Sommer Camp Road Rock Hounding
There is some information out there that pointed us towards two specific places on Sommer Camp Road for opal, jasper and agates. We plotted the places in our GPS unit and easily found the road and the exact coordinates for these Idaho gems and rock. But just because you find someones coordinates doesn't mean you'll find the rocks or even the correct spot.
The first place is a road cut that resulted in dirty shoes, dirty rock hammers and just few poor specimens of opal and agate. So we moved on to the second point on Sommer Camp where we found some interesting agatized rocks and opal. We later discovered we were is the right area but just the wrong spot. We came home with a a few pounds of cool looking rocks that will need to worked over with some power tools and the tender loving touch of a big hammer to fully realize what we found along Sommer Camp Road.
My take on rock hounding these types of places is it may be better to find an area of public land and just set off and look around. Owyhee County is a big place filled with many surprises and I'm sure there are tons of locations to find sparkly and bejeweled rocks. Sommer Camp just isn't a scenic place, there is private property in places and standing next to a road or with 15 feet of one makes me feel exposed and uncomfortable. I like the sensation of discovering new “off the beaten path with grand views” places you can easily find in and around the Owyhee Mountains. Your mileage, rock hound enjoyment and luck may differ though.
Places Along Highway 95
We really don't have much interest in the whole “fossilized plant” rock hounding thing so when it came time to pull off the road, we slowed down slightly, looked the place over and both said, “Nay...maybe some other day”. The one place we were looking forward to was the Windy Ridge Jasper place located close to the Oregon / Idaho border but about 5 miles down a lonely dirt road. We headed down the unnamed road that progressive got more rough and rutted to the point we became uncomfortable. We ended up less than “one dirt road mile” from the place before we turned around. Yes, we could have walked the rest of the way but there was no guarantee there would be a windy ridge or any jasper so with tail tucked between our legs we retreated to better roads and the State of Oregon.
Succor Creek State Park
So, we've been told that thunder eggs and other cool rock pretty much jump into your rock bag at Succor Creek. We were pretty excited as we headed up the 20+ miles of rather good gravel road to this little known State Park. The first half of this road was rather bland with just rolling hills along both sides. But as we approached Succor Creek, the scenery improved immensely. This is canyonland and you get to drive into the Succor Creek Canyon. The hills became bigger, grass greener and the countryside was, at times, awe inspiring. This park really isn't anything special when it comes to amenities but the scenery certainly makes up for the lack of “things”. There are a few semi-primitive camp grounds along Succor Creek but that is about all.
As far as the aforementioned thunder eggs jumping into our rock bags? Well, that story might have it origins based in some kind of truth but...In reality we were hoping to find some people out in a field digging around but didn't see anyone that looked like a rock hounds. In short we didn't find any thunder eggs. That was kind of disappointing but the scenery of this area more than made up for the lack of jumping rocks. We know there are great places to hunt thunder eggs out at Succor Creek so don't let this review stop you from heading out there. As a matter of fact, I highly encourage you to go there...you won't be sorry AT ALL.
Link to this trip's photo album.
Link to a 14 picture, 220 degree panoramic picture of the Succor Creek Canyon
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The Bondyweb.Com author
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