Local Rocks & Gems on Display at Last Frontier Museum

This is the last page of a set of press releases I sent to local newspapers with a copy of the Rock & Gem magazine for September. The purpose is to let Big Bend area residents know that rockhunting is a viable tourist attraction in the Big Bend Region.

Using mostly rocks found on her field trips, Teri Smith has created the Last Frontier Museum to show rockhunters and others what collectible and valuable rocks and gems can be found in the Big Bend Region.

The museum fills a room in the office of the Antelope Lodge. Except for the contents of a display of “Agate from Other Locations”, most of the items in the museum were found by Teri during her years of rockhunting in the Big Bend.

According to Teri, the museum could be much larger if she had the room. “There are many wonderful examples of agate and other minerals that I simply don’t have space for right now”, says Teri.

But the museum is quite crowded as it is, with exhibits covering the different types of agate found in the Big Bend, the colors and forms of quartz crystals found here, the different ways agate can look when you find it, and examples of what you can do with the agate you’ve found. There’s also an exhibit comparing what can be found on each of the ranches where Teri leads rockhunts.

Fossils, too, have a place in the museum. They can be found in profusion in the area near Terlingua, and also as far up in elevation as Alpine and its environs.

The Last Frontier Museum is in the lobby of the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90 in Alpine, and open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Admission is free.

First Signups for Big Bend Agate Roundup

Hi Y’all! We’re starting to get signups for the October Agate Roundup. 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 16.

Here’s the list of people I have signed up so far:

Allison, Linda Number of people: ? Walker: 10/23-10/24

Backo, John Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/23-10/26 South Larremore: 10/27

Bean, Debra Number of people: 1 Walker: ? South Larremore: ?

Budde, Dee Number of people: 2 Walker: 10/23-10/26 South Larremore: 10/27 East Needle Peak: 10/28; Singleton: 10/29-10/30

Contreras, Michael Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21 South Larremore: 10/20

Dean, Adam Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21-10/23 South Larremore: 10/20

Edwards, Ron & Lori Number of people: 2 Walker: 10/26 South Larremore: 10/27 East Needle Peak: 10/28

Guinn, Larry Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21-10/23

Johnson, Roger Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/23-10/26 South Larremore: 10/27 East Needle Peak: 10/28 Singleton:1 0/29-11/1

Martin, Jane Number of people: 1 Walker: ?

Morgan, Marion & Whaley, Kathy Number of people: 2 Walker: 10/25 South Larremore: 10/27 Singleton: 10/29

Muncee, Tammy & Burge, Pandora Number of people: 2 Walker: 10/21-10/22

Newberg, Steve Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21-10/23

Speck, John Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/23-10/25

Tindelll, Ed Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21-10/26

Waugh, Steve Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21-10/24

SOME IMPORTANT FINANCIAL DETAILS:

The Walker Ranch portion of the Agate Roundup requires payment of at least half the fee in advance. As an incentive for you to send the complete fee in early, if you send your entire fee postmarked by Wednesday, September 23, and received by Saturday, September 26, you get a free day at the end of your rockhunt. The price is still the same: $75 per person per day, or $150 per person for 3 days. The fourth, fifth and sixth days are $37.50 each. To send your Walker Ranch deposit in, please make a check out to Bryan Crumpton, and send it c/o Teri Smith, 509 N. 8th Street, Alpine, TX 79830.

Here’s what you’ll need to pay before and after the deadline for the extra day:

If Payment In Full Received by 9/26

1 day, 1 person: $75

2 days, 1 person: $75

3 days, 1 person: $150

4 days, 1 person: $150

5 days, 1 person: $187.50

6 days, 1 person: $225

1 day, 2 people: $150

2 days, 2 people: $150

3 days, 2 people: $300

4 days, 2 people: $300

5 days, 2 people: $375

6 days, 12 people: $450

If Payment In Full NOT Received by 9/26

1 day, 1 person: $75

2 days, 1 person: $150

3 days, 1 person: $150

4 days, 1 person: $187.50

5 days, 1 person: $225

6 days, 1 person: $262.50

1 day, 2 people: $150

2 days, 2 people: $300

3 days, 2 people: $300

4 days, 2 people: $375

5 days, 2 people: $450

6 days, 12 people: $525

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 Agate Roundup happen. Right now we have 19 signed up to attend at least one day at the Walker Ranch. We’ve never had a problem getting to the number 20 and beyond, but there is plenty of room for everyone at the Walker Ranch.

The only other limit on the hunts is a maximum number of participants on the South Larremore Ranch. Each hunt will be limited to 20 participants.

You don’t need to send me deposits for the Ritchie Ranch, 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 South Larremore Ranch and East Needle Peak can be paid with cash or a check. 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.

I hope to see a lot of you in October!

Teri

Rock & Gem Magazine Article about — Me!

Hi! The new (September 2015) issue of Rock & Gem magazine has an article in it on me and the field trips I lead. The five ranches I lead trips on are featured in the article. I even got a photo on the cover!

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Rock & Gem is a national publication with a circulation of at least 40,000 copies per issue. It’s been around for 45 years, and it’s the most thorough rockhound magazine around. If you don’t subscribe, you should be able to get a copy from a local rock shop, or http://www.rockngem.com/. They also have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RockandGem.

Many thanks to my great friend Johnny French for writing the article! Johnny probably won’t get out to the October Agate Roundup this year, so we’ll have to have our barbecue without him, but he’ll surely be missed.

Regards,

Teri

Fall 2015 big Bend Rockhunts

Here’s a complete schedule so far for the Fall 2015 rockhunts. The 2015-2016 rockhunting season will begin on Wed., 10/7. The schedule includes the Big Bend Agate Roundup rockhunts scheduled for 10/19 – 11/2.

Right now, I don’t have any rockhunts scheduled during mule deer season, which is 11/27 – 12/13 this year. 11/27 is the day after Thanksgiving, and 12/13 is a Sunday. HOWEVER, I can probably schedule rockhunts during that time on the Singleton, East Needle Peak, and South Larremore ranches, once the landowners have decided when to allow deer hunters onto their ranches. So – if that’s your vacation, and you wish to go rockhunting, let me know and I’ll see what I can schedule.
I won’t be available from 11/19 – 24, as the 23rd is our (John & Teri Smith’s) 30th anniversary, and we hope to have our family visit us during that time.

Wed., 10/7: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $40 per person per day.
Thurs., 10/8: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Fri., 10/9: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sat., 10/10: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sun., 10/11: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Mon., 10/12: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. $40 per person per day.

Mon., 10/19: Ritchie Ranch. Start: 11:00 a.m. Cost: $10 per person plus $1 per lb for agate.
Tues. 10/20: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Wed., 10/21: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Thurs., 10/22: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Fri., 10/23: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Sat., 10/24: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Sun., 10/25: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Mon., 10/26: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Tues. 10/27: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Wed., 10/28: East Needle Peak. Start: 6:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Thurs., 10/29: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Fri., 10/30: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sat., 10/31: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sun., 11/1: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Mon., 11/2: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.

Wed., 11/11: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Thurs., 11/12: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Fri., 11/13: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sat., 11/14: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sun., 11/15: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Mon., 11/16: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.

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.

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.
Note that all of the field trips begin at the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine.
The price for the Walker Ranch is: $75 per person per day, or $150 per person for 3 days. The fourth and fifth days are $37.50 each. I believe that Bryan Crumpton will offer the usual “pay in full and get an extra day free” deal for the Walker Ranch hunt, but I haven’t gotten the details for that yet.

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.

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 will then make other plans for that day and not be available if someone wants me to “un-cancel” the hunt at the last minute.

Regards,
Teri

Big Bend Agate Roundup Scheduled for October 19 – November 2, 2015

Hi Y’all! I’ve finally gotten a calendar together for all the Walker Ranch hunts in October, and the hunts to the Ritchie Ranch, South Larremore Ranch, the Singleton Ranch and East Needle Peak that go on around them. The schedule is below. Note that all of the field trips begin at the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine.
I’ve decided that these events need a name, so I’m going to start calling them Big Bend Agate Roundups. These will be the two-week-long events that go on in April and October each year.
This Fall’s Agate Roundup begins on Monday, October 19, and runs for a total of 15 days straight. I will probably have some help this year in the form of Jean and Brian Larremore, who may do the South Larremore Ranch hunts without me if I get too tired.
There are no changes from last spring as far as cost goes. The price for the Walker Ranch is still the same: $75 per person per day, or $150 per person for 3 days. The fourth and fifth days are $37.50 each. The Singleton Ranch is $50 per person per day, East Needle Peak is $40 per person per day, and the Ritchie Ranch is $10 per person per day plus $1 per lb. of agate you take. The cost of the South Larremore Ranch varies depending upon who is leading the trip: If I am, it’s $40 per person per day, and if one of the Larremores leads the trip, it’s $50 per person per day.
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.
I believe that Bryan Crumpton will offer the usual “pay in full and get an extra day free” deal for the Walker Ranch hunt, but I haven’t gotten the details for that yet. I will verify that before I ask you to send me any money for the Walker Ranch hunt.
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.
I’ll send another email today concerning the schedule of Singleton Ranch, East Needle Peak and South Larremore Ranch hunts this Fall.
Please let me know by return email which rockhunts you’d like to attend, so I can start putting together a sign-up list.
Regards,
Teri

May Rockhunts

Thank you for 2 weeks of successful rockhunts. The hunts keep getting bigger each time we have them, and we get participants from all over the country joining us. I wish to especially thank my great friend Johnny French, who continued his tradition of providing us with the main dishes for our Sunday rockhound barbecue. Johnny orders the brisket and ham ahead of time, and stops on his way from Corpus Christi to Alpine to pick it up. He certainly knows where to find the best food!

I’ve made great friends through these field trips, and keep meeting wonderful rockhounds. I hope y’all are making new friends, as well. To find additional friends while it’s too hot for field trips, check out the many Facebook groups for rockhounds. There are also lots of websites with interesting information on them about all areas of our hobby.

If you’re happy with my rockhunts, please consider posting to http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g30158-d7713497-Reviews-Rock_Hunting_in_the_Big_Bend_of_Texas_with_Teri_Smith-Alpine_Texas.html. I’ve gotten two 5-star reviews there, which makes me the #1 attraction in Alpine. Getting more good reviews will help me to get noticed by the Alpine and Brewster County Tourism groups for the rockhunts that I do, and hopefully get some support and advertising money from the hotel/motel tax money collected from you, the rockhunters.

We have one more month before it gets too hot to rockhunt. The May, 2015 Schedule is:

Wednesday, 5/6: South Larremore Ranch

Thursday, 5/7 through Sunday, 5/10: Singleton Ranch

Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17: Walker Ranch hunt (if we can get at least 6 people – and hopefully more – signed up, Bryan will come out and do a short hunt for us)

Wednesday, May 20: South Larremore Ranch

Thursday, 5/21 through Sunday, 5/24: Singleton Ranch

Monday, 5/25: Ritchie Ranch rockhunt for both adults and kids.

After that, I’ll be closing down for the summer. I’ll hopefully get time to sort my rocks, clean them up, and make some additions to the displays in the museum. I’ll also be working at the Antelope Lodge. Rockhunts will start again during October, probably with a big 2-week Field Trip Extravaganza like we just did.

I’d be really interested in your comments about my rockhunts in general and about this last set of hunts. The number of people attending the hunts is growing, and that can have both positive and negative effects on your experience. Please email me at agatehunter@sbcglobal.net.

Regards,

Teri

Details for April, 2015 Rockhunts

Finally!  I’m ready to provide details for the rockhunts coming up in April.  I apologize to all who have emailed and called asking for these details, but I needed to take some time and explore the South Larremore Ranch before I could tell you what is to be found there, and before the Larremores could set a price for the rockhunts.  I was out at the South Larremore Ranch last Saturday, Thursday and today, and I found quite a variety of agates and other goodies.  I’ll include details about the South Larremore Ranch at the end of this email.

The schedule is:
Tuesday, April 14, 2015:  Ritchie Ranch
Wednesday, April 15, 2015:  Walker Ranch
Thursday, April 16, 2015:  Walker Ranch
Friday, April 17, 2015:  Walker Ranch
Saturday, April 18, 2015:  Walker Ranch
Sunday, April 19, 2015:  Walker Ranch
Monday, April 20, 2015:  Walker Ranch
Tuesday, April 21, 2015:  South Larremore Ranch
Wednesday, April 22, 2015:  East Needle Peak
Thursday, April 23, 2015:  Singleton Ranch
Friday, April 24, 2015:  Singleton Ranch
Saturday, April 25, 2015:  Singleton Ranch
Sunday, April 26, 2015:  Singleton Ranch
Monday, April 27, 2015:  South Larremore Ranch

The prices for the ranches vary as shown below:
The Ritchie Ranch is $10 per person entrance fee, and $1 per lb. for the agate and quartz crystals you take with you.  I’ve found a new agate piece at the top of the hill where my “big rock” came from, and I have no idea how big it is.  If you want it, you just have to dig it out and pay for it!  Payment can be by cash or check.

The Walker Ranch is again offering a spectacular deal on their rockhunts:  if you pay in full by March 15, you get a free day.  This is on top of the free day you get already when you pay for two days at full price.   The first two days are at $75 per day, the next two at $37.50 per day.  So the fee schedule is:
1 day $75
2 days $150 ($75 if you pay by March 15th)
3 days $150
4 days $187.50 ($150 if you pay by March 15th)
5 days $225.00 ($187.50 if you pay by March 15)
6 days $262.50 ($225 if you pay by March 15)

In order to get on the list for this trip, you need to send a deposit of at least half of the fee.  Of course, if you send the whole fee by March 15, you get an extra day of rockhunting for free!  We need 20 paid attendees for this trip to happen.  The check should be made out to Bryan Crumpton, and you can send it to me at:
Teri Smith
509 N. 8th Street
Alpine, TX  79830

South Larremore Ranch is about 45 miles south of Alpine on Highway 118.  It’s 2,500 acres that was once part of Rex Ivey’s ranch, which is now subdivided and called East Rim Ranch.   The ranch is flat, and consists of alluvial deposits containing many types of quartz stones.  I have wandered around on this ranch for three days, and have found agate, including moss agates, fortification agates, and plume agates; petrified wood, some of which is completely agatized in beautiful colors; jasper in all colors of red from orange to purple, along with yellow, orange, and green;  and flint and/or chert in nodules of different colors.  There are also some shell fossils, and some interesting things I call “Terlingua Nodules” that appear to be at least partly agatized on the outside, and often are filled with calciferous mud on the inside.  The cost for this ranch will be $40 per person.

East Needle Peak is $40 per person per day.  On my last trip down there, a couple of months ago, I found a 16 lb. chunk of green moss with pompoms in it, and a 5 lb chunk of clear petrified wood with yellow and orange inclusions.  The only reason I could identify it as wood is because the exterior of the piece showed the rings and bark of the original wood.

The Singleton Ranch is $50 per person per day, cash only.  More details can be found on my website.

All of my field trips require that you join the Rollin’ Rock Club.  The fee for that is $10 single or $16 dual membership for the calendar year 2015.

To summarize:  I need at least half your fee for the Walker Ranch hunts to secure your place.  And I will need 20 participants to ensure that the hunts occur (we’ve never had a problem with getting 20 people!)  If you want to get an extra “free” day, send your entire fee to me by March 15.

You don’t need to send me a deposit on the other ranches.  Simply send me an email telling me which days/ranches you wish to hunt on, and I’ll put you on the list.

All hunts begin at the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine.  Specifics about each hunt’s starting time will be sent in an email in about a week or so.

Regards,
Teri

What Tools You Need for Rockhunting in the Big Bend

All the ranches I lead field trips on have a good quantity of agate on the ground. This occurs because the basalt, where the agate grows, erodes, but the agates don’t, so they’re left in the dirt. Generally, all you need to do is pick them up. The more difficult ones may require you to dig in the soft dirt.

My basic equipment list is this: a table knife, like the ones you can get at a dollar store or thrift store. Stainless steel, all one piece. You use this to dig in the dirt around an agate and pop it out. Next, a chopstick. Use this to clean dirt off of an agate or clean out the inside of a geode so you don’t damage the crystals or mark the agate surface with a metal implement. Third, a toothbrush. This goes with the fourth item, which is a spray bottle filled with water. Use these two together to clean agates to see if they’re what you want. And wetting down an agate helps you see what it will look like polished. Another useful item is flagging tape, which can be used to mark the location where you put your lunch, your bag, or your car, and to mark the location of a rock you want to go back to later.

For putting your finds in, I like the bags we used to get when we went to conferences: canvas, with a couple of fairly long handles so they’ll sit on your shoulder. You can find these at thrift stores, garage sales, and perhaps in your own closet. When the bag gets full and you bring it back to the car, you can empty it into a bucket and start over. That way you don’t have to carry many rocks at a time.

Of course, you want to have a rock pick, a crack hammer or small sledge, and a couple of prybars in your car in case you find the one in a thousand agate that’s still in the basalt. But you don’t need to carry them with you all the time. You can buy some construction flagging tape and take a piece with you as you hunt. Then you can mark where the great rock is that you need to get out of the host rock, and go back to your car for the tools.

Now, I’m spoiled, and I carry something called a gem scoop or treasure scoop. this gadget helps you by allowing you to lift rocks up off the ground without having to bend over. I should have some in my shop to sell by April, or you can get them from Kingsley North at this url: http://www.kingsleynorth.com/skshop/products.php?keys=treasure%20scoop&catID=