Montana / Idaho Aug 2019


First stop;  our friends Lil and Daniels claims up in the Cedar Creek mining district outside of Superior Montana.

Wildflowers in the Bitterroot Mountains of MT


Metal detecting in the creek for gold!  Got a really loud signal (sounded like trash)


Turns out it was an old "Pike", or a logging tool used to move the logs downstream during high water.  The hook part is missing, we donated it to the museum in Superior, MT


Next, to Butte Montana, staying at the historic Finlen Hotel 


Checking in (white russian ingredients in hand)


Butte's a true mining town, actually a somewhat liberal town too (union miners).

There's old and active mines throughout the city limits!  We visiting the nations #1 superfund site; the Berkley pit, along with the Mineral Museum and the World Museum of Mining. 


Berkley Pit, the richest copper mine on the planet (if you combine w/ reserves).  We won WWI and WWII because of this mine, as it wired the nation coast to coast.  Now as the nations number # superfund site, they're actively pumping the acidic metal laden water to a processing plant, remove the toxins, and try to control this ongoing environmental disaster.  (ah, the balance between needs and consequences) 


100 feet underground doing the mine tour.  Our tour guide, a student, was very knowledgable on all things history and gear, but knew nothing of the geology (what I would loved to know more about).  It was his first day as the summer guide went back to teaching at the school there.  Was a great place to spend part of the afternoon on a hot day, I highly recommend it!


From there it was on to my Montana claim.  

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep


Montana campsite, just before the deluge hit!



We drove south to the Opal Diggings in Spencer, Idaho, but the rain / clouds would have made digging in the pit unproductive, so we moved on.


Very cool and nice pics.  Did you use a telephoto lens for those sheep shots?

That Berkley Pit is something else.  When I was living up in Big Sky, a huge flock of Canadian Geese landed in it and quickly died.    When we were kids, we took a family trip out to Montana and saw the mine in operation.   Wonder how they will end up dealing with that mess?

I guess every now and then a sinkhole opens up in Butte and swallows up a building or two down into the old mine shafts.  Did you hear the stories of how rival groups of miners would tap into each other's shafts and fight each other down there?

My kind of office view....   from my Idaho claims (between 8,200 and 9,200 feet), above Mackay (pronounced Mackie), 9 of Idahos 11 tallest mountains are here!






Finished off the trip with visits to the old silver mining Ghost town of Bayhorse ID, several other gold bearing creeks / mines, the gold display at the US bank in Baker City OR, and,


And the bucketline dredge in Sumpter, Oregon 





very nice, as i said in the bucket list thread, only part of the country i've never been to, some day

It's beautiful country up there, especially the side roads that go thru geologic wowness, lol (for me anyway), and the wildlife is amazing!  

Was just using a Canon camera, nothing fancy like zoom lenses.  The bear was less than a hundred feet in front of us (my old somewhat damaged canon took that pic).  The bighorn sheep were blocking our road, and took their time moving on, so we were Very close to them!


Excellent story and photos Noodler!


Thanks for sharing.

So the $64,000 question is . . . did you get any gold?

I understand that might get into proprietary​ stuff, and don't mean to pry, but just curious.  

Thanks for the tour, Noodler. Some beautiful places.

The goal was actually to bring home some copper / silver ores from one of the ID claims.  We did find gold at the MT claim, but it's already dialed in...  but detecting the "hot spots" only produced shell casings, no nuggets.  We did bring home several hundred pounds of copper ores (malachite / azurite, etc).  Still working up the videos, might post one related to the gold we found above our friends claims near Superior MT...   might...



Looks like really beautiful country up there. Thanks for sharing!

Interesting stuff Noodler.