Spruce Grove Trip Report
July 22 - 23, 2000

by Kevin and K.C. Larsen


The Spruce Grove field trip turned out to be spectacular. To anyone who went on this trip, and left before late Sunday afternoon, this would seem like a highly optimistic statement. Since as far as anyone I spoke with could tell, the only crystals found before then were some small smokys and some fragments. Then Bob Loeffler started finding TOPAZ!!! He was digging in a small crevice filled with soft dirt and hit a nice pocket of bright smokys. Some of which were double terminated and very unique looking (I had seen him digging in that spot earlier and figured he picked soft dirt so he wouldn't dull the point on his shiny brand new pick. Goes to show what I know, next time I'll find a spot with soft black dirt in the shade). We had been digging in another area all day with no luck, and decided to go back and check on the main group to see how everyone else was doing. On the way back we met Brian and Wendy who told us Bob had found a piece of Topaz. When we got there the only people left were Bob, Terry, Ron, Judy and Moyra. While we were drooling over Bob's loot, Terry, who was helping with Bob's pocket, suggested K.C. and I dig in a nearby hole that someone else had been digging in earlier, which had produced some smoky chips. After reaching up to my armpit a few times in this hole, I decided it would be easier to dig about a foot away. All I had to do was move a small rock. After moving the rock K.C. and I started moving some dirt and started finding smokys right away. After what seemed like only a few minutes, we found our first piece of topaz (I wasn't sure at first if it was Topaz so I had to ask Ron, Terry and Bob to look at it). It turned out we lucked into finding another pocket. We excitedly worked this pocket for about two hours. It produced eight pieces of Topaz, weighing a total of 134 carats. The largest was 57 carats and 31 mm long. This piece was clear and nicely terminated with a sharp V point. We also collected some double pointed smokys, double terminated smokys, and some feldspar crystals. Bob's pocket was however the best producer, he found a Topaz about twice the size of our largest one, and many of the smokys he pulled out had faces like mirrors, and were well terminated and formed. I think he found three or four nice Topaz crystals. Everyone offered to carry Bob's Topaz back to the campground for him, so he could rest from all the collecting he did, but he didn't seem very interested. Bob and Terry both took pictures of the Topaz, and Bob said he would have them available for viewing on the Web site in about a week.

So what did we learn from all this? Ron showed us an easy way to tell Topaz from Quartz. I know 503 places at Spruce Grove not to dig. Most important of all is "Follow Bob".

P.S. - I found we had two more pieces of Topaz after running a specific gravity on some hard to identify pieces.