The above link has good photographs and explains what selenite crystals are. In short, they are crystals formed from salt, sand, and water. Every year the state park has an annual crystal festival. Portions of the salt flats surrounding the lake are marked off for people to dig crystals throughout the summer months. The area is rotated each year so that crystals have time to form and people don’t dig the same areas every year. The crystal dig area opens in mid April each year and they have a festival one weekend. They have a tent providing water etc. and give out prizes for the best crystal formations found. Some years, people only find single crystals. Other years, they find large formations. People come from all over to dig. It’s a fun, safe, family atmosphere. Below are a few pictures from several years ago when I took my son.
The area opened for it’s annual crystal dig this year. Over 500 vehicles were there last Saturday from all over. Vehicles filled with families. For the first time ever, they had to have the police come out and herd people back into the designated areas. We did not go this year but I had several friends who did and sent me photos. They all had a great time.
If you decide to go dig crystals, here are a few important things to understand:
- Take water to drink, wash off with and to pour into your digging hole to loosen crystals and wash them off
- Carefully rinse excess sand off the crystals you dig before they dry. Do not get them too wet as they can dissolve in your hand. Once they dry, they are hardened and any excess sand will be permanent.
- Do not go out onto the salt flats if there is lightening or heavy rain storms
- If it has been raining, drive a four wheel drive vehicle. If not, you will be fine in a car.
- Take a shovel, bucket, and wear sunscreen. You are on salt flats and the temp in the summer can reach over 110 degrees. Preferably go on a cool day!
- Do not litter. Leave with everything you take.
- Do not drive or go onto areas you are told not to drive onto. Follow the road/path.
- Wash your vehicle thoroughly underneath when you leave. The salt will eat through your vehicle. It is not like an ocean beach. The salt content is much higher.
- Wear old clothes and shoes. Wash them off with a water hose or outside before putting them into your washing machine. You will notice as your clothes dry on your drive, they will harden and have a white salt covering.
- Cover your interior car seats for when you leave.
- Have fun.
I am adding a bit about COVID-19 in the area because I understand that is a concern with opening public parks. I did not intend for this to be a post about the virus, but it’s unfortunately relevant.
Of course, there are a few melting down about crowds gathering etc. For the most part, no one cares. There has been a sum total of 1 COVID-19 case in this county. There has been a total of 1 case in the county in which I live. There have been very few cases in any of these counties surrounding the area. People have only done the bare minimum of social distancing required and only when people are watching. My neighbors had a graduation party in their yard. Lots of people came and wished the high school graduate future success. I, of course, went over too. My son was busy riding his bike around town. There is a nearby university with international students. Some of these students are from China. They have had zero cases. ZERO. The few cases in surrounding counties are almost all immune compromised and/or in nursing homes. The general population is not getting sick. Of course, most of this area had a virus in late December, January, or early February which did not test as the flu. It lasted for many people for several weeks. Fever, chest pain, breathing difficulties, body aches and a dry cough. Everyone was told it was some unidentified virus. Everyone continued to go to work and to school. OK. No one is going to get this area to lockdown and truly practice social distancing. No one believes what the media is saying. It’s hard to convince people to be scared of a virus with the exact symptoms they just had. I would think that would be obvious. It will be interesting to see if there are additional cases in the area in the next few weeks. Those 500 plus vehicles were from all over including other states. Our school teacher and her family who went to Michigan over spring break to visit her family, did not get sick. My neighbor who went to Florida to the beach with her kids right before they locked them down the first time, did not get sick. My truck drivers who drive in 7 states have not gotten sick. They have all driven into hot spots, eaten, used public restrooms, porta potties, and literally go for several days without even showering while they’re out on the road. Do you think they’re using hand sanitizer and wearing masks? Nope. Rural communities are not buying into the fear tactics spread by the media because we simply are not seeing the same results as the news is broadcasting. We aren’t living crammed together in small spaces. We are going outdoors. We are going out into public with other people including other geographical areas. Either the virus is not as easily spread as they would have you believe, different areas have different immune levels depending on habits, age, health or some other unknown, the virus has been here in the general population for months, or the mitigation is not correct for this particular virus. Maybe all of the above. The fear? We aren’t feeling what you are selling. We aren’t staying home any longer….as if we ever did in the first place. The counties in Kansas and Oklahoma who have numerous cases inside their meat packing plants, do not even have spread into the towns nearby. A large percentage of those workers are new immigrants. A large percentage of those workers are asymptomatic. The information we have on this virus is bad information or simply unknown and not understood. Antibody tests throughout the US are showing the virus was probably here as early as December 2019 in some areas of the US. Most areas of the US have not completed antibody testing. I think we are in for some surprises. Unless your are in an outbreak hotspot, the lockdown phase timeframe ship has already sailed. I am not advocating irresponsible behavior. If you are in a high risk group, this virus can be deadly. You should be taking every precaution to avoid catching this virus and those around you should be taking every precaution to avoid accidentally giving you the virus. Personally, I am yet to know one single person who has even tested positive for the virus. I have friends living in hotspots. They aren’t buying what the media is selling either. They are seeing a virus that is selecting one portion of the population and our lockdowns are not preventing that portion from becoming infected. They are hearing about people testing positive but those people are just staying home until they test negative. They aren’t that sick.
Enjoy what is left of your weekend.