After climbing back down the driveway to where our car waited, Mom and I headed into Boone to go gem mining. The trip was a bit hair raising, as there were many a twisty turn and loop-de-loop around the side of the mountain, but we survived. We arrived just as the Foggy Mountain Gem Mine was opening and had the place to ourselves to start with. There are several bucket sizes to choose from, but since it was two of us, we opted for the second smallest bucket, a 5 gallon known as The Big Daddy.
Once we were shown examples of the stones we were looking for, twice, we made our way to the water trough and our baskets. Mom decided she would scoop up the rough material and I’d clean the rocks and dig through the basket.
This is what it looks like going in. We were told by one of the helpful young men that the gemstones come from all over the world rough and were mixed with the larger rocks for this experience. The fact that they didn’t come off the mountain didn’t taint our enjoyment in the least.
We spent a couple hours at this, with Mom scooping and me playing in dirty water while digging out even the tiniest of gemstone. Pretty soon, we had a pretty good haul.
Because we got the Big Daddy, we were able to get one of the big stones polished into a cabochon, that would be shipped home in 3-4 weeks. We picked one of our large Tiger’s eyes to have done, as well as getting the large apatite stone (a pretty blue color) fixed up as well.
We had a pretty good haul, but it was time to head back, with a stop at a grocery store for staples. As we headed back towards the mountain, imagine our delight when we spotted a familiar sign. PUBLIX!!!! Our Floridian hearts did a little dance at the sight of our preferred grocery store. We nearly skipped in (I say nearly because my back was not in skipping condition) and grabbed some Publix chicken and white mountain bread, things we’ve missed since leaving Florida.
Tomorrow, we’re talking about leaving our side of the mountain and heading to a better known one, Grandfather Mountain. I just hope the hamsters that live in our car’s engine don’t protest. They’ve done pretty good so far, getting us into these mountains. Fingers crossed.