March 17, 2014
Wendy and I spent most of Spring Break 2014 in the Ouachita Mountains and Arkansas River Valley in west central Arkansas. We hunted crystals north of Hot Springs with Betty and John Henderson, who also joined us for a couple of days on Petit Jean Mountain. Our parties then separated, with Wendy and I enjoying a stay atop Mount Nebo.
Coleman Crystal Mine
Both of our parties spent a couple of nights in Hot Springs so that we could spend a day digging for crystals at Ron Coleman’s mine north of town. Betty had loved hunting for crystals there on previous occasions, having been introduced to the mine by our friends Lynne and Jim Shaw. Previously I managed to substitute day hikes for that activity, but this time Wendy and I were lured in, scratching through mounds of dirt and rock in search of gleaming quartz crystals.
John and Betty had brought a handy wagon to haul our buckets and tools over to the tourist digging area, a massive mound of dirt and rock tailings where old and fresh loads from the adjacent mining pit could be scrounged for crystals.
We began with some fresh piles and John and Betty worked steadily to excavate around some large boulders. John was rewarded with a large pointed crystal and Betty and Wendy found some points here and there. I found nothing, losing interest and wandering over to scrounge some old mounds featuring huge boulders. I found one rock with a crystal face and that was about it for me.
Wendy was more diligent and found a number of interesting rocks while I lollygagged, hopping around the boulders and sending small avalanches of pebbles down the side of the mound.
The next day would be much more to my liking, with an extended hike at Petit Jean Mountain.