And so, Monday, another day off, Chris (Co-worker) wants to come prospecting and I'm running out of ideas...Lots of places I want to go and check out, but I'd like him to have a bit of success and so it's once more up the snow-bound mountain, looking for Quartz Crystals. This is my fifth attempt. Along the way we stop at the abandoned marble quarry, another year, another layer of graffiti.

He's intrigued, it's a cool destination for sure. Here I'm just guiding.

Then on, past the Troll of the Meadows, North, we stop at a couple of creeks, do some panning. Feet wet, my boots stink, they're done.

Then onward up the mountain. 

The snow, largely gone, we're in the free in clear. Eventually we run into a downed tree that blocks the road, grab our packs, it's time to get out and walk anyways....

We walk about a kilometer along a mostly level path. He's not too enthusiastic, but I'm seeing traces and signs, and eventually we find it. And it's good. Better than good, I've watched a lot of YouTube videos of people digging out crystals all over the world, I've taken the kids to Crystal Park in Montana to look for them, to New York to look for the Herkimer Diamonds, and this, this beats them all. Chris soon shares my enthusiasm.

Citrine on Quartz boulder.

Vug, or Pocket of crystals, to scale the ones at the top are about 4 inches across, and, when brushed off, perfectly clear.

Notice the points coming out of the side.

Side of pocket. Crystals Crystal Clear, water clear, like the finest Swiss crystals...

Ugly, but if you looked closely...

A cleaner crystal pocket...

Clusters found by Chris...

We take about 3 hours, fill our bags, there's everything here. Japan Law Twin Quart Crystals, Scepters topped with Citrine, Needle quartz, all the rarest specimens, and all - when lightly cleaned - of the highest quality. Every pocket is it's own Kaleidoscope of crystal beauty. Meanwhile, the bugs have found us, there's deerflies, horseflies, midges, wasps, blackflies, even the occasional mosquito. We're being devoured alive and I left the "Off" in the jeep. 

5:00 and time to go. We've filled our bags, mine, a hundred pounds, his probably the same. The long walk back to the jeep, the long drive back down the mountain, then on to Nakusp, he needs a vehicle, he's arranged a viewing.

All the way, the setting sun, he's excited, so am I, this is a great spot, and I muse aloud that I would consider claiming it, and he quickly chimes in that he wants in on it. We could be partners, 50/50.

And I'm thinking, as I knew I would, because I've had so many offers like it...I did the work....slept rough, read the maps, learned geology, studied, learned more, found nothing and then - slightly better - and better, and better, year after year...I drew the map, put the "X Marks the Spot" on it, picked you up, drove you to the location, made you walk then told you to dig, and you found something, and now - now we're partners? Mother of God...

***

The vehicle, like so many used cars in the Kootenays, an older crackhead selling a Toyota 4 Runner for 3,500$, it wants only $5,000 worth of work to be roadworthy, a '93, it's a bust, he should be sued even for bringing us out here, brakes are gone, brake lines are broken, there's struts, shocks, every single fucking thing wrong with this piece of shit, he's negotiable, whatever price you pay you'll just add more to drive it to the wreckers...

***

After which we grab dinner in the old hotel by the lake, a beautiful view, patio, the same menu every like restaurant (mine own included) offers, burgers, wings, onion rings, chicken fingers...varied incompetent servers, but, leave it, the night is fine...

After, chasing the sun the whole way home, but it's beat us, perfect photos always up the mountain, the light is going, going, gone. 

Exhausted, long drive home, Kootenay Co-op radio fills in for conversation with Philip Glass, "Metamorphosis". It's perfect. I drop Chris off. It was the perfect day, less the company, nothing wrong with him but there are moments that should be shared with children or lovers, and this was one, this day, not with a random co-worker, it's bittersweet. 

The finds:

 

 

So, around Nelson and waiting for snow to melt. Should have packed some books. The nights, especially between 8 pm -8 - am are long, dark, cold, but not tired, and no book to read. And up early, too early, too cold to go out, a book would be some small company. There's no radio, no wifi, no nothing up there, which is why it's so promising, a couple of long claims on Goldstream, Carnes Creek, and about 70 km in between.

Make use of my time to gather supplies and prepare...

The news, the news, the news, constantly updating, refreshing, I'm trying to learn to turn it off, all it does is stoke the anxiety and fuel the uncertainty. Too much news isn't keeping me informed, it's making me a CoVidiot. Given that I was expecting an apocalypse of one sort or another I really, really should have been better prepared...

The numbers, always growing, exponential, always grim, and increasingly under reported. The scale is massive, and the fallout will be immense. 

On a lighter note - just looking at the numbers (Don't look east - or SOUTH!!! Don't Look!!!) - Alberta and BC are doing well. Far better than I had predicted or anticipated, which might prove the efficiency of Social Distancing and early action. This is not going to pass quickly, and my own anxiety is mirrored in every article I come across. I don't find that reassuring.

Wondering - as everyone is - what the new normal will be when finally this is over. I would expect some serious changes to the way we travel - and restrictions on where we can travel. Not that anyone in their right mind is going to want to head to the US anytime soon. The fallout with credit, debt, rent, I would expect real estate prices to "Get Real" at some point over this. We - as a nation - should be reconsidering our ethics in dealings with certain countries, by which I mean China - Saudi Arabia - The US. And we should be looking at becoming a lot more self reliant. Cheaply manufactured luxury goods - TV's and Computers - are going to get a lot more expensive. They should be.

So, plans, it being doubtful that any meaningful work is going to come in over the next 4 to six months, are to find a remote area of BC and start panning. I've done the math, pretty sure I can make enough to cover camp costs - $2 - $3 a day times a hundred and twenty days is better than sitting around growing ever more overdrawn with no certainty or expectation of ever returning to a normal world.

So, reading the news and almost all of it is bad and so I'll look a bit for the silver lining.

First off, the situation - worldwide - is appalling. Most countries - (not all) - have under-reacted and begun measures far too late. Spain, Italy, France, etc. are obvious examples. Less obvious examples - Australia - initiating isolating measures when their number of cases topped 1100. To compare - Alberta began shutting down and self isolating with 50 odd cases, less than 200 Cases nationwide. Note that when we began shutting down Australia had less cases than us - per capita probably roughly equal, they've since surpassed us. That's a big difference in containment - not merely big, but huge. We've already seen how overwhelmed testing and hospitals become - we have - Canadians - and especially Albertans - an incredible advantage. 

The UK began quarantine measures - for comparison - at 6000 cases. The US hasn't yet begun - only a few states, the rest are in denial. Insufficient tests, Celebrities and Athletes first.  If you can't see it, it doesn't exist. New Zealand has locked down at 100 cases - comparing populations to Canada that's still a bit late - but a hell of a lot better than any other English speaking country.

The rest of the world has stopped reporting. India, Bangladesh, most countries in Asia - haven't the resources. People live and die there without ever seeing a doctor - numbers will be calculated and estimated only years after it's over. Russia is on it's own page and given it's crackdown on "irresponsible" reporting will fall into the same category. Note that rates of infection record only the most serious cases, and even of those only a fraction of those are tested, and the numbers of people showing up as infected are generally 2 weeks into the curve and you have a real number more like 40,000,000 infected, not 400,000 - and even then I'm being conservative.

My own predictions - calculated at the current spread rates - see Alberta at approximately 639 cases by Saturday, BC at approximately 1509. The last 2 days reportage seem to confirm my math. If we show less then the curve is starting to flatten. More and more extreme measures will have to be taken. But the take away - if we hit Saturday, after 2 weeks of self-isolation, we should be proud. We won't have beaten it, but we'll have controlled it. BC and Ontario will be in for rougher times, not least because of the Border - closed a week (late), but because of their greater population and later steps taken in closing schools/restaurants/child-care services.