Watson Adventures: Rockhounding; New gear and Scouting the Greenwater

A few weeks back Jasmine and I went to an estate sale specifically for some aluminum scrap for my foundry project. While there I spied a machine that I thought was a large rock tumbler. The tumbler didn’t look very pretty but I figured if nothing else the motor on it was worth the 15$ they quoted me. Here is what it looked like after it followed me home:


So far it appears to be fully operational. I want to clean this up and add an on/off switch I am hoping that with a bit of elbow grease we can get this cleaned up and put to good use.

Yesterday I went to a local Rock shop and they sold me this Barrel of monkeys for the tumbler, sans monkeys! Evidently there is some sort of shortage on monkeys in just the specific size to fit my barrel. They told me they are on back-order. Not deterred I  purchased just enough grit and polish enough for one single run. I believe this is the twelve pound barrel so despite having no monkeys, when it is loaded three quarters full of rocks it should be about 12 pounds of rocks getting tumbled.

An empty barrel! Just add monkeys!

Today I took the day off from work and headed out to scout the Greenwater area. It is one of the closest areas to us where interesting rock and minerals specimens can be gathered.
I was hoping to locate areas that I had recently read about in a report by some local rockhounds.

These local rockhounds happened to go on a field trip the very same day we went to Hansen creek that second time! If we had known about it, we would have went with them and I wouldn’t need to scout it.
Armed with the coordinates of some sites from the Gem Trails of Washington laboriously poked into google maps… I managed to get on the road sometime around the crack of  dawn er I mean around eleven am. 😉

I had several mini adventures and was able to enjoy some very beautiful nature, I would like to share a couple of those along with some pictures I took.

The first stop on the trip from the book was at or too near a quarry that people use to target shoot now. I had actually been to this place once before with my friend Andy. I parked here for a minute and punched in the coordinates to the next site.

Next up I had a pretty Legendary sinkhole that tried to swallow the rear end of the truck as we headed back down the trail from the trial of wood, where I used the Pocket Chainsaw to cut a fallen tree in half.  I did that partly to see how well it worked and partly because I thought it was the only way up to the spot I wanted to go. It took quite a little bit of work but it would certainly do in a pinch to get you out of the bush. (click pictures to enlarge)

The trial of wood.
trial passed.
Legendary Sinkhole





I ended up heading back down after I found a good half dozen or more logs across the trail just a bit farther than this point. Once I arrived at the first spot I hopped out and was getting swarmed by insects. The snow has recently melted up there and a ton of mosquitoes were chasing me everywhere, I dont think I actually made it to the spot before I ran back to the truck tail between my legs, beaten by the trial of insects.

Still some tiny patches of snow off to the sides of the road int he shade.

The next stop was the site labelled D in the book and I headed out there, using an offline google maps save it let me know it was going to take me 37 minutes to go the 6 miles and It was not joking. Finally arriving at the cliffs after seeing some pretty beautiful views.



What a site, boulders and cliffs everywhere. It must have recently burned, there wasn’t the pervasive smoky smell that comes from a recently burned area, but every piece of vegetation was gone. Burned to a crisp probably in the last few months.

The Cliffs of insanity!









These boulders were truly rough going, I have never attempted to navigate something this rough. I had my backpack on thinking I was just going to try to make it to the cliffs to scout before I had to turn around and come back to the truck. This made the scramble even more difficult, However beauty was around me even in this desolate and recently burned area.








Some more pictures I took along the way:


















EDIT: I was even able to get a stair climbing badge for my scrambling!




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