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Old 04-17-2009, 06:37 PM   #1
Halia and Flammeus
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crystals in Ellenville?

Howdy folks -

I just started a new position with Ulster County Mental Health at the Ellenville Clinic, and I'm starting to hear the rumors...

Does anyone know about crystals somewhere near (behind?) the old knife factory? I have no more info than that - that "behind the old Schrade knife factory, there's a 'crystal mine.' " That would be on the east side of 209, just north of town.

Sounds cool would love to know more!
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:34 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Halia and Flammeus View Post
Howdy folks -

I just started a new position with Ulster County Mental Health at the Ellenville Clinic, and I'm starting to hear the rumors...

Does anyone know about crystals somewhere near (behind?) the old knife factory? I have no more info than that - that "behind the old Schrade knife factory, there's a 'crystal mine.' " That would be on the east side of 209, just north of town.

Sounds cool would love to know more!
** Ellenville Minerals. A very nice deposit of small pyrite and quartz crystals formed on dolomite can be found in an old quarry in the city of Ellenville, NY. The quarry is open to the public and collecting is allowed. US209 north from Port Jervis to Ellenville. Right on NY52 1 mile. At stop sign, turn LEFT and make second right on Berme Road. 200 feet, then turn right into Berme Road Park. Drive up to parking lot. Look for information kiosk by the trees. That is the entrance to the quarry. Follow the trail in for about 75 feet, then bear right where the trail splits. You will then be entering the quarry. The Pyrite/quartz deposits are on the rock face at the far back of the quarry. Some light climbing will be required.
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:35 PM   #3
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Not sure if this is what you're speaking of, but I found this. Even if it's not, this sounds like fun. Field trip???

** Ellenville Minerals. A very nice deposit of small pyrite and quartz crystals formed on dolomite can be found in an old quarry in the city of Ellenville, NY. The quarry is open to the public and collecting is allowed. US209 north from Port Jervis to Ellenville. Right on NY52 1 mile. At stop sign, turn LEFT and make second right on Berme Road. 200 feet, then turn right into Berme Road Park. Drive up to parking lot. Look for information kiosk by the trees. That is the entrance to the quarry. Follow the trail in for about 75 feet, then bear right where the trail splits. You will then be entering the quarry. The Pyrite/quartz deposits are on the rock face at the far back of the quarry. Some light climbing will be required.

** Wurtsboro (Shawangunk) Upper Lead Mines. These are abandoned lead mines, open to the public to explore and collect from. There are numerous minerals to be found there(quartz, galena, pyrite, chalcopyrite). The mines are located on the hillside behind Wurtsboro Airport. The only access is on an old railroad bed and public hiking trails. US209 North to Wurtsboro. At traffic light, turn Right on Sullivan St. Go 1 mile and at hairpin curve, turn left onto VFW Road. Follow road to end (VFW hall on right-its an old train station). Park there and continue straight ahead on the old rail bed. Go 1 1/4 miles and look for an old dirt woods road crossing the railbed. The woods road drops off to the left first, then about 100 feet ahead, it goes off to the right and up the hill. Take the woods road up the hill to the right. The mine is way up the hill and it's a pretty steep climb at times. It is a large open clearing with numerous tailings piles. It is a very strenuous climb, but worth every bead of sweat! The views from up there are really nice. You may get a better idea where these are by going on maps.live.com and getting a bird's-eye view of the area behind Wurtsboro Airport. You'll clearly see the paths you'll need to access the upper tailings. It is way up on the mountainside directly behind the airport, and can be clearly be seen from Rt. 209 in front of the airport.

**Wurtsboro (Shawangunk) Lower Lead mine, tailings and mill ruins. This site is much easier to get to and has equally as nice specimens. Quartz, galena, pyrite and chalcopyrite are easy finds. You can visit the old mine adit which is adjascent to the tailings, and see the ruins of the old mill site which is next to the mine adit. Take Rt. 209 north to Wurtsboro. Go straight through the light on 209 north and watch for McDonald Road on the right (3/4 mile north of the light.) Drive to the end of McDonald Road. Cross the small bridge and park right there by the gate or along the trees. Do not block the gate or access roads. Do not drive in by the houses. Walk north (to the left of where you parked) along the old canal. This is a public walking park. Go around the gate and continue along the canal. As you walk along, you will cross several wooden bridges. Count each one you cross! AFTER the 4th wooden bridge, but BEFORE the 5th, look through the trees to the right. You will see the tailings pile there in an open area. Cut through the trees and go to the tailings. Behind the tailings, will be the mine adit. (the stream comes from within the mine) To the left of the adit are the mill ruins. (If you feel really energetic, you can climb the hill next to the ruins. That path will take you up to the upper tailings, but it's a climb!!) Collecting tip: Dig for large rocks at the bottom of the left (north) side of the tailings pile. Pull out large, dirty rocks and crack'em open. I found a 1"x1"x1" cube galena crystal on my first visit!
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Last edited by Snickers; 04-17-2009 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 04-18-2009, 05:47 AM   #4
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The iron pyrite (fool's gold) in the hills and valley around Ellenville have long been the source of many legends of gold and silver mines. The legendary mines were attributed to the Indians, Spanish, and Dutch without any real evidence that any of these groups were involved. Some iron and lead were mined, but no really precious metals were ever found.

The above posts mention a quarry located about here near the Berme Road Park. I suppose it could be called "behind the old Schrade knife factory", if that means in the hills some distance behind the factory. The Berme Road Park is also the trailhead for the Old Smiley Road (carriageway). The quarry is near the end of "Mine Road" which leads south to NY Route 52. This road is shown but not labeled on NY/NY TC map #104 (in the Shawangunk Trails map set). Shortly above this quarry Old Smiley Road climbs to an intersection with "Ice Cave Road" (which also leads south to NY Route 52 and is shown but not labeled on map #104). Beyond that intersection Old Smiley continues to climb past the Shingle Gully to an intersection with the High Point Carriageway near Napanoch Point which leads to Sam's Point. Beyond that intersection the Old Smiley Road continues to the Lake Minnewaska and Lake Mohonk resorts which were built by the Smiley brothers.

Another old crystal mine site just a short distance to the north was rediscovered in 1905 and described with photos here. No one knows who dug this mine. It is sometimes called the "Spanish Mine". A spring is located at the opening of this mine. In 1907 the Sun Ray Spring Water Company purchased the tunnels and built a water bottling plant at the base of the mountain below the tunnels. The plant operated until WWII and is located here. This large brick building is currently occupied by JM Originals, a children's clothing factory and outlet store.

The name "Spanish Mine" generally refers to Manuel Gonzales, the Spaniard. Manuel Gonzales was an immigrant from the "Spanish" Netherlands, and one of the earliest settlers in Kingston and the Rondout Valley. He had a son by the same name. Some of the family history and a mention of the Spanish Mine are here. Manuel Gonzales, the elder, was also the grandfather of Samuel Gonsalus, the legendary hunter for whom Sam's Point is named. The legends do not specifically connect any specific member of the Gonzales / Gonsalus family to this mine. This "Spanish Mine" is also briefly described in Tales from the Shawangunk Mountains: A Naturalist's Musings - A Bushwhacker's Guide, by Marc Fried, page 30.

Another old crystal mine site is yet further north, above Fordmoore Road in Mine Hollow. This mine is briefly described in Treasure Tales of the Shawangunks and Catskills, by Harold Harris, page 99.
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Last edited by Mark Schaefer; 04-18-2009 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:42 AM   #5
Halia and Flammeus
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Thank you thank you thank you!

YES! Let's do a crystal collecting field trip sometime soon, before bugs and nettles and prickers (oh my!).

Perhaps, after gaining permission, we could combine with a visit to the Greater Ice Caves ?

Thanks again, everyone!
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:57 AM   #6
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collected some very nice quite clear quartz crystals in Wurtsboro back in the late 70's when I lived there. Only went for crystals once. Now the birds...ah, the birds...I lived right next to the abandoned railroad grade and used to tumble out of bed and walk down that grade for the birds. Best birding of my life. Warblers everywhere.
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:53 AM   #7
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great gunks info!!
anyone have any experience with shingle gully, i have heard it referred to as the "grand canyon of the gunks" but havent gotten to explore yet.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:36 PM   #8
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great gunks info!!
anyone have any experience with shingle gully, i have heard it referred to as the "grand canyon of the gunks" but havent gotten to explore yet.
I have hiked through the Ellenville Greater Ice Caves several times. It is an awe inspiring area. A special use permit is required by the owner of the property. This permit is obtained from the Sam's Point Preserve visitors center, or by mail with sufficient lead time by contacting the Sam's Point Preserve office by phone or mail. There address, email, and phone numbers are shown near the bottom of this Nature Conservancy directory.

Many names have been given to the various formations within the Greater Ice Caves / Shingle Gully. These include: Wall Street, Grand Canyon, Labyrinth, Sunken Forest, Flume.

Charles Hayden has a good topo map and photo trail report of the area. There is also a great YouTube video by Kol Marshall of a May 6 2007 hike through the area. As the video shows there will be a mix of snow, ice, and spring conditions in there at this time year. During April traction devices will probably be advisable.

The closest trailhead access is the Berme Road Park described in prior posts. It is a short distance south of the Little League ball field and a Fire House. Hike up the Old Smiley Road to Shingle Gully where there is a small wooden bridge over the seasonal stream. Leave the road and hike up the herd paths along the stream until you reach the vertical rock wall on your right with the chasms and paths into the ice caves. It is described on Charles Hayden's web page.

The area may also be approached via an old red blazed trail that connected the Ice Cave Road off NY Route 52 in Ellenville with the High Point Carriageway. This Red trail is shown on NY/NJ TC map #104 (Shawangunk Trails Map Set). However, it is no longer maintained, and it can be difficult to follow. The old trail passes the top rim of several of the chasms and provides access into several. On my first visit I hiked down this red trail from top. I still remember the sensation of reaching the first deep and yawning chasm. I had to slam on my hiking brakes to keep from falling into the chasm.

The wide crevices were created by the massive "Ellenville block slides" during the Wisconsin deglaciation. Large sections of the conglomerate sandstone slid in mass down the slope opening chasms up to 50' deep and a few nearly that wide. Other smaller examples of block slide are the Table Rocks and Rock Rift Crevice areas in the Mohonk Preserve.
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Last edited by Mark Schaefer; 04-20-2009 at 04:21 PM. Reason: corrected a few details
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:25 AM   #9
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Wonderful help thanks,
I had originally heard of shingle gully from talking to some nynjtc staff at last years ellenville blueberry festival....I was told that a permit was not necessary as the land was now under management by if i remember correctly, minnewaska? i will definitely call Sam's point to confirm.
Recently been exploring the trails off foordmoore rd, very nice area with no blazes, no trash. Seems like a well used hunting and fishing area.
Did some bushwhacking looking for Jacob's ladder with no luck but ended up finding my first gunks deer tick!!! on my way back to the car i discovered likely wrong turns....i will definitely be back.
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