After a splendid trip East, I’m back in the Land of Enchantment and already discovering new treasure. Out hiking yesterday, I found two big chunks of very blue rock. I’m no expert, but this is turquoise country. I’ll have to send the photos to a local prospector and see what they think.
The Cerrillos Hills have been a well-known source of turquoise for thousands of years, beginning with the Aztecs and Mayans, followed by Native Americans and pioneers and into the present day. Cerrillos turquoise is distinctive for its greenish tones and stones from this area have been found as far away as Peru.
This was a great day to return to the desert; we got rain overnight (my cistern is up two hundred gallons) and today the post-rainstorm clouds were amazing!
On my hike, I also paid a visit to the coyote skull in the juniper tree. I found this skull years ago, stuck up in a dead tree. I’m sure some other desert traveler left it there long ago and I’m always amazed to return and find it still balanced in the same spot.
Check out my previous post on hiking in the Cerrillos Hills.
Update: I sent the top two photos to a local turquoise expert and he tells me the blue in the rocks is likely Chrysocolla, a bright blue mineral often found in association with – and commonly mistaken for – turquoise. Chrysocolla is lovely, but quite soft, and not particularly valuable. Oh well. Those rocks are still treasure to me! I left them on the land, where they belong.