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Rock Hunting North of Winnemucca

Rock Hunting North of Winnemucca

My adventure last week up in the more northerly areas of Central Nevada was a pretty hot trip at this time of year.  Luckily there was a reservoir to cool off at and also a mountain road that was wooded and had a few springs and creeks to explore when the midday sun was blazing — not to mention a great hot springs to soak in as the sun set.

The rocks were really not located at “sites”.  They were just scattered around the landscapes so I did a lot of driving and stopping here and there and wandering around.  Most of the rock were almost stereotypical for what I’ve seen in the state so far.

There was a lot of light green potch (common opal) that mostly was the type that shatters into a million pieces if struck. Yet now and again there was some that was mixed with agate and held up a little better.  In the rock below there’s a mix of green agate and green opal and some inclusions that may make some nice cabs or slabs.




The agate is mostly multi-colored, with a host of earthtones.


Petrified wood also is scattered throughout the region, however, I was not able to find a source. The wood is pretty well agatized and on most of it there is enough banding that it will make good cutting and cabbing material.



This piece of jasparized wood is absolutely lovely in person and has this type of banding on every side, making it hard to decide which way would be best to cut it.  Maybe I’ll just polish off some of the white agate coating and leave it in one piece.




There were also a few spots with fossils on the trip, but these were from South of Winnemucca at a little side jaunt I took on the way home.


And, of course, here’s an obligatory picture of some red and yellow jasper, because, God knows, you can’t go very far in Nevada without picking up a hunk or two of red and yellow jasper.



So there’s the sample of what can be found in the north central regions of the state.  Now it’s time to decide which area to explore next.

Until next time;

Life’s short –  Rock hard

Finds From The 2016 McDermitt Meet-Up and more……

Finds From The 2016 McDermitt Meet-Up and more……

I just went out to the rock garden today and got some pics of some of my McDermitt finds from the meet this year.  While right there with a decent camera, I also got a few pics of finds from elsewhere around Nevada – and a few from a trip to Washington I took a year ago.

This year’s hunt was led once more by Tony Funk (member catmandewe), and he’s proven once again to be the ultimate in rock tour guides. I thank you, Tony for yet one more spectacular meetup!

So – without further discussion — here’s the rocks!

The pile of green in the center of this pic are Garry Green wood.  The one with the visible green ripple leaning on the wall in back is from the green jasper stop.  Sorry – I can’t remember what the heck the name of that jasper is.  It’s green. That much I can tell ya.  I got lucky when I was hauling those two big hunks of Garry green out of the canyon when a few members of the party drove by in Trucks and gave me a boost with them the rest of the way up the hill.  They were a lot heavier than they looked and it would have taken me all day to get them up on my own……….but I really wanted em.


Here’s a few close-ups of this beautifully banded wood.




While this next one is not the color you expect to see when you’re hunting Garry Green, it was my favorite find from that location.  I was surprised that there’s actually a lot of blue up there mingled with the green.


This next shot is a little blurry, but I just wanted to show the color of this agate so tried for a close up. OOPS.  It’s called purple cow and it’s not a real translucent agate, but it is purple. I also got a piece that is much the same shade of lavender as the lavender quartz I got last year, but a little more translucent. The piece in the pic below isn’t the most purple of the agates found by the group that day, but it’s an example of the color.  Despite it’s blur, I think it gives you the idea of what purple cow is.  Hopefully, someone else will have a more clear pic of  a little more lively colored piece of this stuff to offer.  



This next shot is from another wood location Tony took us back to.  This is a highly opalized wood – and I was delighted to find some actual tiffany fire in it.  At first I thought it was just flash from a fracture, but later inspection proved it was not fracture. While there was only about an inch long area of color in this one – I’m hoping, if I get back to that area again to find more of it. A lot of the color (on the right side) doesn’t show up the way the sun hit it – but you can see a little of it.  That blue area all the way to the right end contains color.  On the left, some of the beautiful banding in this piece is visible, too. As you can see, I haven’t mastered close up shots at all.



This last pic of wood from the McDermitt area I found at the mouth of a canyon that I very much wanted to get into.  There was a herd of range cows with some very young babies that had other ideas about me traipsing around their water hole, though.  I liked the colors, none the less,  and will go back to this area whenever I return to the McDermitt area in the future and try again. I have a feeling there’s some nice wood hiding down that canyon.


Okay – that’s my favorite of my McDermitt finds.  Now here’s a few miscellaneous pics of stuff I’ve wanted pics of for awhile now.

Above the rock pick are a few of my finds from my hunt in Central Washington a year and half ago.  I’ve got a few close ups of this wood just below this pic.



The top of this one isn’t going to slice, but I have a use for it anyway.  The rock about 4 inches from the top is pretty solid and I have plans for other uses for that once I get it sliced from the top. Gonna have to find someone with a big saw for this one. It’s a foot across and a little over that deep.


The next one is a little more solid, but I have other uses besides lapidary for this piece, as well.


As you can see, this Washington opalized wood is a multitude of earth tones.  All this wood made me fall in love with opalized wood.  Still love agatized wood, too – but this stuff is just really special in my book.


The next two pictures are also opalized wood – but,  are from Nevada.  These are from the hunt I went on with John (member Orygone) and his side kick, Patti when our 2015 meetup was canceled due to weather.  It wasn’t the best weather that day, either – but at least we were close enough to solid road that we were able to hunt despite the rain. The pictures don’t do a couple of these boldly banded pieces much justice.


While I didn’t see anything opalized in Washington that wasn’t earth-tone – there was a little more variety in Nevada.


This next rock I got in the same area on that hunt with John and Patti.  I’m not sure what it is – rhyolite, jasper, opal?  I sure do like it, though.


Next pic is some banded wood that Bob (coldwatergold) and I found not too far out of Dayton last spring when he came out to see a friend of his who lives there.  Some of this stuff has more color to it, but it is predominantly white with darker banding.


Okay – the last two pics are of rock from my local area out here in NV.  The first one is just an example of the jasper out here. There are other colors, too, here and there fairly local – but there’s tons of this red and tan stuff everywhere.


And this last pic is because we have several members who live out around here or visit sometimes and I get sooooo many questions about Lahotan blue lace agate.  This is the blue that is here. I guess some of it works into some really neat cabs, but the color of the blue is not that bright blue found elsewhere in the state.  It’s blue, but it’s a muted blue, and is not a highly translucent rock, either.


So – that’s all I got, today folks.  Hope you enjoyed the virtual tour.

Until next time;

Life’s short –  Rock hard

Opalized Petrified Wood

Opalized Petrified Wood

In the last year, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to hunt a few areas just loaded with opalized wood.  While I love petrified wood in general, I’ve developed a special fondness for the opalized variety.

Opalized wood can be a little more cantankerous to work with, being a little brittle, but some pieces are still solid enough for lapidary, and even the brittle pieces that won’t hold together for sawing or cabbing are still quite beautiful for display or crafts.

This picture shows a piece of opalized wood from Central Washington. It is actually solid enough for a saw, but I have other plans for this one:


While much of the opalized wood I’ve found in Nevada resembles the Washington varieties, some is a little more vividly colored than I’ve found elsewhere.  This next pic is one of my current favorites from Nevada:


This particular piece will never hold up to a saw, but can be buffed up a little to take off a few areas of diatomaceous earth and will be used in my crafts instead of slabbed or cabbed. Other pieces I have from this area have more of the earth-tone colors of the rock in the first picture, and many are solid enough to undergo cutting.  My only problem with the area I was hunting in is that a few pieces that I really, really want to bring home are just too big for me to get out of the gulch, even though my jeep is strong enough to carry a several hundred pound piece of wood. I’m thinking by the time we get snowed out of the area, I might just have figured out how to get at least one of them into my rig and home.

While much of the wood from Washington retains it’s rings and the look of wood, I’ve found that some of the wood from Nevada has more intricate patterning, such as you can see in the picture below:


While this piece has a little bit of fracture on the surface, it will mostly hold up to a saw and these patterns are not magnified. They are quite visible when holding the rock so the solid areas will make wonderful slabs and cabochons.

While agatized wood is more solid and more lapidary friendly, the opalized woods just seem to have some color and character often lacking in agatized wood. I’ll be going after some more of this beautiful wood again this year and am hoping that a few RHS1 members will be in the area to share the trip out with.

Until later, remember:

Life’s short – Rock hard.