Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Agate hunters handbook, part one

Agate Hunters Handbook, part one

Agate hunting on the shores of Lake Superior can be a fun, rewarding, and profitable hobby.

Just kidding. It's a fool's game. But if it's the fool's game for you this guide will help you. 

No, it is unlikely to help you find an agate. It is more likely to help you in that way where you complain and someone says "I know! Totally!"  Think of this guide as a shoulder to cry on in the early years of your apprenticeship to the unprofitable hobby of agate hunting. Let's get started!

Ah, yes, you'll want my qualifications. Fair enough.

1. In 1981, while on a backpacking trip in a beautiful canyon called West Clear Creek, in Arizona, someone brought along a fishing bow. It was cheap and simple, and came with one barbed fishing arrow that attached by line to the bottom of the bow. The creek was full of fish, big ones lurking in deep pools and shadows, little ones readily visible everywhere else in the appropriately named "Clear Creek". For the two days of our visit there, dawn to dusk, barefoot and nearly naked, I tirelessly hunted fish. Stalking in slow motion over stones, perfecting my approach and technique, I launched my arrow thousands of time upon the theoretically tasty fish of those waters.

Though many were startled, I don't believe I ever so much as injured one of them. Fortunately we had packed in many pop-tarts.

2. I have hunted agates on the shore of Lake Superior for three Summers running now.

That concludes my qualifications.

Ah, yes, you'd like to know if I've ever found any agates. Good for you! Already going after the old master's secrets! That's just the sort of initiative that will make little difference in your hopeless, but gratifying, career as an agate hunter.

The answer is yes. I am 85% sure that I have found some small stones that are, technically, agates.

What Is an Agate?

I think I know, sort of, but if you want pictures of and clear explanations about what an agate is I will have to direct you to one of those Agate Hunter's Handbooks that go for $18.95 in your North Shore gift shops. That steep cost is very unlike this guide, which is free. I should also note that those $18.95 guides will be written by pros, who have too much to lose by telling you all their agate hunting secrets, unlike me, who doesn't really have any secrets, but at least is happy to go ahead and tell you all of them.

Tomorrow, in part two: Getting started.

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