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In Tim's message, "Tourist Traps, NC", he made a post where he stated.. "I look forward to doing some real Rockhounding and maybe my family will enjoy it as much as I do."

What is "Real Rockhounding"!!??

Can you describe what "Real Rockhounding" is to you?
I'm sure many of our views will be very different and we like some parts of this hobby better than others.
Can you tell us some of the parts that wouldn't be added to your "Real Rockhounding" list?


BTW, Tim and all the new people, welcome to our board!

I'd call "Real Rockhounding" the act of going somewhere and making my own effort to collect the goodies at hand. Being accompanied by friends and/or family just adds to the enjoyment. Included in the mix is the feeling of expectation of maybe, just maybe, a really nice "one" will soon turn up....and that thrill and elation that comes when you finally find a really nice "one"!
I've been given some nice ones, I've traded for some nice ones, and I've bought some nice ones. They all enhance my overall collection, but it's part of "real rockhounding" to be able to pick up "one" and be able to tell the story behind the collecting.
"This big ammonite broke a couple bones on my foot when I dropped it along a muddy path in the rain."
"This devils toenail was picked off the side of a hill in Texas with some really good friends."
"This beryl crystal was found after digging a big hole at the Ray Mine with McRock buddies."
"As I was picking up this fossil leaf, a scorpion was crawling up my leg."
It's the personal things that make up "Real Rockhounding".
Dave S.
I dont know how much my opinion matters being fairly new to this hobby, but I like what Herb had to say. The anticipation,the hard work,friendship,the stories,the memories...even purchasing on line. Collecting is collecting right?
Jack Cole
"I look forward to doing some real Rockhounding and maybe my family will enjoy it as much as I do."

What is "Real Rockhounding"!!??

June 3rd week........2001

Real Rock Hunting......Plans that take place on Monday and a Leave request for Friday Morning out the door on Thursday evening about time 20:00, and a six hour drive to the General site where base is, not camp may change. need to scope new area having a other`s to go to and 0400 parking for the morning hunt.

3 hour later, Breakfast on dry bread washed down with half gallon of water.
at this point i`m as excited as a thieve year old waiting to go to the state fair....

2nd stop Limb cast dig....time 0700 and the pack is on and down the ravine and up to a favorite dry run off i like to dig.

What is "Real Rockhounding"!!??

seems like Elbows & back side is like a sign on a bill-board,
Saying....come over here and visit.
oh Ya... I hear how are you doing here....Oh i just got started and there is a Cubic yard of earth gone from the green float that the pink agate is in.

As for all in the group we were their to work not B.S. ... the day away,That B.S-n is for the camp-fire and breakfast....not on the work site !!!

after the Pink limb cast site, we broke for the shade of site ( C ) of day one...Light blue - violet purple limb cast just up the main canyon on the north face of canyon walls and west face.

Area (C) was good i got 4.5 lb. chunk.
Back to the main camp by the south fork. and have dinner.

0500 on the trail to go down stream and dig an old site of mine,
Well my rock hunting partner did`t sleep in....he knew i was up about to DICTH him before he sooner then i started to un-wire the gate and Darrel spoke Breakfast, Uh-No...I`ll be down the trail. look for the MUCK pile behind me....

sure enough Darrel made it down about 0930....
I was in to soom of the darkness pink i have ever seen.
I dug till a storm of hail blowing in level to the south and blinding sight a head.
I went back to slime-pickings after the rain of ice.
Temp out side was around 70F,

Went back to camp for launch and a nap...sleep the heat of the day away.
That evening about 1600 we went up to the cone area and small twigs were common in this area, on top of the ridge, Down below on the hard-pan was the best area to dig, i started digging the face of the hill and ran in to several hundred piece`s large and 1/2 ponders, i dug tell full moon cross the sky to the west late summer time.

What is "Real Rockhounding"!!??

Work, No talking while digging. No teasing me with beer, or food, & smokes, to get me away from by dig.

No short Days. 14-24 Hour.!

If you want a lunch...Take off a Glove and keep digging !...

Drinking 4 gallons of water a day, and a 1/2 rack on the night shift.

no talking unless your DIGGING.

If i have people stop and visit.... their talking to my back...

For real rock hunting is not a time to go out and have fun !!! ....
if your looking for fun time rock hunting with me...I`ll drop in Sisters Oregon...and pick ya up on the return.

I`m Sorry after 45 years of hunting with the Elders that raised my family, and hanging out with the hard-heads from the war....

You grow up fast and hard ( Bull Head )

this is Jack Today.

Dogs are much better rockhunting partners....

though you could dig a hundred holes in a day and the only one that that damn GERMAN - SHEPARD would lay in would be the one with the Agate seams...

Dogs...leave on time.

Dogs...for the most part wont drink the beer.

Dogs...well eat their on food, though it`s about two hours ather bigging human treats.

Dogs...never say no ( Go for a ride hu-hu )

Dogs....don`t judge ya for the area you hunt and the time of DAY HUNTING...!!

Dogs....And they make friends with the Elders Daughters very will to.

Max 1973-1980. Looked for photo Of Max, lost in the file of photos...later re-scan..

Max was a OSP dog from Oregon State Pen,
His Hips knot him out of service.

14 i was fishing on bridge max came over and walk home with me five house`s down the street.

he hang out hunting with me him and i grew up to gather driving girl hunting, Rock hunting.

What is "Real Rockhounding"!!??.................

Nose to the books..

Dig under your Feet.

And Do Not Ask me where to dig.

Wayne....Your Making WAVE~S
Tom K.
Well Wayne I guess Ole Herb hit on most of it!

I think it brings the kid out of me (though it's out there most the time)!

I feel like I'm looking for buried treasure or digging,,,looking for that lost gold mine.

The adventure of the "hunt" is the most thrilling and if I find the "treasure" it's a plus!

You asked,,,,,

"Can you tell us some of the parts that wouldn't be added to your "Real Rockhounding" list?"

To answer in a word,,,,


It's a rockhound's Hell!

Tom K.
Mike Streeter
Real rockhounding - The active pursuit of native rocks or minerals in a natural setting. The positive personal aspects, like friendship and camaraderie, make rockhounding all the more enjoyable.

Henry Barwood
"Real" rockhounding?

Being out on a cool crisp fall morning. The leaves are turning. You can hear the rustle of animals and sigh of the wind. The world is quiet except for the crunch of rocks under your feet. You are alone with the woods and the rocks and the wind. You walk into an old mine and begin searching for minerals. After a while you find some beautiful crystals and pull out your magnifier to admire them. Overhead the birds sail by on the breeze. You are alone with nature. At the end of the day you pack up your finds carefully and walk back to your vehicle. Driving down the mountain you spot a covey of quail crossing the road and stop to admire the little creatures. As the sun sets you make your way home and know that the day was a good one.

That was the way collecting was, 40 years ago.

Joe D.
O.K., you “Silver Pickers” and “Clubies”, you know who you are. To be a true “Rock Hound”, the pursuer of this “Prestigious” title must forgo all other entireties of life in their pursuit of the “Glorious Rock”. “Mineral Collectors” need not apply, for that matter, “Collectors” need not apply. Anyone can collect things but only the most avid insane being can devote their life to “Finding” rocks where they were put by God. To be a “Real” Rock Hound” one must set aside all other things known to satisfy the senses of “Normal” humans and seek out those “Gems” of God called “Rocks”. Given a choice between hunting or fishing, hounding always comes in first (all right you may look for rocks while doing these other things, after all we are supposed to be part human).

A true “Rock Hound” does extensive research and groveling to whom ever necessary to achieve a chance to get with nature and find rocks. They may even, if given time, try to ascertain what minerals comprise the rocks they hauled out on their backs to glorify someone’s own questioning of knowledge. They will give them tender care while cleansing them of their pithy coverings. I hear tell there are even some of them who embellish these rocks by forcing them to comply with torture of cutting and re-shaping their original makeup to achieve a personal compliance with the new owners wishes.

I’m told that the FBI behavioral center has ascertained from extensive studies that “Rock Hounds” are by nature secretive and loaners and could be violent if confronted by anything that interrupts their pursuit of rocks. When they are forced to join in with others they can be expected to throw things and become unstable and dig holes to try and hide their feelings from others. “Serial Rock Hounds”, those who seek out others praise and seem to assist others in their pursuit of rocks can be the most dangerous to others. If you notice rocks, dirt and tools flying at you, then beware you probably have come into contact with a “Serial Rock Hound”. Immediately seek cover and change your choice of companions. They don’t share well, they have the “Me – Me” syndrome and should never be cornered near loose rocks. Never enter a hole or underground burrow (mines or glory holes) if you suspect your are in the presents of a Serial Rock Hound!

Joe D.
Tom K.
Well as I suspected would happen,,,,,,

Ole White Top gave us the "book" rendition and Ole Joe D. ran off with the mouth,,,,,,again,,,,,still??

Tom K.
Real rockhounding is:
-sore muscles
-real work
-blood, sweat, tears and sometimes even death
-voracious appetite
-departure from the everyday grind
-broken fingernails, smashed fingers and toes
-grubby shoes and clothes
-great globs of gooey mud
-clouds of dust and dirt
-great heights
-humongous holes
-blistering heat
-chill ya to the bone cold
-above ground
-a stroll down a rocky road
-a hike up a stream
-hours at a computer
-bleary eyes from peering at maps and books
-months of planning
-spur of the moment
-lots of tools
-no tools
-nature; snakes, spiders, mosquitoes, scorpions, and all
-hitting the jackpot
-getting skunked
-rocks, minerals, fossils
-all consuming

Yee Haw! Let's all go rockhounding! Wishing I was in NC right now joining in on all the FUN, FUN, FUN!

Man it has all been said here all ready. To me it going to a location and finding minerals that no one else has seen yet. Being with great friends when you are with them. And the saddest part is when you have to go back home after a great trip or day if digging.

KOR Carl in WI wishing I was in NC right now.
Don Robinson

Look what you did! Started a long on going thread that I am sure is going to continue for some time.

As we can all see it is the "good" and the "bad" that makes REAL ROCKHOUNDING special.

I like Denise's list. Pretty much covers it all. I was typing this reply when hers showed up. You saved me alot of typing.

Here is 2 more to add to the list

THEM DAMN HOGS!!!! (Wayne)

And...this past week had the wonderful experience of being chased by the infamous "farmers bull"...I out smarted him and carried all the gear and lootand even dashed through the Barbed wire fence!!!!!! No scratches either!!!

Here is the story!!

I kept hearing what sounded like an armidillo in the brush. Popped my head up to see what was there. Nothing. Continued sifting for the coral agate pieces. More noise. Looked up above the bank and low and behold eye to eye with a long horned young bull!!!! I did not know he had bulls in this herd. Slowly moved down stream a ways, herad him dash off, I doubled back and got my goods quietly continued down stream. Popped up to see where Mr. Bull was and he was dogging me!!! Sly devil. Went to the far side of the stream through some palmettos. Came out in a clearing. Who should be staring at me? Mr. Bull!!!! So back down to the creek running full boar, dodging and ducking and jumping over vines and logs, trucks in sight...all right!...OH SH___the barb wire fence! Threw my gear over the fence and I like a nimble teen (I'm 45)made it through without a scratch!

Looked back and you can see that bull looking back at me then up stream and back at me and reading his mind "how in the hell did he do that"!!!!

"I WIN!!!!!"

This is REAL ROCKHOUNDING at its best!!!

"REAL Rock hounding" !
I think the more wits&effort it takes to find a good specimen the more "real" it is,like Denise's list,although there are so many degrees in between!

Personally, I add(from what other's said) the "native setting" is NOT someone else's claim that has been commercialized in any way.

But for some reason unclaimed but in books locations are OK with me for the category.I guess if something is claimed I just feel like it was someone else's FIRST and I don't feel much like a "real rockhound" that way.... If someone else has done that much of the "find" I sort of put it into the category of collecting-rockhounding but not "REAL" rockhounding!

My favorite finds are when info got me NEAR the place I found great stuff but the location isn't on any map.
Then again if a specimen showed up in parking lot gravel and no one else noticed it;the find would be "real lucky" rockhounding!(one of those "degrees") Fun thread Way9!!! KOR, Rhonda
Rob Townsend
For me "realrockhounding" is defined by "the moment of discovery" there is only one thing more satisfying than setting out to find a nice rock, mineral, fossil, or gemstone and actually finding it.That one thing is shareing the moment of dicovery with another rockhound!
Mike Streeter
Hey Tom,

"Book version" you say? I'll have you know I thought of that myself, mister! Speaking of book versions though, I'm a firm believer in living up (down?) to what William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet: "...brevity is the soul of wit". Actually, there are not enough words to convey what "real" rockhounding means to me, so I pared it down to a simple few words. Besides, I wax poetic enough in my seemingly-unending field trip reports - right?

mike k
Real rockhounding to me is being able to sit on the picnic table out on my porch in a late afternoon sun and admire the crystals I found out in the forest 2 days ago. Crystals that I cobbed out of rock and haven't ever seen the light of day until now. And the only thing I had to pay for it was some achey leg muscles, a few itchy insect bites, a very dirty pair of jeans, new friends, and memories of a very exhausting, but, as I admire my finds, a very worthwhile adventure.

And even if I hadn't found anything, what does that bumper sticker read.."I rather be..."
Ricardo & Claudia Birnie
Real Rockhounding is
1)Travelling lots of lonely long roads
2)Travelling although there are no roads
3)Being amazed again and again when seeing familiar landscapes
4)Feeling you are kids again
5)Not feeling home-sick
6)Not caring if it rains or snows
7)Not feeling cold (even you can´t feel the tips of your fingers) or hot (even the sun rays are drilling your brains)
8)Knowing that you only have two spare tires.
9)Being aware that your cell -phone won´t work.
10)Knowing you are on your own , and there is no one around to help you.
11) Continue digging for THAT special stone although light has almost gone.
12) The weight you are carrying is not so heavy after all.
13)Hoping to return again and again to that special spot
And loving ALL the above!!
Ricardo & Claudia Birnie

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This might be the best way for me to post a message thread?
Post a question and ask you for your personal opinion, then go to the mountains for two days and let YOU talk without my interruption!

I don't know if I'm to the point of even knowing what "Real Rockhounding" is? But, I think I'm getting closer, when I can totally relate to a Doctor's view on the subject!

Real Rockhounding is a combination of many things and the more you add to it, the more "real" it becomes!
Knowledge about rocks and minerals has been my biggest problem.
Having no formal education about geology I was a lost soul for even trying to find a piece of corundum in the "wild"! My first trip to a wild area was Chunky Gal Mountain and it was real...
a "Real Joke"! Well, I did have my "formal education" that I received at the flume line at that fee mine in Cowee Valley...
"Now this one is "sapphire", and this red one is "ruby", this other red one is "rhodolite garnet", and this is.."
Humm? Now what did he say "corundum" was?
It took several trips to the Gal before I found my first real piece of corundum! Then.. there it was! A real honest to goodness piece of corundum!.. and I found it MYSELF! I carried that ugly stone in my pocket for weeks, showing it to everyone!
You would have thought that it was pure gold.. but to me, it was worth much more!

Over the years many old geological publications and maps have been bought, researched and studied. Special tools made, camping equipment, navigation software, all adapted for only one purpose, to hunt corundum.
We love to camp and hunt in the mountains when the air starts to get a chill and the leaves turn to fire, it is unmatched by any other time in the "Lord's Church"!

Like every year, I'm sure Pat will ask the question...
"Where are we going first this Fall?".
I've been doing some research and I might tell her...
"Thought we would try over on the Gal's northeast drop side above Cartoogechaye. We can camp on this creek in the NF. According to the geological map by Carl Merschat and the old geological folio, there is a long amphibolite formation that strikes NE to SW. I've already plotted this formation into the mapping software and I believe that part of this formation picks up the Mason on Burningtown Road and the other end is on the spur where we found the two other prospects several years ago in troctolite. I think if we prospect along the formation in this area, we will have a good chance to find a few "pink hexs"? If we don't find anything, we can sit at camp, drink coffee, watch the leaves fall and the animals play, or just watch the fog lift from the valley on a frosty October morn..."

Do I know what "Real Rockhounding" is? Well, I do know one thing...
Doctor, I'll take two corundums tonight..
but, I don't think there will be any need to call you in the morning!... Loved your post, Henry!
mike k
Funny (or sad) story that belongs in this thread...

So, we (wife, son5, daughter8)live in Boone, NC and we have season passes to Tweetsie Railroad, the regional wild west/railroad theme park. We went out there Sunday. After riding some rides and walking up to the top we wound up at the "mine" flumes. One part is free gold panning, the other is pay-for-a-bucket. We sat down for a quick break.

My daughter winds up with a pan and reaches down into the flume water and scoops up some sand from the "pay area", pours a bit out, and then holds up a little citrine chunk. So, we all decide we want to find one too, a few more pans are procured, and we spend the next hour competitively panning for every little fleck and pebble of adventurite, sodolite, emerald, amethyst, calcite, topaz, garnet, corundum, and peridot the previous paying tourist dumped out. It was so much fun, taking a break from walking around in the crowds and sitting down, hands in cool water, focusing on finding small hidden treasures left behind, and doing something we really weren't supposed to be doing, lol. That was made clear when a few other folks sat down and started doing what we'd been doing and the attendant told them that this was the "pay area" and the free "gold panning" was over there. We exchanged a few sideways glances and decided we'd collected enough to look attractive filling a small glass flask and it was time to ride some rides.

That evening, we reflected that the best part of the day had been spent sifting sand in the cold water looking for those specks of treasure. I know this experience is the total antithesis of what rockhounding in "God's country" is all about, but it was surprising how thrilling finding "worthless" flakes of minerals can be sometimes.

Hi Mike K.,

It might have been "worthless flakes"...
but it sounded "real" to me!
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