The last few days in Herkimer County felt like a long time coming. Though the winter was mild (for New England), it was a long one for us, with my husband Jared having foot surgery in December and just now in May getting to the point of full recovery. This mining trip was our first real outdoorsy adventure since last fall, and it felt AMAZING.
We camped at our favorite spot in the area, Crystal Grove Campground. We even got our favorite site, right on the creek.
We mined for Herkimer Diamond quartz crystals at our usual spot, and it was a little muddy from the previous day's downpour. Luckily, we were spoiled with perfect weather while we were there (not that rain would stop us)!
Here are a couple of the beautiful crystals we found! I look forward to adding these to my Herkimer Diamond jewelry collection.
In addition to crystals, we saw our fair share of bugs, including this crazy red one that looked like a strawberry with legs! Turns out it was a big clover mite. Hopefully it didn't hitch a ride home with us!
On our way to the claim on Day 2, we stopped by a nearby Amish farmstand that sells baked goods on Fridays and Saturdays, and crystals all week long! They find these crystals in their fields while plowing.
I couldn't resist their rock bottom (pun intended) prices, and picked up a giant Herk for my collection. It's not a perfect gemmy crystal by any means, but as Herks get larger they are more inclined to have inclusions, and I find these to be very interesting!
The next morning, Jared snapped this pic of one of my favorite camping traditions - having a cup of fair trade, organic coffee in the morning. Though I don't drink coffee at home, for some reason it really hits the spot at the campsite before a day of digging. Yum!
Though we always stay at Crystal Grove campground for its amazing tent spots and reasonable prices (and cool name, who are we kidding?!), we had never visited their mining area, so we decided to go for it. Here I am working on the ledge, trying to extract a Herkimer Diamond from a pocket.
In addition to finding a few lovely crystals I was thrilled to find these tadpoles in a vernal pool, which remind me of happy days growing up on my parents farm (which has a small pond).
And of course, we had our little rockhound Shakedown with us. He loved chillin' in his new pop up tent, which I picked up for exactly this purpose at our town's recent community swap day!
Thanks for reading about our trip! We hope to go back at least once more this summer, and we have a few other trips in the works, so I'll be sure to share more photos soon!