Hi. That’s me on the right. I’m the resident Field Trip Planner for our home school and as such I’m usually the one to geek out about our various and sundry outings. This time though…that guy on the left? Yeah. His geeking-out far surpassed mine when he heard about what was in the works for February. A cursory glance at the website for the place led to a full blown new-hobby-in-the-making and rearranged schedules so that he and Garyn could join us. Where is this magical place that could spark such curiosity? Hiddenite, NC. Home of hiddenite, a gemstone that can only be found here. Seriously, it’s the only place in the whole world. There is a working emerald mine that is open to the public for digging, sluicing, and creeking. It’s possible to find emeralds, but the chances are tiny. We mostly went for the mud and maybe some pretty rocks. We found lots of both and went home happy. Well, Layna was less pleased with the mud.
It’s a 2.5 hour drive so we brought car activities and snacks and started our mine adventure with a picnic lunch.
You can choose a spot to dig and you can fill buckets of promising material. Before we set out, an employee gave us the run down on what to look for. It had rained the day before so we faced lots and lots of red clay mud. Layna wasn’t a fan of the mud or the digging. She and I were upper management.
Once you have loaded buckets, you bring them back down the hill to the lovely indoor(ish) sluice channels. There you pull up a stool and get to washing. This was actually my favorite part. The digging felt overwhelming, but washing the rocks actually turned up cool stuff. They also sell pre-filled buckets with guaranteed stones to find. Naomi especially loved that one.
The last activity of the day was creeking. By the way, Corra was in heaven with each and every activity. She loved it all and went hard until we had to leave. We didn’t find much in the creek, but everyone agreed we need come back again when it’s warmer and when we can spend more time. Well. Layna insisted we come back when there was less mud.
After showers all around, Neil taught the girls about gemstone carats and grading and he pulled out our super tiny scale. Naomi especially had fun weighing her favorite finds.
Unanimously (with caveats from Layna) it was decided that we must come back…especially since we are pros now.