Rock Hounding Prep List

Happy rock season everyone! 

I just wanted to remind everyone of a few things to keep you safe when you're out rock hunting.  Hounding is really rewarding, and pretty safe, but there are still a few things to keep in mind.  

1.  Let someone know where you're going.  Even with cellphones, there are some great areas that have no reception, or your phone might die.  Some areas are very remote, and some can be dangerous.  Please make sure someone knows where you're going, who you're with,  and when you expect to be back.  

2.  Dress properly!  A  hat with a brim will help prevent heatstroke, and sunburn to your face (this is want to be finding rose quartz, not looking like it).  Jeans or  good cargo pants will keep the bugs off, the burrs away, and if you happen to slide down a rocky hill, your legs will be safe.

Wear good, sturdy shoes.  If you're going somewhere with larger rocks (ie gravel pit or a farmers field), it might not be bad to look at a pair of comfortable steel toed boots/sneakers.  My favorite pair is made by Caterpillar; they're as comfortable as my regular Converse.  Rock hunting is more fun when you don't have to worry about your toes getting crushed.   Work gloves are also nice to have; your hands are important, don't neglect them!

3.   Bring along a small garden trowel, and/or a spade or shovel of some type.  Sometimes it's hard to get rocks out of the ground, and you need to save your hands as much work as you can.  A rock hammer is another option; I keep an Eastwing rock hammer with a chisel tip in my vehicle.  It makes digging out smaller rocks a breeze and lets me chip off pieces of larger stones.  A spray bottle is another "nice to have".  Rocks that readily absorb water aren't the best for polishing, and looking at a wet rock will give you a general idea of how it will look polished.  There is no point in filling up your bucket with trash rocks!  

4.  It can get hot out there.  Bring along plenty of water.   Freezing your water bottles the night before you head out works great  for two reasons: 
1) your water will be cold, and
2) it won't all spill if you knock it over. 

You also won't be drinking your entire supply first thing in the day.   

5.  A good heavy canvas backpack, or a couple 2.5 gallon pails.  Remember, rocks are HEAVY.  A frame pack would be the best choice because you don't want rocks banging on your spine; but for short distances or lighter loads, a heavy canvas  bag will work OK.

You're better off making a few trips back to your vehicle, than to try and lug 40 pounds of rocks in a single pail.  You'll wreck your pail, your back, and you'll probably end up losing some rocks when the bottom falls out. 

When we're going on a big hunting trip, I bring 4-5 pails.   I suggest the orange ones from Home Depot because they're super easy to spot.   I walk until I find a great hunting area, and drop my pail.   Once it's about half full, I'll either carry it back to the truck, or (if I'm in an area where I can drive the whole route) I'll walk ahead another 30-40 feet, and start a new pail.  Once I'm done picking for the day I'll generally try and carry as many pails to a central spot as I can and pick them up that way.  Your back will thank you, I promise!!  Many hands make light work, and many light pails make for a happier back versus a few overflowing. 

Now get out there and find some great rocks! 


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