My gymnastics coach from high school, “Miss” Pat Warren, loves to explain the differences between siblings according to birth order. She has told me on numerous occasions that my youngest sister, Ashley, would work on something over and over no matter the odds, most of the time succeeding. It’s what the youngest of three sisters does. I, being the eldest, was more likely to bail on a seemingly impossible endeavor in search for something that would have a perceived higher likelihood of success. This usually meant trying oddball skills in order to reach the requirements for my competitive level. Both ways work, apparently, as Ashley and I share many of the same successes in the sport.
If Ashley visited Murfreesboro, Arkansas for a week, I could see her slaving away every day to find the coveted prize, DIAMONDS. At Crater of Diamonds State Park, a diamond or two are found almost every day. Most of them are very small. Too small to cut in fact. However, it is the location where the biggest diamond was ever found in North America. The Uncle Sam diamond was a whopping 40 carats! I decided that Dusty and I had to go there to get some diamonds. After dreaming up ways to get us to Arkansas, it finally happened. We had to cross through on our way to Arizona.
How hard could it be?
One of the Park’s suggested means of finding diamonds is to just walk up and down the plowed fields searching for the smooth, shiny rocks. I tried this for about 5 minutes before I gave up and chose what seemed to be a more likely method of striking it rich. The other suggested method is to dig up dirt and sift it through screens, much like panning for gold. I can see why people choose to just roam the aisles of dirt. Digging and sifting is hard work.
It was encouraging to see some “professionals” working alongside the amateurs at the park. While I began sifting in the water troughs, I listened in on a conversation that some visitors were having with a local who “works” there fulltime. He is not employed by the Park. He simply comes to find treasures when his other job is on an off season. On one fortunate day he found 4 diamonds! He also spoke of another fella that has put his 4 kids through college by finding diamonds! This was amazing. Things were looking up until I asked the local if he finds one every time he comes. “God no!” My energy faded quickly.
After a while I grew tired of sorting and sifting and traded jobs with Dusty. Back to walking the trenches, this time in the back fields. I kept an eye out for any glimmering or sparkling objects. Feeling a little bored and over this whole diamond finding adventure, I sat down on the side of a hill and lazily poked at the dirt. Suddenly I saw it. A glisten! It was clear, shiny and smooth around the edges. I grabbed it and ran to the front of the park to verify that what I had was the real deal. A park ranger showing some guests around saw my excitement and stopped his tour to check it out. “Yep, that’s a nice piece of quartz you have there!”
When all was said and done, we walked away with a vial filled with quartz and jasper treasures. And, what Miss Pat says about my approach to life is probably true. I’ll likely give up on the whole diamond digging gig after only a few hours of effort. I’ll just have to find other means of acquiring diamonds.
Crater of Diamonds State Park
209 State Park Road
Murfreesboro, AR 71958
Digging for Diamonds: $7 adult, $4 children
Basic Diamond Hunting Kit: $8 for a folding shovel, screen set, 3.5 gallon bucket, saruca
Campsite: $11 Summer, $8.25 Winter, nice facilities!
Wendy: depends on your luck but a nice place!
Dusty: dirt (that’s it. that’s all he said! Ha!)