High Park, at an elevation of 9,800 feet, is a rolling mountain grassland cut by gullies. Soil conditions, low precipitation, and cold temperatures are unsuitable for tree growth, nevertheless a few ponderosa and piñon pine dot the countryside. An occasional mule deer will wander by, and wild turkeys can be heard gobbling in nearby brush. People seldom visit the area where the tourmaline is. In the past, American Indians hunted here. Today, livestock grazing is the principal land use.
The black tourmaline occurs in a granite formation that juts out into High Creek. A huge mass of white quartz formed at one end of the granite. Embedded in the quartz are clusters of radiating crystals of black tourmaline. A number of the crystals are as long as pencils.
Black tourmaline, or schorl. This specimen is 1.5 cm in diameter and is 6 cm long. Photo by Mike Estlick.
Further exploration of the prospect is planned. This area has the potential, with the application of skilled collecting techniques, to produce good mineral specimens in the future.