Panorama Gem

Rock Hounding in Northeast Washington

Thulite Dig Sept. 21st, 2013

September 14th, 2013

Hi All, (From the Selkirk Rock and Mineral Club)

This trip is scheduled for Saturday Sept. 21 st to collect beautiful pink thulite and violet blue iolite at a private site on Tunk Creek, Riverside Washington. Thulite is a pink manganese rich variety of zoisite , which cuts and polishes well and has a hardness of 6.5. Iolite is a pretty violet blue variety of cordierite with a hardness of 7 to 7.5 and is sometimes called water sapphire. This is a fee for dig site and so you will need US money and the cost last year was $1 per pound, which is very reasonable. We will meet at the park by the Okanogan River in Riverside, which means that you will make a left turn into Riverside if coming south down Highway 20.

Meeting time is 10.30 am at Riverside. From there we will drive in convoy to the site, where we park at the bottom of the hill. There will be an ATV or pick up that will carry our gear up the hill and give rides to those that need one.

The best way to get to Riverside is to take Highway 20 from Republic. If coming from Castlegar or Nelson it is best to cross the border at Danville, just south of Grand Forks, and if coming from Trail or Fruitvale cross the border at Patterson or Waneta. Allow at least 3 hrs to get to Riverside if coming from Castlegar and 3.5 hrs if coming from Nelson.

You will need a passport to cross the border and you may well be asked for your driver’s licence as well. Be careful what you bring for your lunch. If in doubt you can probably pick something up in Tonasket. Make sure you bring lots to drink, sunscreen and a hat. For collecting you will need a geology hammer plus sledge hammers, chisels and pry bars will be useful. Bring a good sized bucket or very strong bag for collecting. Once everyone has collected all that they need the buckets/bags will be transported down the hill and the samples will be weighed. I imagine we will be able to leave the area by about 3 pm or 3.30 pm.


If anyone would like a more leisurely trip they can get a motel at Tonasket or at Omak, which is 5 miles south of Riverside. There is also an RV park in Riverside.

If you are coming please can you let me know by Wednesday evening so that I can get in touch with the owner on Thursday.



Phone 250 365 4772 or e-mail