Trip Report: Walker Ranch, East Needle Peak, and Ritchie Ranch rockhunts

Thank you to everyone who came out to West Texas for the recent rockhunts.  It was a busy couple of weeks!    The field trips were all a great success.  The weather was fantastic.  People found great rocks.  Everyone had fun.  The Sunday night barbecue was wonderful (thanks again to Johnny French and the Lodge’s own Brenda Condra)!  And everyone picked up their trash and left the ranches clean!

There were 10 people that went to the Ritchie Ranch, 21 who went to East Needle Peak, and a total of 42 who went to the Walker Ranch (23 for 3 days or more, 19 for 1 or 2 days.)  The rockhounds came from Oklahoma, New Mexico, Georgia, Missouri, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Arkansas in addition to many people from different parts of Texas.

The intention is to do this again next year at the time of the Alpine Agate Festival.  Also, we could have a set of field trips in late September or early October if we can get the 20 people required for the Walker Ranch.

So- are you interested in a Fall hunt?  If so, please email me (or reply to this email) and let me know.  We could do the weekends of September 28 & 29, October 5 & 6, or October 12 & 13.  I’d like to know how many people would come in your group, and which weekend you’d prefer.

As for me, I found a fantastic piece of banded agate:  a 15-1/2 lb chunk of purple, hot pink, and grey with yellow citrine crystals that’s nothing like the usual Walker Ranch agate.  The photo below, taken by Johnny French, shows me holding my prize.  I’ve never seen anything like it from the Big Bend!

And for all of you who didn’t get to go on this set of field trips, we’ve just had some rain this afternoon, so there will be lots of great rocks for you to find when you can get out here.

Regards, Teri


Walker Ranch start time changed to 8 a.m.

Several people have asked me to start the Walker Ranch rockhunt earlier than 9:00, so I have moved the starting time to 8:00 a.m.  This applies to the first day of your hunt only, whether it is Friday or Saturday.  If you are hunting additional days, you’ll have the combination to the ranch gate and can come and go as your please.

Please check the schedule on my website to see if you know of all the changes.  I’ve also changed the starting time on the East Needle Peak hunts from 7 a.m. to 6 a.m.

The Ritchie Ranch hunts will still start at 9 a.m.

Regards, Teri

Walker Ranch hunt now 5 days, East Needle Peak start time changed to 6:00 a.m.

As you’ve probably already heard, the Walker Ranch rockhunt is definitely ON.  It will run for a total of FIVE days now:  Friday 4/19, Saturday 4/20, Sunday 4/21, Monday 4/22, and Tuesday 4/23.

2.  Because of the warm weather predicted for next week at East Needle Peak, I’m moving the start time back from 7:00 a.m. in Alpine to 6:00 a.m. in Alpine.  That will give us an earlier start at Needle Peak and therefore more time to rockhunt before the weather gets hot.  I will put this information on my website as well.

3. I  have received deposits for everyone who’s signed up except Brad Huizinga, Ed Tindell, and Travis Steigerwalt.  If you haven’t sent your deposit, please do so now, or at least email me so I know for sure that you’re coming.

FREE Rockhound barbecue planned

For all of you who will be in town on the night of Sunday, April 21, there will be a free rockhound barbecue at the Antelope Lodge.  We do this each time we have weekend rockhunts because there aren’t many restaurants open for dinner on Sunday, and we certainly don’t want rockhunters to go hungry.

The sponsor of this event is Johnny French, who brings brisket with him from the Corpus Christi area so we can have an incredible feast.  The Antelope Lodge’s resident barbecue artists, Russ and Brenda Condra, perform their magic on the fixins, and everybody has a great time.

So please join us at around 6 pm on Sunday, April 21, for some great food and rockhound talk about the “one that got away” (although we have no idea HOW a rock would get away).  We’ll serve iced tea and water.  If you would like alcoholic beverages, please bring them with you.

Walker Ranch Rockhunt Participant Quota Met

We now have 21 signed up for all 3 days, so the rockhunt is definitely ON!  Hunt will be for 4 days: Friday 4/19. Sat., 4/20, Sun. 4/21, and Mon. 4/22. For the $150, you can hunt any 3 out of the 4 days. This gives you a “day off” to go to the gem show without missing out on the rockhunting.

There are also several people signed up for just one day, and at least one who’s going all four days.

If you haven’t sent your deposit yet, make the check for half of the fee to Bryan Crumpton, and mail it to Teri Smith, 509 N. 8th Street, Alpine, TX  79830.

East Needle Peak hunts will be Wednesday, 4/17 and Thursday, 4/18. Cost is $40 per person Let me know in advance if you’re interested in going. The group will meet at the Antelope Lodge at 7 a.m. each day.

Ritchie Ranch hunts will be Monday 4/15, Tuesday, 4/16, and Tuesday 4/23. Cost is $5 per person, plus $1/lb for good rocks. Again, let me know in advance if you’re interested in going. The group will meet at the Antelope Lodge at 9 a.m. each day.

For the trips to East Needle Peak and the Ritchie Ranch, no deposit is required.  You’ll just pay on the day of the trips.  All the ranches accept cash and checks as payment.

The reason I need to know in advance for the hunts is twofold: If no one is interested, I’ll cancel the hunt, and if I don’t know you’re coming, I won’t wait for you if you’re a bit late.

Remember that Rollin’ Rock Club membership is required for all these hunts. Or you can be a member of an SCFMS club that considers my rockhunts “Official” hunts for their club.