Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Over the last week, from people who know the area, I’ve been getting the hee-haw about taking the train from Deming, NM.  As in:   “You’ll have to flag ‘em down with your red panties to get them to stop!”  And: “Shoot, they don’t stop, you just hang from a mail hook and they grab you as the train goes by.” And: “I’ve known the train to be late by SIX HOURS.  Bring a sleeping bag and a tent.”  Of course, I laugh and I’ve used AMTRAK many  times and love the train over flying. But, I’m calling this morning to ask what happens if I miss my connection because of a late train.  Hmmm!  I’ll keep you informed after I arrive in Murphys.

The Little Florida Mountain is yellow with poppies in bloom. Spring has arrived here at Rockhound State Park. The campground sits at the base of this mountain and the rocky ridge is a favorite hunting ground for geodes and thunder rocks. Campers are allowed to take 15 pounds of rock per person.

Opposite the Little Florida, across the valley is another mountain at sunrise, just as the sun is peeping over Little Florida and playing light and shadow.

But first, we stopped by the visitor’s center to see what kind of rocks to expect. We are not rock hounds, but we like to hike, enjoy spectacular views and I like to pick up pretty rocks.
While at the visitors center, great posters of  wildlife one might see in the park intrigued me. I’d never even heard of this beautiful desert quail.

Nor this one.

We started on the botanical garden trail, which leads up and up and up until you connect with the other trails leading to the ridge. All I saw in bloom besides the poppies was this cactus. Most of the barrels already bloomed and are dry.

This plant is just starting to bloom. I don’t know its name. It seems to be a type of ground cover.

Though steep, the trail up was easy to walk most of the way. The poppies were gorgeous, at times so bright in the sun it hurt your eyes to look at them.

And the views were spectacular.  (You can click on these photos to make them larger. Then press the back button so you don’t lose the page.)

Any one of these rocks would weigh 15 pounds or more. I hoped to find one of everything the center  displayed  in miniature, except geodes and thunder rocks.

The most common rock here is rhylite with variegated coloring. My strategy was to look near a big rock, for a smaller one of the same type. I didn’t find large jaspar or perlite or opal.  The ground in the washes is full of pebbles of all sizes and I’m sure I carried down 15 pounds of smaller stones.

I washed and sorted and threw most of them out the door. But, I found a bit of almost everything. All three colors of jaspar for sure. Some sparkling crystals on perlite and beautiful variegated rhylite and peach opal.

Even if I’m not a rock hound, I enjoyed the hike, the dig and I learned a bit about rocks. It was fun.

A  fitting end to a busy day and my current ramble, awash in a brilliant sunset.  After I get settled in, I’ll be blogging from home.

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