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Rockpups: Tips to Get You Hounding

Figure 1: Doggy backpack of sexy petrified wood fromUmtanum Recreation Area.

Ya'll, it's been a hot minute since last I smelt the sweetness of petrichor, stood waist-deep in gravish hole, or romped atop the vast canyons of eastern Washington filling my dog's backpack with petrified glory [Figure 1]. As such, I consider it a moral obligation to get you all out there hounding in my absence. A fresh wave of rockhounds! Or rockpups. To get you rockin', here is a listacle with my best tips and tricks to infect you with the most viral of tactile nature hobbies. There's even CHARTS to help organize the overwhelming number of options available [Figure 2].

Figure 2: Flowchart to help you work out the basics.

#1 Where do I go?

Anyone will tell you that the most essential equipment you need when embarking on this fantasmagoric journey is a good attitude. When it comes to breaking into a fresh hobby, the best advice I have is finding the thing about rockhounding that excites you. A positive attitude when getting out there will go further than any tour guide or book you can find. As Scott Hamilton once said, "The only disability in life is a bad attitude." That totally applies to gettin' out and dirty. Rockhounding isn't always the easiest to break into when you dwell in the urban jungle (although, I know Geology Underfoot has at least one chapter dedicated to the rocks you can spot in downtown Seattle, which is pretty dope).

Figure 3: Handy-dandy flowchart to get you guys out and hounding. It doesn't cover all the guide book options but it's fairly encompassing.

As such, the initial bolt of inspiration to land you that sexy stone is selecting a treasure of interest. Do you like dead things? Then checking out some fossil sites is perfect! How about colorful specimens to decorate your life and potted plants? Tumbler material like agates and jaspers, or even common opals are a good choice. Do you subscribe to the crystal craze? Then some quartz and zeolites should light a fire under your bum! Or maybe you have enough stuff and desire only to pleasure the sense with some natural ambiance. Then a tour around some of Washington's geologic attractions could be just the ticket to sate your wander lust (this applies to all states). The industry of guides and texts stretches far and wide and has been waiting patiently to catch your eye for all these years. Guide books love you, they always have. So check them out! Here is another dandy little flow chart for guide books and affordable references to peruse in your spare time [Figure 3].

Maybe leave it on the toilet for that post-coffee morning meditation?

#2 What do I need?

Figure 3: Rock/mason hammer, bucket, and collection bag. Your basic hounding set up prep!

Your basic tools for rocks and fossils start with the bare essentials: a bag or bucket and sunblock. From beach combing to picking through tailing piles, if you come with the expectation of filling your pockets with good vibrations you're already well on your way to a righteous good time. Canvas geology specimen bags are