Sometimes when you meet other people, the connection is instant. That is especially the case with us and other "rockhounds". It takes a certain person to enjoy hiking to remote spots with a ton of weight in tools, water and supplies, prospecting for new spots, then after a long day of digging, hike back with even more weight in rocks. It's hard to explain to people how fun it is, until they try it. Climbing mountains is rewarding in itself, you get to know and push your limits and see epic views. But while gem hunting, it's like there's a prize waiting for you at the top, you just have to follow the clues to find it.
( Johnny prospecting new spots)
There is a place up hwy 395 north that we had tried to find before, unfortunately we didn't make it through the never ending laberinth of dirt roads, winding in between the Owens River. New friends (Ryan, his girlfiend Larissa , and his brother Sean) , had found the right roads back to a secluded canyon with a perfect camp spot.
Our second trip up with them, we had arrived a day later. We hiked up the steep, rocky terrain to find Ryan and Sean digging at the top of the hill. It was hot and sunny, with some clouds in the distance, and just a 20% chance of rain. Time seems to fly by, as we had been there for about three hours, and it felt like twenty minutes. The gems were practically pouring out of the shallow hole we had dug.
Before we knew it, the clouds had made their way across the valley to us. We heard the loud crack of thunder, and because are no trees in the area, the only conductive points were us and our metal tools. We threw our shovels and picks aside to help avoid attracting lightening. Just as the wall of water hit, with winds that steal the air from your lungs, a larger crystal was uncovered. We dug it out by hand, too excited to leave it behind.
With bloody, cut up hands we ran down the mountain with the biggest crystal we have ever found. In minutes we were soaking wet and took shelter down at camp.
(r ( Riding out the storm )
With an exception of a short break in the storm right before sunset, the rain beat down on our tents until about 2:30 in the morning when the wind died down into complete silence.
( Our tent-view during the break in the storm - double rainbow!)
( Drying blankets in the wind )
The next morning we were treated to a view of fresh snow capped Eastern Sierras in the distance.