Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas…

Yesterday we had special plans, but woke up to rain.  It had been raining for days, and we actually had put off this destination for a day hoping that things would dry out, but when we woke up yesterday morning, and found that the 0% chance of precipitation had turned into 40%, and it was raining all 40% at the time, we decided to go anyway.  We had come this far, it’d be a shame to give up on it just because of a little water!  So we drove through the beautiful woods of Arkansas to the Crater of Diamonds State park…1.10.13 009

to get to…1.10.13 015

We walked past their water park…1.10.13 014while having to listening to plenty of not-so-subtle comments from my tribe lamenting the fact that it was closed for the season (never mind that it was about 55 degrees out!).

In the visitor’s center we checked out the little museum to learn about the history of the diamond mine, and what to look for once we got out on the field.1.10.13 122

It was, of course, a bit of a mud bog since this was the 3rd day straight that it had been raining…1.10.13 032

Bethany had the right idea from the beginning…1.10.13 028

Bare feet.   You’d think that I would have ‘gotten’ it when I saw that they sold elcheap-o flip-flops and boot covers (covers not so cheap) at the v.c!1.10.13 040

The mud was so thick and heavy and sticky – a few of the kids walked right out of their boots…1.10.13 047

Emma said that she felt like she had a ‘hundred pounds of mud stuck to her boots’.

-but no worries – no boots were harmed in the search for the elusive gems – most are cleaner than when they went in -after being hosed off good!

Some of the kids took the whole thing seriously, selecting an area, digging buckets of dirt/mud, and then wet sifting it in the frigid tank water…1.10.13 050

some of them were not so serious – flicking dirt and little rocks with tweezers, and grasping a ‘pretty’ rock here and there to toss in their bag…1.10.13 055

 

and some were really just here for the mud.1.10.13 062

The park has this great, raised, grated platform with multiple stations for rinsing off equipment, hands, and shoes.  Since it is the off-season, and the nights have been pretty chilly, the water to the platform was shut off; instead, they had 2 hoses run to the platform, with sprayer nozzles, with good water pressure.  Just right for spraying off mud caked boots…1.10.13 079

the girls were such good helps, that by the time Daddy’s boots were clean, he was yelling, “just the boots!  just the boots!” while SOME people (I won’t say who!) were standing by laughing hysterically!  😉1.10.13 082

The park surroundings are quite pretty… (old diamond mine shaft)1.10.13 094

Before long the rest of us ‘got it’ too, and we took our newly-cleaned but wet shoes back to the RV, stashed them underneath and out of the rain, and wore flip-flops back to the edge of the field where we left the flip-flops in a great heap.1.10.13 099

and after that, there wasn’t much diamond-mining going on…1.10.13 100

it was pretty much just a big, muddy, good time.  (tho Eli did keep saying, ‘this is disgusting’ – but he didn’t put his shoes back on…)1.10.13 108

There are these inventive place markers scattered throughout the field marking some of the largest diamond finds…1.10.13 120

In the afternoon, the sun came out, and it warmed up a bit.1.10.13 169

Even though we didn’t find any diamonds (there are roughly 600 found per year, and that includes what the ‘regulars’, with their rented spaces full of volume-processing equipment, find), we did have a fun time playing in the mud.1.10.13 185

Except for Caleb.  He was a little put-out that we wouldn’t let him walk around in mud, so Big Bro Eli showed him how to splash in the puddles on the sidewalks.  He was happy from then on…1.10.13 178

Then on until we thought that he was content splashing in the puddles.  He slipped right by us while we were standing around talking, and headed out to the field.  Thank goodness he only got 2 steps out past the concrete (about 6 feet from where he was splashing…).  This is how he felt about getting busted…1.10.13 150

We ended up having a great time at Crater of Diamonds – maybe we will come back some day when we can actually sift the dirt to look for diamonds.  Somehow, though, I think that it will be  a let-down after our fun muddin’ adventure here!

We can now officially put on our Arkansas state sticker on the back of the RV – it’s lonely little outline was feeling a bit self-conscience surrounded by all those ‘visited’ states!  A few more stops, then we heading out looking for ‘dry’ – the forest undergrowth here is gorgeous, but we are getting soggy!

Lilla Rose

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Comments

  1. Sounds like a fun day. Looking back I wish I had been a more adventurous momma with my boys..when they were younger I would have said no way are we going there but thinking now that would be a fun place to take our grandsons.

    Don’t forget if you come to Missouri we are in Branson and would love to meet up with you. Travel safe!!

  2. I was wondering if you would be traveling through our state. Looks like you had a great time!
    God Bless

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