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Old 02-14-2018, 07:14 PM
Location: The Natural State
1,141 posts, read 1,175,414 times
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Originally Posted by Izzie1213 View Post
Bring something to sit on. A short stool, lawn chair or even a old towel so you are not sitting directly on dirt or crouching, for any adults anyway. A hat to keep sun off head. Some soap and wash cloths to clean up yourself a little before you leave.

Its been a while but the first time my husband and I went thinking this is crazy but as soon as we got there we were digging fools.. Didn't find anything. It was crowded so we just dug in dirt and sifted with the rental equipment, noticed some serious people even brought giant patio table umbrellas for shade out in the field of dirt.

The second time not many people and brought our 8 year old son. There are some covered, for shade, troughs of water you could bring a bucket of dirt to and rinse a small shovel full in your screen. Not many people so it wasn't crowded at the water troughs. It was much more pleasant and easier doing that than digging and sifting dry dirt.

Expect to get dirty, possibly muddy, and possibly wet. Enjoy the strange adventure with humor.

I'm from Minnesota but my in laws lived in Arkansas. They were prim and proper and thought we were crazy doing this, oh well.

If you have small kids those inexpensive sand box shifters, bucket and shovel OK, but the dirt is black and heavy so a garden trowel/hand shovel would hold up better.

All great points Izzie. Thanks
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Sarahsez View Post
We also like to dig for quartz while we are in the area near Murfeesboro. You will actually find some quartz when you dig. The best place we have been to so far have been the Coleman Mines near Jessieville. You will get dirty, but it is fun.
You only have to spend an hour or two there and will come out with a load of treasure.

I don't know which route you are planning to use to drive North. I looked it up and there were three options at roughly five hours each to get to Branson from Murfreesboro. I wouldn't drive very far at night if you aren't used to driving through mountains. Some of the roads are pretty twisty and being rural, it's dark. You will usually see a lot more deer and other animal on the road then. Some of it is a beautiful drive so I would go during the daylight when you can see and it is safer.

Mt Nebo has a lodge and cabins and a magnificent view. We stayed there a few years back. It's not cheap, but would be a nice stop if it isn't too far out of your way. Petit Jean is also beautiful and has more to do, but it might be further out of your way. You will want to do more than just pass through so you would need to spend a day.

Blanchard Springs Caverns might be a nice stop for the route home. The caverns are beautiful. They will route you closer to Memphis. You might be better off working your way down to Little Rock from there.
I second everything you say! Arkansas is blessed with lots of beautiful natural attractions - the "Natural State" indeed.

OP - do also check out Ron Coleman's Crystal Mine, located about fifteen miles north of Hot Springs, just outside of Jessieville. This is a very family-friendly place, and you're sure to find something pretty and sparkly. If you're brave enough, there's a zip line that runs directly over the 300 foot deep open pit mine where the crystals are found. Visitors can take a truck-tour of the mine before or after digging in the piles of overburden brought up from below. You'd need to take the same supplies you would take to the Crater of Diamonds. I took a heavy-plastic bucket last time - sat on it while digging, then transferred my finds from the cloth bag included in the entry fee to the bucket when I left. There are snacks and clean restrooms available in the gift shop, which also has a very good assortment of crystals and other rocks and minerals for sale, if you are not satisfied with your own finds or just want something more.

From Coleman's, you can take Scenic 7 north through the beautiful Ouachita National Forest, with rippling clear streams beside the road for much of the way. This would be a good route to take up to Petit Jean State Park, where you could spend the night before heading on up to Branson - Mount Nebo is also beautiful but is a little farther as I recall. PJ includes rustic but very comfortable cabins, the beautiful CCC built Mather Lodge (and restaurant) overlooking Cedar Creek Canyon, a high waterfall, turtle rocks, Indian paleoglyphs in a rock-shelter, hiking trails, spectacular views from various overlooks, and more.

Enjoy your trip!
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