A Gem of a Hobby

Catron Courier - - Front Page -

My first rec­ol­lec­tion of rock hunt­ing was when as a child grow­ing up in Kansas, I would search for pieces of flint to rub to­gether tin order to see the sparks fly. As I was look­ing for flint, I oc­ca­sion­ally would find an ar­row­head, at which time my mind would start think­ing about the early days in Kansas. My next ex­pe­ri­ence with rocks came as our fam­ily started tak­ing trips to Colorado for a va­ca­tion to try our hand at dry-fly fish­ing for trout and to hike and hunt for rocks along the way. My mother, who was an as­tute and knowl­edge­able rock hunter taught us (in­clud­ing my fa­ther) all about rocks, min­er­als and fos­sils. I was ex­cited the first time I found turquoise. Lit­tle did I know that one day I would pre­fer jew­elry with sil­ver and turquoise, rather than with gold and gem­stones.

For many years, the fam­ily con­tin­ued to va­ca­tion in the moun­tains of south­west Colorado, where I would put on my waders, walk up­stream as though I was trout fish­ing, when I was re­ally look­ing for rocks un­der wa­ter. Dur­ing those years we vis­ited many other states, in­clud­ing Ok­la­homa, Texas, Ne­braska, Mis­souri, Wy­oming, South Dakota and sev­eral oth­ers, where I con­tin­ued to learn more about rocks and rock hunt­ing. My first trip to New Mex­ico was when we brought Geiger coun­ters with us to search for ura­nium. On many of our hikes, we would pass aban­doned sil­ver and gold mines, never go­ing in­side, but al­ways stop­ping to look for rocks that might have been missed by pre­vi­ous rock hunters. Ev­ery year we went to south­west Colorado I al- ways got to visit the old min­ing towns and Creede and Sil­ver­ton, where I learned a great deal about min­ing.

As an adult, I rock hunted in Ken­tucky, where you had to be very care­ful about pick­ing up rocks, as fre­quently you would find a cop­per­head snake un­der­neath. In New Mex­ico, and a few other states, you have to watch out for rat­tlesnakes in the rocky ar­eas. I also hunted in the Adiron­dacks and Catskills dur­ing the years I lived in New York. I even ended up look­ing for rocks back in the Flint Hills of Kansas, when I was work­ing on my Mas­ter's De­gree. One of the great places to rock hunt is right here in New Mex­ico, where I have been hunt­ing rocks since 1980, when I joined my fam­ily here.

For the past 10 years, I have been liv­ing near Re­serve and have hunted rocks at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. When I de­cided to dis­play my rocks I got an idea to make 3 tri­an­gles out back, us­ing rail­road ties and fill­ing them with dirt and crushed rock. The pic­ture shows how they are ar­ranged. This way I can en­joy look­ing at them ev­ery day and I can con­tinue to add to the tri­an­gles. Rock hunters are like elk hunters, they never tell you ex­actly where they go, but I have found beau­ti­ful crys­tals. Luna blue agate, quartz, pet­ri­fied wood and geodes in abun­dance, as well as some trea­sured gem­stones and min­er­als.

Rock hunt­ing can be a great fam­ily ad­ven­ture, as you en­joy the beau­ti­ful scenery, the fresh air, the birds and an­i­mals that you can iden­tify, as well as the ca­ma­raderie that will ex­ist. Try It! You'll like it!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.