Too Hot to Rockhunt? You Can Still Buy Agate by the Bucketfull

For those of you who don’t live in Texas, Friday, May 1 was when some restrictions on travel ended.  Hotels and motels in the Big Bend can open back up at 25% of their capacity, and restaurants can, as well, if they have room for social distancing.  However, the nice spring weather happened while we were sheltering in place, and now it’s pretty much summertime conditions: very hot, often windy, sometimes rainy, with occasional thunder storms which can bring lots of hail, or perhaps a tornado or two.

Because of the weather conditions, Aaron and I have decided that we won’t be leading field trips again until Fall.  We have lots of people tell us that they can take the heat because they’re from the Gulf Coast.   But the heat we have here is very dry heat, and you can get dehydrated here very quickly.  The combination of the elevation, the dryness, and the heat with no shade has sent many people to hospitals with heatstroke over the years, and we won’t lead field trips in conditions which may permanently injure your health (or ours!).

On another topic, my rock sales are going well.  All of the Walker Ranch cutting agate buckets have been sold,  as well as the buckets of agate nodules.  But there’s lots of other good agate still available.  Both the Singleton and Stillwell Ranches are great locations that are not open to the public any more. In my last email, I detailed the reason that I dropped the price on the Singleton Ranch tock buckets, but I’ll repeat it here:  Unlike the Walker Ranch buckets, where I separated specimens and cutting material, the  buckets of agate from the Singleton Ranch are completely unsorted.  That means you’re apt to get specimen material along with the cuttable agate. In order to make sure you feel like you’ve gotten a good deal, I’ve lowered the price of a bucket of Singleton Ranch agate to $125 for an unsorted bucket.  Or you can spend $250 for a bucket where I’ve combined two of the unsorted buckets and removed most of the stuff that won’t cut.

The Singleton material has some bouquet agate in it, and in general those pieces run fairly small.  Many will make only one cab, and to do that you’ll need to hold the piece in your hands while you grind a flat spot to glue the dop stick on.  The colors are usually pastels, and there’s also quite a lot of black and white plume agates there, as well.  There’s also water-level agate, which is where the silica that formed the agate was dissolved in ground water flowing horizontally.  The different minerals in the solution at different time made different color bands, mostly blue, grey, black and white. The bands are absolutely straight, so the material looks great if you cut diagonally across the bands for your cab. There are moss agates and occasional tube agates, and some very neat stuff that is brecciated common opal with a background of chalcedony. The opal can be any color from white through the buff, pink, and red colors into brown, and the chalcedony background  can be clearish, white, light blue, dark blue, or black.  The buckets of Singleton material are  $125 each, since I never separated the specimen material from the cutting material.  Or, I can send you a bucket that I’ve “curated”, taking the best cutting material from two Singleton buckets and putting them into one bucket, for $250.  that saves you shipping cost for the second bucket and doesn’t leave you with a bunch of specimen material you don’t want.
    
 The Stillwell Ranch had a whole bunch of different types of agate, jasper, flint, chert and petrified wood.  Pieces can be quite large:  perhaps the size of a brick.  I am continually surprised at the variety in the Stillwell agate.    In one afternoon a couple of years ago I found agatized petrified wood in nine different color combinations.  The pieces appear not to have grown in the location where they’re found.  There are several hills on the ranch that are actually just giant rock piles, deposited there in prehistory when the Rio Grande was many miles wide.  There are plume agates, mosses, fortifications, tube agates and some others that I can’t begin to describe.  There will also be colorful petrified wood, and perhaps some flint and chert that were exceptional for some reason.  They may have originated any where along the course of the Rio Grande, from Southern Colorado through New Mexico and the Big Bend of Texas.  Because this ranch is now closed to rockhunting, the buckets are $250 each.
 
 The South Larremore Ranch is very interesting.  It has gravel piles sticking up above ground level.  These piles were the bottom of an ancient lake, and they have some incredible agate in them.  It also has the creekbed for Calamity Creek, which is the creek that goes through the former Woodward and Walker Ranches, and picks up pieces of plume agate on its way down.  So there’s material there that looks like what you would find on the Walker and Woodward Ranches, in addition to the pieces in the gravel piles that can look like the spectacular fortification agates from Mexico. There’s also agatized wood, and perhaps some flint and chert that were exceptional for some reason.  Pieces are generally small.  South Larremore Ranch agate is $200 per bucket and the South Larremore Ranch is still open for rochunts in fall, winter and spring.

Feel free to look at my website, http://terismithrockhunts.com/rocks-for-sale/.

for other rocks for sale, and email me if you have any questions.

Regards, Teri & Aaron

Winter/Spring 2020 Rockhunt Schedule

Aaron Thomas and I are happy to present the Big Bend rockhunt schedule for Winter and Spring, 2020.

Aaron has added a new ranch:  The Stieg Ranch, near Balmorhea. The Stieg Ranch is an alluvial fan, which is relatively flat terrain, with a creek bed running through it.  Both the alluvial fan and the creek bed have every type of agate that eroded out of the surrounding hills.  You can find the Balmorhea Blue agate, banded agate, jasper, petrified wood, chert and artifacts.  The fee will be $50 per person, and that will entitle you to a 5-gallon bucket full of collectible rocks.

Aaron will be leading field trips every weekend from January 4th through the end of April. I will be gone for January, February, and the beginning of March, and will begin my weekday hunts on Monday, March 16.  I’ll have hunts every weekday during the two weeks that constitute spring break for most Texas schools, so there will be hunts each day from Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, March 29.  Then there will be rockhunts Thursdays through Mondays for the next several weeks until  Monday, April 27.  This will give y’all the longest possible time for rockhunting on your trip out to the Big Bend, and you can pick and choose which days you’d like to hunt.  You can sign up for Aaron’s field trips the same way you sign up for mine:  send me an email with the days you wish to attend, and make sure to include the phone number for a cell phone you’ll have with you.  Both Aaron and I will be leading trips to the South Larremore Ranch.   All of Aaron’s field trips will be limited to 12 people, and there’s still no limit to the number than can attend my field trips.

All field trips this year will begin at Tri-la-Bite, which is at the corner of Holland Avenue and Garnett Street in Alpine.  It’s on the left side of the street, across from the Sonic Drive-In.

So here’s the schedule.  Be sure to look at the start time for your field trip because they vary depending upon the ranch. I love y’all, but I’m tired of getting emails and calls for questions that are answered in this email, and available on my website.

Regards,

Teri and Aaron

Date Location Leader Cost Start Time Requirements
Sat. 12/28 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Sun. 12/29 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sat. 1/4 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 1/5 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Sat. 1/11 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 1/12 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sat. 1/18 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 1/19 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Sat. 1/25 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 1/26 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sat. 2/1 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 2/2 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Sat. 2/8 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 2/9 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sat. 2/15 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 2/16 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Sat. 2/21 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 2/22 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sat. 2/29 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 3/1 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Sat. 3/7 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 3/8 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sat. 3/14 South Larremore Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun.3/15 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Mon. 3/16 Ritchie Teri $10 entrance + $1/lb 9:00 Cash or check
Tue. 3/17 South Larremore Ranch Teri $50 8:00 Cash or check
Wed 3/18 East Needle Peak Teri $40 8:00 Cash or check
Thu 3/19 Ritchie Teri $10 entrance + $1/lb 9:00 Cash or check
Fri 3/20 South Larremore Ranch Teri $50 8:00 Cash or check
Sat. 3/21 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 3/22 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Mon. 3/23 East Needle Peak Teri $40 8:00 Cash or check
Tue. 3/24 Ritchie Ranch Teri $10 entrance + $1/lb 9:00 Cash or check
Wed 3/25 South Larremore Ranch Teri $50 8:00 Cash or check
Thu 3/26 East Needle Peak Teri $40 8:00 Cash or check
Fri 3/27 Ritchie Teri $10 entrance + $1/lb 9:00 Cash or check
Sat. 3/28 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people.  Cash only
Sun. 3/29 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people Cash or check
Thurs  4/2 South Larremore Ranch Teri $50 8:00 Cash or check
Fri 4/3 East Needle Peak Teri $40 8:00 Cash or check
Sat. 4/4 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 4/5 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Mon 4/6 Ritchie Teri $10 entrance + $1/lb 9:00 Cash or check
Thurs 4/9 Ritchie Teri $10 entrance + $1/lb 9:00 Cash or check
Fri 4/10 South Larremore Ranch Teri $50 8:00 Cash or check
Sat. 4/11 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 4/12 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Mon 4/13 East Needle Peak Teri $40 8:00 Cash or check
Thurs 4/16 South Larremore Ranch Teri $50 8:00 Cash or check
Fri 4/17 East Needle Peak Teri $40 8:00 Cash or check
Sat. 4/18 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Sun. 4/19 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Mon 4/20 Ritchie Teri $10 entrance + $1/lb 9:00 Cash or check
Thurs 4/21 South Larremore Ranch Teri $50 8:00 Cash or check
Fri 4/24 East Needle Peak Teri $40 8:00 Cash or check
Sat. 4/25 Stieg Ranch Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 4/26 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Mon 4/27 Ritchie Ranch Teri $10 entrance + $1/lb 9:00 Cash or check

Rockhunts for November and December 2019

I’ve finally got a rockhunt schedule for the rest of November and December, and there are some very exciting developments for y’all!

I’m now working with Aaron Thomas, who is a degreed mineralogist and geologist, and a full time Alpine resident.  He and his wife Katrina run a food truck  business in Alpine called Tri-la-Bite, so he’s only free to lead field trips on Saturdays and Sundays.  He has been rockhunting in the Big Bend for most of his life, and has several ranches available for field trips on an occasional basis and a couple he can go to all the time.  Aaron’s very enthusiastic as well as knowledgeable, has more stamina than all of us put together, and is lots of fun to be around.

Because of Aaron’s schedule, I’ll be moving my field trips to the weekdays before and after the weekends when Aaron can lead trips.  This will give y’all the longest possible time for rockhunting on your trip out to the Big Bend, and you can pick and choose which days you’d like to hunt.  You can sign up for Aaron’s field trips the same way you sign up for mine:  send me an email with the days you wish to attend, and make sure to include the phone number for a cell phone you’ll have with you.  Both Aaron and I will be leading trips to the South Larremore Ranch.   All of Aaron’s field trips will be limited to 12 people, and there’s still no limit to the number than can attend my field trips.

For this set of rockhunts, the new ranch Aaron has available each weekend is the Needle Peak property owned by Jan Woodward.  This is the traditional Needle Peak site which has produced great pompom and moss agates and for the past 60 or so years. It’s west of the East Needle Peak property we’ve been hunting on for years, and if you wish to climb up to where the agate is coming out of the mountain, it’s rather steep.  But there is plenty of agate to be found on the flat area below the mountains and above the creekbed.  I was there last weekend and there are spectacular things to be found!  And Jan Woodward is donating all proceeds from the hunts to the local animal shelter in the name of her late husband Trey Woodward.

All field trips this year will begin at Tri-la-Bite, which is at the corner of Holland Avenue and Garnett Street in Alpine.  It’s on the left side of the street, across from the Sonic Drive-In.

So here’s the schedule.  Be sure to look at the start time for your field trip because they vary depending upon the ranch. I love y’all, but I’m tired of getting emails and calls for questions that are answered in this email, and available on my website.

Date Location Leader Cost Start Time Requirements
Thurs. 11/14 Ritchie Ranch Teri $10 entrance + $1/lb 9:00 Cash or check
Fri. 11/15 East Needle Peak Teri $40 8:00 Cash or check
Sat. 11/16 South Larremore Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people.  Cash or check
Sun. 11/17 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Mon. 11/18 South Larremore Teri $50 8:00 Cash or check
Thurs. 11/28 South Larremore Teri $50 8:00 Cash or check
Fri. 11/29 Ritchie Ranch Teri $10 entrance + $1/lb 9:00 Cash or check
Sat. 11/30 East Needle Peak Teri $40 8:00 Cash or check
Sun. 12/1 South Larremore Teri $50 8:00 Cash or check
Mon 12/2 East Needle Peak Teri $40 8:00 Cash or check
Sat. 12/7 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Sun 12/8 South Larremore Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people Cash or check
Sat 12/14 South Larremore Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people Cash or check
Sun 12/15 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Sat 12/21 Needle Peak Aaron $50 6:30 Limit of 12 people Cash only
Sun 12/22 South Larremore Aaron $50 8:00 Limit of 12 people Cash or check

Rollin’ Rock Club membership is still required for my field trips.  Cost is $10 single and $16 for a dual membership.  Membership will run through the year 2020.

Regards,

Teri