Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Inside the Mind of a Rockhound Wannabee

We left Piños Altos (yesterday’s entry) with the story of the town’s founding in my mind: three men stopped in the area for a drink and discovered gold.

I thought to myself: Discovering gold can’t be that easy. . . . Can it?

Returning to our home on wheels, I found some information stating that Deming had been named a "Rock Hunters Paradise.”

“Rock Hunters.” Is that another name for propectors?

Looking over some information about attractions near our home base in Deming (NM), I found a brief description for Rockhound State Park.

No, wait. I think “rockhound” is another way of saying “gem collector”?

Reading further, “Rockhound State Park is popular among rock enthusiasts looking for unique rocks and minerals.”

“Unique rocks” sounds a lot like “gems” to me.

“Visitors can find a variety of rocks and minerals, ranging from silica, quartz crystals, chalcedony, agate, common opal, jasper to thundereggs and geodes.”

OK. I had a small agate collection at one time, and I think geodes are beautiful. But I’d like to know what the others look like. By the way, what do they mean by “find”?

“Visitors are welcome to take 15 pounds of rock . . .

Amazing. So that’s what they mean by “find.” They actually mean “take.” Are they serious?

per person from the park. It was established in 1966 as the first park in the United States that allowed collecting of rocks and minerals for personal use.”

This is really something. That means we could take 30 pounds of gems from the park!

“The remote southwest corner of New Mexico, south of I-10, is one of the least-visited parts of the state--there are few roads or villages, just lifeless mountain ranges separated by desert basins, dry lake beds and lava deposits.”

This is too much. Gems + the opportunity to take 15 pounds of gems per person from the park + few other collectors at the site.

Rockhound State Park is located on the rugged west slope of the Little Florida Mountains 14 miles east of Deming. "Thunder Egg Trail provides spectacular views of the surrounding landscape."

Well, that was certainly true. Looking up to the 7,000-foot peaks and into the valley below offered stunning views.

But we were looking for gems. Our map, however, noted some challenges: "Unmarked Trail to Dig, (which was near the Rock Ledge)" and "Despite the reputation of the park, it is not particularly easy to acquire good mineral specimens."


"Generally, prospectors should come equipped with a large hammer, several chisels and a spade, and be prepared to spend several hours on the hillside."

Actually, I think parks are to be enjoyed, and visitors, as many signs in parks advise, should "Admire the colorful rocks. Take only photos."

No comments: