We’re pretty much willing to do anything that involves messing about in rivers or streams, so it seemed worthwhile to spend a few hours on our way through Macon County hunting for garnets in Buck Creek.
It’s not really hunting. Generally if you reach into the silt along the river you’ll pull out a dozen or so, although they’ll be so small it’s hardly worth isolating them. Buck Creek is in Nantahala National Forest, just west of where US 64 crosses the Appalachian Trail. We spent about an hour or so fishing around for some big enough to save before we started to lose interest and just ended up playing around in the creek. Besides the garnets there is an old corundum mine on the hillside above the creek, and also some fairly large chunks of talc lying about the area.
Here’s a pile of almandine garnets we found. It’s traditional to include a coin in pictures like this to show scale but well, it’s more impressive if we don’t.