My 81 year old neighbor and myself 55 are once again headed to dig thundereggs near Mt. Rainier in Washington State. We live in the Seattle area and it is 104 miles to the site which is in the Naches Recreational Area, 21 miles over Naches Pass. The eggs are covered in snow most of the year so mid summer is our digging window.
The thunderegg area is in the national forest 6 miles from the main road and a half mile up the trail. The eggs are located on a ridge much like the back of a buffalo. They are located in sandy dirt and roots and rocks among large evergreen trees You can see for miles as you dig the eggs, the scenic beauty is amazing. I have had elk calling as I dig...I have called back to them and they seem to answer. I have never danced with any.
Years back I noticed pure green clay at the bottom of my three foot deep hole. The next year after thinking about it all year I dug into the clay and began to find larger and larger eggs as I went deeper. I realized that the eggs were formed in the clay most likely being air bubbles of gases venting though soft wet muddy clay which eventually hardened. I notified the mineral council and they had everyone on their trip get to spend some time in the hole and most everyone was able to score a big one.
It is the same as taking dish soap and tipping it upside down and creating rising bubbles in it..all the bubbles stay round and are different sizes. Make sure you close the lid first if you try this at home or at least do this over a sink of dirty dishes.DO NOT LET YOUR WIFE SEE THIS, SHE MIGHT DIE OF FRIGHT THINKING THAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY DOING DISHES!!I do this once in awhile to inspire myself during the "dig nothing" winter months and dream of digging eggs..but don't tell anybody.
After several trips to this clay hole by many parties the hole became quit large..large enough to need a ladder to get in and out of toward the end. The largest thundereggs were the size of basketballs it was said. The largest I got were the size of nice cantaloupes and I would usually get at least 10 large ones each trip until the hole eventually dried up.
The inside of the eggs are generally full of bluish agate mixed with different degrees of whites and grays to form scenes of the ocean. There are straight lines in some that look like water and beach and underwater etc. If you allow yourself you can see clam shells and other seashore items.
One egg I have collected has two different angles of straight lines indicating a possible earthquake cause the egg to shift during the filling process. It is fun to speculate how and how long these eggs took to form. Some have pockets of black carbon material.
On the trail up to the eggs we usually stop at the puzzle piece pine tree. This is a huge tree, possibly old growth, that has a bark that looks just like puzzle pieces..it is fun to pick up the pieces from the pile under the tree and laugh at how much they remind you of that puzzle you worked on as a young child or running your hands though puzzle pieces. Just one more fun thing about this trip. The smells are also amazing when one enters the forest, it is usually hot and the smells are at their peak.
So I invite you to Washington State to come dig thundereggs. We never leave the site without a bucket or two..most generally baseball size, golf ball size and smaller..there is plenty for everyone for years to come. Maybe you will be the one to find the next entry hole to the large eggs in the clay that the hill is probably made of.
Are those big ones calling your name?
Man, does that sound like fun! Chrissy, Opal and I may just have to take you up on your offer one day. Thanks for the enjoyable read!
You can find similar Thunder eggs at Red Top near Ellensburg WA. It is about 40 miles North of your area. I have seen Thunder eggs about the size of cant elopes come out of there. One guy said he broke these big Thunder eggs up so his kids could sell the pieces. Seems like that would be ruining a good specimen.
The thundereggs at Red Top are mostly crystals inside so quite different. I have hunted on the Issaquah Valley Claim (Northwest of the tower a mile? west slope)in the past and got cantaloupe size geodes, but the crystals were gown together inside. I cheated by digging down the sides of large holes that were already dug and did well, but probably would not do near as well if I had to start a new hole.
I have also dug 100 yards West of the outhouse but the geodes were small golf ball size and also filled in.
I found one down the way in dirt that was not filled in when I first went up to Red Top with Pow Wow back in 99.
I want to return to the West side again and dig, but need someone to go with, my rock hound buddy neighbor 81 can't hike that far. I also need a GPS to figure out where I am up there so I don't get lost coming up the West side.
A future trip.........
krystal lynn hund
Considering where you were, the green clay sounds like it was possibly montmorillonite (or similiar)fallout from a volcanic event. If so, it should be a widespread layer and traceable to other nearby areas.
We see lots of layers such as this albeit thinner in E.TN.
Good point KLH.
We actually have a layer of ash that we dig through from near by Mt St, Helens and when it blew. It is about 2 to 6 inches deep. Its gray.
It is so fun to dig around the Cascades and see where this layer is in the strata these days 30 years layer..it usually is around a foot deep, under sod and sticks and mulch of sorts.
Did you know Mt St Helens actually went to the University of Washington and graduated? She did very well graduating "Magma Come Loudly"
I made that joke up shortly after the eruption...I was breathing a lot of ash partials at the time.
krystal lynn hund
Wow. Has it been 30 years? I camped on the MSH slopes shortly after they let the public back into the area while on vacation. Was awakened a couple of times by small quakes. I really loved that area.
& Dang, I'm gettin old. 30 years!
I am about to retire from the Navy after 32 years of service and I would like some good directions to dig up some of those thundereggs prior to my leaving and going back east to retire.
Can you provide me with some detailed driving directions to get some of these thundereggs.
Are there any restrictions on digging in that area?
Let see..I say you best bet is to either contact me or go with the Washington State Mineral Council
They have a field trip on the 18th of this month. They will show you right where to dig.
If you want to contact me I am the only Chimney Sweep named Joel in Seattle so you can Google my web site and my number is on it.
I probably will not be able to give you perfect directions as there are many side roads up there and I do not have them memorized.
The mineral council does have a map for 9 bucks to the area also.
The only Chimney Sweep named Joel in the Seattle area? Joel J? Are you Joel Jurasek? If so, I'm surprised you're a rock-hound.
Let me know if I have the name right.
Hello everyone. I have never been into rock hounding in the past, but I have a 17 year old son that is disabled, and his only interest is wanting to find fossils. He is also interested in the rocks that have crysTals inside. I live in tacoma wa, and I'm trying to find somewhere I can take him to find these things. If anyone has any information that will help me. ..please email me at
Thanks in advance everyone.
You can contact the Mineral council for information on sites.
When I was a young girl in Iowa, we used to go gathering geodes in a stream deep in the woods... I loved this, so magical... and would like to share this experience with my son, now. I am so grateful to find your site -- I would love to come on a geodes gathering expedition with my 9 year old... I see you mainly go to Rainer in the summer... any hope of finding any at this time of the year??
Im in the tri cities and am wanting to grab some thunder eggs. I am a huge rock hound. I love the agates and the geodes. I go to Ellensburg to hunt agates. Anything close to me? Sometimes transportation is an issue so the closer the better. I would love to go rock hounding with someone. Getting my car fixed so I can get my rock fixout of the tri cities.
Can anyone tell me where I can find thunder eggs in or around Packwood Washington.
My grandson, age 8, is really into rockhounding and geodes. I live in Mukilteo and have read a lot about the east side of Mount Rainier near Cayuse Pass. But so far have not found any specifics on directions. I am up for buying a map, but agin have been having trouble finding a good link on the
http://www. Any specifics or direction beyond what has been posted are appreciated. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am new to rock hounding and am very excited to go out and find some good stuff. I would love to be able to find some nice thunder eggs. I live near Bellingham Washington if anyone could send me directions to a close collection site I would so much appreciate it. Myself and my teenage boys have found something in common that we love and is outdoors away from tv and video games. We have gone up to the racehorse creek land slide fossil collection area and have had a blast.
Is this location easy to get to with kids? How do you get there? sounds awesome.
I can imagine digging some of those thundereggs on a nice, cold, beautiful mountain slope, with elk callings, birds screeching, fractus clouds rolling in! Epic man, epic.
hello i have a 10yr old son who is extreamly interested in geodes and everything of the sorts.. i was wondering if you could give me any information on where to go to find geodes in the spokane wa. area