Sunday, October 28, 2012

Searching for Garnets

 While we were in Ely one Sunday, we decided to go visit Garnet Hill Recreation Area. We had a rock hammer and were eager to find lots of garnets.

When we got there, we found a few other people looking for garnets. We went to an area not far from the parking lot where it looked like a lot of people had looked. Desert Boy was eager to try out the rock hammer.

 It was hard work, but he was ready!

 Then it was Daddy's time to take a turn.

Meanwhile Desert Girl was taking a nap, so I wandered around the gullies looking for some garnets that had eroded out of the rock.
 I found a couple, but it was a little frustrating because I was hoping to find a lot more.

 We ended up with about five garnets with three people looking for nearly an hour. Not so great. Especially when I knew where there were a lot more garnets up Hampton Creek in the North Snake Range.

 This time the kids took naps on the bumpy ride up the canyon so they were both ready to go searching when we arrived. We didn't have to go far--there are garnets even right in the parking area!
 Desert Boy was more interested in making stone houses. Henry was in a lazy-dog mood and just hung out.

 Once I found a couple, I started seeing garnets everywhere.

 Most are quite small. These are almandite garnets. They were mined from here for a time in the 1960s (see my book for more info). Garnets, in addition to being semi-precious gems, are also used for industrial purposes, such as sandpaper.

 Fortunately we had two containers so that Desert Girl had her own. She liked putting more than just garnets in hers. Then she would get tired of what was in there and dump it all out and start again. We tried to ignore her bucket and make sure she didn't get too close to the one my husband and I were sharing.

 With her little fingers, she could pick up the garnets quickly. If she chose to.

 She also really wanted to wear a dress. We do lots of pants wearing under the dresses so she can go out and romp around.
Can you find the garnets in the photo above? They are dark red. They are easiest to find on a sunny day.

 We never strayed far from the parking area and found plenty. It was quite rewarding, and also quite relaxing. Maybe those hunter-gatherer genes are kicking in, making us feel successful as we collected our harvest.

Meanwhile the stone house was getting quite elaborate.

 Soon it was time to share the finds.

 Desert Girl and one of her many expressions. She also graced us with songs with exciting lyrics like, "Garnet, Garnet, Little Garnet in My Bucket. Garnet, Garnet, Little Garnet." (repeat about 50 times)

 Desert Boy got a little more interested in garnets at the end. We also found some rocks with nice displays of garnets and took some of those home. They will be winter projects.

 The garnets at Hampton Creek might be smaller than those at Garnet Hill, but it was much easier to find them. Since we were looking for quantity more than quality, this was a great spot for us.

 And apparently the rocks were just right for making stone houses.

We had the canyon all to ourselves on this beautiful afternoon. We hope to go back sometime (maybe next summer?) and camp--it would be lots of fun to spend even more time collecting garnets and building stone houses.


I Am Woody said...

I have always wanted to visit an area like that! We have geodes in our area - one day I'm going to get someone with some experience to take me geode hunting!

A said...

We'll come along on that camping trip!

I've always wanted to search for (and more to the point) find garnets.

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