FALLON — From the first thaw to when the snow flies, Captain Eddie White can be found on the banks of the Yellowstone River hunting for treasure.
“I've been a rock hound all my life," White said. "My grandpa was a big inspiration in my life and he was a rock hound and a fisherman, so that's where it started.”
A gemstone formed by Yellowstone's volcanic activity, Montana Moss Agates are not regular rocks.
“This is one of the only free-flowing rivers in the United States. So that in itself is pretty special," White said. "But also this is the only place that the United States that you can find this specific kind of agate.”
White helps agate admirers from all over the country comb the banks of the Yellowstone River in Eastern Montana to find treasure hiding in plain sight, building a unique business with a growing demand
“My business has been nuts. I've had people come from all over the country to go on agate hunts and it's been awesome. I meet a lot of great people and it's a lot of fun," White said.
Jarrod Reddish and Alicia Driemeyer from Lewiston are two avid rock hounds who have been on three trips with White, looking for access to hard-to-reach areas of the Yellowstone River.
"There are actually a lot more rock hounds out there than you'd expect, so a lot of places are picked over. If you can go out with Eddie as a guide for a trip, he'll take you to the spots where you're guaranteed to find quite a few," Reddish said.
When looking for agates, White advises people to look for potato-like rocks that allow light to shine through when rinsed in water and held up against the sun. This turns out agates for adornment, jewelry, sell and trade.
“A lot of people put them in their gardens, they put them in their houses. I personally take them and I cut them and polish them as long as it's a rock that is sought after.”
“We have buckets of them," Driemeyer said. "We display them in our house. We've got a lot of the cool agates.”
White runs regular trips until the snow flies, opening access to rock hounding for anyone who enjoys a walk along the river and has an eye for beauty.
You can find more about his business or book a trip here: https://www.mtagateshack.com/