We’ve had a busy time the past month in Arizona… some meet-ups with friends and family, exploring new boondocking locales, and doing some challenging hiking.
We’re now “on the rebound” back in New Mexico and heading very slowly north and east across the state as we position ourselves for our journey home.
We just spent a week at Elephant Butte State Park near Truth or Consequences, NM, spending our time hiking, and checking out some local attractions. We loved the Geronimo Springs Museum, the Truth or Consequences Brewing Co., and the Black Cat Used Bookstore. There was plenty to keep us on the go for the entire week. We also found our way out to a rockhounding location that we had never been to before… the Aleman Carnelian Field.
Let me start by saying that we really didn’t intend to harvest a lot of rocks on this trip. To tether myself, I didn’t bring a rock hammer or pry bar or sifter or shovel. I only brought along two 12″x 18″x 24″ plastic storage containers for the occasional irresistible pebbles underfoot. We were doing pretty well on that – but somehow we have filled two additional containers. We were definitely planning to wind down on the rock collecting thing lest we bust the RV springs (again).
Then I came across the new edition of the same rockhounding book we have been using for like ten years and that I purposely left home so we wouldn’t be tempted to go all rock crazy. So, of course I bought it… and… well, this area was so close by, you know?
Aleman is east of Truth or Consequences on Route 51, then about 12 miles south of a whistle stop community called Engle. From there you take Apache Gap Road across the the railroad tracks and through gates. Be sure to close the gates after you go through them because cows and trains don’t mix well. Head out a few miles toward the Caballos Mountains to the collecting area.
The very first piece I found was just a few feet off the road – a beautiful banded chunk of carnelian agate. Probably could have called it a day right there!
Finding good pieces generally takes persistence, as this is a popular area, but we found enough to make the trip worthwhile. Only one other person went by while we were there, and nobody was collecting near us. The area is known for carnelian, petrified wood, agate and jasper.
We enjoyed the journey as much as the collecting, since we had not been to this patch on the map before.
Here are some coordinates to get to the Aleman carnelian collecting location:
32° 57.97′ N / 107° 00.55′ W