Hunting for painted treasures

S-E Reporter

Local Facebook group activity
Every day feels like Easter when you’re a member of the “Rock Hunters of Stevens County.”

This Facebook group was started by Crystal Bond and her cousin, Kelly Foreman, on June 26.

The group’s 500-plus members are dedicated to painting rocks, shells, driftwood, bark and other “earthy” objects to hide around Stevens County (and beyond). Their purpose is to have fun while also leaving behind a treasure to brighten someone’s day.

It all began when Bond saw how much fun her cousin was having in a similar Facebook group on the coast called “GH rocks.” With encouragement from Foreman, Bond decided to bring the activity to this side of the state.

“I was sure no one would join, but I started the group and added around 45 of my friends that also like to paint, or that have kids that would have fun with it,” said Bond. “I was shocked when we reached 300 members in the first week.”

Bond never imagined the Facebook group would gain so many members, with new ones joining all the time.

The group allows anyone to participate and only has basic rules to reduce confusion.

How to play

To join, no expensive materials are needed. Paint is not even required.

Rocks, or other nature objects, can be bedazzled with markers, nail polish, paper, sparkles -- whatever. There are no wrong methods when decorating.

Participants are encouraged to cover their masterpieces with a clear sealer or spray paint though, since the rocks, in most cases, are exposed to the elements.

Group members are asked to mark the back of their hidden object with “Post to Rock Hunters of Stevens County on FB” or requests like “re-hide.”

Seekers are allowed to keep the objects they find.

“I get so emotional when I see a little kid proudly holding up a rock I painted,” said Bond. She added that part of the fun came with watching her rocks travel to new locations.

Participants are asked to include the city they hide/find the rocks in the posts they make on Facebook. This way other group members are aware of where new rocks can be found, and which rocks are no longer available.

Members hide rocks all over public locations.

When sitting down to paint, Bond usually has a place in mind where she’s going to hide the rock. Other times she lets the rock dictate how it wants to be painted, and then figures out where it’ll be hidden.

Bond says she always gets business’ approval before placing rocks in their parking lots or flower beds, which all members are asked to do.

Bond explained that rock hunting is not a race. It’s about having fun and getting out in the community.

Read the full story in the August 24, 2016 issue of the Statesman-Examiner.