If you’ve been here before, you obviously know I don’t post with any frequency. In theory I “retired” in November of last year, thanks to progressive health issues that make it nearly impossible to go rockhounding any more. I still love my rocks and still collect them when i can, but my body has decreed it won’t be by hiking through the mountains any more.
Every time I add a post here, seems like I get a handful of comments and questions about places to hunt for rocks.
The truth is there aren’t very many parts of Arizona where you can’t find interesting stones! It’s all about learning where they are. I’m talking about a walk into a gully or out into the boonies among the saguaro or pines, scraping away some red earth, spying something on top of the ground, or watching for the glimmer of crystals after the rain. My husband and I found what I think is a citrine in a matrix, by the side of the road near Tucson. I haven’t had it checked but it’s a bunch of small crystals in dusty shades of yellow.
Of course there are countless other options in Arizona. The high concentration of copper, combined with ancient volcanic activity, mean we have a rich mix of mineral content scattered nearly everywhere you look.You can go panning for gold in a few spots (with a permit).
Now all of that being said, here’s a couple of things to be aware of.
One: Tucson’s Gem and Mineral show is Jan. 30 through Feb. 14 this year at the Tucson Convention Center. It’s a madhouse, but it’s the granddaddy of indoor rock shows. Access is free for nearly everything. You’ll find details at http://www.visittucson.org/events/gem-show/.
Then there’s the outdoor granddaddy event, the annual Rock and Mineral Exposition at Quartzite. The tiny community barely qualifies as a blip on the map until the rock show comes to town. Then it’s a virtual zoo. If you choose to go this year – and it’s going on now and on through a good chunk of February this year – expect to do a lot of hiking just to get from your vehicle to the rock displays. Visitors can number upward of a million, and hospitality services like hotels and motels are booked months in advance. For details on all the events (it’s a series, rather than one single exhibition) check out this page: http://www.desertusa.com/cities/az/quartzsite.html.
Finally, my life has become progressively insane. I mentioned retiring earlier in this post, but the truth is I’m as busy as when I was working full time. I’ve written a couple of non-rockhound-related books (links to the right) and been pegged to spearhead not one but two startup businesses. Well, technically three, but who’s counting? I’m the designer for Lost Dutchman Clocks; CEO (which is another word for chief cook and bottle washer) of Greenhouse Servers, a joint project between the US and Canada designed to help realign technology with the green movement; and the CEO for another business I’m trying to convince my husband is off the table.
The bottom line is that I don’t have time to come here and update with any real frequency, and yet I love this concept and the interest involved. As a result, I created a Facebook page so we can all jump in and share in a lot more real-time fashion. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/arizonarockhounds. I hope to see you there!