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

News, both Good and Bad

The last of the old-time rockhunting ranches has been closed.  The wonderful Stillwell Ranch has been divided and much of it has been sold.  Included in the sale is the old primitive campground and the hills in which we used to find marvelous agate.  The black tank area to the north of the big wash has been sold as well.

The Stillwell Ranch is still open as a place to stay, with RV hookups, primitive camping, and the store.  There is another ranch in the area that has expressed an interest in hosting rockhunters, and I intend to talk to them soon.   I’ll let you know as things progress.

As for me, I’m in California for a while, but I may  be coming back to Texas to lead field trips in Fall 2019 as well as in Spring 2020.  Some of that depends on y’all.  Please let me know if you’d be interested in Fall field trips, and when you’d like them.  I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to do Fall trips, but if I do, I’d like to do them when as many as possible can attend.  So send me an email that indicates when you’d consider coming out for hunts, and how many people would be in your group.  I realize that this is all incredibly iffy, but the more I know about when y’all would come out if  every thing falls together, the better I can plan.

My husband John is not doing all that well right now, but I believe the doctors are getting a handle on it and he’ll be feeling better soon.  The lower elevation seems to be helping him breathe better, and his medicines need to be tweaked to what his current condition is.

Since I don’t think that I’ll be able to reopen my  museum soon, I am offering for sale some of the exhibit material, including the plume agate ‘windows”.  The windows are $2500.00 each, or $4500 for both.  I also have two other panels that have never been displayed, one of which is composed of mostly local material, and the other of which is mostly Brazilian.

I’ve also still got agate buckets for the Walker and Singleton ranches, and Stillwell, Ritchie, Larremore, East Needle Peak and other material as well.  Nothing will happen on that until I’m back in Texas, but the more I know about what you want to purchase, the better I can accommodate you.

I hope y’all are having a wonderful summer!  If you’re rockhunting, or cutting previous finds, I’d love to see photos of your rocks!

Regards,
Teri

Rockhunts Start at New Location

Starting immediately, Teri Smith and Teri Smith Rockhunts will no longer be associated in any way with the Antelope Lodge.  Instead, we will start our rockhunts in the parking lot of Little Caesar’s Pizza, which is as the corner of Holland Avenue and Highway 118 (in town it’s called Cockrell St.) in Alpine.
 
The reason for this change is that a current member of the Antelope Lodge’s staff accosted me in the parking lot of the grocery store, and in the ensuing confrontation said he didn’t want us to meet there anymore, and called me a name I don’t believe I deserved.
 
This individual’s behavior was upsetting and frightening, and I don’t want any of you to be subjected to the same thing.  Because of this treatment, I ask you NOT to stay at the Antelope Lodge when you come to Alpine for rockhunts.   After we sold the Lodge in December 2017, I continued to start my rockhunts at the Lodge and recommend the Lodge as a place to stay as a courtesy to the new owner, even though rates had been raised quite a bit.  Apparently the new owner does not need or want the revenue generated by rockhounds.
 
If the staff of the Lodge doesn’t want rockhunters on their property, as I was told, then we ought to take them at their word and go someplace else.
 
Regards,
Teri
  P.S. Before you cancel any reservations at the Antelope Lodge, make sure you have reservations at another hotel.  April is very busy in the Big Bend, and I wouldn’t want you to cancel your reservation at the Lodge and not be able to find another suitable room.

Finally!  Teri’s Spring 2019 Agate Sale Begins Now

Well, spring is coming, and it’s time for me to start selling my agate collection.  I have not even gotten halfway through a detailed inventory of the whole collection, but I know enough of what’s there to begin selling what I would consider to be some of the most desirable agates in the collection:  those from the ranches now closed to rockhunting.  This means cutting material and specimens from the Walker and Singleton Ranches.

In the Fall, I sent out an email asking those on my email list how they would like to purchase the agates, and almost half of those who responded said they would like to purchase the agate in 5-gallon buckets, unsearched since the time I filled them.  So that’s what I’m going to start with.

Full 5-gallon buckets of Walker Ranch or Singleton Ranch agate will be $250.00 each.  These buckets will contain a mix of cutting material and specimens, but most of the material will be for cabbing or tumbling.  When I filled the buckets, I packed them, so most of them will weigh about 50 lbs., and have a mix of larger and smaller pieces.  If you only want larger pieces that you can slab, these buckets are not for you, since I filled in the spaces left between bigger pieces with tiny ones.  My philosophy is that if you can make a nice cab or tumbled stone out of it, it’s a keeper.  The Walker buckets can also contain a few Native American artifacts or reduction chips, including scrapers of various sizes and materials.

Many of these rocks were collected quite a while ago, while others came from the most recent years when the Singleton and Walker Ranches were open.  Most of the buckets are not marked as to date collected and packed, but some are.  In general, those collected earlier may have bigger pieces in them, since there were more big pieces easily available in the first seasons the ranches were open.  But agates collected later may be of a generally better quality since I learned as I went along and only picked up the best things I found every time I collected.  If you have a desire for material collected early or late, let me know and I’ll try to get you buckets from the time frame you wish.  I can generally tell when things were collected by their location in my yard, even if they don’t have dates on them.

Right now I probably have 30 – 40 buckets from each ranch ready for pickup, out of a total of over 150 buckets from each ranch.  And I still have over 150 buckets where the identifying paint has faded and I’ll have to open them in order to determine what they are. 


I also have buckets available of specimen material from the Walker and Singleton Ranches.  These buckets can contain quartz and calcite crystals, in small and medium pieces, or geodes, saginite and calcite pseudomorphs, tube agates, botryoidal pieces, and pieces of plume or bouquet agate where the background has not yet filled in.  Walker Ranch buckets can also include pieces of a flint-like material that is often pastel and can have very interesting shapes, and perhaps a bit of amethyst. Singleton Ranch buckets may also contain brecciated opal pieces that can be spectacular, and an occasional piece of basalt with tiny bits of moonstone in it.  Specimen buckets are $150.00 each.  

I have one huge specimen lot that came from Telephone Hill on the Singleton Ranch.  It’s a huge botryoidal geode in at least ten major pieces and more than 4 5-gallon buckets of minor ones.  After you put it back together, it will be spectacular!  I’ve figured out how seven of the major pieces go together, basically, and it will have a curved bottom and a diameter of probably 3 to 4 feet.  The colors are blues, grey and white.  The whole thing would make a great display either as separate pieces or put together.  All of it is for sale together for $750.00.


I have also had many requests for geodes, and I have probably 30 5-gallon buckets full of Mexican geodes that I purchased over the years.   They are in sizes ranging from a chicken egg to bigger than an emu egg.   I’m willing to offer these by the pound as well as by the bucket, since not everyone wants a whole bucket of geodes.  But the general consensus was that grandkids loved geodes, so it’s good to always have some around.  I’ll sell any quantity of a pound or more at $3 per lb., no matter what size they are.  Buckets will generally weigh light, because geodes leave a lot of air space, so I’ll just weigh the full buckets and sell the whole bucket at $2.75 per lb. 
 
I’ve got lots of other categories of agate and other materials in my collection, but I needed to start somewhere.  While the rest of my collection will be available once I have finished my inventory, some other things can perhaps be made available this spring if you let me know in advance so I have time to locate and pack them for sale.   These other things include: agate from all the ranches I currently lead field trips on, and miscellaneous U.S. agate for $200.00 per 5 gallon bucket; agate from Mexico either organized by what it is or where I got it at anywhere from $200 to $600 for a 5-gallon bucket; and large agate and petrified wood pieces (from about 10 lbs to over 400 lbs) at $2 per lb.


And there’s also over a ton of beautiful slag glass in all colors at $6/lb for up to 20 lbs, $5/lb for 21-100 lbs, and $4/lb for 101 lbs and more.   The sooner you let me know what you want, the more likely you are to get it this spring.  Send me an email stating your name, cell number, what you want, and when you are going to come to get it.  I’ll reply letting you know the agate is being saved for you.  You can either pay in advance or when you pick it up.  I’ll accept both cash and checks.
 
Now, as for delivery:  right now I’m hoping that y’all will come out for rockhunts this spring and pick up your purchases then.   If you can’t do that, please still let me know what you want to purchase, and I’ll put it aside for you.  Perhaps we can make some arrangements for delivery.  My son lives in Kerrville, and he could probably take a bucket or two home with him when he comes to visit, so that might be an option if you live near the Hill Country.  I’m not able to lift a 50-lb bucket, so if y’all need help with moving them, perhaps we can split them into more than one container to lift.
 
If you have any questions or comments, please email me. 
 
Regards,
Teri