to my dictionary for them.) ‘Til next update…Remember we are all neurons in the great internet brain!!!!