Carol and I made a trip to the Yukon Territory in late May, 2010. What a beautiful place! We saw only a small portion of it. I collected minerals in the Whitehorse Copper Belt, Carol attended a speech pathology conference and we both played a benefit concert to raise money for our favourite charity ArtsCan Circle. Here is a little pictorial essay on the trip that I thought you might find interesting.
Copper Nuggets recovered from placer mining operations on Burwash Creek, Yukon Territory. The largest is about 39mm long. For information only. Not for sale.
Scheelite nuggets recovered from gold placer mining operations on Burwash Creek, Yukon Territory. For information only. Not for sale.
The same scheelite nuggets as in the previous image but viewed uder ultra-violet light. Solid! For information only. Not for sale.
Rich lense of bronzey, soft, valleriite in serpentinous skarn rock. About 7.2cm across. Not in crystals but a fairly rare mineral! For information only. Not for sale.
Valleriite in serpentinous skarn rock. About 6.2cm across. For information only. Not for sale.
The Whitehorse area is constantly beautiful. Here is a view of one of the old Whitehores copper mines and dumps through the trees from one of the mountains across the valley.
This is the mine throught the trees, up close! The deposits are skarn zones with associated copper and iron sulphides. The rocks are calc-silicate combinations liberally streaked with serpentine, garnet anfd other skarn-type minerals. If you are into lapidary, there are some very nice colours of serpentines, zoisite, massive sulphides and other rock-forming minerals. As far as mineral collecting goes, the only mineral really of interest on the dumps is valleriite. The area is famous for rich samples. There are also some well formed garnets in calcite but they seldom occur in good specimens.
Another super view down the valley from the Whitehorse Copper Mines' War Eagle Mine property. What a place to collect, EVEN if you don't find anything!
Two beautiful specimens. My sweetheart Carol and a giant copper nugget. This giant copper nugget was recovered from the riverbed of the Upper White River in 1958 and dragged out of the wilderness to the road by men using an army caterpillar in 1958. The nugget was then transported to Whitehorse, 250 miles away to be displayed as a tribute to pioneers of the area. The nugget weighs 1175 kilos and is possibly a Canadian record. Smaller copper nuggets are sometimes recovered in placer gold mining operations along with scheelite pebbles.
Paul Wray has lived in the Whitehorse area for many decades and is extremely knowledgeable about the Whitehorse Copper Belt. Paul and his wife Liz have a rock shop outside of Whitehorse, just after you turn onto the highway to Carcross. He has many interesting ore specimens and minerals from the area. Make sure you drop in and visit Paul and Liz if you are passing by?! Paul was kind enough to give Carol and me a super tour of the Whitehorse Copper Belt.
A beautiful view of the Town of Whitehorse from the War Eagle Mine waste rock dump.
While we were in the Yukon, some of our musical friends there organized a benefit concert for ArtsCan Circle, our favourite charity (www.artscancircle.ca). Here is a picture of Carol and me on stage. The concert was organized by Steve Slade and was held beside Crag Lake at the home (and B&B) of Kevin Barr. Kevin has built a stage right beside the lake and from time to time holds musical events there. As you can see, it is a spectacular spot for a concert! I kept wanting to turn around and look at the mountains instead of facing the audience!
When you are in the Whitehorse area, it is only a few hours drive to Skagway, Alaska. It is a spectacular drive through mountainous terrain. I can't imagine how all those people made their way from Skagway to Whitehorse and on to the Klondike dragging all of their gear and supplies over these mountain passes! Skagway is now a tourist destination where cruise ships regularly dock.
The Venus Mine was the type locality for Yukonite. Here is a picture of the fine ore bin which is located right beside the highway between Carcross Yukon and Skagway, Alaska. I did not do any collecting there but there is some good potential.
Pretty hard to go to the Yukon without coming across some of these fellows. This brown bear was peacefully grazing on nice green grass beside the road between Whitehorse and Carcross.
On the road from Whitehorse to Carcross.
On the road from Carcross to Skagway. Gorgeous!
This is the mountain just beside Carcross, Yukon. Wow!
Cloud-shrouded mountains between Skagway, Alaska and Carcross, Yukon.