Lots of Agate Available for Fall Rockhunts

Jean Larremore will indeed lead trips to on her ranch on Tuesday, October 18 and Tuesday October 25.

This last week, I’ve been on the South Larremore Ranch, the Ritchie Ranch, and the Singleton Ranch.  There’s lots of new agate visible on all three ranches.  We’ve had lots of rain in the last few months, and that’s at least partly responsible for uncovering new pieces.

At the South Larremore Ranch, there were a few muddy spots in the creek bottom, but very few puddles (and all of them were small enough to really call puddles).  The mud at the crossing was too deep and sloppy to attempt the crossing in a car, but we walked across it (after I slipped and fell on my butt, of course).  By the time the day was over, Brian Larremore had used the tractor and made the crossing good enough that we would have been able to drive it.  However, since then it has rained for two solid days here in Alpine, and I have no idea how much rain they got down there.

Regards,

Teri

Fall rockhunt information: Corrections and additions.

  1. The Singleton Ranch accepts only cash.
  1. On the big Fall hunts schedule, I got two of the starting times wrong. They are corrected below:
November
Th 17 Stillwell Ranch Start Time:  7 a.m.
December
S 24 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.

Or, to put it another way, the starting times for all Fall field trips will be:

East Needle Peak and Stillwell Ranch:  7 a.m.

Singleton Ranch, and South Larremore Ranch:  8 a.m.

Ritchie Ranch:  9 a.m.

  1. The Larremore Ranch and the South Larremore Ranch mentioned in the field trip list are the same place. But the South Larremore Ranch is not the same as the old Larremore Ranch that we hunted back in about 2006.  The South Larremore Ranch is very productive with lots of unusual agates in addition to those similar to the Alpine agates and the agates from the Needle Peak area.  If this is confusing, just remember that all the Larremore ranch field trips on the Fall schedule are to the same wonderful ranch.
  1. I neglected to mention in the email that, if no one has signed up for a field trip a week before the date of the trip, the trip will be cancelled. I know this makes it difficult for people who make last-minute trips to the Big Bend, but in previous years I spent a lot of time preparing for field tips just in case someone wanted to attend who hadn’t signed up. My schedule this year is too tight to allow me to do that.

Thank you all for bearing with me.  I’ve only been doing this for 15 years or so.  I should know what to put in an email by now!

Regards,

Teri

Rockhunt Schedule for September through December 2016

The big schedule below covers scheduled rockhunts for September through December, 2016.

September, 2016
F 16 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.
S 17 South Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Tu 20 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.
W 21 South Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Th 22 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
F 23 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
S 24 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Su 25 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
M 26 South Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
October, 2016
Th 6 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.
S 15 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.
Su 16 East Needle Peak Start Time:  7 a.m.
M 17 Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Tu 18 Larremore Ranch with Jean Larremore Start Time:  8 a.m.
W 19 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Th 20 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Tu 25 Larremore Ranch with Jean Larremore Start Time:  8 a.m.
W 26  Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Th 27 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
F 28 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
S 29 East Needle Peak Start Time:  7 a.m.
Su 30 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.
M 31 Stillwell Ranch Start Time:  7 a.m.
November, 2016
W 9 South Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Th 10 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
F 11 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
S 12 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Su 13 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
M 14 East Needle Peak Start Time:  7 a.m.
Tu 15 Larremore Ranch with Jean Larremore Start Time:  8 a.m.
W 16 S. Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Th 17 Stillwell Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
 Su 20 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.
M 21 S. Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Tu 22 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.
W 23 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Th 24 East Needle Peak Start Time:  7 a.m.
December, 2016
Tu 6 Mule Deer Season:  Special South Larremore Ranch hunt Start Time:  8 a.m.
W 7 Mule Deer Season:  Special South Larremore Ranch hunt Start Time:  8 a.m.
Th 8 Mule Deer Season:  Special South Larremore Ranch hunt Start Time:  8 a.m.
Th 15 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
F 16 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
S 17 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Su 18 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
M 19 South Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Tu 20 Larremore Ranch with Jean Larremore Start Time:  8 a.m.
W 21 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.
Th 22 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
F 23 East Needle Peak Start Time:  7 a.m.
S 24 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Su 25 South Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
M 26 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
Tu 27 Larremore Ranch with Jean Larremore Start Time:  8 a.m.
W 28 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.
Th 29 South Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.
F 30 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9 a.m.
S 31 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8 a.m.

The prices for the ranches are unchanged from last year: The Ritchie Ranch is $10 entrance fee per person and $1 per lb. for the agate you take; the South Larremore Ranch is $40 per person if I take you, and $50 per person if Jean or Brian Larremore take you; the Singleton Ranch is $50 per person, which gets you up to a 5-gallon bucket of agate (if you find more it’s $40 per bucket, charged in ¼ bucket increments), and East Needle Peak is $40 per person.  On all of these ranches, kids under 12 hunt free, but their rocks count in the total you pay for.  The Stillwell Ranch has no admission fee and charges 50 cents per pound for good rocks. The price for the Rollin’ Rock club membership, which is required for my hunts, is also unchanged at $10 per calendar year for a single membership and $16 per calendar year for a dual membership.  And the price for my guide services is still the same:  free, but you can give me a gratuity if you feel so inclined.

All trips begin in front of the office at the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90 in Alpine.  However, if you’re staying someplace that is closer to the hunt site than Alpine is, let me know and I’ll try to make arrangements to meet you someplace along the route.

I look forward to seeing y’all this Fall!

Regards,

Teri

 

Final Schedule for October 2016 Rockhunts

Hi Y’all!  I’ve gotten lots of responses from rockhunters concerning the schedule in October.  Although I had several requests for changes, I had lots of people sign up for most of the trips, so I’ve decided to keep the schedule as it is.   I’ll certainly keep your suggestions in mind for the rest of the Fall schedule, which will be coming out in another email very soon.

The prices for the ranches are also unchanged from last year:  The Ritchie Ranch is $10 entrance fee and $1 per lb. for the agate you take; the South Larremore Ranch is $40 per person if I take you, and $50 per person if Jean or Brian Larremore take you; the Singleton Ranch is $50 per person, which gets you up to a 5-gallon bucket of agate (if you find more it’s $40 per bucket, charged in ¼ bucket increments), and East Needle Peak is $40 per person.  The Stillwell Ranch has no admission fee and charged 50 cents per pound for good rocks. The price for the Rollin’ Rock club membership, which is required for my hunts, is also unchanged at $10 per calendar year for a single membership and $16 per calendar year for a dual membership.  And the price for my guide services is still the same:  free, but you can give me a gratuity if you feel so inclined.

So here’s the October schedule, with the addition of starting times.  All trips begin in front of the office at the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90 in Alpine.  However, if you’re staying someplace that is closer to the hunt site than Alpine is, let me know and I’ll try to make arrangements to meet you someplace along the route.

See you soon,

Teri

October, 2016
S 15 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9:00 a.m.
Su 16 East Needle Peak Start Time:  7:00 a.m.
M 17 South Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8:00 a.m.
Tu 18 Teri’s day off (maybe South Larremore Ranch?) Start Time:  8:00 a.m.
W 19 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8:00 a.m.
Th 20 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8:00 a.m.
Tu 25 Teri’s day off (maybe South Larremore Ranch?) Start Time:  8:00 a.m.
W 26  South Larremore Ranch Start Time:  8:00 a.m.
Th 27 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8:00 a.m.
F 28 Singleton Ranch Start Time:  8:00 a.m.
S 29 East Needle Peak Start Time:  7:00 a.m.
Su 30 Ritchie Ranch Start Time:  9:00 a.m.
M 31 Stillwell Ranch Start Time:  7:00 a.m.

 

Some Observations About the Rocks Found at the South Larremore Ranch

I just sent the following to a rockhound who will be out here next week. It’s about the different rock deposits at the South Larremore ranch, and I thought it might be of interest:

On the Larremore it looks to me as if there are alluvial deposits that came from the area south of the ranch as well as from the north. These deposits from the south are typified by a surface layer of dark brown and white rock: the white being small, angular pieces of calciferous mud or not-quite-limestone, and the brown being a variety of sedimentary rocks (and flint and agate) with a desert varnish. Many of these deposits stick up above the surrounding soil by anywhere from a few inches to several feet, and at the edges show evidence of going down several feet into the soil. Found in these piles are petrified wood (identified by the presence of bark), flint and/or chert, and a variety of nodules similar to those that appear near Needle Peak. In general, these nodules are oval, flat on the top and bottom, with an outside shell of flint/chert/agate and an inside of calciferous mud often hiding fossils. These guys are weird but distinctive. Trey Woodward called them “gargoyles”, but I call them Terlingua Nodules, because they’re found all over the Terlingua area. This is the farthest north that I’ve seen them in any quantity. Interestingly enough, there’s often agate pieces in these deposits, as well: lots of white/blue/grey chalcedony ones, and some pink and red, including red plume, and lots of the yellow/brown moss that’s all over the Big Bend. I have found saginitic agate there, but not pompom as of yet. All of the saginitic agate has been in the red colors, or in the chalcedony nodules.

This is distinctly different from the creek bed material that came from up North via Calamity Creek and Butcherknife Draw. The rock piles from Calamity are at the bottom of the creek bed, generally, and are probably 6 –15 feet below the level of the soil and the deposits mentioned in the previous paragraph. In many places, you can see layers of creek rock in the sides of the draws, down near the bottom of them. These layers are between 1 and 2 feet thick, and the rest of the wall of the draw is soil. These rocks are almost all water-worn, and a mixture of sedimentary and igneous rocks. But in these deposits, there isn’t the calciferous mud or the desert varnished rocks that are in the surface layers, and the rock is just generally different looking, more water-worn and some covered with calciferous mud, but usually not stained. The agate here is often oxidized completely white, but usually you can see a hint of what the color will be inside the stone. There are also very few fossiliferous pieces, and the ones I’ve seen are oyster shell impressions in mudstone. To me, the uneducated observer, these rocks appear to have been deposited long before the other piles appeared, both because of their depth in the soil and because they don’t show the amount of desert varnish that often coats rocks that have been on the surface for a long time.

The creek bed is, of course, a location where these two deposits occasionally overlap. But by and large, each deposit is unique.

Big Bend Agate Roundup

Hi! Below is the most current sign-up sheet for the Walker Ranch and the other ranches included in the October Big Bend Agate Roundup. Please let me know if the information about you is not correct.
AND there’s still time to sign up for the rockhunts… right up to and including the day of the hunt in most cases! There’s also still room at the Lodge for those of you who would like to stay with us in Alpine. And free dry camping at the Walker Ranch if you’re out there to rockhunt!
Remember that the Singleton Ranch needs to be paid in cash, but the Walker Ranch, Ritchie Ranch, South Larremore Ranch and East Needle Peak will accept cash or check. And the Rollin’ Rock club will accept cash or check if you’re not a member, as well.
We’ll be hosting a potluck/sandwich supper on Sunday night, October 25th at somewhere around 6:30 p.m. at the Antelope Lodge in Alpine. Bring your best rocks to show off!
If the information below doesn’t show up well on your email browser, I’ll put it on my website in a day or two so you can get a better view!
Regards,
Teri
2015 OCTOBER Big Bend Agate Roundup
Allison, Linda Walker Ranch: # of People: ? # of Days: 2 Total Fee: ? Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $0
Backo, John Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: ? Total Fee: Start Date: Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27
Baldwin, Bob Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27
Bean, Debra Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: Start Date: ? Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: ?
Budde, Dee Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29-10/30
Busch, Richard Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: Total Fee: $150 Start Date: Fee Rec’d: $150
Cannon, Mike & Laura E.N.P.: 10/28
Carswell, Tom & Judy Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: 150 Start Date: 10/26 Fee Rec’d: $150
Caudle, Alan S. Larremore: 10/20
Caudle, David S. Larremore: 10/20
Caudle, Robin S. Larremore: 10/20
Contreras, Michael Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0 S. Larremore: 10/20
Dean, Adam Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0 S. Larremore: 10/20
Edwards, Ron & Lori Walker Ranch: # of People: 3 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/26 Fee Rec’d: $225 E.N.P.: 10/28
Falk, Greg Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150
Fritz, Glen & Patillo, Sue Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $300 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0
Gazdar, Di Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29
Guinn, Larry Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150
Haffey, Suzanne & David S. Larremore: 11/2 Singleton: 11/1
Hardy, Sandra Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $75 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $75 Ritchie: 10/19 S. Larremore: 10/20
Johnson, Roger Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29-11/1
King, Barry Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $75 Start Date: 10/25 Fee Rec’d: $75 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29-30
Kosnick, Robert Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: Total Fee: $150 Start Date: Fee Rec’d: $150
Long, Jay Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150
Martin, Jane Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: ? Fee Rec’d: $150
Messer, Mike Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $75 Start Date: 10/24 Fee Rec’d: $75
Montgomery, Mark Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150
Morgan, Marion & Whaley, Kathy Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/25 Fee Rec’d: $0 S. Larremore: 10/27 Singleton: 10/29
Mounce, Jo & Kevin Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/25 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27 Singleton: 10/29, 10/30
Muncee, Tammy & Burge, Pandora Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0
Newberg, Steve Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150
Newsom, Jim Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/22 Fee Rec’d: $0
Noonan, Joe Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 2 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/24 Fee Rec’d: $0
Norris, Susan S. Larremore: 11/2 Singleton: 11/1
Speck, John Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150
Steinle, Martha S. Larremore: 11/2 Singleton: 11/1
Tindelll, Ed Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 6 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $225
Tirey-Butler, Lisa Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 5 Total Fee: $187.50 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $187.50
Ward, Randy Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 6 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $225
Waugh, Steve Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0
Welch, Bob Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/24 Fee Rec’d: $150 S. Larremore: 10/27
Wilson, Bob & Yvonne Walker Ranch: # of People: 2 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $300 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $300

Local Rockhound Featured in National Magazine

This is the first of five press releases I wrote to send to local newspapers about the article that was printed in Rock & Gem’s September 2015 issue about me and my rockhunts.  It’s amazing to me that most locals haven’t even heard of rockhunting at all, let alone know what we rockhunters do.  So I decided to try to get the word out…

Local rockhound Teri Smith leads agate hunting field trips on ranches in Brewster and Presidio counties. This activity has brought her some measure of renown in rockhunting circles, and led to a feature article on her and her rockhunts in the September 2015 issue of the national magazine Rock & Gem.

Teri, who with her husband John owns the Antelope Lodge in Alpine, has been leading field trips for over 15 years. Her trips are for children as young as 3 or 4 years old up through mature adults who rockhunt from lawn chairs while seated in the shade.

Texas is a wonderful state for rockhunts, says Teri, because it’s all private land. “In the states west of us, where much of the land is Federal property, there are few collectible rocks left on the surface in many areas. In Texas, however, you can only go rockhunting with the permission of the landowner, and there’s often agate all over the ground at rockhunting sites.”

Texas’ Big Bend is known around the world as an agate collecting location. Some local agate can produce cabochons (domed, polished stones used in jewelry) that are incredibly beautiful. Other pieces make great display specimens just as they are.

Teri’s field trips bring in people from all over Texas and the rest of the United States. People regularly drive or fly in from both coasts to go on her trips. Rockhunts cost between about $20 and $75 per person per day, depending upon the site selected. The fee includes both the entrance to the area and the agate hunters choose to take home. All the fees go directly to the landowner. Teri’s compensation for leading the field trips is to be out on the ranch and collect agate without a charge.

Rockhunting season begins in October and continues through the cooler months until May. Teri runs special rockhunts for kids during school holidays. Twice a year, in October and April, she hosts large groups of rockhunters for what she calls “Big Bend Agate Roundups”. These roundups feature trips to five different ranches, including one that is only open during those times.

If you haven’t been on a rockhunt before, Teri will help you understand what the collectible rocks look like and where to find them. She’ll direct you to areas where the agate is known to be, and help you sort through what you’ve found so you can learn which agate pieces will work for your desired purpose, whether it’s to make jewelry, or to collect specimens or “garden rocks”.

If you’re interested in attending a rockhunt, in hosting rockhunts on your ranch, or just want to see what agate from the Big Bend looks like, you can look at Teri’s website at www.terismithrockhunts.com for more information, or visit her museum in the lobby of the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine.

So Just What Exactly is a Rockhunt?

This is the second in a set of press releases I wrote to send to local papers in conjunction with the story on me that was published in the September 2015 Rock & Gem Magazine.

If you go rockhunting with Teri Smith, a rockhunt is a day when you go to a private ranch, accompanied by Teri, to find agate and other collectible rocks to take home with you.

Before you begin your rockhunt, you’ll want to have your vehicle ready for rough roads, dress for a desert adventure, and assemble lunch, drinking water, and simple rockhunting equipment for your group. While you can get to some of the collecting areas in a passenger car, high clearance is needed for most sites, and a 4wd vehicle is ideal.

First thing in the morning, you will meet with Teri and the other rockhunters who are going on the trip with you in the lobby of the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine. Teri will have
you fill out some paperwork and collect the landowner’s fee for the rockhunt. She will then tell you the rules for the ranch you’ll be going to, tell you about what types of collectible rocks can be found there, and perhaps take you to her museum to show her examples of what she has found on that ranch on past rockhunts.

You’ll also join the Rollin’ Rock Club, a national group of rockhounds that sponsor Teri’s field trips. The Rollin’ Rock Club is a member of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, and participants in Teri’s rockhunts follow the AFMS rockhunting guidelines.

Teri will explain the route you’ll all take to get to the ranch, and you’ll follow Teri in your own vehicle to get there. Driving times vary from 10 minutes to more than two hours.

Once you arrive at the collecting site, Teri will give you some instructions, advise you of hazards in the area, and show you samples of the agate and other collectible rocks found there. You’ll make arrangements to get back together at some time later in the day, and head off in on your own to hunt for the agate.

If you’re new to agate hunting, you can remain with Teri after the others have dispersed, and she’ll give you hints on what to look for in order to find agate among the other rocks on the ground. In almost all cases, agate will be on the ground or partly covered, and digging is generally not required. Teri will make arrangements to meet with you again in a short time to critique what you’ve found. Then you’ll be off collecting on your own, and meet back with the others at the end of the day.

At the end of the collecting day, you’ll all meet back at the vehicles and compare finds for a while, then Teri will lead the group back out to the paved road. From there, you can follow her back to Alpine, stop along the way to photograph the sunset, or head to another one of the nearby towns for dinner.

Fall 2015 Big Bend Agate Roundup

This is the third in a series of press releases I wrote to send to local papers along with the September 2015 Rock & Gem magazine.  This information has been published in other blog posts here, but I’ve included it again because it was part of the press kit.

The Big Bend Agate Roundup is a semi-annual event which brings rockhounds from all over the country for two weeks of rockhunting on local ranches. These rockhunts are led by local rockhunting guide Teri Smith, and allow participants the chance to find many varieties of agate that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.

The October event this year consists of 15 straight days of rockhunts held on five ranches in Brewster and Presidio counties. All of the rockhunts begin in Alpine, in the lobby of the Antelope Lodge, where participants pay their fees and sign liability waivers before they caravan to the selected ranch.

The terrain on the ranches varies from almost flat to quite mountainous, providing locations perfect for people of different fitness levels. The Ritchie Ranch, which is close to Alpine, has rolling hills, and you can drive right to the locations where the agate can be found. The South Larremore Ranch is also quite flat, but more walking is required. For both the Walker and Singleton Ranches, there are locations where you can park right by the agate beds, as well as more remote agate locations that require walking and some hill climbing. At East Needle Peak, you need to be prepared to walk and climb to get to the locations where you can find agate and fossils.

The last Agate Roundup, held in April, 2015, brought over 60 rockhounds to the Big Bend from all parts of Texas and other states as far away as Oregon, Virginia, and Indiana. The schedule for this fall’s event is posted on the website www.terismithrockhunts.com and listed here:

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.

 

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.