My uncle, Gemologist Charles Carmona, invited me to check out Jade Cove with him. The kids stayed home and I got an adventure!
We drove up Highway 1 toward Big Sur along beautiful coastal California. We saw the Hearst zebra herd on a mountain ridge and the elephant seals were chilling on the beaches west of the highway. The day was beautiful.
When you pull off the highway, there is no sign to say where you are. Luckily, he'd been there before! The trip down the trail is short but somewhat treacherous. There are some ropes to help you get up and down the steepest spots which were also slick and muddy from a natural seep. The seep monkeyflower was very healthy.
Jade - nephrite (the kind we were seeing) or jadeite (found elsewhere and the prettier one) - does not look like what I expected. I had in my head a translucent kelly green. My uncle kept showing me a dark opaque mottled green and I wasn't having it! How could this ugly stone be jade?
Luckily he collected some for me to tumble. I showed him some translucent green gravel that I'd always thought was jade and he said it was just green chalcedony! Oh, sadness.
I got some lovely photos on the way back up of dudleya - and rocks, of course!
Some people think my uncle was wrong about the jade! What do you think? (Rockhounding California Books from Amazon.)
Are you looking for adventures nearby? Check out this list!