Bruce Hurley first became interested in all “things geologic” at a
very young age. During elementary school, he lived in an apartment complex in North Charleston, South Carolina, noteworthy for its potholed parking lot. One summer, the apartment complex decided to fix the lot, and brought in fine gravel dredged from the nearby Cooper River, now famous for the Megalodon sharks’ teeth found in its bed. Once the gravel was spread, Bruce discovered he now lived on the edge of a man-made outcrop containing hundreds of small fossil sharks’ teeth. Soon the parking lot was again potholed, but this time from the fossil-digging of more than a few small boys, until all the teeth were collected and the holes filled under the watchful eyes of stern fathers.
First bitten by the fossil bug, Bruce was soon to discover minerals from an entirely different source. His maternal grandparents lived in the country outside of Greenville, South Carolina, and Bruce often spent time there in the summer. The geology at Grandpa’s was much different than in Charleston. Instead of the sands and gravels of the coast, the Southeastern Piedmont hills are of red clay, weathered from underlying granitic and metamorphic rocks which occasionally poke through, displaying sparkling mica and quartz veins right out of a 1950’s western movie. Even better, at a nearby uncle’s farm, one field produced tiny orange quartz crystals, plowed up seasonally from the decomposed remains of an underlying quartz vein. After a couple of trips there, Bruce would never be the same, again! The quest to find and understand rocks was on, eventually leading to degrees in geology from N.C. State, UNC at Chapel Hill, and Washington State. This was in turn followed by a thirty-something year career as a geologist and hydrologist in the Southeast, Pacific Northwest and Southwest.
Janice Linderer-Hurley avoided rocks for much longer than Bruce. Growing up in Spokane, Washington, she decided early on that rocks were great to walk on and hold the earth together, but otherwise not all that deserving of notice. Even after marrying Bruce, for about the first twenty years she though rocks were just okay. Then in 2001 she visited the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, and found that fossils especially were far more interesting than she had thought before. Since then, she has even been known to go fossil collecting, but only if the weather is perfect and the roads are good! She would still rather collect in an air conditioned tent in Tucson, preferably not too far from the car.
High Desert Minerals (HDM) has been participating as a part-time dealer at mineral shows across the Southwest since 1987. It is a family partnership between Bruce and Janice. In the 1990s, daughters Erin and Kyle Hurley also helped out quite often with HDM, before leaving home for college and lives in faraway places (perhaps to get away from Dad’s four-wheel adventures). Erin has been very instrumental in getting the High Desert Minerals Website up and running, and Kyle still occasionally helps out at shows in the California area, and has been known to collect a few rocks herself.
The year 2009 brought major changes to HDM, as Bruce
retired from his day job as the Department of Energy’s environmental monitoring program manager for the Nevada Test Site. This, along with family needs in Washington State, brought about the building of a new home near Spokane and relocation from Las Vegas in late spring of 2010. Because of the long driving distances involved, HDM could no longer participate in Arizona shows, but still remains a dealer at the annual Searles Lake Gem-O-Rama in Trona, California, in October. In 2011, we also began participating in the club shows in Colville and Spokane, Washington, while completing all of the inevitable extra work that goes with building a new home “long distance.” Finally, the website became operational in the summer of 2011, allowing us to be available to customers that time, distance and the cost of gasoline did not allow HDM to reach before.