The Texas Road Runners' Safety & Other Rock Hunting Tips
The information below is pretty much common sense. So, let this page just serve as a reminder. A successful hunt includes a safe trip in, and back out. Enjoy!
Maps are essential. Common road maps, such as those provided by gas stations and state tourist bureaus are valuable, however, more detailed maps are frequently needed, such as topographic maps published by the United States Geological Survey. Also good, are state atlas's which shows a quadrangular area designated by the name of the town or prominent natural feature. These maps can be purchased at the Texas Road Runner Gift Shop. The maps in the Gem Trail and other rock hound books are pretty good to follow if the site is off a main road. However, if not, use the state atlas as a further navigational aid.
The rock-hunting vehicle, whether
jeep, camper, trailer, or family car, should be put in first-class condition
before it is taken on a trip. Most cars are not designed for rutted roads or
trails across the desert. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is ideal for venturing
where only a mountain goat or antelope would feel at home. Most of the areas
listed in this guide, however, can be reached with the family car.
Rock Hunting Equipment
The choice of clothing and rock
hunting equipment depends on the type of area where gems will be sought, but
there are some items that are always needed:
Once you have your specimens, some equipment to protect
Clothing should cover your whole body, even in hot weather. Clothing protects your skin against sunburn, insect bites, and abrasion by rocks and cactus. Good shoes are essential. The most comfortable and safest for climbing on rocks are shoes with six-inch uppers and broad toes. High boots usually are too hot and too exhausting. Work gloves save hands from blisters, cuts, and broken fingernails. A hat is the best protection against sunstroke and a burnt forehead; sunglasses are helpful. Suntan lotions and insect repellent belong in the personal kit, along with a pocketknife, a magnifying glass, and a few raisins, nuts, and a candy bar. Also, a first-aid kit and snake bite kit. And of course, some water. (You should always carry an extra coat, storable food, and plenty of water in the event you get stuck overnight. The desert in the summer gets cold at night and winter days can get quite warm
Out in the Field
You must not forget common
courtesy and good manners. Many areas with excellent gem materials have been
closed forever to collectors because someone was careless, insolent,
hoggish, or a litterbug. (Some desert rats can have serious attitudes and
should be approached only with caution) Some things to consider:
Rock hunting, like any other
outdoor activity, is not without physical hazards. Rocks can fall from a
shattered quarry wall, a frost weakened cliff, or an overhanging mass. Open
mine shafts are obvious dangers. Children and pets must be kept close at
hand and constantly supervised.
Campers in desert regions are
advised not to set up in dry stream beds or canyons where they might be
caught by flash floods.
To summarize, when you hunt for
rocks, gems, or mineral material, know what your looking for. Know how to
recognize it when you find it. Give yourself plenty of time. Go prepared for
the kind of work you'll have to do. Respect the rights of the man who owns
the land you're hunting on, even Uncle Sam, and of those other gem hunters
who will follow you.
Brought to you by :
Copyright © 1999 by [The Texas Road Runners - Francis Kiefel]. All rights reserved.