This is a post about my absolute favorite place to mine, the Juniper Ridge Opal Mine in southern Oregon. If you are ever lucky enough to get to dig here, it is an experience you will not soon forget. There are a lot of pictures in this post, so read on and hopefully you will experience a little taste of how special this place is!
First, this is what we are looking for 🙂
Step #1 in getting to the mine, is to contact the mine owner, Chuck Newnham. You can look at their website to get contact information. I will post a link at the end of this article.
It is important to note that the mine is located in a remote, environmentally sensitive area, so as they will tell you, NO SMOKING at the mine. If you are one of those unlucky folks that are paying $6/pack for cigarettes these days, you might want to just email Chuck and buy some opal rough. Starting a wildland fire in this country will negatively impact your retirement.
After meeting Chuck at the snow park on the highway between Lakeview and Klamath Falls, you head up into the mountains for a 20 minute drive to the mine. The last mile of the drive gets a little steep and rough, but just remember what is at the end of the “trail”.
As you top out on the ridge, the entire valley spreads out before you. Even without the opal mining, this is a great place to be.
This is one of those places where the hours will just be a blur. You start working on a seam of opal and soon it is lunch time. Remember to stay hydrated and prepare for intense sun. The mine is around 6,000 feet in elevation and it does not take long to toast the tops of your ears or burn your balding head through that little vent in your hat. Take my word for that last one. I just tell my friends that it is raining harder these days.
Here is the result of a very successful day at Juniper Ridge!
I thought that I would throw in a couple more pictures just to whet your appetite a little more! Have fun and see you at the Juniper Ridge Opal Mine! And YES, that last picture is a 12 pound opal egg!