Situated on the south shore of Lake Superior are the Porcupine Mountains. Here you will be able to play miner for a day if you want to at the Caledonia Mine. You can spend the day digging your way through a pile of ore and search for native copper, silver, datolite, quartz, feldspar, calcite and epidotic. With that many different minerals to find you will probably come out with a number of different specimens. You can have your own private pile to work with. It is a great time for couples, families or groups. The times are between 9 am and 1 pm EST.
The one thing you need to be aware of is that you have to have a reservation to dig. There is a lot of preparation time for events and there are just so many people that they can handle so reservations are required.
To get ready for the adventure you will need to have some equipment. Safety glasses are an absolute must since you will be moving rock and hitting rocks with a rock hammer the potential for flying rock and dirt pieces makes it dangerous to work without them. There are safety glasses available for sale at the site if you don’t have any. Make sure you bring gloves so you can protect your hands from the sharp rocks. Don’t plan to wear sandals; you need sturdy shoes to protect your feet. No open toe shoes allowed either. To keep from getting “eaten alive” be sure to bring along insect repellent. Remember, you are near water and in the Midwest where bugs love to bite you! You may want to bring rain gear such as hats and rain coats since it MIGHT rain although there is shelter for you to get under during a heavy downpour. If it is just a light rain you will want to keep working since the rain helps to clear the dirt off the rocks and makes it easier to see the minerals you are looking for.
You will be provided 2 rock hammers, 1 hoe, and 1 digging tool per pile. If you want additional tools, bring a rock or mason’s hammer. Make sure you wear long pants since you will be kneeling on the rock pile and will want the protection.
Bring along a picnic lunch to eat when you take a break. There is a restaurant in Mass City, but just enjoy the outside with a picnic lunch on site.
Unless you find exceptional pieces the mine owners will not buy your dig results. Maybe you can sell them on one of the online auction sites and make a little money but don’t expect to get rich, this is an adventure for fun, not for gain.
The cost for a dig is as follows. A three-yard ore pile reservation costs $100 which includes the rental of equipment. The maximum number of people per pile is 4. The activities are not recommended for children under 5. There are 20 spots available each day.. You need to request the date you want, if it is not available you will be notified by email. You can request your date by phone at 906-884-6618. All payments are handled through PayPal either with a PayPal card or with a credit card although they will accept prepayment by check.
You need to make full payment with your reservation and if, for some reason, you are unable to keep your appointment there will be a refund of 75% promptly made if you notify them 2 weeks in advance of the reservation date. Cancellation notifications must be made by mail, fax, or e-mail ONLY. If you need to change your date there is a $10 rebooking fee.
Location: 202 Ontonagon Street, Ontonagon, MI 49953