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STOP #239

Today we drove a little over 100 miles due south through the mountains and valleys of the Ouachita National Forest. Early on in the route we found ourselves in a unique position, we were driving our Ford F150, affectionately named ROVER, through a small town in Arkansas coincidentally also named ROVER (pop. 198).

I did a little quick online researching and to the best of my knowledge there are no other towns named ROVER in the United States, so that will most likely never happen again.

Campsite #38 at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR

WEDNESDAY - Today we start our new careers as Diamond Miners!

We woke up early, ate a hearty breakfast, grabbed all of our mining gear and headed towards work. When we arrived we paid our $10 entry fee and joined over a hundred other prospectors hoping to find the next BIG diamond.

Just 18 days ago on October 2nd a woman from California found a 4.38 carat yellow diamond and on Labor Day 2020 a man found a 9.07 carat diamond, the second largest ever found here.

We are going in with no expectations of finding anything so we won't be disappointed when we leave empty handed, like a majority of people do. But it will be a once in a lifetime experience since no where else in the United States can the general public go diamond hunting and get to keep what they find!

I call this next series of photos:


STEP 1 - Find you way to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfressboro, AR

STEP 2 - Pay your $10 fee to gain access to the 37-acre diamond field.

STEP 3 - Pick a lucky spot and start digging and filling your bucket.

STEP 4 - Wash all the dirt out of your rocks through a 3-layer process
of ever increasing fine mesh screens hoping to spot something shiny.

If you get real lucky and manage to uncover a large diamond you too could get your name on a 6-foot tall metal shovel with a plaque commemorating the location of your find.

We however did not find anything, as expected, so our names will remain unknown to those who come here in search of diamonds.

The experience was fun, in a hard work kind of way. We spent 4-hours in the field and felt if we were meant to find a diamond it would have happened by now.

There were probably a little over 100 people out spending their Wednesday morning looking for diamonds. We were told that this past weekend saw nearly 2000 people searching each day.

The best part of today was listening to the stories that "the regulars" tell, you know, the ones who come out several times a week to search. Some were very secretive about their methods of searching and some were very eager to share tips on how to increase your chances of actually finding something.

One guy there claimed to have found 10 diamonds of 1-carat or larger over the last 6-years. Another guy drives 11+ hours from northern Illinois about 4 times a year to try his luck. He claimed to have found a bunch of smaller diamonds for a total weight of 23-carats, however most of his finds were 10-points (1/10 of a carat) or less.

We both feel glad that we had the experience of diamond mining, but feel no need to repeat the process anytime in the future. We may have felt differently had we found something valuable!

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