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

Spring Rockhunts for 2015

The cold weather is over for a while, and I was out on the Singleton Ranch this last Sunday, on top of Telephone Hill.  The rain, ice and snow that we’ve had in the past six weeks has made agate visible everywhere.  The grass has not yet begun to grow, and the pickings are very, very good.  The same applies at the Ritchie Ranch, and I’m sure it applies to the Walker Ranch as well.

I’ve got Singleton Ranch rockhunts scheduled for the second and fourth weekends in February and March.  If you have a chance to come out in February and March, the weather should range from cool to moderate.  In other words, just about perfect for rockhunting. The schedule for the Singleton Ranch hunts will be modified in April, when the Walker Ranch hunts occur.

The second and third weeks of March are Spring Break for most schools in Texas.  I’m scheduling special hunts for families with kids at the Ritchie Ranch during these weeks.  The hunts will be Monday, March 9, and Wednesday, March 11; and again the following week on Monday, March 16, Wednesday March 18, and Friday, March 20.  The hunts will be about half a day long, and start at 10 a.m. at the Antelope Lodge in Alpine.  For details, look at my website at www.terismithrockhunts.com.

The special April rockhunts will begin on Tuesday, April 14, which is the week of the Gem and Mineral Show in Alpine.  There won’t be any hunts the weekend before that because I’ll be out of town for my husband John’s 59th high school reunion in Goliad.

The hunts at the Walker Ranch will probably begin Wednesday, April 15 and continue through Monday, April 20.  After that will be hunts to the Singleton Ranch, the Ritchie Ranch and East Needle Peak.

One of the reasons I haven’t finalized the schedule is that I’m looking at a brand-new ranch this weekend.  If there is lots of agate on this new ranch, it will impact the schedule for the days after the Walker Ranch hunt.  The ranch is located between Highway 118 and Highway 385, close to Santiago Peak, so it may have agate that’s different from any of the other places where I lead field trips. I’ll let y’all know early next week.

This year, another event is also taking place in Alpine on the same weekend as the Gem Show and Walker Ranch Rockhunts.  It’s a show at the Museum of the Big Bend entitled Trappings of Texas.  It’s been held for many years, but until this year it was in February, concurrent with the Cowboy Poetry weekend.  What this means for rockhunters is that lodging in Alpine is going fast.  So as soon as you decide that you wish to come out for the rockhunts, consider booking a room.

More to come next week.

Regards,
Teri

October Rockhunting Field Trip Report/Singleton Ranch Schedule

The field trips of October 2014 are over, and I’m enjoying sleeping in for a few days. The fieldtrips were extremely successful, with a total of 82 rockhounds going on 19 field trips at the Singleton Ranch, the Walker Ranch, and East Needle Peak. The weather varied from hot to cool to rainy, and all the rain we’d had in the summer moved the soil around enough that lots of agate nodules were poking up from the ground, waiting to be found. There were lots of wonderful agates found at each ranch. Labradorite was plentiful at the Walker Ranch, especially around a little spot that Ed Tindell has named “Labradorite Hill”. Animals spotted included mule deer, pronghorn antelope, javalina, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, foxes, lots of horned lizards in a variety of colors, a Western box turtle and a Texas Banded Gecko. The wildflowers were blooming out of season, and there were butterflies everywhere, along with lots of grasshoppers. There were a couple of rattlesnake sightings, but one of those really doesn’t count, because Robert Redmond photographs snakes and went looking for them. Lisa Tirey Butler photographed the Milky Way from the Walker Ranch, and the photos are spectacular. If any of y’all have photos you wish to share, email them to me at agatehunter@sbcglobal.net. I’ll put as many up on my website as I can! Some of y’all had been here many times. Others were new to these field trips. We had kids as young as 12 and as old as – me. Besides coming from all parts of Texas, rockhounds came from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. And remember that the season’s just starting! There are hunts at the Singleton Ranch scheduled on the second and fourth weekends of each month from now until next May. Here’s a schedule for those hunts: November 6 – 9 (yes, this week!) November 20 – 23 December 11 – 14 (tentative, because it’s deer season, and hunters with guns have priority) December 25 – 28 (‘ll hunt on Christmas Day if anyone wants to go!) January 8 – 11 January 22 – 25 February 12 – 15 February 26 – March 1 March 12 – 15 March 26 – 29 April 9 – 12 (before the Gem Show and the Walker Ranch hunts) April 23 – 25 (after the Gem Show and the Walker Ranch hunts) May 7 – 10 May 21 – 24 Just let me know when you want to go! For those who have kids who would like a rockhunt that doesn’t last a full day, the Ritchie Ranch will be available for hunts during Thanksgiving week, Christmas Vacation and Spring break. The ranch is ideal for kids and beginners. Contact me for details. The Spring Walker Ranch hunt is tentatively scheduled for April 19 – 23, which should be concurrent with the Alpine Agate Festival, which hasn’t posted its dates yet. I’ll let you know when the dates are finalized for that hunt. And East Needle Peak, the Singleton Ranch, and the Ritchie Ranch are also available on a “need to go” basis. Let me know the dates when you’ll be out here, and I’ll set the field trips up just for you! See you soon! Teri