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Feather Ridge Plume Agate

[7/16/2012] Feather Ridge Plume Agate is a new/old discovery. Originally discovered by my good friend, Jake Jacobitz and his wife Beverly, in the early 80’s. This was Jake and Bev’s “Secret Spot”, where they’d camp out, surface collect and do some light hand digging. Throughout the years, he and Bev kept it a secret. Only two of their other friends, Hans Gamma and Gene Mueller knew something about this beautiful pink plume.

Jake, like all of us, eventually came to a point in his life when he realized that he couldn’t do the things he did when he was younger. This realization came to Jake in the past year , and lead him to contact me

For a few years now, Jake knew I was looking for a claim of my own. Sitting by the campfire after those hard days digging at the Regency Claim, Jake, Gene and I would shoot the breeze. In those conversations, I related that if I was ever going to have a claim of my own, it would really have to be worthwhile …kinda like a first time deer hunter. I wasn’t looking to bag any old deer. You can get those anytime. I was waiting for that trophy buck to wander into my sights.

Experiences I had digging with Jake and Gene Mueller at Gene’s Regency Rose Claim the past two years has given me a new perspective and have revitalized my interests in dealing rough rock. I have to admit, the past few years I was starting to get burned out. I’ve been selling rough every month for seven years on my web site and on average, I take over 800 pictures every sale, so that’s 67,200 pictures so far that I have edited, resized and uploaded of just rocks…I needed something else.

Jake phoned me back in March 2012 saying, he and Bev talked and wanted to know if I was interested in looking at and perhaps claiming a pink plume they discovered years ago. He said it might be the trophy buck I’ve been waiting for.

I set a date for the two of us to go out and look at the ground where the pink plume was located. A few days later and I was on my way to Jake and Bev’s house. Turning on to the street corner, in front of his house, I see Jake sitting in his garage, grinding away at his cab machine. Driving up, I roll down my window and shout “Hey! Old Timer!…Yeah you!…you with the funny looking hat! I heard you got some rock.” Without skipping a beat, Jake says, “We don’t sell yard rock here fella, try ebay!” We had a good laugh. I get out my car and walk over to him. I say, “What ya working on?” Jake replies, “Oh, just thought you might want to see what the pink plume looks like cabbed.” I look down at the dop stick he’s holding and my eyeballs fall out of their sockets. I said “Holy crap!…Your kidding, right?” “No, no…” he’s says. “That’s the real deal. I’ve been calling it Feather Ridge”. The cab had bright pink plumes in clear agate, backed with black basenite. Beautiful…Now, my brain starts clicking away at all the possibilities. Bringing me back to reality, Jake invites me in.

As customary Bev, Jake and I sit around the kitchen table and do some catching up. Bev then started sharing some funny stories of the times when they had gone out to Feather Ridge. Jake reaches back from his chair and pulls a specimen off his display cabinet. It’s a polished Botryoidal with pink plumes going up into the grape like agate formations. Jake says, “Here’s one Bev found years ago out there on the surface”. Being a specimen guy, this is the kind of thing that gets me excited.

One of the many stories I liked was when Jake and Bev were camping out there near a small stream about 200 yards from the site. Jake was taking a bath in the cow watering tank, (which they filled and emptied everyday from the stream), when a truck pulls up and a woman asked Jake for directions. Jake starts laughing, “There I was… standing with just my underwear and my boots on, giving this women directions in the middle of nowhere!” “Then, just the next morning,” Bev says, “They were sleeping in their tent, when she heard a heavy breathing noise.” Thinking it was just Jake, she ignored it. Then a few seconds later, she heard it again. She rose from her sleeping bag, only to find a cow, poking its head into the tent, staring at her and chewing it’s cud.

Jake and I say our goodbyes to Bev and head on out to the Owyhee’s. The site is located in the Strode Basin, which is about 10 Miles southeast of the Regency Rose Claim. The plume site is roughly 800 yards from the Oregon/Idaho border. While driving through some rough dirt roads, Jake points out different sites he dug years ago. Finally, we come to a small hill and drive to the top. Stopping the truck and looking about, sitting there I look over towards Jake, and noticed an odd looking thing made from a rusty can. I say chucking, “What the hell is that?” Jake explains, it’s his coffee mug. It’s a rusty old coffee can with a plastic bottle in the center. The bottle is surrounded with spray insulation foam. “Works like a charm”, he says. I ask, “When was the last time you cleaned the damn thing?” Jake very seriously says,… “Ohh nooo…ya never clean a man’s coffee cup. That’s what makes the coffee taste good”. There is also a hand painted saying on the side, which is classic Jake. It says, “I LIKE MY BEAN STRONG AS STUD HORSE PISS WITH THE FOAM FARTED OFF BY A MULE”. What a poet…

We get out of the car and on the ground are bits of pink plume here and there. It’s really hard to believe that rock hounds have not found this site. It’s right off the main dirt road, on top of a small hill, for all to see. Just looking around on the surface, I see small chunks of agate with colored plumes of mainly pink, but also yellow and white. I collect some to take home and cut, but it all looks great to me. Jake shows me different areas that they had hand dug and makes suggestions of where to dig, if I were to claim it. Jake had never made a claim on it. So, to make a long story short, I made my first claim on the, “trophy buck.” A few weeks later, Jake helped me put up the stakes.

Months rolled by. I was thinking about it everyday and having many sleepless nights. I needed to make a mining plan for the BLM. Since this was all new to me, I needed a little help. Jake and Gene Mueller gave me great information on writing up a plan, which really helped. The plan was approved quickly by the BLM, without any hiccups. In addition, Jake and Gene advised me to keep all of this under my hat till a few weeks before I start officially digging. So, the last two months leading up to start of excavating, were, “ Pure Hell! I’ve been wanting to tell everyone, but I had to keep it quiet until the actual digging day was closer. As most of you may know, once you stake an official claim with the BLM, it’s public record. Then, everyone and their brother will know where it is. I didn’t want some “boneheads” in there digging up the place with picks and shovels.
360 Degree View from the top of the Feather Ridge Claim
360 Degree View from the top of the Feather Ridge Claim
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