Thursday, October 29, 2009
On a good day I will collect over 200 pounds of agate and petrified wood. I use the white feed bags to hold the rock. These kayaks are designed to float 900 pounds. They are 3 person kayaks. They are very stable, but get a little sluggish with several hundred pounds of rock. The bags are sitting on top of the kayak. If I tip over, I loose the bags, but that's never happened. This picture was taken just north of Savage Montana. The cliff is 80 million years old volcanic ash which is part of the Hell Canyon formation. These are fossil bearing formations. You can see coal strips along the bottom of the formation. This is a slow moving section of the river. In the fall the river moves pretty slow. If you want big fast water come in June. However all the rock bars are underwater.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
With Kayaks we can stop anywhere on the river. This picture was taken on a large Island with rock and gravel beaches. The agates are found everywhere there is gravel and more often in places that few people have already hunted. You can tell you have a good spot when the agates are shinning up at you just as obvious as can be. The third picture shows this beautifully shaped agate with red bands up close. The red is iron which is coloring the agate along the banding layers. We like to kayak in the fall when the weather is a little cooler. The temperature can get very hot in Montana mid summer. In the fall there are no bugs which makes for pleasant agate hunting. The other advantage of fall agate hunting is; the water level has dropped to it's lowest point and more gravel and rock bars are exposed.
Friday, October 23, 2009
A kayak is a great way to travel the river. In the fall when the river is low and more rock bars are exposed a kayak will take you places not reachable by power boats. I use a sit on top version made by Ocean Kayak. Its only 12 feet long but will float 900 pounds which leaves lots of room for agates. It's also incredibly stable. To travel from one access point to another takes two cars. We go pretty late in the year. Earlier would make for fun over night camping out on the river. One problem is that I collect so many agates and petrified and beautiful stones in a day that I need to unload each day. I guess I would need to be more selective if I kayaked two days or more. Many of the access points are 15 to 20 miles apart so it's a full day of agate hunting and paddling.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The first week in October we headed for Glendive, Montana. If you're looking for Montana Moss Agate Glendive is the center of the universe, ground zero. The Yellowstone River takes a sharp bend to the north at Glendive. Lots of rock and gravel have pile up on the river in long rock bars. The Montana moss agates are found mixed in with banded quartzite, petrified wood, chert and other hard stones. The river grinds up most of the softer stone long before it reaches Glendive. Yellowstone Park is over 300 miles to the east. Much of the granite and basalt is reduced to sand by the action of the river. The shore lines and islands are open to the public up to high water mark. Only problem is you cannot trespass on private property to reach the river. Stay posted and I'll tell a few secrets to help you access the good agate hunting areas of the river.