Another ‘day’ trip one can take to western Oklahoma is going out to the Salt Plains State Park, which is adjacent to the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge.
This is a state park (which is about two and a half hours away from Stillwater), where there are numerous things to do, and there is camping within the park–but reservations are needed ahead of time.
I’ve been to both the wildlife refuge (class trip in college, and unfortunately no pictures), and the state park.
Within the state park-on one side of the lake there are trails for hiking, areas for fishing (and possibly swimming) and camping. On the other side are the salt flats, where during part of the year, one can dig for ‘salt crystals’.
The salt flats are only open for digging from early April through early October, and closed for the remainder of the year. This is to disturbances down and allow any migratory birds a safe area to for a break during their spring and fall migrations. The endangered sandhill crane is one of the numerous birds that stop over on the plains as they make their ways north and south.
We’ve been out to the plains a couple of times over the years–but only once during the digging season to be able to dig for crystals.
If you travel out to the salt plains during the ‘closed season’ you can at least look out over the plains from an observatory deck near by.
They do have rules and regulations posted at the entrance (and I have yet to get the full sign in a picture):
Did you know that the only place in the world where you can dig for selenite crystals is within the Great Salt Plains State Park? Also in 2005, a group of elementary school petitioned the state to have the selenite crystal designated as the official state crystal for Oklahoma?
So if you’re thinking of making a trip out to dig for crystals between April and October, you will need a few things: shovels (or garden trowels), water (to wash your crystals, keep the sand wet for digging, and to stay hydrated), a hat and sunscreen (there is literally no shade on the plains), and then something to carry your crystals back to your vehicle.
Once you get to the digging site, I suggest parking, collecting your ‘digging accessories’ and then walking to find an area that is semi-hole free. As you can see the area during the digging season is spotted with holes, as people dig for awhile and once they’ve found all the crystals (or they get bored) they move to another spot.
Once you find an area, settle in and start digging.
I know people will be wondering about lunches and snacks–yes, bring them and if you want to eat out on the palins, also bring a blanket (that you don’t mind getting sandy) and an umbrella. Otherwise, have the lunch and snacks handy to eat on the way home.
We spent about an hour or so out on the plains digging (we were slightly unprepared–we didn’t have that much water, and didn’t have things to carry the crystals back to the van), but we had fun.
One thing about digging for the ‘crystals’–you have to go slow and steady. If you try to dig too quickly and ‘harshly’ you will end up cracking and destroying crystals before you even find them (something we learned). Once I found a crystal, I would actually switch from the trowel to my hands and slowly start digging around the crystal, as that usually allowed me to find another two or three crystals (that I might have damaged or destroyed).
We worked two small holes for probably an hour or so, and managed to get a nice number of selenite crystals from them.
Having water on hand to soak the crystals is a good idea–that way you won’t be bring home a ton of sand as well.
While I doubt that anyone needs this many crystals–I have them, and each one is unique in their own ways, and as I continue to discovery, develop, and make my way spiritually–I’m going to figure out ways of incorporating the selenite crystals into my day to day life.
One suggestion for people–make a weekend of it, camp and hike on the eastern side of the lake, and look for crystals on the western. While I’ve only been out there to look for the crystals, I’m hoping at some point to get back west and maybe hike at least one trail on the eastern side of the lake.