You would think that summer would be the ideal time to dig,and to some degree it is. However,if you are a rock hound or geologist or seasoned Snowbird (outdoor adventurist 24/7) from the South East US then you know how brutal the summers can be! Winter is actually a fantastic time to try your hand at gem hunting. Sure it may be 24 degrees out and the humus layer might be a big frozen,but it sure beats the hot and humid,bug ridden day of May-August.
If you are planning to try your hand this year at wintertime gem hunting,here are some tips and tricks to help keep you warm and content while out in the elements.
It is a good idea to wear layers that can be taken on and off easily.
You may think it is a good idea to layer heavily out in the forest or any open pit site that you have your mind set on this winter. However,you should be aware of what you are layering with and how many layers you should wear. Gloves are a good idea,but make sure they are warm,rugged wear and water proof. Cotton is not a very good source of material to use when in the cold and water. It stays wet and keeps you colder than you may need to be.
Use durable leather or PU or nylon or gortex. A thin pair of gloves underneath can also help in case you are in the snow or rain or wind. Wear pants that are moisture wicking and will keep the wind or weather way. Jeans or leggings are not going to cut it when out in the elements if its below freezing.
Durable socks that can help keep your circulation steady and not cause any blisters are also key! Along with those,you should also wear durable winter adapted boots along with other moisture wicking layers on the top. Wearing baggy coats and other clothing can be dangerous if digging down in a hole. You do not want to snag anything along the way.
Also,Make sure you also have hand warmers on hand just incase it does get too cold. It is always good to be prepared when out looking for gemstones and minerals. The ground can also be a bit harder in the winter,so make sure your shovel and other tools for breaking soil are sharp and in good condition. If you are worried about cold knees or bum,try bringing a garden mat or a small rug or blanket to sit on when needed.
If it is snowing,it also helps to bring a sled to give you a hand with bringing rocks back over slippery terrain. The last tip I also have,is to go hunting for rocks after a good winter snow or rain storm. The top layer will be thawed and the run off from the leftover weather will create a new layer to explore through!
Keep warm and happy rock hunting this winter!