Friday, February 22, 2013

Salmon Creek Agates and Carnelian

Because my beloved Greenwater is under snow at this time of year, I have been looking for alternate places to hunt for good rocks.

I have been reading quite a bit about agates, petrified wood, jasper and carnelian being found in the Salmon Creek area, so when we finally had a decent day and time off, we headed down there.

Needless to say, we got our usual late start. Then we discovered that we couldn't find our makeshift probe (a fireplace poker), so we had to make do with a flimsy probe I made for locating old outhouse holes (yeah I know, weird huh?).

We headed out towards Salmon Creek around 12:00pm with about 75 miles to travel. Since it was I-5 most of the way, we made good time and arrived around 1:30pm.

With about 2 1/2 hours to look (we had to be in Tacoma by 6:00pm for a family dinner),  we packed up and headed out from the end of Salmon Creek Rd. near Toledo according to an older map I had. With the deep ruts placed across the road to block four wheelers, we decided to leave our trusty wagon behind. I figured the area would be fairly well picked over, but we decided to check out every stream we passed on our trek through the woods.

At the very first stream we came to, near an old dilapidated bridge, (Cougar Creek) we headed down to the gravel bars and immediately began to find agates. I was shocked! The water was fairly low and we could see the rocks really well. Of course the sun coming out and highlighting the clear stones certainly helped.

Cougar Creek Bridge

While I hunted near the bridge, Michael went upstream a ways. He seems to be particularly drawn to black rocks for some reason. He kept finding what he thought looked like obsidian. Maybe black agate?

Michael Looking

Every few steps I took, I'd find something else worth keeping. There were lots of small chips of carnelian, which I left behind. With the water being so clear, it was easy pickings.

Nice Gravel Bars

We saw quite a bit of red jasper, which we also left behind. I've got lots of that from Greenwater.

It looks like I missed some.
After we had halfway filled our handy Home Depot aprons, we decided to head further down the trail. Somewhere along the way we zigged instead of zagged and ended up at the top of a fairly large waterfall and a dead end. I tried to get a picture from standing above the falls but with really muddy banks to the sides, I decided not to risk falling. 

Looking around the area, we noticed quite a few chips of carnelian laying around, but we didn't really feel like digging, so we turned around and headed back to Cougar Creek and looked below the bridge for a while. We found a few more keepers and decided to head back to the car. I did find one really interesting piece of petrified wood that has red and black coloring with crystals along the sides.

All in all it was a great day. We will definitely be back to this area in the near future. With my Alaska sister coming to visit next month, we now have a place to take her that isn't under snow. I have also found further information on better (and less well known) spots along Salmon Creek to check out.

A Few of Our Great Finds

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