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You're right about trouble... they even have telephones throughout the park that they encourage visitors to use to report any violations they see, since there's no way park rangers can keep an eagle eye on every single person.
We did drive through the painted desert area, and it was remarkable.
I used to belong to a rock and gem club in Calif and we went out collecting rocks and gem stones. The club had its own workshop and we would meet there and cut and polish the stones. Due to internal problems the club broke up and I've not been able to afford to buy the equipment myself so my rock collecting days are now spent finding rocks for my garden.
For smaller stones, you can get a rock tumbler fairly cheaply. (Cutting is another matter, I'm sure, except for using hammer & chisel.) I've been thinking of getting one so I could tumble glass... there was a thread about it last year, maybe on Trash to Treasure?
A local bead store offers jewelry classes, including one in doing wire-wrapped stones (just enough wire to mount the stone so it can be hung/strung)... I've got a few "pretty pebbles" lying around that would be fun to do that way! Too bad you lost your club. Sounds like you did a lot of neat stuff together.
Fantastic! I can't decide which is my favorite, the water feature or the coffee table. I hope you'll write an article about the painted desert. Oregon has some painted hills and a place in central Oregon where they find fossils. In fact, the nearest town is named Fossil.
I'm not sure if I'll manage a Painted Desert article... I was stretching things a bit to call this article garden-related. (Petrified wood = was once a tree = trees grow in gardens LOL) But I do have several more article topics in mind (yes with photos) from our trip through the Southwest.
I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for reading & commenting!