We were going to Railroad Buttes on day 2, but last night in Wall shopping, we met a sales lady in the black hills gold jewelry store. We were hot and looked a
mess. She asked had we been out collecting on the Cheyanne. I said no, we are just in from the Weta Beds in Kadoka. I explained, the land around the Cheyanne is
private property and have no access point.. She said, "Well you can access the river on my families land, we own 1000's of acers of land on the Cheyanne. Here I will
draw you a map." Those of you that have collected near the river, know how way cool this is! The girls were ok with a change in the location. So I finished my
purchase, and with map in hand we headed to the hotel for a shower.
Animal Tracks in the silt. Must be careful.
Our little rattle snake having a toad for lunch.
He was only about 15 inches long, and as big
around as my thumb.
We followed our map and landed on the west side of the river with plenty of parking. Looking left (north) the bank was to high to access safely, and is also the
background picture on this page. The right (south) went under the bridge and out to a narrow trail. About 50 yards out, we went down the bank to the edge of the
river where we will walk across to the sand bars. So excited were almost there.....and 20 ft in on our sandy river edge turned into silt. After all of us were knee deep
in mud, we collectively decided this was not the place to cross.
Now going back the way we came was a whole new adventure. Our shoes are off as they were stuck down in the mud, and getting them up took a special tool. Our
water bottles were not the tool of choice. We used our rock scoops to balance our backwards maneuvers. You should have seen us after our mineral mud bath, our
skin looked much softer. It's all about the quality of mud you use.
Now heading in the right direction. When we got to a gentle, sandy slope. I decided to go up at this point to get back to the trail. I told the girls to hold onto the
wispy strong plant to help balance when you go up, and then something caught my eye. I said, stop, they said, why, I said, rattle snake! So, I threw my water bottle
this side of him, hoping to send him back into the grass away from us, but he didn't flinch. So either he's dead or eating. Taking a closer look. he had a toad twice
his size halfway down. So at this point he is of no treat. It would have taken him as long to get it back up, as it took going down. So up the hill we go, got my cell
phone and took lots of pictures. Being a bright and sunny day you can not see your subject on the screen. So in a close and circular fashion, you shoot, shoot, shoot.
This is probably a once in a life time photo, and got 6 great photos. On the way back to the car, I found a Montana Moss Agate laying just under some scrubs. Gloria
picked it up, about softball size.
Looking South - Train Bridge
Rocks & Sand
On the way back to the car and full of mud, We were determined to not be defeated. We drove around to the
other side of the river. Drove into what I would call a service road and then into the grass. I parked near the
train tracks which were right overhead, then we walked down under the railroad tracks to the river. This path
took a little longer, but would be more fruitful. When we reached the river there was an area between us and the
sand bar that looked dry and crackly, but it wasn't, it was our friend silt. Stepping on it, was like an old lady
steppin' on a skate board. We maneuvered forward in a chain like manor, and with our rock scoops for balance,
made it to the rivers edge. We washed our mineral mud packs off from our earlier adventure, and now it was
time to collect, and collect is what we did.
It didn't take long before we had piles of rock. The girls had their backpacks. I forgot mine in car. So I made a pile
to come back and get, and it included a way cool, huge, pretty pink praire agate.
Now it's been a few hours, I see Lisa and told her to come see me. I had a Pile of what I thought were fossils?... with
honey colored calcite crystals. You could see those that were broken apart by others collecting on the river. I found a
huge basketball size nodule, and I too dropped it on the rocks to see inside. Pretty little calcite specimens. So I said
to Lisa, "I will leave these in my hat so we can find them easily when were ready to go. Another hour or two went by
and the girls were ready to go. So I went to gather my pile, and it was gone. Remember I put my pretties in my hat,
so I would know where they were. Well I lost em'. The girls help me look for about an hour. We were hot, tired and I
hated to leave my pretty pink praire, but I told the girls lets just go. As we were heading down river to where we
came in, Lisa found my hat. Right there out in the open. I guess I started looking for it to far up river. Go figure.
When we got back to the train bridge, Lisa and Gloria had a few big piles they were excited about. They wanted to
know what is good and what to leave. My response was, if you liked it enough to pile it, than pack it out. I am
remembering we were a ways to the car, but was sure we could get it all, maybe.... After all it was only about
100-125lbs. So we filled the girls backpacks first, then the nail pouches around our waist, a few things left to carry by
hand. Lisa's backpack was about 75-80lbs. Gloria's maybe 20-25lbs. The girls help me get Lisa's on my back and we
got Gloria's on hers.. Lisa carried the left over chunks and rock scoops.. We got it all. Now time to go back over the
slippery silt with a little bit of an incline to the car. We stayed together balancing each other thru the silt. When we
got past the silt, I got a bit a head of them and sat down on a log and wait for them to catch up. After our rest a
minute, I had to have Lisa and Gloria help pull me up. I realized I had to keep moving, the girls were ok to to follow,
so I went on to the car. When I got to the car, I backed up to the barb wire fence where I droped my backpack. The
girls were almost to the fence. So we loaded up, we got it all and we were tired!
Now time to head to Custer, SD for TeePee agate collecting tomorrow.
Day 1 Weta Beds