Announcing a series of Winter and Spring 2014 field trips to the SINGLETON RANCH in Presidio County. This is the “ranch south of Marfa” that I have been leading field trips on occasionally during the past few years. Now, for the first time, I’m able to use the name of the ranch, and to schedule field trips for the entire spring season.
The field trips will be four-day weekends on the second and fourth weekend of each month from now through May, with the exception of this month, when the field trips will be on the 3rd and 4th weekends. The last field trip in May will be over Memorial Day weekend, and will be 5 days rather than 4.
Here’s the schedule:
Thursday, January 16, through Sunday, January 19
Thursday, January 23 through Sunday, January 26
Thursday, February 6 through Sunday, February 9
Thursday, February 20 through Sunday, February 23
Thursday, March 6 through Sunday, March 9
Thursday, March 20 through Sunday, March 23
Thursday, April 10 through Sunday, April 13
Thursday, April 24 through Sunday, April 27
Thursday, May 8 through Sunday, May 11
Thursday, May 22 through Monday, May 26
The cost will be $50 per person per day. That covers the first 5-gallon bucket of material. Each additional bucket of agate is $40. Payment must be in CASH ONLY. If you haven’t been out there before, I’ll show you what to look for at the beginning of the day, and if you’re not sure what you should keep at the end of the day, I’ll help you sort out your finds as much as time allows. Unlike the Walker Ranch, there’s no minimum number of people required for these trips to occur, and I don’t need a deposit in advance.
Rollin’ Rock Club membership is required for these trips! For those of you who are already members, you can renew your membership for 2014 at the field trip. If you haven’t joined yet, you can join the RRC at the start of the field trip. The cost is $10 per year for a single membership, and $16 per year for a dual membership.
The Singleton Ranch is located south of Marfa on Highway 169. 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.
Right now there are two major collecting areas, so at least two days of hunting will be required to collect the different types of agate available. I’ll also be checking out other areas on the ranch for new hunting locations that I haven’t located yet. The material out there is fantastic, but there may still be other things out there that haven’t been seen for years!
This ranch has been open for hunting on and off for the past several years. It is my hope and belief that I will be able to continue leading field trips on this ranch every spring from now on. However, if you haven’t been to this ranch, don’t wait for next year. Take advantage of the opportunity this spring and see what you’ve been missing!
Also, for those of you planning to come out for the Walker field trip in April, the Singleton trips will be occurring on both the weekend before and the weekend after the Walker trip. I’m sure I can do a few field trips in between, too, to East Needle Peak and the Ritchie Ranch, but I won’t be able to do those trips every day. Now and then I’ll need a day off to catch up on my beauty sleep!
The field trips will begin at 8 a.m. each day in front of the office of the Antelope Lodge in Alpine. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know when you’d like to come. For reservations at the Antelope Lodge, use our website at www.antelopelodge.com, or call 1 (800) 880-8106.
Looking forward to a great spring,