Mt Gibson Field Trip Report
June 12, 2017
Our first field trip of the year, to Mount Gibson, over the Easter weekend was very enjoyable for all attendees. Trevor and Jan Hannam and I, met up at the Ravenshoe bakery Thursday morning 13 April. After stocking up on fresh bread for the long weekend Trevor repaid my efforts from last year by buying the last Chilly Pie before I could get to it, we then proceeded on to Innot Hot Springs Caravan Park. After setting up camp Trevor and I did a check of the access road and had a bit of a spec at Glittering Star that afternoon in preparation for the serious fossicking to come.
The track into the fossicking area is rough and not for conventional vehicles. The approx. 5k trip took roughly 40 mins each way, mostly in 4WD. The last major obstacle on the track to Glittering Star is a very rough patch of large loose rocks at the beginning of the hill climb. This is where we realised Trevor still had the side mirror extensions (for towing caravans) on the car, as we slid off a rock, the extension hit a tree, smashing the driver’s door window.
We decided to park about half way up the hill and walked the rest of the way due to some serious washouts further up the hill rendering the road to the top, impassable. Back at camp later that afternoon, we were joined by Wayne and Debbie Davis, from the Atherton Club.
After a pleasant dinner Trevor’s “Open Air Theatre” commenced with a showing of the remade “The Magnificent Seven”. There were no Jaffa’s but then again there wasn’t an aisle either just a row of seats in front of a 12v flat screen TV under the stars with some great company and just a few beverages.
Trevor succumbed to a tummy bug and was not up fossicking on Friday morning so Jan stayed at camp to nurse him, leaving Wayne, Deb and I to head off after brekkie to fossick at Glittering Star. We were joined by Michael and Lesley, fossicking new chum friends of Wayne and Debbie. Everyone found topaz but nothing exceptional and after a full day of digging we returned to camp for some much needed rest and relaxation. For some it was in the hot pools and for others, in a comfy chair (as opposed to a convenient rock) and something cold and frothy. Tim had arrived and set up camp during the day. Trevor was feeling much better and once again the evening finished with Trevor’s “Open Air Theatre” this time showing “Arrival”.
Wayne, Debbie, Tim, Trevor and I set out on Saturday morning again heading to Glittering Star. This morning we moved our diggings a bit further around the hill targeting an area with a lot of large rocks that had been given some serious attention by previous fossickers. Trevor had liked the look of this spot the first day but we had a lot of (large) rocks and overburden to move before we could get busy with a reasonable face and, we hoped, some virgin ground. Trev, as some of you may know, sometimes has trouble gripping tools/implements but he is awesome at moving rocks large or small. Pretty soon we were sieving and finding topaz, and the hole just kept getting bigger and better. Again everyone found topaz with some nice crystals being recovered. After another full day of digging we returned to camp for a brief show and tell before commencing our various relaxation regimes. Brenda and Callum had arrived at the caravan park during the day to join our happy group. After a big day Trev was too tired to run the picture show so it was agreed the last movie would be held till the following evening.
Trev and Wayne decided they would stay in camp today and facet some of the stones found the previous day, using their portable 12v faceting machines (both machines designed and built by Trevor). The diggers being Callum, Debbie, Tim, Michael, Lesley and I headed back to Glittering Star. The hole started by Trevor and I, now being worked by Callum and I continued to produce and yielded a flawless 96.5ct blue topaz crystal just before lunch. My son was working the sieve as I had left my glasses back at camp, and he swooped on that stone as I emptied the bucket, like a fat kid on a candy. Just like that kid, we couldn’t get him to let it go either, he just kept saying “mine” like some demented seagull out of “Nemo”. Eventually, he showed everyone his prize, although he was still reluctant to actually hand it over to anyone to look at. I’m afraid my boy has the “bug” bigtime. Robbie arrived at Glittering Star diggings during the afternoon and was soon hard at work in a hole he had started on a previous trip. After another full and very productive day we returned to camp minus Robbie as he elected to stay longer due to his late arrival. Robbie planned to head to Lava Plains to camp overnight, ready for an early start specking the following morning and agreed to stop in at camp and let us know he had left the fossicking area and was strongly advised not to try driving the track in the dark.
We had a good view of the access road from our camp and Trevor and I kept watch for Robbie, but by full dark with no sign of him we decided to head back into the fossicking area just in case he had met with some problem. Thankfully we met him coming out with no problems. After that it was back to camp again for dinner and a show. Trevor’s “Open Air Theatre” screened “The Accountant” that night.
All good things must come to an end as the saying goes and Monday was it for most of us. Brenda and Callum had left for Mareeba the previous afternoon and now it was time for Trevor, Jan, Wayne and Deb to pack up and head off. Tim and I elected to stay an extra day and headed back to the hole on Glittering Star after waving our fellow fossickers on their way. The hole continued to produce topaz but not as much as the previous days and we seemed to run out of unworked ground the further up the hill we progressed. Still Tim got a nice chunk of blue crystal for his efforts and hopefully some bits and pieces for the Gemfest sandpit as well. It was a much quieter night back at camp with just Tim and I and a fire to gaze at instead of a TV.
Would you believe it, instead of the occasional light drizzle, this morning it rained. Everything had to be packed up wet and when we were both packed and ready to go the rain stopped. After a battery issue with Tim’s truck we were on our way and thus ended the club’s first field trip for 2017. Everyone seemed to have a good time and we all found topaz so hopefully we will have continued interest in our future field trips.