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Happiness is a new camera!
I felt like I had a hand missing for the last two weeks!
I didn't go big-time like gemhunter but upgraded from a Fuji A205 to an F30 and that's Plenty enough new "fun" for me to figure out for now! (I'm gasping over the menus already )

So cont'd from my plume crust post:
Here are the other types of agates from what the books call "Hog Creek" (but the road sign says Rock Creek)near Weiser.White mottled moss and some small-plume agate.Some nodules have small amounts of green or white opalite,some are hollow with botryoidal innards.This picture is a little too person the grays are translucent and paler.

The famous Beacon Hill with it's pretty oval Bluish white to yellow fortification nodules is Very close to This spot but we couldn't find the access road cause the old truck has no odometer and there were several to choose from(and we keep hearing rumors Beacon is closed so we didn't explore too much).If anyone has CURRENT info please post it for me! KOR,Rhonda

You might find some info to help you at the links below?
I don't know which topo map that site is located in, but you may find a mineral or mine map by the same name at the state survey?
Click Here

"Beacon Hill, Hog Creek, Weiser area - Washington County. Four miles south of US93 on White Cloud Road in Twin Falls County."
Click Here
Oh for Pete's sake,I had the detail topo map all along on my Ore-Rock-On DVD...I'd looked under "Weiser" and it was there under the location name "Beacon Hill" instead!
Well,next time we are out there I'll be counting the gravel road turn-offs and looking at how the river bends and how the hills lie....That'll be easier than me learning GPS or talking Rick into trading in his #!%&*#@* old truck with the busted odometer!- -
I discovered something else! Hog Creek intersects Rock Creek Road 6 miles up(hence the name confusion),but a different gravel road actually goes up Hog Creek from a different turn off the pavement(that one wasn't the one in the books tho-). We'll have to see if that road is open or private too since there's agate all over out there!

Still, I'm hoping a member of a Boise Idaho Club(they used to dig there regularly but I don't know if they Still do) might see this thread and post "current status" report for Beacon.

Yeah Wayne I like that second link you gave for finding out what's in an Idaho area...some of those aren't listed in the books and if one is near a location it pays to look around!

OK Lady.. do it your way!! LOL!!

My main tools, besides publications and maps, are my Maptech map software and GPS. With the two tools I save a lot of "back-tracking" looking for locations. The mica mine we found the other week, would not have been possible to find without many trips to the area.
Missing a turn-off can cause you many headaches, lost time, and gas money! A GPS will pin-point a road location even if it's been altered by man or nature. Didn't you miss a turn-off road last year because it was over-grown?

Using a GPS to mark a road turn-off is very easy to learn.. it's as easy as watching your odometer on the truck and is many times more accurate! An odometer won't tell you if you're going the wrong direction, a GPS will! You did know a GPS works while you're moving, didn't you? It will tell you your compass direction, how fast your moving(MPH), and current coordinates.

Look at this picture, you have two sets of numbers, one with an "E" next to a set and the other with an "N" next to a set.

The numbers with the "E" next to them are east-west coordinates,
this number will get larger going east and smaller going west.

The numbers with an "N" next to them are north-south coordinates,
this number will get larger going north and smaller going south.

Think of this as an odometer that works in four directions at the same time.

If you are traveling north on a road and you know that the road turn-off is at a certain "N" coordinates, when the numbers increases to that number that will be your turn-off. Going south the number will get smaller until it matches the road turn-off coordinates. The same if you're going east-west.

You can buy a complete state set that has every topo map in that state from Maptech for around $90. Yes, this sounds kind'a high, until you realize that Idaho is covered with 50+ maps and a complete set would be over $300. But why use Maptech? Because they use the exact same topo maps as the hard copy you buy, many other software makers don't. To find the coordinates to any location in a state is simple! Pull-up the map that covers the area and put the cursor over any location on the map and read the coordinates at the top of the page.
Joe D.

Not all states are created equal when it comes to TOPO maps. Peeay is well known for being woeful as far as accurate TOPO maps go. You can get Aerial maps from 1999 but the same area's TOPO maps are from 1983. Why this state is so behind in TOPO maps I haven't a clue. Also MAPQUEST has been known to have lots of errors in their maps and directions. If you use good maps and their directions you are home free. It still helps a lot to know what direction you want to go as well as what direction you are going. I have used the GPS as a compass at times and have never been disappointed in it. As you stated it shows what direction you are going and the coordinates of where you are. But if you don't know where you are and how to read a map to begin with no compass will help you.

I like TERRASERVER but it's TOPO maps are quite old also. It's nice being able to flop back and forth from Aerial to TOPO though. Keeping in mind the general direction you should be heading will always over ride map and direction errors. My simple direction meter in my SUV has saved me many a time in the desert. On foot you better know what you are doing if you want to walk-a-bout in the wilderness.

Joe D.

Hi Joe,

It's not uncommon for topo maps to be 20 to 25 years old, most will have been revised during that time and after a period of time a new map will replace it. Knowing the location or general area a mine is located will help you decide which "new road" to take. Things can change fast and a map is always behind some.
If the mine or prospect is big enough to have removed an amount of material that would need a wagon or truck, I always look for old road beds that could help locate the old site. I have walked an old road knowing when it could have been used last by the size of the trees growing in it, this is best done during the winter months when you can see the land better.
The people who would say a GPS is only a "toy" and not a real tool of navigation are the ones that don't know how to use one!
But, you must know how to read maps, use a compass, and the GPS, to ever locate old mines, prospects, and deposits with any degree of success.

Just a note on map software...

If all you need is something with more detail than a road map to show you the way to a site, then buying a topo map of the area is your best bet.
But, if you are needing a tool to find "lost" mines, prospects, or prospecting and area to find a new deposit, then map software can be great tool and a time saver!
I've been working on a map project lately that I hope some of you might be interested in assisting with. The website is

and features zoomable, scrollable maps with roads and aerial photography with downloadable links into Google Earth for each location. I've only been working on this project for a little over a month but it seems to be coming along nicely. All I need now is some input from the rockhounding community and I feel it will become a good resourse for all. Check it out and see what you think.
Tom K
There's nothing like having a thick fog set in when your out in a boat in the ocean or on a big lake like Lake Ontario,to prove to anyone with a little common sense that a GPS is NOT a toy!

When I first started fishing the Atlantic and Lake Ontario the navigation system used then was called LORAN (Long Range Navigation).It worked on a radio signal that was triangulated between you and land based signal towers maintained by the Govt.

Some geographic areas had only 3 towers but many had 5-6 which could pin point your position very close to within about 30'-60'.
The problem with using LORAN in a storm was kind of a catch 22!
It ran off of your VHF antenna which acted like a magnet for lightning!

Lake Ontario is notorious for having storms come out of nowhere and I've been more then my share of them to where they could be pushing 8'-10' waves!!Not fun in a 19' boat with an antenna inviting lightning to join you!!

When LORAN phased out the GPS was the new kid on the block and was terrible!!The accuracy was way out as the Govt didn't want our enemies to to have the accuracy that we did when we first used it in Desert Storm.

After a LOT of complaining by not only sportsman but also by big companies who shipped over the oceans of the world,the Govt re-thought the situation and fixed the problem.

When I bought my GPS for the boat it took a LOT to get used to it but it worked great and saved my butt more then once.

One sunny August day while fishing about 15-20 miles out on Lake Ontario,I had 2 GPS non-believers with me.I bet them a dinner that I could get to within 50' or less of the inlet buoy where the marina was and I would NOT look where I was going but just look at my GPS.
We took some rain gear and draped it between the roof and the windshield so I couldn't see where I was going and the bet was on.
They were designated as port and starboard lookouts to make sure I wouldn't run into other boats or debris on the way in.

I hit the "waypoint" I wanted for that particular inlet,hit the throttle and off we went at 30 MPH.

Lets just say they bought dinner!!!!!

As Wayne said,,,,,those who call GPS a toy just don't know how the heck to use it!

Tom K.
Ps:By the way.When you're out in a storm in a boat you can't just sit and wait it out and there are no signs or markings of any kind to help you navigate as there are on land.

Hi Jeffrey,

I've seen many sites on mapping locations to old mines, dig sites, and prospects. The number one problem with most of them is accuracy! Many times the coordinance are estimated, or the person gives "general" directions to a location. This can be a slight inconvenience if the location can be reached by road, but if it's located in the middle of a forest or other type terrain not marked by man, it can be the difference between "hit" or "miss"! Here is the USGS site to mine locations... but be warned, most are estimated and can be "off" a considerable amount!


Many outdoor types don't believe in a GPS, or compass, or maps.
Many will say that they can find their way just fine, using only their outdoor skills and wit! To them navigation isn't a problem and they can find anything!
I have only one thing to say to them... "BS"!!
Accuracy in the maps and info is what I am aiming at for the Rock Picks Project. The majority of the sites listed have been visited by myself or people I know. What I try to do is after visiting a site, I attempt to pinpoint it in Google Earth and transfer the coordinates into the proper map on the site. Aerial photography provides details that a drawn map cannot. I provide links back into Google Earth because I find that the ability to tilt the view and see the terrain in 3D really helps to visualize the site in a way that topo maps just can't provide. As the site develops, I plan to create individual pages for each of the locations with text directions, drawn maps and photos to provide as much info as possible.

What I've been asking folks to do is find sites that they have visited in Google Earth and save the site as a .KMZ file that can be sent via e-mail and opened to display the site pinpoint in my copy of Google Earth...... along with as much text direction and description as possible. Actually, finding places you have been to in Google Earth is quite fun. Several sites I have pinpointed in Google Earth just from text directions, photos and maps. Whenever possible, I get the person who sourced the info to verify the accuracy of my "educated guess". I located the Spence Gulch trilobite site here in Idaho from a general description of the area and photographs found in a fieldtrip report and then verified the spot with GPS coordinates from a grad student here at ISU that had visited the location several times. I was dead on and visited the site the next week quite easily without using GPS.

All I ask is that a few people "in the know" check out the website, try to pinpoint a few spots and send me the info. You never know, this type of pinpointing locations might work for you as well as it has worked for me. Give it a try.
Tom K
Hey Rhonda,
I got so carried away with the "navigation" thing I forgot to mention your agates!!

Some of them look very appealing!!

Do you cut/cab them?

Thanks for the pic's!

Tom K.
Jeffrey, You should have started a NEW thread today with YOUR theme as the title and YOU as the author! This agate thread is from last April! If you start a new thread then more people will read it and they will be able to "search" your topic easier in the future too! R.
Teah Smith
I'm looking for a rock and mineral club to join in weiser or close to weiser. Do you know of any? Plus I have a lot of rocks and minerals that I bought when I first got started rock hounding a year ago. I'm having a hard time finding their value. Do you know anyone that could help me or an appraiser?
Teah Smith
If someone could call or text me about the info id realky appreciate it. 503-310- 2018 thanks [smile]
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