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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.

Mystery Holes

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.

Arrowhead Hunting

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 arrowheads.

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 Hot Springs.

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