Fallon/Middlegate Nevada Trip Report

Fallon/Middlegate Nevada Trip Report

My trip started late –  it was 2:00 am on Thursday night when I got out of work and hit the road.  I wasn’t due to meet up with the others til 10:00 Friday night so figured I’d have time to sleep and stop and do some hunting on the way down.  Since I didn’t sleep as long as I expected, I ended up in the Peterson Mountain area around noon unexpectedly and decided to try to figure out where it was.  I stopped at Hallelujah Junction to ask which road led back to the Mt. There were no atlases or local maps, so I had to ask people who were coming and going.  Finally one gentleman gave me some directions.  I’m still not sure they were correct, but I did get back onto the peaks and did some hunting, even though I never saw anything that looked like the pics of Peterson that I’ve seen. So who knows where I was. I was just happy to be out and actually picking up a few crystals.

There were a few other people on the mountain hunting and some pits, so I was at least close to being where I wanted to.  At one point there was a very steep dirt “road” that I found a nice little smoky at the bottom of.  There were some pits up high and I figured that’s where the smoky came from so I decided to try the road.  I was about 10 feet from a landing I could have turned around at and something caught my eye on the side of the road and I slowed down – and that was it.  I was stuck on one of those roads that there’s nothing on one side of you, no way to pull off on the other side, and a rig that wanted to slide when the brake was on.

So I just gave a silent and very sincere thanks that the guys at RHS1 weren’t around to help me not live it down forever (there would have been pics, oh my God).  I backed down the mountain slowly lifting off the brake just a little then braking again and letting the jeep slide a foot, rinse and repeat.  The guys hunting a couple hundred feet over on the hill seemed to be entertaining themselves watching me back down and were probably placing bets with each other whether the stupid woman driver would go over the edge or not. It was a white knuckle back-up job and, with almost no sleep under me, my nerves twinged more than just slightly.

Finally down, I decided to go back and take a split in the road that took me to a ravine that led up to the pits and hunt there.  I knew backing down the hill left my nerves in rougher shape than I thought when a little rattler shook his tail at me and I turned around and yelled at him real hard about not being in the mood for his crap and he fled. I felt bad for that.  He was just letting me know he was there.  But the tantrum made me feel more solid again and I ended up finding some nice, but small, smoked quartz crystals and promised myself the next time I went past that area I’d be armed with the correct directions to Peterson.  Had I expected at all to be there, I’d have done that this time.

I hit Reno at Rush hour.  I’ll never do that again. Serious.  If I get there at that time of day, I’ll park and wait until the roads clear.  I’ve never seen drivers  so wildly aggressive anywhere – and I’ve driven all over the states and Europe. That night I spent at my friend’s in Silver Springs and Jess and Jay who arrived after dark, a little nose broken that they missed the crystal hunting but excited about the weekend.

Feeling a little more lively after a good night of sound sleep, we headed out in the morning with our first stop being for Lahontan agates. The area that we hunted had plenty of light blue agates, lots of red and blue, and just truck loads of browns, oranges, etc.  It’s hard to be discretionary about what to keep and what to leave in a field like that where you are just walking over agates everywhere, but we were good about being fussy this time. We wanted room in the rig for other things.

Here’s one of the more colorful pieces we picked up there:

Lake Lahontan Agate
Lake Lahontan Agate

Next we were off to get Wonderstone. We drove around that area for awhile looking for the mystical blue agate but only spent a little time since we had a special area for blue we were headed to the next day.  After seeing only chips of blue we decided to hang that up and headed over to the hills.  We found a few excellent locations and got a lot of beautiful wonderstones. The picture really doesn’t do this sample much justice, but, you get the idea:


Here’s a close up of one:

We got a good variety of color - this one more to the red.

I have to include a note here about the excellent food that Jay cooked for the trip.  The homemade salami and the Gumbo were absolutely incredible.   It’s the first time I’ve sampled his cooking skills and I was extremely impressed.

We spent the night in that area then proceeded on the next day to a road South of Highway 50 and closer to Middlegate. Our aim for this hunt was agates  and jasper.

We were looking for blue agate.

We didn’t refuse anything just because it wasn’t  blue, though. My favorite find of the day was a yellow jaspagate.


Of course – being Easter, we did do a little egg hunting.  Jess had the best find of the day:

Blue Geode

We had plenty of the locals come out and watch us hunt:

NV desert wildlife

Our last stop of the trip was to pick up some of that nice colorful jasper on the way back from the agate location. We had to make this stop especially for jasper for me to take to the RHS1 2014 meet-up next month so nobody can carp at me about never picking up jasper like some of the guys there love to do.

Here’s a sample of the jasper I picked up for you, guys.  You can take your pick of them at the meet:

Jasper Navada Style

All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good trip out.  We filled up the back of a pickup and a jeep:

With the sun getting low and everyone having to work the next day we headed out a little reluctantly, and more than a little sunburned.   I still had room in the back for another day at Wonderstone!

Oh yes – and here it is 2014, so I guess I’ll end this report with the obligatory “selfie”.

Life’s Short – Rock hard.

2 thoughts on “Fallon/Middlegate Nevada Trip Report

  1. Sal,

    I know it’s been a while since this was posted but I was wondering if you could give me some direction as to where you found that agate. I’m headed out that way for a week to see my girlfriend, and in addition to the Royal Peacock I would love to rockhound for some agate, wonderstone, and with any luck, some fossils and wood to take home and work with as well. I’ve found a bunch of info on the other stuff, but can’t seem to find a good agate spot. Thanks for the report, it’s inspiring to say the least. Rock on,

    Josh Corsa


    1. It must be a way long time because I don’t know who you are at all. We at RHS1 do not just randomly share rock sites – too many are being pillaged an shut down. Actually, the public is behaving so badly at rock sites that our hobbies are completely at jeopardy right now – limits being set, land being shut off, sale of rock found on BLM illegalized, etc. The only way you are going to just flash someone a message and get info is if you KNOW someone, which means you are participating on the forums or in a club, or if you buy a guidebook. We’ve all been burned too many times and now the BLM is planning on the major burn.

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