October Rockhunting Field Trip Report/Singleton Ranch Schedule

The field trips of October 2014 are over, and I’m enjoying sleeping in for a few days. The fieldtrips were extremely successful, with a total of 82 rockhounds going on 19 field trips at the Singleton Ranch, the Walker Ranch, and East Needle Peak. The weather varied from hot to cool to rainy, and all the rain we’d had in the summer moved the soil around enough that lots of agate nodules were poking up from the ground, waiting to be found. There were lots of wonderful agates found at each ranch. Labradorite was plentiful at the Walker Ranch, especially around a little spot that Ed Tindell has named “Labradorite Hill”. Animals spotted included mule deer, pronghorn antelope, javalina, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, foxes, lots of horned lizards in a variety of colors, a Western box turtle and a Texas Banded Gecko. The wildflowers were blooming out of season, and there were butterflies everywhere, along with lots of grasshoppers. There were a couple of rattlesnake sightings, but one of those really doesn’t count, because Robert Redmond photographs snakes and went looking for them. Lisa Tirey Butler photographed the Milky Way from the Walker Ranch, and the photos are spectacular. If any of y’all have photos you wish to share, email them to me at agatehunter@sbcglobal.net. I’ll put as many up on my website as I can! Some of y’all had been here many times. Others were new to these field trips. We had kids as young as 12 and as old as – me. Besides coming from all parts of Texas, rockhounds came from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. And remember that the season’s just starting! There are hunts at the Singleton Ranch scheduled on the second and fourth weekends of each month from now until next May. Here’s a schedule for those hunts: November 6 – 9 (yes, this week!) November 20 – 23 December 11 – 14 (tentative, because it’s deer season, and hunters with guns have priority) December 25 – 28 (‘ll hunt on Christmas Day if anyone wants to go!) January 8 – 11 January 22 – 25 February 12 – 15 February 26 – March 1 March 12 – 15 March 26 – 29 April 9 – 12 (before the Gem Show and the Walker Ranch hunts) April 23 – 25 (after the Gem Show and the Walker Ranch hunts) May 7 – 10 May 21 – 24 Just let me know when you want to go! For those who have kids who would like a rockhunt that doesn’t last a full day, the Ritchie Ranch will be available for hunts during Thanksgiving week, Christmas Vacation and Spring break. The ranch is ideal for kids and beginners. Contact me for details. The Spring Walker Ranch hunt is tentatively scheduled for April 19 – 23, which should be concurrent with the Alpine Agate Festival, which hasn’t posted its dates yet. I’ll let you know when the dates are finalized for that hunt. And East Needle Peak, the Singleton Ranch, and the Ritchie Ranch are also available on a “need to go” basis. Let me know the dates when you’ll be out here, and I’ll set the field trips up just for you! See you soon! Teri 

Ritchie Ranch Rockhunt for tomorrow CANCELLED. All other hunts are still HAPPENING AS PLANNED

Hi Y’all!

When I said the last email was my last before rockhunts started, I was being overly optimistic.  Maybe this will be the last email before the hunts start…

No one has signed up for the Ritchie Ranch rockhunt scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday 10/8, so that rockhunt has been cancelled.

All of the other rockhunts in the series are still happening as planned.  If you’ve forgotten the schedule, here it is:

Thursday, 10/9 Singleton Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $50/person, cash only
Friday, 10/10 Singleton Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $50/person, cash only
Saturday, 10/11 Singleton Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $50/person, cash only
Sunday, 10/12 Singleton Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $50/person, cash only
Monday, 10/13 Teri’s Day Off.  Or, if anyone wants to go to the Ritchie Ranch, we can do a hunt there.  Let me know at least a day in advance!
Tuesday, 10/14 East Needle Peak.  Meet me at 6 a.m.  NOTE EARLY TIME $40/person, cash or check
Wednesday, 10/15 Singleton Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $50/person, cash only
Thursday, 10/16 Walker Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $75/person, some discounts apply.  cash or check
Friday, 10/17 Walker Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $75/person, some discounts apply.  cash or check
Saturday, 10/18 Walker Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $75/person, some discounts apply.  cash or check
Sunday, 10/19 Walker Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $75/person, some discounts apply.  cash or check
Monday, 10/20 Walker Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $75/person, some discounts apply.  cash or check
Tuesday, 10/21 Singleton Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $50/person, cash only
Wednesday, 10/22 Teri’s Day Off.  Or, if anyone wants to go to the Ritchie Ranch, we can do a hunt there.  Let me know at least a day in advance!
Thursday, 10/23 Walker Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $75/person, some discounts apply.  cash or check
Friday, 10/24 Walker Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $75/person, some discounts apply.  cash or check
Saturday, 10/25 Walker Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $75/person, some discounts apply.  cash or check
Sunday, 10/26 Walker Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $75/person, some discounts apply.  cash or check
Monday, 10/27 Walker Ranch.  Meet at 8 a.m. $75/person, some discounts apply.  cash or check
Tuesday, 10/28 Singleton.  Meet at 8 a.m. $50/person, cash only
Wednesday, 10/29 Singleton.  Meet at 8 a.m. $50/person, cash only
Thursday, 10/30 East Needle Peak.  Meet at 6 a.m. NOTE EARLY TIME  $40/person, cash or check

All rockhunts begin at the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine.

If you decide at the last minute you want to attend, email me at agatehunter@sbcglobal.net, or call me at (432) 386-3431.  There are no maximums on these field trips.  The smallest hunting location is a full 640 acre section (a full square mile), and the largest is 10 sections.  So there’s room for you if you want to come.  If you call me, you’ll probably get my voice mail, because I’ll be out hunting rocks!  But leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.

Regards,
Teri

Last Email Message Beore Rockhunts Start

This is my last official email for the upcoming rockhunts. Please check the table below to make sure your information is right. Reminders: All trips start at the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine. If you’re staying someplace outside of Alpine, where that would mean extra driving for you, please get in touch with me and we can make arrangements to meet someplace between Alpine and the collecting site.

East Needle Peak starts at 6 a.m. Trip to collecting area is about 100 miles each way. Please have your gas tank full at start of hunt for ENP.

Singleton, starts at 8. Cash only. Trip to collecting area is about 45 – 50 miles each way. Walker at 8. Trip to collecting area is 18 – 24 miles each way.

Ritchie at 9. No one signed up currently for Ritchie. Is that right? Have I missed something? If no one signs up for the Ritchie hunt next Wednesday, it’ll be cancelled, so PLEASE let me know if you want to go on that hunt.

General: Please have your vehicle in good condition. Check your coolant, engine oil, and brake fluid before you go. Take extra coolant and windshield washer fluid. Check the air pressure in your tires and AIR UP YOUR SPARE TIRE. Dress to protect yourself from sun and plants with spines and thorns. Long pants, long sleeves, boots, sunscreen, a hat and gloves are a good idea. Minimal tools are needed for collecting: something to collect in (bucket, canvas shoulder bags, backpacks).

I carry a gem scoop and a 1-piece stainless steel table knife, a denture brush and chopsticks for cleaning dirt out of specimens, and also a small squirt bottle and tiny ziplocks. Others carry a rock hammer, crack hammer, pick, prybars, etc. Some folks carry a walking stick, a 4-tined rake, or something similar. Construction/flagging tape is great if you wish to mark a location. If you don’t have any ask me, I have plenty.

You want lots and lots of water. I weigh about 130 lbs, and I drink about 1/2 liter every hour. That’s just enough to keep me from getting dehydrated, so adjust it up if you weigh more than I do. And bring your lunch and snacks, too. Cell phones work at some of the places we rockhunt, but not at others. They’re great cameras, usually, and worth bringing along even if you can’t use them. Some people carry walkie-talkies if they’re hunting with friends or family so they can scatter and still keep in touch.

rockhunt-table-4-ver-2

See you next week! Teri

Update on October Rockhunts

This is the updated list for Walker Ranch and other rockhunts as of today, 9/19/14. Please verify that your information is correct, and let me know if it isn’t.  This table only contains people that are going to the Walkier.  If you’re just signed up for the other rockhunts, where no deposit is required, you won’t be on this list.

I’ve added one more hunt: Ritchie Ranch on Wednesday, 10/8.  If you’re interested in that, let me know.

There’s more room on ALL the hunts, so feel free to sign up now!

I’ll send another update next week.

rockhunt-table3

Regards,

Teri

October 2014 Rockhunt Information

Hi Y’all! We’re starting to get signups for the October rockhunts this year. There’s still space available for all the rockhunts on the schedule. If you don’t have the schedule handy, got to www.terismithrockhunts.com and scroll down to the email dated August 21.

SOME IMPORTANT FINANCIAL DETAILS:

The Walker Ranch trips require payment of half the fee in advance. If you send your fee postmarked by September 16, and received by Saturday, September 20, you get a free day at the end of your rockhunt. We’ll need to have a minimum of 20 people who have paid their deposits by September 30 for each weekend in order to have that weekend of the rockhunt happen. The price is still the same: $75 per person per day, or $150 per person for 3 days. The fourth and fifth days are $35 each. To send your Walker Ranch deposit in, please make a check out to Bryan Crumpton for half of your total fee, and send it c/o Teri Smith, 509 N. 8th Street, Alpine, TX 79830.

You don’t need to send me deposits for the Singleton Ranch and the East Needle Peak rockhunts. However, you do need to let me know that you are coming on those hunts. If no one signs up for a hunt, I’ll cancel it, so I need to know that you are coming.

The Singleton Ranch wants to be paid in CASH ONLY. It would be great if you had close to the exact change of $50 per person per day. The Rollin Rock Club can be paid by check at the time of your field trip. I cannot accept credit cards for anything that has to do with rockhunting because our beloved federal government would consider that to be money laundering. There are several ATMs in Alpine that you can get cash from if you need to.

Here is the list of people currently signed up for the Walker Ranch hunts:

Allison, Linda: 1 person for 2 days. Starting date: 10/25 total fee $150.
Backo, John: 1 person for 3 days. Starting date: 10/25 total fee $150. Also 10/28 – 10/29 Singleton
Bean, Debra: 1 person for ? days. Starting date: 10/23.
Braun, Betty & Mike: 2 people for 3 days. Starting date: 10/16 total fee $300.
Cantou, Pierre: 1 person for 4 days. Starting date: 10/16
David, Ken & Sandra: 2 people for 3 days. Starting date: 10/17 total fee $300.
De Hoyos, Joe: 1 person for 4 days. Starting date: 10/16
Easom, Carol & James: ?
Foegelle, Thomas & Barbara: 2 people for 3 days. Starting date: 10/16 total fee $300, paid.
Gazdar, Di: 1 person for ? days. Starting date: 10/23.
Gunter, Christine: 1 person for ? days. Starting date: 10/16?
Haffey, Suzanne & David: 4 people for 4 days. Starting date: 10/23. Also 10/21 Singleton
Ivie, Steve: 1 or 2 people for ? days. Starting date: 10/16. Also 10/9 – 10/12 Singleton
Jahn, Andy: 1 person for 3 days. Starting date: 10/16 total fee $150, deposit of $75 received, balance due $75. Also 10/15 Singleton
Manis, Paula: 2 people for 1 day. Starting date: 10/26 total fee $150. Also 10/12 Singleton
Montgomery, Mark: 1 person for 5 days. Starting date: 10/16 total fee $185, deposit of $92.50 received, balance due $92.50. Also 10/9 – 10/12 Singleton, 10/14 East Needle Peak
Newberg, Stephen: 1 person for 2 days. Starting date: 10/23 total fee $150.
Redmond, Robert: 1 person for 2 days. Starting date: 10/16 total fee $150, deposit of $75 received, balance due $75. Also 10/15 Singleton
Rutledge, Greg & Paula: 2 people for 1 day. Starting date: 10/16 total fee $150.
Terlecki, Larry & Margie: 2 people for 1 day. Starting date: 10/16 total fee $150. Also Singleton 10/15
Tindell, Ed: 1 person for 6 days. Starting date: 10/16 total fee $220, paid. Also may go to East Needle peak 10/14 and Singleton 10/15
Tirey-Butler, Lisa: 1 person for 4 days. Starting date: 10/16 total fee $185. Also East Needle Peak 10/14, Singleton 10/15
Waugh, Steve: 1 person for ? days. Starting date: 10/16.

Please let me know if I don’t have your information correct. Remember that the 16th is the postmark deadline for the Walker Ranch deposit if you wish to hunt an extra day for free.

 

Two Weeks of October Rockhunts Scheduled!

Hi Y’all! I’ve finally gotten a calendar together for all the Walker Ranch hunts in October, and the hunts to the Singleton Ranch and East Needle Peak that go on around them. The schedule is below:

Thursday, 10/9 Singleton Ranch
Friday, 10/10 Singleton Ranch
Saturday, 10/11 Singleton Ranch
Sunday, 10/12 Singleton Ranch
Monday, 10/13 Teri’s Day Off
Tuesday, 10/14 East Needle Peak
Wednesday, 10/15 Singleton Ranch
Thursday, 10/16 Walker Ranch
Friday, 10/17 Walker Ranch
Saturday, 10/18 Walker Ranch
Sunday, 10/19 Walker Ranch
Monday, 10/20 Walker Ranch
Tuesday, 10/21 Singleton Ranch
Wednesday, 10/22 Teri’s Day Off
Thursday, 10/23 Walker Ranch
Friday, 10/24 Walker Ranch
Saturday, 10/25 Walker Ranch
Sunday, 10/26 Walker Ranch
Monday, 10/27 Walker Ranch
Tuesday, 10/28 Singleton
Wednesday, 10/29 Singleton
Thursday, 10/30 East Needle Peak

If you’re interested in going to the Ritchie Ranch during that time, please let me know, and I’ll try to figure out how to accommodate everything… if at all possible. The Ritchie is so close to Alpine that it doesn’t require a lot of travel, so we can go for less than a whole day if you wish.

Below is a list of people who expressed interest in the trip to the Walker Ranch. Please let me know whether to sign you up for the trip(s). I would like to know the number of people in your group, the starting date, and the number of days you wish to hunt at the Walker, as well as which other hunts you would like to go on.

Backo, John, 1 person, 10/16 weekend
Cantou, Pierre, 1 person, 10/16 weekend
Contreras, Michael, 10/16 weekend
De Hoyos, Joe, 1 person, 10/16 weekend
Easom, Caroline, 2 people, 10/16 weekend
Foegelle, Bobbie, 2 people, 10/16 weekend
French, Johnny, 1 person, 10/23 weekend
Haffey Suzanne, 2 people, 10/23 weekend
Ivie, Steve, 1 person or 2 people, 10/16 weekend
Jahn, Andy, 1 person, 10/16 weekend
Kendall, Jim, 1 person, Either weekend
Maples, Julia, 1 person, 10/23 weekend
Montgomery, Mark, 1 person, 10/16 weekend
Morgenstern, Bill, 2 people, Either weekend
Newberg, Steve, 1 person
Ramsay, Rick, 2 people, 10/23 weekend
Redmond, Robert, 1 person, 10/16 weekend
Tindell, Ed, 1 person, 10/16 weekend
Tucker, Jack, 2 people, 10/23 weekend
Violetti, Delrae, 10/23 weekend
Waugh, Steve, 1 person, 10/16 weekend

The Walker Ranch trips require payment of half the fee in advance. If you send your fee postmarked by September 16, and received by Saturday, September 20, you get a free day at the end of your rockhunt.

We’ll need to have a minimum of 20 people who have paid their deposits by September 30 for each weekend in order to have that weekend of the rockhunt happen. The price is still the same: $75 per person per day, or $150 per person for 3 days. The fourth and fifth days are $35 each.

To send your Walker Ranch deposit in, please make a check out to Bryan Crumpton for half of your total fee, and send it c/o Teri Smith, 509 N. 8th Street, Alpine, TX 79830.

You don’t need to send me deposits for the Singleton Ranch and the East Needle Peak rockhunts. However, you do need to let me know that you are coming on those hunts. If no one signs up for a hunt, I’ll cancel it, so I need to know that you are coming.

Also, remember that Rolllin’ Rock Club membership is required for all of my rockhunts, and it costs $10 single/$16 dual for the 2014 calendar year.

Regards,

Teri

Walker Ranch Rockhunts Scheduled for October 16 – 27

An unusual thing happened when I counted the votes for when to hold the Fall Walker Ranch rockhunts.  Amazingly, the vote count for both weekends turned out exactly the same.  So Bryan Crumpton has graciously consented to offer field trips on BOTH weekends.

Here are the dates:

Hunt 1 will be Thursday, October 16 – 20 bonus day(s) of 21 & 22
Hunt 2 will be Thursday, October 23 – 27 bonus day(s) of 22 & 27

Sign-ups are starting now, so if you are planning on coming, please email me.  Those who pay their fees prior to September 16 (postmark date) can hunt one extra day for free!

We’ll need to have a minimum of 20 people who have paid their deposits by September 30 for each weekend in order to have that weekend of the rockhunt happen. The price is still the same: $75 per person per day, or $150 per person for 3 days. The fourth and fifth days are $35 each.

Now, if you schedule is such that you can’t come exactly on either weekend but can come sometime  between them, email me the particulars and I’m sure we can figure out how to accommodate your schedule.

It has rained here in town quite a bit, and I understand that there’s been lots of rain on the ranch.   There should be enough good agate showing on the ground there to make it easy to find great treasures!

Please email me back if you’re interested in hunting at the Walker, at agatehunter@sbcglobal.net (or reply to this email), and let me know how many people will be in your group. We’d love to have clubs come out at that time! As usual, you will be able to dry camp on the ranch if you wish, at no cost.  Your reservation won’t be confirmed until you send a deposit of half the cost of the rockhunt. I’ll send you the details about the deposit once you tell me you are coming.

Those of you who have been here know that this ranch is certainly worth the price of admission.    If you haven’t been to the Walker Ranch, check out my website, www.terismithrockhunts.com, for information and photos.  On our last trip in April, Rodney Moore, a rockhound and international gem dealer from Georgia, sold one Walker Ranch nodule (“biscuit”) at the gem show for enough to pay for his entrance fees!

I will be leading field trips to different ranches before and after the Walker Ranch hunts as long as people are interested and my stamina holds out.   I’ll send out another email in a day or two to give you the season’s schedule for the fabulous Singleton Ranch, East Needle Peak, and the Ritchie Ranch.  For those of you with kids, I’m planning trips to the Ritchie Ranch, which is ideal for children and people with limited mobility,  for Christmas vacation and spring break.  More details to come!

I look forward to seeing y’all in October and beyond.

Regards,
Teri

P.S.  Of course, the preferred place to stay is the Antelope Lodge.  Check us out at www.antelopelodge.com.

Plan Ahead for the Walker Ranch fall 2014 Rockhunt!

So that you can begin planning for the Fall Rockhunting Season, Bryan Crumpton has looked at his schedule, and has two weekends in October when he could come out to do a field trip. The trip would be a total of 6 days, probably, and the fees will be the same as they were in the Spring.

The dates are the third weekend in October (where Saturday is the 18th) and the fourth weekend in October (where Saturday is the 25th). Remember that the trip would likely begin on Wednesday and go through Monday.

Right now, all I need is to know which weekend would work best for you. We’ll work out the details once we have the weekend set. There will certainly be hunts to the Singleton Ranch, East Needle Peak, and the Ritchie Ranch before and after the Walker hunt.

By the way, there’s been some measurable rain out here, so there should be more agate uncovered all over the region! And Calamity Creek is running again!

If there’s a chance at all that you can make it this fall, let me know which weekend you’d prefer. I hope to see you all out here this Fall!

Regards,
Teri

Singleton Ranch Additional Information

It has been pointed out to me that there were some major holes in my last email.

The cost of the trip is $50 per person per day, and that includes the first 5 gallon bucket of agate.  Additional buckets of agate are $40 each, measured in ¼ bucket increments.

The Singleton Ranch is located south of Marfa on Highway 169. For two of the four hunting locations,a high-clearance vehicle and confidence in your driving skills are absolutely necessary to get to the collecting sites, and a 4wd vehicle will make your trip much easier.  If you don’t have that type of vehicle, there are places where you can park just off of the main ranch road, and we’ll find someone you can carpool in with.  I can usually fit 1 or 2 people in with me, if I know in advance that I need to get my jeep cleaned up so you’ll have a place to sit.

If you haven’t hunted at the Singleton Ranch before, it’s an amazing experience.  There is so much agate out there that in some places you can’t walk without stepping on agate.  Not all of it is agate you’ll want to cut or collect for specimens, but there’s enough incredible bouquet, plume, water-level, moss, and fortification agate out there that you will no doubt find something spectacular.  The bouquet agate is a plume agate where the colors of the plume are pastels, including yellows, oranges, pinks, peaches, reds, and occasional lavenders.   What I’m calling plume is the same stuff, but in the more conventional plume colors of black, grey and white.   Both Matt Dillon and Steve Ivie have great photos of Singleton Ranch agate.  Matt’s is on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/97769244@N00/sets/72157594503307829/, and Steve’s is at http://www.rockhoundingusa.com/rough/marfa/index.html.  Of course the photos are of the best agates, and they’ve been cut and some have been polished before being photographed.  Still, they do represent what can be found with a little luck and determination.

All of my field trips are Rollin’ Rock Club trips.  Those that aren’t members can join at the time of the trip.  the cost is $16 per couple and $10 single, and the membership is good throughout 2014.

Regards,
Teri

There are still two Singleton Weekends Left Before Summer!

Now that the “Great April Rockhunts” are over, we have only one month before I take a vacation from leading field trips during the summer.  And in May, there are two rockhunt weekends on the Singleton Ranch:  May 8 – 11 and May 22 – 26.

The Singleton Ranch has proven to be an incredible place to hunt agate.  Each trip has unearthed great pieces of the bouquet agate, some as large as a baked potato, with huge plumes running the length of the stone!  There are now four different areas in which to hunt, so we usually do one each day for the four days.  The last field trip this month has five days in it (the last day is Memorial Day) so we’ll have to decide whether to revisit one of the sites we’ve been to on that day, or take a chance with someplace new.

As always, I’d recommend staying at the Antelope Lodge.  You can make reservations at www.antelopelodge.com, or (800) 880-8106.

If you can’t make these hunts, we’ll start again in early October.  Either way, you’re going to have a great time hunting at the Singleton Ranch, and you’ll take home some true gems.

Regards,
Teri