Neil and Barbara Pyle are a Boise, Idaho couple who retired several years back. They have always enjoyed the great outdoors and passed this on to their two children, Madonna Faunce and Robert Pyle. They have a lot of rock and gem stone picked up over their many trips, most of it from Idaho. Jasper and Opals are favorites with them, but they work with whatever they bring home. Here is their story in their own words.

What got us started?
by Neil and Barbara Pyle
Boise, Idaho

In the 1960's we were looking for an outdoor hobby, since we couldn't always get the fish to bite. We attended the spring Gem Show in Boise, Idaho, and a friend gave us information on the field trips the club made and the help the members would give us in learning how to become "rock-hounds". This fit in with our love of the outdoors, fishing, and hiking. Many of our friends also thought this would be fun and joined with us. We have had a lot of great weekends "rock-hounding". It took a while to know what was good and what to "leave right there". Our two children accompanied us making a lot of good times to remember.

Besides the Rock Club and the Gem Shows, we bought all the books we could find on gem stone locations and used every trip away from home to try to find something new.

We purchased a minimum of equipment to work the gemstones we had collected. There is always the thrill of cutting a large stone and see what lies inside. We made many gifts for friends and relatives, also made a number of new friends along the way in many states, Canada and Mexico.

Once we took a trip with the Ogden, Utah, Rock Club to Colorado (by this time we had bought a small travel trailer and a Jeep Wagoneer). We saw beautiful country, went to the Gem Show in Colorado Springs, and brought back lots of Alabaster. When you leave Idaho, you find that rock-hounds in Idaho have a greater and better quality of gems to choose from than any other state, at least it sure seems that way. Frequently we have guests come to see if we can help them find something they don't have. This gives us a chance to repay some of the people who have helped us over the years.

Though we have retired we have hunted gemstones from Alaska to Mexico, enjoying each trip for the fish we caught, and the beautiful country we have seen and of course, the rocks (gems) we bring home.

I cannot think of any hobby that a family can do together that costs so little and keeps you outdoors while having fun.

Recently we spent an afternoon near Boise, Idaho, with four generations out in the outdoors picking up rocks (gems). Some were "leaveright" (leaver-right-there), but fun was had by all and a few "gems" were found. Especially, by our six year old grandson who is convinced there is no such thing as "leaveright".