Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rockhounding in New Mexico

I've been at Rockhound State Park for a few days and I've heard there's all sorts of interesting rocks and minerals out there to be discovered, so I set out to find some thunder eggs. I have seen them in the museum in Deming, and at some of the rock shops around here. On the outside, they're round, with bumpy nodules, usually embedded in another rock. 
I hiked up the steep, rocky hill near the park and found what I thought was what I was looking for. They were really embedded in the rock, I think a miniature jackhammer would have been helpful. There was evidence that other people had found them and tried to dig them out, but only succeeded in chipping off half of the egg.

I found one boulder that was a strange yellowish rock with many embedded in it. Someone had managed to chop off only the top part of it, as you can see with the darker spots in the photo below.

I was so far off the trail and I could see one of the other trails way down the slope, so I just headed cross-country toward that. There's not much growth in this area, a few grass type plants, cactus and sticker bushes. I got caught near a cactus and got some stickers in the long sleeve of my shirt. The big prickers that you can easily see aren't the worst problem. The main problem is the little ones that get stuck in the cloth and actually find their way into your skin, under your clothes. They are so tiny, but they stick and are hard to see. I thought I had them all out, but kept having to stop and pick more off. If you can get them in the sunlight, you can see them easier.

My only consolation was that I had a good, strenuous hike and I picked up a few pieces that may (or may not) be parts of a thunder egg that someone had chipped off. I also found a few other pieces of rocks that were interesting. I'm hoping that I'll meet someone along the way who can tell me what kind they are.
When I got home, I put the rocks into a bucket to clean off the mud. I did get some pretty interesting ones, but I don't think there's anything valuable in the collection. But, I did have an interesting afternoon.  And as you can see by the first photo, there have been great sunsets here.


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