Gabbs is a desert town in Nevada that centers around a large Magnesium Hydroxide, (Brucite) mine. The area boasts migrating baby rattlesnakes, (by the thousands in the spring) scorpions, and tarantulas, as well as opalized wood, agate, and jasper. We were after the wood. We traveled west from Gabbs about 15 miles to the digging location passing an exploratory oil well and some oil exploration equipment along the way. There were five of us out hunting that day, and on our exploratory wanderings upon the low hills, one of us found a pit with some opalized wood and alerted the rest of the group. That seemed as good a place as any to start. Very soon my mother found an enormous opal log which I almost tripped over when I came to see how they were doing. My mother found the log under a bush about 8” below the surface. Many a bush has been sacrificed as my mother, a lifelong rock-hound, is a firm believer that bushes and trees always grow in good mineral rich soil that the rock provides. She is right more often than not. I found that the opal logs seemed to be found within the rocky aggregate that was prevalent on the various outcroppings along the top of the hills. The digging continued into the afternoon. Tarantula dens could be found in the shady banks of the ravines. Crickets fluttered around and a distant howl of a desert coyote was heard echoing over the hills. We abandoned operations when the growl of our stomachs became louder than the howls of the coyote. A great time was had by all and it was a thrill to come away with a piece of wood that would look good in any museum.
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