Arrowhead Hunting In Arizona
Last year my wife and I went arrowhead hunting, and rock hunting,
in Arizona. We were spending some time at a hotspring, camping
in our conversion van, when we met Felix, an old Mayan Indian
living in an old RV. After sharing meals and campfires with him
for a week, he took us into the desert to show us how to find
metates (stones once used for grinding grain) and arrowheads.
We also found hundreds of beautiful rocks of every type, including
Apache Tears, Fire Agate, and various quartzes.
Irina, a nineteen-year-old self-described "rainbow kid,"
who had been traveling and living in her van for months, rode
with Felix in his old pickup, while we took our van. We spent
two hours at the first stop. It had rained recently, and as Felix
had said, this made the rocks and artifacts stand out. We were
mostly just hunting for rocks. They were literally laying all
over on the ground, having been washed clean by the rain.
We found a few pieces of pottery, and both Irina and my wife
Ana found some odd pieces that might have been arrowheads. Felix
came back to the cars with half of a pot that had an intricate
design and was probably hundreds of years old. He had been out
in the desert for years, and repeatedly saw things that we missed.
Pony Express Ruins
At our second stop, Felix showed us the ruins of an old Pony
Express station. It was unmarked and forgotten, but the grass-and-mud-block
walls were still partially there. Up to this point in the day,
we still hadn't seen a single other car (later one drove by in
the distance). There are some truly isolated areas in Arizona,
and this is one of them. We began arrowhead hunting around the
ruins. Felix insisted that the building would have been fired
upon by arrows.
We headed up the hill behind the ruins, and Felix showed us
rocks that had six-inch wide holes drilled in them a foot deep
or more by residents long gone. They were perfectly round, and
filled with water, which was there purpose, according to Felix.
We like our water with fewer bugs, but he and Irina drank the
water collected in them. We sat there for a while. It was a very
peaceful spot, overlooking the valley below.
We moved up and over the hill, and had some luck in our search
for pretty rocks and arrowheads, but not like Felix. We saw hundreds
of pieces of pottery, but all very plain looking. He found pottery
that was probably hundreds of years old and had beautiful designs
on it. He found metates. He found a tiny clear quartz arrowhead,
perfectly made, that had been used to hunt small birds, probably
two hundred years earlier.
Each of us wandered our own way at some point. Ana and I were
the first to make it back to the van, and when Irina and Felix
returned, we cooked beans and instant rice with our camp stove.
After the meal, we said our goodbyes, and collected addresses.
They headed back to the hotsprings, while we were going the other
way with our bags of rocks, one antelope antler, and two broken
More Information On Arrowhead And Rock Hunting In Arizona
With or without somebody to guide you, you can have a great
time exploring the deserts of the southwest. We found more interesting
rocks than we wanted to carry. Go out after it has recently rained
and you can see Fire-agate and Apache Teardrops laying on the
sand. These you can keep.
As for arrowhead hunting, and finding ancient pottery, enjoy
yourself, but it may not be legal to keep any artifacts now.
There are designated rockhound areas in southeastern Arizona.
The BLM office in Safford can give you directions and more information.
You may also want to visit the page on Arizona
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