We took a family camping trip this past weekend to Fairy Stone State Park to celebrate Sly’s bday early with his family. It rained (and hailed) all weekend, and supposedly some fellow campers spotted a tornado. I wasn’t too worried about the weather (we had tornado watches like every other day growing up in Texas) — it allowed us an opportunity to build a fire and spend most of our days and nights cooking, eating, chatting, and playing with our nephews.
Fairy Stone Park is named after the special sorts of rocks that can be found nearby. Scientifically, these geometric cross-shaped rocks are known as Staurolite crystals but legend has it that the rocks are a result of fairy tears when they heard about the death of Christ. Supposedly these rocks protect against witchcraft (?), sickness, accidents and disaster.
Initially, we had no luck finding fairy stones. I think we all assumed that we would be able to walk into the park and pluck perfectly formed fairy stones — the kind we saw in the museum display cases — off the ground. Several hours of squatting and sifting through mud later, we finally found some acceptable stones. Most everyone had given up by that time except for me and Kelly who were *maybe* just slightly obsessed with finding these mystical fairy stones.
Some tips for finding fairy stones:.
- Hike a bit further in from the trail head. We theorized that most people stayed close to the trail head (like us) thereby making the stones harder to find.
- Start with finding the single stones, then move on to the X’s, then finally when you know what you’re looking for, move on to the cross formations.
- Bring a bucket of water to rinse the rocks – a lot of the rocks just look like dirty pebbles if not looked at in the right light.
- Don’t expect to find huge or perfectly formed crystals like the kind you see in the gift shops
- Veer off the trail — some of our best rocks were found off the designated trail beside trees and up on the surrounding hills (most likely because less people look there).
After a day of digging in the mud, we went back to the cabin and cooked up a huge birthday bbq – coleslaw, deviled eggs, gluten-free Luby’s mac n cheese, corn/tomato/basil/feta salad, bbq chicken, and homemade Italian sausage with vegan peanut butter chocolate cupcakes for dessert.
Entertainment that night was the huge hail storm that appeared out of nowhere (following the tornado warning). Some of us were braver than others, and ran out in the storm to grab a piece of hail. Samuel was curious about how the hail tasted and kept digging in the muddy river of rainwater to pick up the little frozen balls. The rest of the evening was spent keeping warm by the fire reading, playing with the kids, making s’mores, and hitting up the leftovers.
The next morning, Sly and I enjoyed some coffee while we took a walk around the lake near our cabin. It was one of my favorite moments of the trip.
Here’s a little movie of our weekend trip. So far, I’ve been doing pretty well with this New Year’s resolution…
HAPPY (early) BIRTHDAY, SLY!
Photos/Video: Panasonic Lumix TS3 and edited using Adobe Lightroom and Sony Vegas 10.0.
Music: Holocene, by Bon Iver