Weekend with Specular Hematite

You might be scratching your head.. what the heck is Specular Hematite???  (I didn’t know until just 4 hours ago… while preparing for this weekend)  Actually it really doesn’t matter exactly what it is… because as of now my 6 year old believes( or was told )  it is “Back Diamonds” (I am such a liar… and it only gets worse as you read on…) This weekend we are off to a  forgotten lost “black diamond” mine… that we discovered from an “ancient” map that a mysterious friend (mysterious because he isn’t real) gave me….

LET ME EXPLAIN…   Yesterday, (Thursday) my 6 year old Ben and I started talking about “cool” things we could do.   I said that we should go “gem” hunting… He being a big “minecraft” fanatic stated we should mine for diamonds.   I told him that would be a great idea.. That is where my mind ended the conversation… NOT FOR BEN… his little mind  took that simple conversation much further and while I was at work informed the rest of the family we were going “mining” Saturday.   My older son (11 year old… Sam) being very excited invited a friend to come with us… Even my 13 year old daughter Gwen was on board… (I found all of this out when I left work and arrived at the bunker… meeting my family there…along with all of there excitement)   I had other plans for this weekend but how can you disappoint a child (let alone four of them)…

SO… had to figure something out.   I quickly searched and found  a nearby rock hounding place that was known to have “specular hematite”.  I  noticed that this stone looked kind of like diamonds (black ones)  and the rest including the dishonesty parts came next.  SO HERE GOES… read on if you want to vicariously mine with us.

Friday Night:  (prepping the grand hoax)

mining tools

I had to come up with a map …  and story for the mine… and mining tools (in case we find nothing… it will still feel like an adventure… and if nothing else…we will smash rocks) I quickly went to the hardware store and bought some safety glasses a small pick ax and a small sledge hammer… and some chisels… (keeping it real.. no fake props for my lies)

Next the Map…  I decided to make one that actually led to the location I found on the internet… (did you know you can search google maps for rock hunting locations for a particular place???)

I had to make it look old so I soaked the paper in tea… I than dried it… drew a map… burned a hole and the edges and then aged it further (basically abusing it in anyway I could think)


I let the older ones in on the “white lie” and asked them to play along… I think they were as excited about “telling lies” to Ben as they were for hunting “black diamonds” (why do we enjoy lying so much?).  I sat with Ben and we explored the “ancient” map together.   We had to find the “start”… (the old volcano) I thought he would get it right away since we pass it every time we go swimming…   it took a while but then he finally found it (with some hints)… then we used google maps to locate every other land mark… guardsman pass, bald mountain… and the enigmatic rock waterfall (this was a rock slide where the hematite should be located… after finding all of these… and noticing the trail had some how become a dirt road… he was jumping up and down with excitement).   By the way the old volcano is the Homestead Crater. The Crater is a geothermal spring, hidden within a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock…  It looks like a volcano… don’t believe me click on this link.

SATURDAY (drop dead day for mining)

6:45 a.m.

I  have been up almost an hour (I am not a great sleeper) and the older boys Sam and his friend have just woken up… I hear them talking about “rocks” and the gems hidden inside… (this makes me incredibly happy)

7:30 a.m.


Everyone is awake… and offered a “fend for yourself” breakfast… with some fatherly counsel (not cooking) better find something to eat… you are going to need it for all of the up and coming mining work.   Ben’s idea of a “hardy” breakfast was raspberry sorbet…  (Stop… I hear you thinking… what a horrible parent… )

8:00 a.m


Packed… loaded… and lectured (mining safety protocols… by our foreman… “Maman”)…  we even said a prayer (during the safety protocols I added a “bear”warning…  think that got to them)… and headed off following the map…  Ben felt the need to yell out all the time… “HEY this is the winding road part!!”… We travelled up the mountain… switch back after switch back… (I had travelled this road many times as a child… but it was no longer dirt… paved… well kind of paved).

Here is a slide show of the journey up!  Beautiful country… Isabelle (I mean “foreman”) asked my why I had not taken them up this way before… (shame on me…  seemed much more beautiful as an adult then I remembered as a kid…)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hope you noted the “snow”… yes we were up high… and it was much colder than we expected…  (the “foreman” had brought sweaters for all of the kids… but shorts… not a good idea).  I left out one picture because there is a story behind it that makes me laugh…


On the way up we noticed a TeePee… and I stated “look…Indian Village….we should stop and ask them if they know where the diamond mine is”.   Ben (he is a thinker) quickly asked “are they friendly”…hmmm “not sure” I said to which he replied…”Maybe we should wait until we look them up on the internet…”.  I acquiesced to his logic and we continued on our way.


We spent several hours looking through rocks… breaking open other rocks… and collecting ore (just more rocks).   I found lots of granite… don’t know what else I was seeing. We then packed up and started our descent… Just in time for it to start raining up there.  (perfect timing… and “timing” is not often my forte)


Once back home we started to process the ore… I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t find anything (the internet said we would find hematite… and it never lies)… THEN…just before all hope was lost… GWEN found some black diamonds… (not sure what the heck it is… but pretty)


That is the end of our adventure… but before you move on (hopefully after hitting like… or commenting) I want to offer Ben’s last question.  “PAPA… are we rich?”…  I said no… but inside could not help but feeling rich.


23 thoughts on “Weekend with Specular Hematite

  1. Your story-telling talent makes for such a wonderful, heartwarming, amusing, and delightful adventure…I am so thrilled for you and your children…what a wonderful life…and, what a great and interesting dad….and, your children are magical…thank you for the smiles…you sure do imagination justice 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. as always Truly… thanks for your kind comments… (my children are not always magical… sometimes they are just noisy…) we just got back from a resteraunt and that is probably not the words the people sitting next to us would use…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope they “cherish’ the memory… because I know I will… Thanks for your kind comments… I love looking at your art and reading your blog… I use to paint (oil paint) but have not picked up a brush for several years… I think I need to start again..(thanks again)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind words. I hope you will pick up that brush and start painting again. That’s the reason why I started my art blog. I want to inspire others to begin…or to begin again as the case may be.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this, what a fabulous adventure.

    I also quite like lying to children, it is so much fun – although I think of it as creative storytelling rather than lying! I once convinced the campsite kids that a rhea egg I had acquired had actually been laid by the alpacas and that if we were lucky a baby alpaca would hatch out. When faced with their protestations that alpacas don’t lay eggs and surely they are mammals so will give birth to baby alpacas, I just stuck to my guns and asked who else would lay the egg in the alpaca field. I then told them to check it on google if they didn’t believe me – this worked. I was however finally forced to come clean when Belle noticed there was a number in pencil on the rhea egg and she asked what it was – it was not good enough preparation on my part, that’s what it was – but also I don’t really want to mess with their heads too badly and I was nearly hysterical with laughter at this point.


    1. Claire… what an awesome story… alpaca eggs… awesome… (and I love that you admitted to “quite like” lying to children… )… I am going to stop using the word Lie… and now say I am “storytelling”… sounds more “nurturing”


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