Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh, My Darling Clementine or Digging for Diamonds

There is no easy way to get to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR from Fort Smith.  We were in the Ozarks and straight roads are almost non-existent.  I don’t believe we got any faster than 50 mph.  Most was around 40.  After several hours we arrived at the park.  The campground had recently been entirely redone with level pads, new picnic table, grill, tent pad, water, electric, sewer and a fire pit (no fires—burn ban due to drought). In two weeks they are to have Wi-Fi.  This was probably the nicest state park we have stayed at.

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After we got set up we went to the diamond field.  We brought shovels and hand trowels.  Jim and Sherry had a bucket too.  You did need to rent screens for the wet or dry sifting.  We chose dry.  It was about $4 for the two screens plus a $20 deposit. A brief video gave you general instructions. There was an admission fee of $7 per person.

We were surprised how many people were trying their hand and diamond hunting. There were families, a scout troop, individuals of every age and gender.  2010 10 10_Crater of Diamonds SP_4487

We spent only two hours diamond digging and now have a new appreciation for the ‘49ers.  We really did very little digging and sifting in the time we were there, but it was exhausting.  We all were hot, sore and filthy. 

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Sherry and Jim

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We kept any interesting stones we found.  I got excited when I found a clear stone.  We brought our loot back to the “expert stone identifier,” who pronounced my “diamond” a quartz crystal.  The other stones were mostly jasper.  Some very expensive rocks.

We returned to the RVs, had supper and went to bed early.  No TV reception so nothing else to do but sleep and give our sore bodies a rest. 

In the morning we got ready to go but before we left we took the mile-long River Walk to the Little Missouri River.  The handicap accessible trail was concrete all the way to the river.  We took the unimproved trail back. It wasn’t bad, we just had to watch for tree roots.  Quark spotted a deer and was in hunting mode for the remainder of the walk.

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