Much of the time from the 1970s to about 2010, I spent most of my “rockhounding” trips collecting and studying minerals, primarily in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve always been interested in agates, petrified wood and other lapidary materials too, but mineral collecting was my greatest passion. I made many trips each year to field collect minerals, study their occurrences and write articles and books. I also did some of this with the rockhound lapidary materials, and wrote several field guides for mineral, gem and fossil collectors. I published and distributed some of these, but others were published by other publishers of rockhound guidebooks (Gem Guides, Johnson Brothers, Jackson Mountain Press).
I like to share information on where I collect and localities that I have discovered by exploring. Some of these were unknown to mineral and gem collectors, others were not well known but had been visited by other collectors. In recent years, I've started spending most of my field time on jade hunting in Washington and Wyoming. I've also made trips to British Columbia for jade and also California.
There are several reasons for this switch to spending more time looking for jade than for minerals. One of which is that I'm running out of new mineral localities in the Pacific Northwest. I can still find micro minerals, but have been to so many of the old mines, quarries and road cuts that produce minerals, that I'm kind of tired of them. I need something new. There is still this desire to open a big cavity of crystals, but quite frankly, I've run out of localities to do that. Also, I'll have to admit that I'm not the young and crazy person I used to be. Hiking half a day to get to a mineral locality takes a lot out of this "old" body, so exploring for new minerals is not as easy as it once was.
So, I continue to hunt jade. When I go jade hunting, I satisfy my desire to be out in the woods, and I have a really good chance of finding some good material. Still, there is this desire to find something new in the mineral world out there. I'm sure there is a mineral locality that has good crystals of some mineral or other that is not known to mineral collectors, maybe I'll find it someday.
I can go jade hunting and find something new. A better piece, a different color pattern, and maybe a really good piece. It also provides the material for carving. It's still fun and exciting. I might get a little tired of hunting jade in a few years, but for now, it's what I do most of the time to be out in the wilds, other times, I'm hunting minerals.