We got to learn about the person behind the Instagram account @Keweenaw.rock.hunters, this past week.
Maddie Pugh, a student at Michigan Tech turned her unexpected downtime from COVID into the opportunity to pursue her hobby again. “I wasn’t able to return to work for a couple of months because of COVID, so I was hiking and rock hunting practically every day with my partner”, she told us.
When talking with Maddie about rock hunting and how she got into it, she explained how she’s been interested in rock hunting since about five or six years old… ” so a long time!”, she noted. Maddie added saying, “[h]owever, I didn’t really get back into hunting until my third year of college. I went for a hike at the Black Creek Nature Sanctuary which made me realize I wanted to look for rocks to collect again.”
We asked Maddie about what made her want to create the @keweenaw.rock.hunters page and she told us, “I thought it would be cool to start a local page to post both our own finds, as well as for others to share their favorite local finds, as well…Basically, I wanted to try and start a little community here where people could geek out about rocks & minerals together!” Loving how Maddie wanted to create a community for a shared hobby, we dove further with a few more questions about her hobby.
Asking Maddie about where she likes to go collecting/hunting in the Keweenaw/Houghton area, she told us “my favorite places would have to be McLain State Park, Gratiot River County Park, Calumet Waterworks Park, and High Rock Bay.” Some of the rocks she’s found when hunting in the Keweenaw/Houghton area are, “…Lake Superior agates, thomsonite, and plenty of copper deposits…You can even find other gemstones such as amethyst, greenstone, and malachite!” She also noted a couple of popular finds are “Yooperlites”® and “U.P. Thomsonite”. P.S. – We looked at some pictures of the thomsonite’s and they look awesome!
Maddie told us that while some rocks are easier to find, such as the “Yooperlites” ®, there are a few rocks that she’s found that are more difficult to find, like “malachite, amethyst, thomsonite, and greenstone” she said.
If you saw our Instagram post, we asked Maddie about tips for finding rocks, and she gave an awesome tip for agates – “…a lot can actually be found by looking in the dry rocks near the shore. The way I describe it is ‘look for rocks that look like orange candy’ because many have a waxy luster.” She also noted that either a ” 365-385nm UV flashlight” is best for finding “Yooperlites”®. If you head over to our linktr.ee, you can find a few links for the UV flashlights that the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum provided.
Looking at it all – finding time to carve out for your hobbies is important for your health and well-being. It might not be rock hunting like Maddie, but taking the time to do something you enjoy can help to relieve stress from homework, recharge your mental batteries, and help you to meet others who are interested in the same activities. Check out this link to read more about the health and well-being benefits of hobbies, that Australia’s Department of Health published. Maddie shared with us how her hobby of rock hunting was important and rewarding – “…the feeling of finding some of nature’s most beautiful and unique creations, as well as, simply spending time outside! Not to mention, it’s a cost-effective way to collect something that brings you endless joy.”
If you’re like Maddie and have a love for rocks and minerals, you can join MTU’s Geology club! Maddie attests that they are “an awesome group of people!” Or, you can head over to the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum up by the football field and take a peek at their awesome collection.