Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mine Again, and An Astronomical Opportunity

Six years ago, we took the kids to a copper mine, and they had a blast.  Heh. But that was not our first experience with indeed.  Ten years ago, I took my kids to the Herkimer Diamond Mines in upstate NY.  4 hours from NYC is another world--a world of ancient rocks and beautiful crystals.  This past weekend, I took another set of kids to the same spot.  Like prisoners on a chain gang, the kids diligently broke rocks with little pay-off.  Towards the end of the day, a mine employee came out and gave us some hints.  We were rewarded with a find of small, beautiful crystals. Here are some photos of the adventure.  (You can click on the link above and see the difference in digital photography via cell phone then, and my Nikon today.)  Mining is fun for the whole family.  It is even more fun when your group camps together at a campground with an observatory.  Yes, indeed.

The young miners hit a wall.

A careful inspection of the rocks.

Resting on the ledge.

Nursing mothers can feel right at home in the mines!

Finding her own space.

Mining in the field.

There's cell service.


Sifting through the rubble.

Looking for the perfect spot.

Water break.

You keep what you find!
After a hard day in the mines, one wants to relax.  We chose the Herkimer KOA as our lodging place...Why?  This is why:

A lovely porch (I bought the books).

A gas grill...

Oh, did I mention the observatory?  We rented this lodge and had it all to ourselves.

It had plenty of seating.


The master bedroom.
In the kitchen.


In the lodge for our enjoyment.

 It was a spectacular adventure.  Sure we had to cook, but food on a stick or prepared on the grill was easy.  Had we wanted more, we had the cooking facilities to make meals to die for.  Bacon and sausage and oatmeal and pumpkin bread for breakfast...and s'mores, of course.

Some of our younger miners fell asleep early.

One stayed up until the wee hours of the night.

Big kids helped keep the fires going.

The kids camped across from us, along the creek.

We had some clouds, but the skies cleared and we had good viewing.

There was also wine.  It's not just about the kids.

Under the observatory was a hammock and picnic area.
 No visit to the Herkimer area is complete without a visit to the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal.  Unfortunately, the boat we had planned to take on the canal was undergoing maintenance, but we drove to Little Falls and walked along the canal and enjoyed the history and the scenery.  And the moms took pictures.

Kids along the Mohawk.

A waterfall.

Holy Family Parish in Little Falls.

The walk to the Lock (17).

A boat from Ontario heads east, and waits for the lock to open.

And waited...
Well, you may have to wait, but the price is right.  We had to move on.

We hiked and saw historical signs telling us about the raised canal and boat basin that used to serve the area.  Afterwards we got ice cream (moms ate free!!) and were treated to stories of the area told by the ice cream man.
Mill with shops, and ice cream.

Goodbye from along the Erie Canal!

Also:  The tale of mining from the Bonnie Blue House!

Mineral Information Institute (free stuff, and stuff for sale)
Mining History (worldwide)

Good books for young miners:

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