Kathryn - Before we came on this trip eight months ago the Ozark Mountains were not even on our radar for places to go. Am I ever glad that the road led us there. The area is rich in hiking trails, rivers, wildlife and beautiful scenery.
A Wildflower Bouquet for Mother's Day
This one goes out to all the amazing mothers who read our blog, but especially to our mothers. Because a mother is always a mother, a mother will always worry about their child. For our mothers this means that every day they do not know where their child is and if they might be in danger. As you know if you read our blog we rarely put ourselves in danger, but somehow danger happens to find us! It is unfair that a mother has to bare that burden, but perhaps their reward may be to see their child live a full and happy existence. The entire reason we started this blog was so that we could share our journey with our parents and hopefully reassure them through pictures and stories that we are okay... or better than okay. We are living strong and loving every minute of it.
Crater of diamonds
Catherine - As long as I can remember I loved rocks and minerals. A trip to the Rock Hound in Victoria as a small child was a huge thrill. I always collected rocks and had a rock tumbler to make them shiny. Everyone got shiny rocks for Christmas and Birthdays.
When Kathryn and I moved in together she had to learn to embrace my rock fetish. Every beach we went to we came home with a large rock and several small rocks. One time I was looking for my rock collection and once Kathryn knew what I was looking for she sheepishly ran to the “garage sale pile” and found them. Every rock is beautiful and important to me.
It came as no surprise that I wanted to go to Crater of Diamonds State Park if we were going to be in Arkansas anyway. How exciting to get to search for real diamonds in the only diamond mine that allows regular people like you and me to dig and search for diamonds.
We drive to a completely random location in south west Arkansas and arrive at the park and campground. Kathryn and I sometimes spend ridiculous amounts of money on some things and cheap out on other things. This was one of the cheap out moments where we decided to not rent the shovel and sifter but would utilize what we had.
After a beautiful night in the campground we head downed to the crater armed with a hamburger flipper and a wooden spoon. Only one person laughed and we went on our merry way.
I am unsure if you have ever hunted for diamonds before. The diamonds repel the mud and dirt so all you have to do is look for shiny reflections of light on the ground. Sounds easy enough. There are a couple of methods. One is staying in one spot digging in a stack of dirt looking for a shimmer, the other is to “walk the rows” looking for the sparkle. Statistically they are about 50/50 in odds.
We arrive and only then does the utter futility strike me. There is one diamond a day found, generally under 1/10th of a carat. We are in 37.5 acres of hard mud looking for a matchstick head that is shining in the ground. People spend their entire vacation setup with pails, buckets, shovels and sieves. Kathryn chose the hands and knees method armed with her burger flipper. I chose walk the rows with my handy stir stick.
We go off our separate ways. Actually Kathryn stays within a small area and I start walking. And walking, and walking. After an hour I am bored. After two hours I am horrendously bored but I can’t say anything because Kathryn is 100% certain she is going to find a diamond and I am the one that dragged us down here.
We had a beautiful day in a muddy field searching for needles in haystacks. The walk was meditative and if I was to go back I would go all in with the shovels, buckets and sieves.
We did find some rocks that will be pretty to look at and will find their way back home but they won’t be turned in to a tiara.