Monday, November 3, 2014

Rockhound State Park, New Mexico

I was really happy to find out that there's a State Park in New Mexico called Rockhound State Park. I had heard of people finding all sorts of nice rocks and minerals in the area, so I've been looking forward to exploring here.

The park is located on a slope between the flat valley floor and the Florida Mountains. They probably didn't name it after the state of Florida, since that state doesn't have any mountains, it barely has hills. The locals pronounce it as the Spanish would - Flo-rita. There is a very strong Spanish culture here, from years of history with the Spaniards and, of course, more recently with the Mexican population.

People have been finding nice rocks for years, but apparently they knew where to look or how to find things.   A friend and I have been hiking around for the past two mornings and have not found much. We did go to one of the rock shops near here and found lots of interesting things. They had slices of rocks of various sizes that showed layers and designs that had formed in the rocks.  For some reason, I had the impression that great finds were just sitting around waiting to be picked up!

Thunder Rocks are a good find here, although we have not been able to find any. They are round, ugly looking rocks that started as mud balls. Throughout the years, and volcanic activity, minerals have seeped into them and then petrified into rocks with different designs or colors inside. The rock shop had them cut in half and the inside faces polished. They are very unique and each is different, therefore, quite expensive - especially when you consider you're buying a rock. Some were priced well over $100. Way over my budget!

I was told by a park volunteer that you have to chisel Thunder Rocks out of a rock face. I'm going to take a hammer and a huge screwdriver with me on my next hike. I did see a boulder that had a surface that looked like a glaze, with bits of it sparkling in the sun. I have no idea what created that, but it almost looked like it had dried sea water on it.  Or the frosting on a glazed donut!

Sunsets here have been spectacular, setting behind a mountain far off on the other side of the valley. The sun creates a red coloration on the opposite mountains, very striking.

Well, if I don't find anything (or if I do), I'll be on to my next destination in a few days - Pancho Villa State Park, almost on the border of Mexico.  In fact, we plan to drive the 4 miles down and walk across the border to a little tourist town.  A new adventure awaits!


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