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

Walker Ranch sold and permanently closed to rockhounds.

Bad news for Texas rockhounds. There is no more Walker Ranch. Enough members of the family got together to force a sale. It now belongs to the Wood family who bought the Woodward Ranch. They have a bad feeling for rockhunters because a lot of people didn’t know the Woodward had closed and they were chasing trespassers off the ranch for months after they bought it.
However, the Walker wasn’t the only site available for hunting red plume agate, peanut agate and the other great varieties of agate that the area is known for. The South Larremore Ranch has ‘float’ agate from the mountains to the north of it in the whole Calamity Creek watershed.
 
I’m preparing my Fall schedule now and hope to have it posted in a week or two.

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.