Day 3 was by far the most fun as rockhounding goes. It was amazing! Michael had told us about a guest that had gone looking for fluorite with the same instructions that he gave us and came back with a beautiful aquamarine colored rock. One he said was the size of a baseball. The problem was that he didn’t know exactly where he found it. He gave us a general area to look in and asked if we did find some of the aquamarine colored fluorite could we tell him where we found it. Off we went. It wasn’t too far so we didn’t have to leave super early. Michael said that the road was kind of a nail biter but I didn’t think it was too bad really. Very curvy and occasionally almost one lane but there was no one else on the road so early.
We found a likely spot to stop and look so we got out to peruse the area. We were in a wash and were wondering if we could find anything at all and Earl asked me what we were looking for. I walked a few steps and picked up a rock and said, “Something like this”
We both about flipped out we were so excited! So we started digging around and found quite a collection of nice pieces. After an hour or so we decided to go across the road and walk the wash. We didn’t see much until we rounded the bend and there right on top of the sand was a really nice size blue stone. If I had come across that without knowing what exactly we were looking for I know I would have thought I’d found a treasure and it really is…at least to us. I so wish I would have taken a picture before I picked it up.
After walking the wash for a short ways and not really finding anything else we decide to head out. As we were driving deeper into the Gila Wilderness looking for a place to turn around I saw a really nice wash and happen to look up at the top of the hill. There was a flat area that looked vaguely like it could have been a dump for the mine. It was a flat area next to a peak. We almost didn’t stop but Earl convinced me that we were here we might as well look. Just about 15 feet into the wash was a huge pill of gravel. Earl sat down and just started digging. He came up with piece after piece of beautiful fluorite. We stayed there for quite a while having an awesome time digging up piles of the stuff. Finally when we had all we though we could ever use we walked up the wash. Both of us were wearing leather gloves which turned out to be a really good thing since we both dug up some nice sized scorpions in addition to some nice sized fluorite. That venture was one of the best rockhounding hikes ever!!
After we got back I called Michael to tell him we had hit the mother-load. I’m not sure he really believed us but when he came and saw what we found he agreed! We were able to give him GPS coordinates and also gave him a bag of fluorite to show other guest. He seemed to be really thrilled that we were able to help him by giving him good accurate information. It was felt really great for me to be able to give something back to him for all his freely given advice!
Later that evening we went to the gallery and bought a few things and were able to spend some time talking. Michael gave us a run down of how he and his wife Becky ended up there in Gila and how he became a painter. It was so inspiring! I just can’t say it enough. I really hope we can go back again and again!