2012 Mar 28
We left Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas on Wednesday. It had been a really nice time, in spite of not finding any diamonds, even teeny ones. The park itself was very nice. The sites were spacious and nearly level, with full hook ups, including sewer, which surprised us. The sites also each have a huge fire ring, along with a camp grill, if you don't want to cook over your fire. There were trails, though they weren't extremely long. There were birds galore and clear, star filled skies most nights.
We arrived shortly after some extremely wet weather. In fact, we had a little rain when we first arrived. The day after our arrival we headed out to the digging fields, to dig for diamonds. Because of the wet conditions, it was necessary to water sift through the mud. What this means is that you rent a kit, which consists of a 5 gallon bucket, a folding army style shovel, and a wet sifting pair of screens. Then you dig mud, place it in your bucket, haul it to one of the pavilions where there are huge water holding tables into which you immerse your double screened sifter, filled with the mud from your bucket, in small batches. You then wash the mud, using a side to side motion. The heavier minerals, fall from the mud, through the first screen, into the smaller screen. After you have washed a reasonable amount of mud, you begin to accumulate minerals, in the smaller screen. At this time, you put the larger screen aside, and concentrate on washing the minerals in the smaller one. You get a bit wet and if you are doing this on a cool day when there are occasional gusts of wind, you find yourself chilled after a relatively short time. Keep repeating, "It's all about the experience."
|My "sexy" diamond diggers|
After that, the weather improved tremendously and the idea of digging again was put on hold, while we waited for the fields to dry out some. Instead, we hiked, looked at wild flowers, spent time playing games in the sunshine, cooked steaks on the grill and generally just chilled. It was great! The only drawbacks were that we were running out of clean clothes and I was getting very low on medications. Otherwise we might still be in Arkansas!
|Our location in SW Arkansas|
|Raymond & Greyla relaxing|
|The view from my camp chair :)|
|Along the trail|
|Mayapples along the trail|
We extended our stay to seven days total, planning on one more diamond digging experience, doing the dry sifting, before we'd leave. The morning we headed out to the digging fields, it was sunny and warm, with a very slight breeze. My plan had been to go as soon as the fields were open, but because Ray wanted to watch Mike & Mike on ESPN, we delayed our dig till after 10. This dig trip we only rented a screen for dry sifting, and brought our own trowel and small garden fork. Once again, we learned that diamond digging is hard work. Like we needed that lesson to be re enforced! At least we could sit for the dry sifting. And since there was no water involved, we managed to stay dry and boots were not required.
It was fun, but not really Raymond's cup of beer. I think I would enjoy doing it again, but with someone who was really into it, like maybe a couple of my brothers? In any case, the park itself is worth the time, even if you don't find any diamonds. Arkansas is beautiful, especially when spring comes earlier than normal. And I am learning so much about the geology of this country. Until now, I never knew that there had been volcanic action in places like Arkansas.