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.