|Rockhounding in the Buena Vista, Colorado Area||
Posted: 5/22/2012 11:45:31 AM
Rockhounding In the Buena Vista, Colorado Area
By Cindy Peratt
The Rock Doc
Everyone loves nature. Whether it’s admiration of Mother Nature’s beauty or marveling at the way things work, we all have appreciation. You don’t have to be a scientist to be awed about how things are put together, nor do you need an artist’s eye to revel in the beauty of the world. Welcome to earth’s natural wonders.
Aquamarines found in Chaffee County
Of course we find this wonderment everywhere but in an area such as the Upper Arkansas Valley we can experience the joy easily, whether it’s the gorgeous mountains, the sparkling river or the beautiful blue sky. But we also have natural treasures under our feet, the bounty of minerals Mother Nature has provided us here.
Chaffee and surrounding counties are blessed with fantastic geology built from great episodes of change. The rise of the mountain ranges, scouring of the landscape by glaciers and erosion allow us to see the building blocks of earth itself – minerals – by the scores. Chaffee County is known to have an abundance of minerals and a surprisingly great number of them are exposed. All of this leads to yet another fun hobby to experience here – rockhounding.
For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, let me give you a quick introduction. Rockhounds, like any other collector, generally love the hunt. Finding a stunning example of a mineral is akin to locating a gorgeous old hutch (for antiquers), or a first edition of a favorite book, or the perfect pair of shoes, or … well you get the idea. But the adventure of the hunt is really the hobby’s allure. And you do NOT have to know anything about the minerals or the geology to enjoy the treasure. Bonus…it’s inexpensive and saves you a trip to gym to workout. A good pair of hiking boots and maybe a hammer or chisel will get you started.
With our abundance of minerals and access to lots of public land, the Upper Arkansas Valley and surrounding area enjoys a lot of published material about where and how to find minerals. Our local gem and mineral society, the Chambers of Commerce, local rock shops and free publications available throughout the area speak to some of the places where minerals can be found. Those treasures include: aquamarine, garnets, pyrite, gold, quartz crystals, jasper, topaz, malachite, fluorite, galena and epidote to name just a few. So whether you are specifically on a rock collecting trip, hiking the fourteeners or just relaxing by the river you are in a great spot to look for mineral treasures.
Large Smoky Quartz Crystal found in Chaffee County
It is important to understand that rockhounds, being nature lovers, are sensitive to environmental preservation. We follow a strong Code of Ethics which reflects our love for the earth. In most areas, collecting of small amounts of mineral specimens for your own enjoyment is permitted. However, it is the responsibility of each collector to know the land status and collecting restrictions if any.
For more information on minerals and gems in Colorado check out “Colorado Rockhounding” by Steve Voynick, “Rockhounding Colorado” by Wm. Kappelle, visit the Colorado Geological Survey at geosurvey.state.co.us or the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology at mining.state.co.us.
Happy hunting and remember – if it’s beautiful to your eye then it’s valuable.
Brouht to you by the Colorado Tourism Office & Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce
'Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce News and Events' Index