A story by John Gaumer
Back in high school, my brother Tom and I headed north to the Owyhee Canyon in southeastern Oregon. It was 1955, and I was 15 years old at the time; my older brother was 16 and had just gotten his driver’s license. We decided to go through Oregon and cross the Owyhee River to get to the Morrisonite jasper diggings, at James Morison’s ranch. The area is quite remote, and we ended up getting lost. Eventually, we found Vale, which we knew was close to Graveyard Point. So, we decided to give up on the Morrisonite, and headed to Graveyard Point to dig for white plume agate instead.
Rockhounding at Graveyard Point, Owyhee Canyon, Oregon
We worked our way down the ridge and got excited when we found a white plume agate vein. Digging deeper, we discovered lovely clear agate with pink freestanding plumes. Unfortunately, we were a bit unprepared and didn’t have the right equipment to mine the agate out of the hard rock. Luckily, we were rescued by a man named Dudley Stewart, who happened to be nearby. He had a four-foot long pry bar. He taught us to stab and pry with the bar to pop out chunks of agate. It was very effective. After the lesson, he gave us the bar and headed back up the hill. Tom and I collected a big load of the gorgeous plume agate and headed for home.
We are very proud of the material we found that day, and have used it to make beautiful museum displays and custom jewelry (click here to see our favorite specimens). As for Dudley, he later filed a claim on that deposit. We became friends over the years and saw him regularly at gem shows.
Graveyard Point Plume agates