FINALLY! Teri Smith’s Spring 2016 Rockhunting Schedule

Hi! Below is my spring 2016 rockhunt schedule. You’ll find that it looks quite different from last year’s spring schedule. This is because I’m trying to concentrate on the big events: there’s a special Walker Ranch hunt in February, Spring Break in March, and the Big Bend Agate Roundup in April.

But just because I don’t have something scheduled doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. I should still have some time available to schedule special rockhunts for your vacation dates, especially if you let me know early.

The special February Walker Ranch rockhunt is three days long, and I’ve surrounded it with hunts to the other ranches. In March, I’ve organized the two weeks that Texas kids have for spring break to alternate between half-day hunts meant for kids and new rockhounds, and full-day hunts at the Singleton, South Larremore, and East Needle Peak sites. And the Big Bend Agate Roundup in April is more than two weeks long, and organized so the Singleton Ranch hunts and the Walker Ranch hunts are right next to each other, as several people had requested.

The sooner you let me know of your intention to go on a hunt or hunts, the better. Even if your plans are tentative, I would like to know. There is no penalty on any of the ranches for having to change your plans, even on the day of the hunt. But if a hunt doesn’t have anyone signed up for it a week before it is to happen, I’ll cancel it, and probably make other plans for that day (I have several other projects going on this spring…)

Regards,

Teri

Tuesday, 2/16: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $40 per person.
Wednesday 2/17: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Thursday, 2/18: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Friday 2/19: Ritchie Ranch. Start: 11 a.m. Cost: $5 entrance fee and $1 per lb.
Saturday 2/20: Walker Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $75 per person, 3rd day free.
Sunday 2/21: Walker Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $75 per person, 3rd day free.
Monday, 2/22: Walker Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $75 per person, 3rd day free.
Tuesday, 2/23: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Wednesday, 2/24: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $40 per person.
Thursday, 2/25: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Friday 2/26: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Saturday, 2/27: East Needle Peak. Start: 7 a.m. Cost: $40 per person.

Sunday, 3/6: East Needle Peak. Start: 7 a.m. Cost: $40 per person.
Monday 3/7: Ritchie Ranch. Start: 11 a.m. Cost: $5 per person and $1 per lb.
Tuesday 3/8: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Wednesday, 3/9: Ritchie Ranch. Start: 11 a.m. Cost: $5 per person and $1 per lb.
Thursday, 3/10: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Friday 3/11: Ritchie Ranch. Start: 11 a.m. Cost: $5 per person and $1 per lb.
Saturday 3/12: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $40 per person.
Sunday, 3/13: East Needle Peak. Start: 7 a.m. Cost: $40 per person.
Monday, 3/14: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Tuesday, 3/15: Ritchie Ranch. Start: 11 a.m. Cost: $5 per person and $1 per lb.
Wednesday, 3/16: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Thursday, 3/17: Ritchie Ranch. Start: 11 a.m. Cost: $5 per person and $1 per lb.
Friday, 3/18: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Saturday 3/19: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $40 per person.

Saturday, 4/9: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $40 per person.
Sunday 4/10: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Monday 4/11: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Tuesday 4/12: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Wednesday 4/13: Walker Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $75 per person, 3rd day free.
Thursday 4/14: Walker Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $75 per person, 3rd day free.
Friday, 4/15: Walker Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $75 per person, 3rd day free.
Saturday 4/16: Walker Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $75 per person, 3rd day free.
Sunday 4/17: Walker Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $75 per person, 3rd day free.
Monday, 4/18: Walker Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $75 per person, 3rd day free.
Tuesday, 4/19: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Wednesday, 4/20: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $50 per person, cash only.
Thursday, 4/21: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8 a.m. Cost: $40 per person.
Friday 4/22: East Needle Peak. Start: 7 a.m. Cost: $40 per person.

West Texas Weather Predictions

One of the questions many rockhunters have is about the weather here in West Texas. For example, right now (Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015) there’s a forecast of snow and very cold temperatures for Sunday. Here’s my accumulated weather wisdom from living in Alpine for 20 years: Weather forecasts are of very little use in determining what the weather will be for a rockhunt.

First, most of ranches are out between the towns, so you need to get the forecast for two or three places and average them to find out what to expect on the ranches. For the Singleton Ranch, you would average the temperatures between Marfa and Presidio. For the South Larremore Ranch you would average the temperature between Alpine and Terlingua. For the Walker Ranch you would again be between Alpine and Terlingua, but the probable weather would be closer to Alpine’s than Terlingua’s. East Needle Peak is between Terlingua and Big Bend National Park, and the Ritchie Ranch is right in Alpine.

Often, when cold fronts are predicted, they may not reach as far south or north as predicted, so a ranch may have weather that’s 20 or more degrees warmer than predicted. Predicted rain does not happen about half the time (it’s a desert, and the moisture often makes the air humid, but It’s not enough to make it rain), and often when it does rain it’s just sprinkles. And very occasionally it rains when it is not predicted.

All of that means that I can’t count on the weather reports here anymore than you can wherever you live.

So here’s the way I handle the weather: If someone drives all the way to Alpine to go rockhunting, I’ll take them out unless it’s pouring rain, snowing, much colder than freezing, or icy. If there has been rain, the muddy roads can be a problem for access to the better hunting areas on a ranch. Bring all kinds of layers so that you can be comfortable from 20 degrees to 70 degrees, and we can probably make it happen. You may need to wash the mud off of your car and your clothes when you get back, in addition to washing it off the rocks, but you’ll have had a fun day nevertheless!

But if the morning weather looks too bad to go out in, the rockhunt participants can wait an hour or two and see if we can start late, or change ranches if possible to one that’s not affected by the rain/snow/ice/cold. I have had days that started out looking terrible end up just wonderful on the ranch, and vice versa.

So to answer the question: I have no idea what the weather will hold!

Last Minute Gifts: December Rockhunts

Hi! I’ve just set up some rockhunts for this next weekend, at the South Larremore Ranch (Saturday, 12/12, 8 a.m.) and East Needle Peak (Sunday, 12/13, 7 a.m.). Although it’s still mule deer hunting season, these ranches will not have hunters in the area on the days when we’ll be visiting. I know it’s short notice, but I want to offer as may opportunities as possible for rockhunting in 2015.
I also have rockhunts scheduled for the rest of the year:
Wed., 12/16: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Thurs., 12/17: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Fri., 12/18: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sat., 12/19: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sun., 12/20: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Mon., 12/21: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Tues., 12/22: Teri’s day off
Wed., 12/23: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Thurs., 12/24: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Fri., 12/25: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sat., 12/26: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sun., 12/27: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Mon., 12/28: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Tues., 12/29: East Needle Peak. Start: 7:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.

All rockhunts start at the Antelope Lodge 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine. To reserve a spot, you can email me at agatehunter@sbcglobal.net, or call me at (432) 386-3431.

Please let me know as soon as you decide that you are coming on a particular rockhunt or set of rockhunts. Even if you are tentatively planning on coming, let me know. If I don’t have anyone signed up for a rockhunt a week before the hunt is to occur, I will cancel the hunt. I may then make other plans for that day and not be available if someone wants me to “un-cancel” the hunt at the last minute.

Also, remember that Rollin’ Rock Club membership is required for all of my rockhunts, and it costs $10 single/$16 dual. If you haven’t joined yet this year, your dues will pay for the rest of 2015 and for the 2016 calendar year.
Regards,

Teri

Last Email before the Big Bend Agate Roundup

Hi! The Big Bend Agate Roundup is almost here! Below is the most current sign-up sheet for the Walker Ranch and the other ranches included in the October Big Bend Agate Roundup. Please let me know if the information about you is not correct.

Last week there was LOTS of rain in the Big Bend. I know for sure that the Ritchie, Walker, Larremore and Singleton Ranches all got very wet. I’m not sure about Needle Peak, but we’ll see about that when we get there. I know they’ve had rain since our last hunt there, so there should be plenty of great agate on the surface for us to find.

AND there’s still time to sign up for the rockhunts… right up to and including the day of the hunt in most cases! There’s also still room at the Lodge for those of you who would like to stay with us in Alpine. And free dry camping at the Walker Ranch if you’re out there to rockhunt!

Remember that the Singleton Ranch needs to be paid in cash, but the Walker Ranch, Ritchie Ranch, South Larremore Ranch and East Needle Peak will accept cash or check. And the Rollin’ Rock club will accept cash or check if you’re not a member, as well.

We’ll be hosting a potluck/sandwich supper on Sunday night, October 25th at somewhere around 6:30 p.m. at the Antelope Lodge in Alpine. Bring your best rocks to show off!

If the information below doesn’t show up well on your email browser, I’ll put it on my website in a day or two so you can get a better view!

Regards,

Teri

2015 OCTOBER Big Bend Agate Roundup

Allison, Linda Walker Ranch: # of People: 3 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/25 Fee Rec’d: $0

Backo, John Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date 10/24 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27

Baldwin, Bob Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27

Bean, Debra Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150

Budde, Dee Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29-10/30

Busch, Richard Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: ? Fee Rec’d: $150

Cannon, Mike & Laura E.N.P.: 10/28

Carswell, Tom & Judy Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/26 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29

Caudle, Alan S. Larremore: 10/20

Caudle, David S. Larremore: 10/20

Caudle, Robin S. Larremore: 10/20

Contreras, Michael Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0 S. Larremore: 10/20

Crow, Debbie Walker Ranch: # of People: 3 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0

Dean, Adam Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0 S. Larremore: 10/20

Edwards, Ron & Lori Walker Ranch: # of People: 3 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/26 Fee Rec’d: $225 E.N.P.: 10/28

Falk, Greg Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150

Fritz, Glen & Patillo, Sue Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $300 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $300

Gazdar, Di Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29

Guinn, Larry Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150

Haffey, Suzanne & David S. Larremore: 11/2 Singleton: 11/1

Hardy, Sandra Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $75 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $75 Ritchie: 10/19 S. Larremore: 10/20

Johnson, Roger Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29-11/1

King, Barry Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $75 Start Date: 10/25 Fee Rec’d: $75 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29-30

Kosnick, Robert Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date:? Fee Rec’d: $150

Long, Jay Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150

Lopez, Fidencio Singleton: 10/31

Martin, Jane Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150

Messer, Mike Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $75 Start Date: 10/24 Fee Rec’d: $75

Montgomery, Mark Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150

Morgan, Marion & Whaley, Kathy Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/26 Fee Rec’d: $0 S. Larremore: 10/27 Singleton: 10/29

Mounce, Jo & Kevin Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/25 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 Singleton: 10/29, 10/30

Muncee, Tammy & Burge, Pandora Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0

Newberg, Steve Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150

Newsom, Jim Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/22 Fee Rec’d: $150

Noonan, Joe Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/24 Fee Rec’d: $0

Norris, Susan S. Larremore: 11/2 Singleton: 11/1

Smith, Linda & sister Ritchie Ranch 10/19

Speck, John Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150

Spencer, Al Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date:? Fee Rec’d: $150

Steinle, Martha S. Larremore: 11/2 Singleton: 11/1

Tindell, Ed Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 6 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $225

Tirey-Butler, Lisa Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 5 Total Fee: $187.50 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $187.50

Ward, Randy Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 6 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $225

Waugh, Steve Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150

Welch, Bob Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/24 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27

Wilson, Bob & Yvonne Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $300 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $300

Some Observations About the Rocks Found at the South Larremore Ranch

I just sent the following to a rockhound who will be out here next week. It’s about the different rock deposits at the South Larremore ranch, and I thought it might be of interest:

On the Larremore it looks to me as if there are alluvial deposits that came from the area south of the ranch as well as from the north. These deposits from the south are typified by a surface layer of dark brown and white rock: the white being small, angular pieces of calciferous mud or not-quite-limestone, and the brown being a variety of sedimentary rocks (and flint and agate) with a desert varnish. Many of these deposits stick up above the surrounding soil by anywhere from a few inches to several feet, and at the edges show evidence of going down several feet into the soil. Found in these piles are petrified wood (identified by the presence of bark), flint and/or chert, and a variety of nodules similar to those that appear near Needle Peak. In general, these nodules are oval, flat on the top and bottom, with an outside shell of flint/chert/agate and an inside of calciferous mud often hiding fossils. These guys are weird but distinctive. Trey Woodward called them “gargoyles”, but I call them Terlingua Nodules, because they’re found all over the Terlingua area. This is the farthest north that I’ve seen them in any quantity. Interestingly enough, there’s often agate pieces in these deposits, as well: lots of white/blue/grey chalcedony ones, and some pink and red, including red plume, and lots of the yellow/brown moss that’s all over the Big Bend. I have found saginitic agate there, but not pompom as of yet. All of the saginitic agate has been in the red colors, or in the chalcedony nodules.

This is distinctly different from the creek bed material that came from up North via Calamity Creek and Butcherknife Draw. The rock piles from Calamity are at the bottom of the creek bed, generally, and are probably 6 –15 feet below the level of the soil and the deposits mentioned in the previous paragraph. In many places, you can see layers of creek rock in the sides of the draws, down near the bottom of them. These layers are between 1 and 2 feet thick, and the rest of the wall of the draw is soil. These rocks are almost all water-worn, and a mixture of sedimentary and igneous rocks. But in these deposits, there isn’t the calciferous mud or the desert varnished rocks that are in the surface layers, and the rock is just generally different looking, more water-worn and some covered with calciferous mud, but usually not stained. The agate here is often oxidized completely white, but usually you can see a hint of what the color will be inside the stone. There are also very few fossiliferous pieces, and the ones I’ve seen are oyster shell impressions in mudstone. To me, the uneducated observer, these rocks appear to have been deposited long before the other piles appeared, both because of their depth in the soil and because they don’t show the amount of desert varnish that often coats rocks that have been on the surface for a long time.

The creek bed is, of course, a location where these two deposits occasionally overlap. But by and large, each deposit is unique.

Big Bend Agate Roundup

Hi! Below is the most current sign-up sheet for the Walker Ranch and the other ranches included in the October Big Bend Agate Roundup. Please let me know if the information about you is not correct.
AND there’s still time to sign up for the rockhunts… right up to and including the day of the hunt in most cases! There’s also still room at the Lodge for those of you who would like to stay with us in Alpine. And free dry camping at the Walker Ranch if you’re out there to rockhunt!
Remember that the Singleton Ranch needs to be paid in cash, but the Walker Ranch, Ritchie Ranch, South Larremore Ranch and East Needle Peak will accept cash or check. And the Rollin’ Rock club will accept cash or check if you’re not a member, as well.
We’ll be hosting a potluck/sandwich supper on Sunday night, October 25th at somewhere around 6:30 p.m. at the Antelope Lodge in Alpine. Bring your best rocks to show off!
If the information below doesn’t show up well on your email browser, I’ll put it on my website in a day or two so you can get a better view!
Regards,
Teri
2015 OCTOBER Big Bend Agate Roundup
Allison, Linda Walker Ranch: # of People: ? # of Days: 2 Total Fee: ? Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $0
Backo, John Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: ? Total Fee: Start Date: Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27
Baldwin, Bob Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27
Bean, Debra Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: Start Date: ? Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: ?
Budde, Dee Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29-10/30
Busch, Richard Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: Total Fee: $150 Start Date: Fee Rec’d: $150
Cannon, Mike & Laura E.N.P.: 10/28
Carswell, Tom & Judy Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: 150 Start Date: 10/26 Fee Rec’d: $150
Caudle, Alan S. Larremore: 10/20
Caudle, David S. Larremore: 10/20
Caudle, Robin S. Larremore: 10/20
Contreras, Michael Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0 S. Larremore: 10/20
Dean, Adam Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0 S. Larremore: 10/20
Edwards, Ron & Lori Walker Ranch: # of People: 3 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/26 Fee Rec’d: $225 E.N.P.: 10/28
Falk, Greg Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150
Fritz, Glen & Patillo, Sue Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $300 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0
Gazdar, Di Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29
Guinn, Larry Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150
Haffey, Suzanne & David S. Larremore: 11/2 Singleton: 11/1
Hardy, Sandra Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $75 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $75 Ritchie: 10/19 S. Larremore: 10/20
Johnson, Roger Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29-11/1
King, Barry Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $75 Start Date: 10/25 Fee Rec’d: $75 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29-30
Kosnick, Robert Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: Total Fee: $150 Start Date: Fee Rec’d: $150
Long, Jay Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150
Martin, Jane Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: ? Fee Rec’d: $150
Messer, Mike Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $75 Start Date: 10/24 Fee Rec’d: $75
Montgomery, Mark Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150
Morgan, Marion & Whaley, Kathy Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/25 Fee Rec’d: $0 S. Larremore: 10/27 Singleton: 10/29
Mounce, Jo & Kevin Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/25 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 Singleton: 10/29, 10/30
Muncee, Tammy & Burge, Pandora Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0
Newberg, Steve Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150
Newsom, Jim Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/22 Fee Rec’d: $0
Noonan, Joe Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/24 Fee Rec’d: $0
Norris, Susan S. Larremore: 11/2 Singleton: 11/1
Speck, John Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150
Steinle, Martha S. Larremore: 11/2 Singleton: 11/1
Tindelll, Ed Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 6 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $225
Tirey-Butler, Lisa Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 5 Total Fee: $187.50 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $187.50
Ward, Randy Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 6 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $225
Waugh, Steve Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0
Welch, Bob Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/24 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27
Wilson, Bob & Yvonne Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $300 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $300

Local Rockhound Featured in National Magazine

This is the first of five press releases I wrote to send to local newspapers about the article that was printed in Rock & Gem’s September 2015 issue about me and my rockhunts.  It’s amazing to me that most locals haven’t even heard of rockhunting at all, let alone know what we rockhunters do.  So I decided to try to get the word out…

Local rockhound Teri Smith leads agate hunting field trips on ranches in Brewster and Presidio counties. This activity has brought her some measure of renown in rockhunting circles, and led to a feature article on her and her rockhunts in the September 2015 issue of the national magazine Rock & Gem.

Teri, who with her husband John owns the Antelope Lodge in Alpine, has been leading field trips for over 15 years. Her trips are for children as young as 3 or 4 years old up through mature adults who rockhunt from lawn chairs while seated in the shade.

Texas is a wonderful state for rockhunts, says Teri, because it’s all private land. “In the states west of us, where much of the land is Federal property, there are few collectible rocks left on the surface in many areas. In Texas, however, you can only go rockhunting with the permission of the landowner, and there’s often agate all over the ground at rockhunting sites.”

Texas’ Big Bend is known around the world as an agate collecting location. Some local agate can produce cabochons (domed, polished stones used in jewelry) that are incredibly beautiful. Other pieces make great display specimens just as they are.

Teri’s field trips bring in people from all over Texas and the rest of the United States. People regularly drive or fly in from both coasts to go on her trips. Rockhunts cost between about $20 and $75 per person per day, depending upon the site selected. The fee includes both the entrance to the area and the agate hunters choose to take home. All the fees go directly to the landowner. Teri’s compensation for leading the field trips is to be out on the ranch and collect agate without a charge.

Rockhunting season begins in October and continues through the cooler months until May. Teri runs special rockhunts for kids during school holidays. Twice a year, in October and April, she hosts large groups of rockhunters for what she calls “Big Bend Agate Roundups”. These roundups feature trips to five different ranches, including one that is only open during those times.

If you haven’t been on a rockhunt before, Teri will help you understand what the collectible rocks look like and where to find them. She’ll direct you to areas where the agate is known to be, and help you sort through what you’ve found so you can learn which agate pieces will work for your desired purpose, whether it’s to make jewelry, or to collect specimens or “garden rocks”.

If you’re interested in attending a rockhunt, in hosting rockhunts on your ranch, or just want to see what agate from the Big Bend looks like, you can look at Teri’s website at www.terismithrockhunts.com for more information, or visit her museum in the lobby of the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine.

So Just What Exactly is a Rockhunt?

This is the second in a set of press releases I wrote to send to local papers in conjunction with the story on me that was published in the September 2015 Rock & Gem Magazine.

If you go rockhunting with Teri Smith, a rockhunt is a day when you go to a private ranch, accompanied by Teri, to find agate and other collectible rocks to take home with you.

Before you begin your rockhunt, you’ll want to have your vehicle ready for rough roads, dress for a desert adventure, and assemble lunch, drinking water, and simple rockhunting equipment for your group. While you can get to some of the collecting areas in a passenger car, high clearance is needed for most sites, and a 4wd vehicle is ideal.

First thing in the morning, you will meet with Teri and the other rockhunters who are going on the trip with you in the lobby of the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine. Teri will have
you fill out some paperwork and collect the landowner’s fee for the rockhunt. She will then tell you the rules for the ranch you’ll be going to, tell you about what types of collectible rocks can be found there, and perhaps take you to her museum to show her examples of what she has found on that ranch on past rockhunts.

You’ll also join the Rollin’ Rock Club, a national group of rockhounds that sponsor Teri’s field trips. The Rollin’ Rock Club is a member of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, and participants in Teri’s rockhunts follow the AFMS rockhunting guidelines.

Teri will explain the route you’ll all take to get to the ranch, and you’ll follow Teri in your own vehicle to get there. Driving times vary from 10 minutes to more than two hours.

Once you arrive at the collecting site, Teri will give you some instructions, advise you of hazards in the area, and show you samples of the agate and other collectible rocks found there. You’ll make arrangements to get back together at some time later in the day, and head off in on your own to hunt for the agate.

If you’re new to agate hunting, you can remain with Teri after the others have dispersed, and she’ll give you hints on what to look for in order to find agate among the other rocks on the ground. In almost all cases, agate will be on the ground or partly covered, and digging is generally not required. Teri will make arrangements to meet with you again in a short time to critique what you’ve found. Then you’ll be off collecting on your own, and meet back with the others at the end of the day.

At the end of the collecting day, you’ll all meet back at the vehicles and compare finds for a while, then Teri will lead the group back out to the paved road. From there, you can follow her back to Alpine, stop along the way to photograph the sunset, or head to another one of the nearby towns for dinner.

Fall 2015 Big Bend Agate Roundup

This is the third in a series of press releases I wrote to send to local papers along with the September 2015 Rock & Gem magazine.  This information has been published in other blog posts here, but I’ve included it again because it was part of the press kit.

The Big Bend Agate Roundup is a semi-annual event which brings rockhounds from all over the country for two weeks of rockhunting on local ranches. These rockhunts are led by local rockhunting guide Teri Smith, and allow participants the chance to find many varieties of agate that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.

The October event this year consists of 15 straight days of rockhunts held on five ranches in Brewster and Presidio counties. All of the rockhunts begin in Alpine, in the lobby of the Antelope Lodge, where participants pay their fees and sign liability waivers before they caravan to the selected ranch.

The terrain on the ranches varies from almost flat to quite mountainous, providing locations perfect for people of different fitness levels. The Ritchie Ranch, which is close to Alpine, has rolling hills, and you can drive right to the locations where the agate can be found. The South Larremore Ranch is also quite flat, but more walking is required. For both the Walker and Singleton Ranches, there are locations where you can park right by the agate beds, as well as more remote agate locations that require walking and some hill climbing. At East Needle Peak, you need to be prepared to walk and climb to get to the locations where you can find agate and fossils.

The last Agate Roundup, held in April, 2015, brought over 60 rockhounds to the Big Bend from all parts of Texas and other states as far away as Oregon, Virginia, and Indiana. The schedule for this fall’s event is posted on the website www.terismithrockhunts.com and listed here:

Monday, October 19: Ritchie Ranch. Start time 11:00 a.m.
Tuesday October 20: South Larremore Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Wednesday, October 21: Walker Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Thursday, October 22: Walker Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Friday, October 23: Walker Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Saturday, October 24: Walker Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Sunday, October 25: Walker Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Monday, October 26: Walker Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Tuesday October 27: South Larremore Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Wednesday, October 28: East Needle Peak. Start time 6:00 a.m.
Thursday, October 29: Singleton Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Friday, October 30: Singleton Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Saturday, October 31: Singleton Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Sunday, November 1: Singleton Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.
Monday, November 2: South Larremore Ranch. Start time 8:00 a.m.

 

Rockhunts are Fun for Visitors, Profitable for Locals

This is the fourth in a series of press releases I wrote to send to local papers along with the September 2015 Rock & Gem magazine.

Rockhunts are a tourist attraction in the Big Bend that have not been well publicized in the past, says Teri Smith, local rockhunting guide. “In the past there were a couple of ranches that were open all the time for rockhunters, but not much beyond that. Now only the Stillwell Ranch open all the time, but I lead periodic field trips that allow rockhunters access to ranches that they would not be able to go to otherwise.”

Although the rockhunts occur in ranches in both Brewster and Presidio counties, all of them begin at the Antelope Lodge in Alpine. This makes it convenient for rockhounds to stay at motels and RV parks in Alpine.

The economic impact of rock hunting can be extrapolated from the number of rockhounds that go on Teri’s field trips each year. In 2014, 175 people came to Alpine to go rockhunting with Teri on local ranches. In addition to representing all parts of Texas, these rockhunters came from 15 states from coast to coast, and from Canada.

The average rockhunter went on 4 field trips, meaning they stayed at least 4 days in the Big Bend.

While most of these visitors came to the Big Bend specifically to go rockhunting, they also visited other tourist destinations, such as Big Bend National Park and Fort Davis National Monument, stayed in local motels, RV parks, and campgrounds, ate in local restaurants, and shopped at local stores.

Others came to the Big Bend for a vacation and decided to try rockhunting while they are here. One day of rockhunting can lead to a lifelong hobby, and many people who go on one of Teri’s trips make their next trip to the Big Bend just for rockhunting.

Rockhunts are scheduled regularly during the cooler months from October until May. Twice a year, Teri hosts the “Big Bend Agate Roundup”, which is two weeks of daily rockhunts. These concentrated rockhunting events are popular enough that more than 30 people have signed up for a specific field trip.