The Searchers Rockhounding Checklist

Here, in no particular order, are some thoughts about field trips: 

  1. Most trips are for the weekend, although there are some 1 day trips, and some longer ones

  2. Most campsites are dry campsites (no facilities, no water etc.)  

  3. Pack out all of your trash, leave the campsite cleaner than when you arrived.

  4. Deposit solid human waste in cat holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cat hole when finished.

  5. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.

  6. Campsites are usually accessible by any vehicle.

  7. Some people tent camp, some sleep in their pickups, some sleep in their RVs, and some sleep back in town at the nearest motel.

  8. Sat night there is a potluck and campfire.

  9. Collecting trips may require high clearance or 4x4 vehicles, if you don’t have one we will carpool you with someone.

  10. Your most used tools will be a rock pick and a spray bottle, this is enough for most trips

  11. When this is not enough you may want sledges, gads, shovels etc.

  12. I have found that backpacks are the most convenient way to carry rocks, although you will see many other methods being used.

  13. I like shoes with stiff soles (as compared to soft soled running shoes), but the soft soles will work.

  14. Hats are good.

  15. Gloves are good.

  16. Glasses to protect your eyes from flying rock chips are good.

  17. Sun screen and water are necessary.

  18. Snacks when out collecting are good.

  19. You won’t see many critters, and most want nothing more than to be left alone, be careful reaching into holes, under bushes etc.

  20. Many places have been picked over some, that just means that you need to work harder to find good stuff.

  21. Look under bushes, on the side of step hills, etc.  Wherever no one looked before.

  22. Not sure what you are looking for?  Ask someone.  We will all be glad to help you.

  23. It never hurts to follow the field trip leader’s recommendations about how and where to collect.

  24. Realize that although finding rocks is certainly the goal, half the fun is in just being out there and spending some time with friends. 

  25. Leave the collecting site cleaner than you found it.

  26. Fill in holes, if that is not possible slope the sides so that a critter that falls in can get out.

  27. Don’t pick up or bother a tortoise, you will literally scare the pee out of them, and with the loss of that liquid they run the risk of dying of dehydration.

  28. Drink lots of water, and pace yourself.  It is easy to become dehydrated.

  29. Don’t mess with a rattlesnake.

  30. Do show your rocks to others, at the trucks, at the campsite etc.  We do like to look at rocks

  31. Bring along friends.  You do not have to be a Searcher to come on one of our trips.

  32. You will need to sign a waiver.

  33. Once you have found all these cool rocks there is the question of what to do with them.  You can certainly have the coolest yard in the neighborhood (or at least the most rocky), but learning to work the rocks will increase your enjoyment of them.

  34. The club workshop is the perfect place to learn how to work with rocks

  35. When you are out collecting in the desert you may notice the lack of something: noise.  Pause for a moment and enjoy it.  Take a second to renew your connection with Pachamama (the earth Mother).

  36. It is nice to find a great rock, but it is really nice to give that rock to a youngster or rockhounding newbie and watch their eyes light up.

  37. Spending time with your friends is good.

  38. Breaking out of your everyday routine, and getting out of the city is good.

  39. Finding rocks in the parking lot is good.

  40. Finding rocks in the road is good (literally “in” the road).

  41. Telling stories about the nice rocks you have found is acceptable, telling stories about the great rocks is encouraged.

  42. I find that when I arrive at a site I am not “seeing” the rocks well, but as some time goes by, and my mind slows down, and I find a few examples, all of a sudden it seems like I can see all the good ones.

  43. The driving can be exciting, collecting requires a different pace.

  44. When traveling to collecting sites we will convoy.

  45. There are rules to convoying:

  46. Try not to lose sight of the person behind you.

  47. Definitely to not pass an intersection until the person behind you has caught up to the point that they will be able to see which direction you take.

  48. Field trips are one of the great things the Searchers has to offer you.