Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rock hounding in Yuma

A group of fellow campers her at the Yuma Proving Ground have what they call "four o'clocks."  At 4 p.m. every day, whoever feels like it pulls up a lawn chair and chats before dinner.  At a recent four o'clock, fellow camper Linda told me a group goes rock hounding.  I love pretty rocks and asked if I could go along, so I got an invite for yesterday. Linda's husband, Scott, went with us, as did a fellow camper named Marv. Jim bowed out.

Linda decided we'd hunt for "desert roses."  There are different types, but the ones Linda was looking for are white, sparkly and contain rosette-type formations.  Our search site was BLM land about 25 miles northwest of the Fam Camp and not far from Lake Martinez.

One of the views while rock hounding. You probably wouldn't want to drive the dirt path we were on in a regular car.  At one point it was so bumpy it felt like we were in a  washing machine with an agitator.
Two small piece of "desert rose" that I found.  Per Wikipedia, "Desert rose is the colloquial name given to rosette formations of crystal clusters of gypsum or baryte which contain abundant included sand grains."
Some of the sand/dirt was very loose, and in one of those places I slipped, landed on my elbow, and then skidded about six feet on my rear.  Afterwards I tried to take a selfie of my elbow wound; the one above included my rock hounding companions.  To the immediate right of my bloody arm is Marv from Washington state.  In the distance are Scott and Linda from Idaho.
Marv sitting near a vein of desert rose.
I asked Marv to better document my rock hounding wound.  Afterwards, Scott doused it with antiseptic and covered it with gauze.  Last year Linda fell, was knocked unconscious (briefly, I think/hope) and was Life-Flighted to the hospital.  She broke her wrist and a rib and lost her glasses -- which she found this year.  Fortunately for me, my fall was down a much smaller hill.  Linda is fine now, but everyone had a scare.
Linda and Scott  gave us these rocks that they collected and then polished in a tumbler.  They said it takes one month in a tumbler and several grades of grit to get rocks to this level of shine.


  1. I took a fall the other day and scratched my ear in the process, but nothing like your arm. Heal quickly.

  2. First and foremost, I'm glad that you were not seriously and permanently injured, and though I do not know her am pleased that Linda has so completely recovered, even to the point of finding her glasses. This said: Let me make sure that I understand this. Linda, goes out into the desert, takes a fall in that hot dry dangerous terrain that renders her unconscious, bone broken, and blind. After being life-flighted out, she spends a year rehabilitating and then ….. she goes back to the exact same spot …. and you follow her!?!!

    Jim, meanwhile, says "no thanks, I think I'll stay in the air conditioning and have this cold beer" Now, who do you think is the better candidate for Mensa?

  3. This interesting, went out 4-wheeling with our friends Linda, Scott, Marv, Jean and Ken yesterday and ended up at Cibolo Lake area looking for whatever we could find. We found desert roses. Today I googled 'desert rose rock yuma' and came up with your page. Small World! We might have met you last year, we were staying in overflow. Love YPG!

    1. We met Jean and Ken at YPG, too, plus, of course, Linda, Scott and Marv. Tell them all hi from us. It is a small world!

    2. Will do. We are out the door now to Ghost Mountain with them for sunset. Linda told me you left before we got here this season. Maybe we'll meet next year. By the way we are Mike and Kelly Herberth.

    3. Hope to see you next year, Mike and Kelly!