A day of great discovery, not thinking about COVID-19
Today we headed out deep into a New Hampshire forest. We were ready for a day of adventure and fun. John, Joe, Austin, Jordan and I were looking forward to a day of normalcy as the COVID-19 virus has taken hold of the world. We could not think of a better way to practice social distancing than hiking deep into the forest. We arrived at the site excited to get going. We spent about two hours searching through the dumps and looking over broken rocks, we were skunked save a cute garnet I found as I turned the first rock over. John and I were discussing a future trip in Ossipee NH. As we were talking I was distracted, as I often am, and turned over a rock. I laughed, I was looking back at a beautiful Golden Beryl in a wonderful matrix of Feldspar and Muscovite.
We both dropped to our knees and began to peel back the moist layer of leaves and moss. Soon, everyone was in the area peeling away the top layer keeping a safe distance from one another.
I found a few more small pieces and the search picked up in intensity. Joe got our attention and said, “do you think this could be anything?” We all rushed over and looked one by one as the sizable edge of an obvious golden beryl crystal was sticking out of what appeared to be thick black mud. Joe slowly brushed mud and dirt away and he exposed more and more of the crystal. As he picked the Beryl out of the mud, it broke into five pieces. There was nothing he could have done, the specimen was already in pieces, most likely from weathering. We all let out sorry sounds as we watched the crystal come apart in his hand. He picked deeper into the mud and found a solid piece with a crystal structure all the way around. Nice find Joe!
About ten minutes later my heart jumped out of my chest as Austin began screaming. I cannot repeat his sentence here, but, be assured it was a cry of joy. He had uncovered his first find ever! It was a beautiful golden beryl specimen. We all came over and Austin held up his treasure with a huge smile on his face. We were all so happy for him as we laughed and celebrated his find.
We decided to eat lunch together as the day was getting on. We spent more time than normal talking, eating, and enjoying each other’s company. We sat in a big circle, no one was closer than ten feet. Our conversation was on past rockhounding trips and the effects of this virus that has a stranglehold on everything. After lunch we were back at it. The pace slowed as the day went on. John had to get back for a birthday dinner, his 49th, with his family. Jordan had to get back for a 21st birthday party on Zoom for one of her good friends.
We were ready to head back when we heard John through the woods. “Guys, GET OVER HERE”! We ran through the thick woods so fast, people were falling over. I nearly sprained my ankle. We were laughing so hard at how ridiculous we looked fumbling through the terrain. When we arrived, we were staring at the largest beryl crystal in matrix, any of us had ever seen in the field. It was at least ten inches and it was really in there. John was breathing heavy as if he had just run a race, that he won. “It’s never going to come out in one piece, just look at it”. He began to extract the mammoth mineral. Jordan was recording, we were all watching in amazement. It was obvious from the beginning this was going to be a repair job. John spent quite a while trimming the matrix and exposing more of the beryl. The specimen finally came out in many pieces. He has plans on trying to piece as much of it together as possible, it was an amazing find.
It was time to begin our hike out of the forest and off the mountain. Today was a great day of discovery. It was a great day to spend time together. It was a great day to not think about the virus that has gripped our world. We talked about our next adventures as we entered our vehicles and went our separate ways.