This article was sent in by Shain-
This site I would consider a moderate hike, but its rather short and quite accessible to most people, the collecting area is loose ground and there’s lots
of the classic pointed plants everywhere, so be careful. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS THIS AREA BY 4×4 IF YOU HAVE THE PERMIT TO DRIVE IN
THE GOLDFIELDS, contact the Tonto Ranger district to get the permit. Otherwise it will be a .6mile hike in one direction uphill. This is a wonderful
area to explore but be careful of wildlife, as there are many hidden areas to be found.
trekking out into the Arizona Deserts-
Arizona is not one big desert, in fact it holds the wettest desert in the entire world. The summer last only 4 months were one will find those hot dry temps. But, One can find wonderful hiking in the North central part of the state which rarely goes above 100 degrees during the hottest part of the summer. And during the winter months, 60-70 degree days hiking in the lower deserts which is very rewarding the just the immense scenery and canyon lands that above all over the state.
*Basic etiquette and ideals when outdoors;
As any rock hounding goes, one must respect not only the land in which you dig from, but the land owners, or access roads into and around your collecting sites. Always close any gate you come upon and go through if its already closed when you come to it. Never go onto 4×4 trails if you do not have the experience and know the trail somewhat. it never hurts to get out of your truck or car and scout to see if it possible to make it in.
*Always go with a friend and always let someone know were your going.
*Bring plenty of water as the biggest thing one must be careful of in Arizona is dehydration.
Always respect the wildlife and never shot animals unless for defense or if you have the proper permits to hunt. Remember that rattle snakes and scorpions will only hurt you if your not aware they are around and at foolishly. If you hear a rattle snake, always stop for a moment to find out which directions its coming from, if in brushy areas carry a walking stick with at least a 4 foot reach. So if you do come across one, you stick will let it know your there before your leg does.
When Rock hounding respect the land you dig from, cover up any holes you dig and always careful not to disturb to much ground when working. If you find something that seems like it may have market value, go through the proper channels in order the claim the rights of that area. then you can dig and be held accountable for the mess you make. Ideally Turing you into a respectful mining patron.
There are allot of areas in Arizona that are not accessible by 4×4, because of Wilderness land, Private land, Indian Reservation, or plain rugged areas. Please always plan out ahead were you are going using local maps and info from BLM or Forest Dept on road conditions and such.
*get to the Intersection of Highway 88, and Idaho Road in Apache Jct, AZ.
The main access freeway is the US 60/Suppersitition Freeway which spans the length of Mesa, AZ and is the main artery into the east Valley Metro Phoenix area. Idaho Rd is one the most eastern Exits on US 60, in Apache Jct.
Once you get to that intersection, proceed up highway 88, NE into the Superstition Wilderness. Drive roughly 8-10miles on the 88 until you see “Lookout Point” parking area. This area is on the east side of the 88 and can be used to park and access the eastern side of the 88, into the Superstition Wilderness. The West side parking, can be found another 300 feet down the road, over the hump. Its a good size parking area, but the curb is bad, so go slow and prepare for the turn off, it is not marked. But on weekends you may already see trucks parked there. Here is a photo of the parking area looking West into the Goldfields and the collecting area.
The hike I consider moderate becasue most folks cant access this area, except on foot. And the collecting area itself is rather loose and there are many depressed
and hidden areas in the rock formations, and lots of places one can easily fall. The hike itself is less than 1mile in, so in that regard its an easy hike, most of its
on a 4×4 road. So it really isn’t a problem unless you act careless while collecting and fall.
in-between the tall Southern butte(no photographed), and the marker buttes. The road basically ends were it turns sharply south, into the large southern butte not in the photos. This is the point of parking if you have a 4×4 access permit. Its within 50yards of the collecting area. Here is a photo of the collecting area, I took it standing at the end of the 4×4 road. The Black line indicates the general collecting area for most of the Pink Lace agate. The best Druzy is found above that area, under the black ridge line you can clearly see in the photo.
What can i find there?
When your in the lower collecting area, shortly off the 4×4 trail, the main stone you are looking for is agate. White, gray, and pink agate. Some shows fine lace or banding patterns. Most have pockets or cavities which may or may not contain nice crystals. Here are some examples of what your looking for.
Further collecting near the top of the black ridge line you will fine lots of sparkling Quartz and Calcite Druzy. Here are examples;
**This article was sent in by Shain, webmaster of gemkoi.com Thanks Shain, and check out Shain’s whole site!