Royal Rainbow Opal Mine

Opal mining is fun, and I do it whenever I can. Here is a tale about an experience we had "mining" for opals one October. The Royal Rainbow Mine is closed at this time. However, we were granted access to look the property over and assess whether or not we would be interested in purchasing the claims held by the current owner. The property is located at the edge of the Black Rock Desert near the small town of Gerlach, Nevada. We took Soldier Meadow Road 12 miles out of town before loosing the pavement and turning out along the edge of the playa. We drove for approx. 38 miles along some of the bumpiest dirt road we had ever been on. We were towing our 38' 5th wheel, (That would be our brand new 38' fifth wheel!) at about 6 miles per hour. Good Grief! What a long trip that was! It was through a beautiful desert landscape however, and we had plenty of time to look around as we went. We met our dear friends and mining buddies, Jack & Lola there and spent 20 minutes setting up our rig. Next it was time to go check out the nearby rocks. We took a road that was too narrow for our truck and precariously rocky in places and quite soggy in others from the creek running along it. We ended up at the side of a hill with lava rocks strewn across its face where we stopped the truck to do some exploring. I climbed the hill and looked at rocks. In some you could see the opal forming in the volcanic vugs. Across the way and up on the hill a wild white mustang looked down on us as we broke rocks and searched.

Much to soon it began to get dark, so we once again traversed that wicked road back down to our camp. The next morning we spent digging at the tailing pile near our camp sight and found quite a few nice specimens. The rock here was extremely hard to break and none too friendly, but earlier I had found some colorful pieces with fire, and that kept me interested! The weather was turning bad, and out there if you get caught in the rain, you do NOT get out. We decided to pack up and make a run for it. If we got stranded, we would be there for quite awhile, maybe until spring. Fortunatly we made it back to pavement in about 3 hours, (a record, I am sure) before the raindrops started to fall. Mining rules have changed in the Black Rock, and we passed on that investment, but we all agreed it was worth the trip just to see the beautiful wild horse band!


Copyright 2003-2004 Ken Dinneen
All rights reserved