Déjà vu All 0ver Again

I am sorry to announce that, due to circumstances so far out of my control that they might as well be on the moon, the Walker Ranch rockhunt for April, 2016, has been CANCELLED.

I understand that this last-minute cancellation leaves several of you with money already expended for airline tickets which may not be refundable, and reservations for rental cars and lodging, and in Johnny French’s case, a huge order for food for the rockhound barbecue. I apologize for the cancellation and for the late notice, and I appreciate the difficult situation that puts some of you in. The cancellation hits me financially as well, as rockhounds who choose not to make the trip to Alpine will cancel their reservations at the Antelope Lodge.

I will do all I can to make your trip out here wonderful even if we can’t hunt on the Walker Ranch. There are other options to replace the hunts on the Walker Ranch. In February, when the Walker Ranch rockhunt was cancelled, the group from Florida that came out here still had a wonderful time. Besides going to the four ranches I have normally available for rockhunts (the Ritchie, the South Larremore, the Singleton and East Needle Peak) the group wanted to go down to the Stillwell for a hunt there. I had not been there for many years, and was quite pleasantly surprised by the quantity and quality of material found there. A dozen people went to one place for two days and were still finding great stuff on the hillsides near the cars as the sun went down on the second day. The Stillwell Ranch is huge, and there are many other great locations there that probably haven’t been looked at in a while. So the Stillwell is another fun place that we can consider. And I’m working with the contacts I have here to see whether we can get on another ranch that’s usually not open for rockhunting. I will keep you posted.

Here’s what I would like you to do for me: If you were planning to go to the Walker Ranch, please let me know whether you’ll still come out for the trip, and where you’d like to go on the days you were scheduled for the Walker. I’ll try to create a schedule that makes everyone happy.

There is a new location on the South Larremore Ranch that was only starting to be explored in the fall that is really good. It’s probably a half mile from north to south, and three-quarters of a mile from east to west, and has areas that are beds of stones from pea sized to grapefruit sized. Along with regular rocks, these stones include agate, jasper, chalcedony, quartz crystals, flint, chert, occasional fossils, and now and then an artifact. I believe there’s another, similar bed of rocks north of it, but I haven’t had the chance to explore that area yet. I don’t know if I can get there this week, but I’ll let you know.

ALSO, if anyone wants to come a day early, I’ve added a hunt next Saturday, April 9, to the South Larremore Ranch. Please let me know if you’re interested, and we’ll meet at 8 a.m. at the Antelope Lodge.

Lastly, I want you to know that I will work with the owners of the Walker Ranch to ensure that any future hunts are guaranteed to happen as announced. The cancellation of these two hunts has made it clear to me that safeguards need to be put in place to keep such cancellations from occurring in the future.

Regards,

Teri

Last Email before the Big Bend Agate Roundup

Hi! The Big Bend Agate Roundup is almost here! 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.

Last week there was LOTS of rain in the Big Bend. I know for sure that the Ritchie, Walker, Larremore and Singleton Ranches all got very wet. I’m not sure about Needle Peak, but we’ll see about that when we get there. I know they’ve had rain since our last hunt there, so there should be plenty of great agate on the surface for us to find.

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: 3 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/25 Fee Rec’d: $0

Backo, John Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date 10/24 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: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150

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: 4 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 S. Larremore: 10/27 E.N.P.: 10/28 Singleton: 10/29

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

Crow, Debbie Walker Ranch: # of People: 3 # of Days: 1 Total Fee: $225 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $0

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: $300

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: 4 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

Lopez, Fidencio Singleton: 10/31

Martin, Jane Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 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: 10/26 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: $150

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

Smith, Linda & sister Ritchie Ranch 10/19

Speck, John Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/23 Fee Rec’d: $150

Spencer, Al Walker Ranch: # of People: 1 # of Days: 4 Total Fee: $150 Start Date:? Fee Rec’d: $150

Steinle, Martha S. Larremore: 11/2 Singleton: 11/1

Tindell, 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: 3 Total Fee: $150 Start Date: 10/21 Fee Rec’d: $150

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

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.

 

Rockhunts are Fun for Visitors, Profitable for Locals

This is the fourth in a series of press releases I wrote to send to local papers along with the September 2015 Rock & Gem magazine.

Rockhunts are a tourist attraction in the Big Bend that have not been well publicized in the past, says Teri Smith, local rockhunting guide. “In the past there were a couple of ranches that were open all the time for rockhunters, but not much beyond that. Now only the Stillwell Ranch open all the time, but I lead periodic field trips that allow rockhunters access to ranches that they would not be able to go to otherwise.”

Although the rockhunts occur in ranches in both Brewster and Presidio counties, all of them begin at the Antelope Lodge in Alpine. This makes it convenient for rockhounds to stay at motels and RV parks in Alpine.

The economic impact of rock hunting can be extrapolated from the number of rockhounds that go on Teri’s field trips each year. In 2014, 175 people came to Alpine to go rockhunting with Teri on local ranches. In addition to representing all parts of Texas, these rockhunters came from 15 states from coast to coast, and from Canada.

The average rockhunter went on 4 field trips, meaning they stayed at least 4 days in the Big Bend.

While most of these visitors came to the Big Bend specifically to go rockhunting, they also visited other tourist destinations, such as Big Bend National Park and Fort Davis National Monument, stayed in local motels, RV parks, and campgrounds, ate in local restaurants, and shopped at local stores.

Others came to the Big Bend for a vacation and decided to try rockhunting while they are here. One day of rockhunting can lead to a lifelong hobby, and many people who go on one of Teri’s trips make their next trip to the Big Bend just for rockhunting.

Rockhunts are scheduled regularly during the cooler months from October until May. Twice a year, Teri hosts the “Big Bend Agate Roundup”, which is two weeks of daily rockhunts. These concentrated rockhunting events are popular enough that more than 30 people have signed up for a specific field trip.

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.

First Signups for Big Bend Agate Roundup

Hi Y’all! We’re starting to get signups for the October Agate Roundup. There’s still space available for all the rockhunts on the schedule. If you don’t have the schedule handy, got to www.terismithrockhunts.com and scroll down to the email dated August 16.

Here’s the list of people I have signed up so far:

Allison, Linda Number of people: ? Walker: 10/23-10/24

Backo, John Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/23-10/26 South Larremore: 10/27

Bean, Debra Number of people: 1 Walker: ? South Larremore: ?

Budde, Dee Number of people: 2 Walker: 10/23-10/26 South Larremore: 10/27 East Needle Peak: 10/28; Singleton: 10/29-10/30

Contreras, Michael Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21 South Larremore: 10/20

Dean, Adam Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21-10/23 South Larremore: 10/20

Edwards, Ron & Lori Number of people: 2 Walker: 10/26 South Larremore: 10/27 East Needle Peak: 10/28

Guinn, Larry Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21-10/23

Johnson, Roger Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/23-10/26 South Larremore: 10/27 East Needle Peak: 10/28 Singleton:1 0/29-11/1

Martin, Jane Number of people: 1 Walker: ?

Morgan, Marion & Whaley, Kathy Number of people: 2 Walker: 10/25 South Larremore: 10/27 Singleton: 10/29

Muncee, Tammy & Burge, Pandora Number of people: 2 Walker: 10/21-10/22

Newberg, Steve Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21-10/23

Speck, John Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/23-10/25

Tindelll, Ed Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21-10/26

Waugh, Steve Number of people: 1 Walker: 10/21-10/24

SOME IMPORTANT FINANCIAL DETAILS:

The Walker Ranch portion of the Agate Roundup requires payment of at least half the fee in advance. As an incentive for you to send the complete fee in early, if you send your entire fee postmarked by Wednesday, September 23, and received by Saturday, September 26, you get a free day at the end of your rockhunt. The price is still the same: $75 per person per day, or $150 per person for 3 days. The fourth, fifth and sixth days are $37.50 each. To send your Walker Ranch deposit in, please make a check out to Bryan Crumpton, and send it c/o Teri Smith, 509 N. 8th Street, Alpine, TX 79830.

Here’s what you’ll need to pay before and after the deadline for the extra day:

If Payment In Full Received by 9/26

1 day, 1 person: $75

2 days, 1 person: $75

3 days, 1 person: $150

4 days, 1 person: $150

5 days, 1 person: $187.50

6 days, 1 person: $225

1 day, 2 people: $150

2 days, 2 people: $150

3 days, 2 people: $300

4 days, 2 people: $300

5 days, 2 people: $375

6 days, 12 people: $450

If Payment In Full NOT Received by 9/26

1 day, 1 person: $75

2 days, 1 person: $150

3 days, 1 person: $150

4 days, 1 person: $187.50

5 days, 1 person: $225

6 days, 1 person: $262.50

1 day, 2 people: $150

2 days, 2 people: $300

3 days, 2 people: $300

4 days, 2 people: $375

5 days, 2 people: $450

6 days, 12 people: $525

We’ll need to have a minimum of 20 people who have paid their deposits by September 30 for each weekend in order to have that weekend of the Agate Roundup happen. Right now we have 19 signed up to attend at least one day at the Walker Ranch. We’ve never had a problem getting to the number 20 and beyond, but there is plenty of room for everyone at the Walker Ranch.

The only other limit on the hunts is a maximum number of participants on the South Larremore Ranch. Each hunt will be limited to 20 participants.

You don’t need to send me deposits for the Ritchie Ranch, Singleton Ranch and the East Needle Peak rockhunts. However, you do need to let me know that you are coming on those hunts. If no one signs up for a hunt, I’ll cancel it, so I need to know that you are coming. The Singleton Ranch wants to be paid in CASH ONLY. It would be great if you had close to the exact change of $50 per person per day. The South Larremore Ranch and East Needle Peak can be paid with cash or a check. The Rollin Rock Club can be paid by check at the time of your field trip. I cannot accept credit cards for anything that has to do with rockhunting because our beloved federal government would consider that to be money laundering. There are several ATMs in Alpine that you can get cash from if you need to.

I hope to see a lot of you in October!

Teri

Fall 2015 big Bend Rockhunts

Here’s a complete schedule so far for the Fall 2015 rockhunts. The 2015-2016 rockhunting season will begin on Wed., 10/7. The schedule includes the Big Bend Agate Roundup rockhunts scheduled for 10/19 – 11/2.

Right now, I don’t have any rockhunts scheduled during mule deer season, which is 11/27 – 12/13 this year. 11/27 is the day after Thanksgiving, and 12/13 is a Sunday. HOWEVER, I can probably schedule rockhunts during that time on the Singleton, East Needle Peak, and South Larremore ranches, once the landowners have decided when to allow deer hunters onto their ranches. So – if that’s your vacation, and you wish to go rockhunting, let me know and I’ll see what I can schedule.
I won’t be available from 11/19 – 24, as the 23rd is our (John & Teri Smith’s) 30th anniversary, and we hope to have our family visit us during that time.

Wed., 10/7: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $40 per person per day.
Thurs., 10/8: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Fri., 10/9: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sat., 10/10: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sun., 10/11: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Mon., 10/12: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. $40 per person per day.

Mon., 10/19: Ritchie Ranch. Start: 11:00 a.m. Cost: $10 per person plus $1 per lb for agate.
Tues. 10/20: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Wed., 10/21: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Thurs., 10/22: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Fri., 10/23: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Sat., 10/24: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Sun., 10/25: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Mon., 10/26: Walker Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost varies: see below.
Tues. 10/27: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Wed., 10/28: East Needle Peak. Start: 6:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Thurs., 10/29: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Fri., 10/30: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sat., 10/31: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sun., 11/1: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Mon., 11/2: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.

Wed., 11/11: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Thurs., 11/12: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Fri., 11/13: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sat., 11/14: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sun., 11/15: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Mon., 11/16: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.

Wed., 12/16: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Thurs., 12/17: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Fri., 12/18: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sat., 12/19: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sun., 12/20: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Mon., 12/21: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.

Wed., 12/23: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Thurs., 12/24: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Fri., 12/25: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sat., 12/26: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Sun., 12/27: Singleton Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost: $50 per person per day.
Mon., 12/28: South Larremore Ranch. Start: 8:00 a.m. Cost $40 per person per day.
Note that all of the field trips begin at the Antelope Lodge, 2310 W. Highway 90, Alpine.
The price for the Walker Ranch is: $75 per person per day, or $150 per person for 3 days. The fourth and fifth days are $37.50 each. I believe that Bryan Crumpton will offer the usual “pay in full and get an extra day free” deal for the Walker Ranch hunt, but I haven’t gotten the details for that yet.

Also, remember that Rollin’ Rock Club membership is required for all of my rockhunts, and it costs $10 single/$16 dual. If you haven’t joined yet this year, your dues will pay for the rest of 2015 and for the 2016 calendar year.

Please let me know as soon as you decide that you are coming on a particular rockhunt or set of rockhunts. Even if you are tentatively planning on coming, let me know. If I don’t have anyone signed up for a rockhunt a week before the hunt is to occur, I will cancel the hunt. I will then make other plans for that day and not be available if someone wants me to “un-cancel” the hunt at the last minute.

Regards,
Teri