Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and they should be; they’re bright, glamorous, sparkling, and expensive…everything I would like to be. Everything any mom would like to be.
And everything our recent diamond digging trip was not.
Two weeks ago, we decided to pay a long-delayed visit to Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park, one of the few public diamond mines left and the only one in the world with a finders-keepers policy. Armed with shovels, pails, and snarky comments about the “accuracy” of the Weather Channel’s 70-and-sunny forecast, we braced ourselves against the cold drizzle and headed out to start digging. Visions of sacks of diamonds and a triumphant return home danced before us.
Any romantic thoughts of diamond mining were quickly dispelled when we saw the diamond field.
Originally formed when a diamond-bearing deposit was forced to the surface by some sort of volcanic activity (volcanoes? here? yikes!), the field here is still home to thousands of sparkly little stones. People find diamonds– as many as several a day– and best of all, they get to keep them.
The problem is, they’re so hard to see. We’re not talking giant, polished rocks conveniently set in gold rings. We’re talking one-sixteenth-inch-diameter specks littered throughout a muddy morass. And they are impossible to find.
Did you see any? Neither did we.
We’d tried to time our visit with optimal weather. During heavy rains, diamonds are driven to the surface and are easier to spot; the preceding day’s drenching storms should have churned up plenty, we assumed.
In our excitement about the scientific possibilities of a diamond-bearing deposit, we’d forgotten another simple scientific truth:
Dirt + water = mud. A lot of it.
Like so much mud, your kid gets stuck.
And then when you try to extricate her, you kind of get stuck, too.
And then when you get home, the mud clogs your washer. It destroys your shoes. It stays in dried chunks on the coats and breaks the dryer. (True story. Also true is the fact that we’d dropped dryer coverage from our homeowner’s warranty the month before).
Like I said, a lot of mud.
But also, a lot of smiles.
To visit: Crater of Diamonds State Park is open year-round; in addition to the diamond field, they have educational displays, campsites, and, seasonally, a mini-waterpark.
Location: Murfreesboro, Arkansas, about 4 hours northeast of DFW, and only 60 miles from Hot Springs, AR. (Note: Hot Springs = nice baths = no more mud, and someone else cleans the tub.)
Don’t forget: Rubber boots. Camera. A good sense of humor.
For more information: Crater of Diamonds State Park
Contributor: Christina from The Twisting Kaleidoscope
Christina is the overworked and underpaid servant (read: mother) of the Maiden, age three. She blogs, writes, and changes her Facebook status ten times a day in a desperate attempt to ignore the stack of dishes on the counter. When said dishes smash on the floor, she has new fodder for blogging. And the cycle continues.