Stoneham 2003 Trip Report
September 27-28th

by Cheri Dougherty


This was only my second field trip with North Jeffco and I find myself being coerced into writing the trip report (something about needing a new point of view). ( I arrived at the park in Ft. Morgan at about 8:30 a.m. to find several people already there. Most of us arrived before our leader, Bob Loeffler. Paul LyVere, Eldon Hunewell, Don Beamer, Dave & Kathy Mullen, Erik Anderson, April Pullen & Robert Robinson and three young friends, Carolyn & Greg Tunnicliff, and Bruce Skelton were all ready to head to the claim. Terry LeBlanc & his nephew, Julie & Terrance Yee and their two kids, and Jim Schatzman, his son Sam and Sam’s friend, Anthony all arrived later Saturday afternoon.

We headed for the dig site at about 9:15 a.m. Once there, we had to wait a few minutes for Frank Bendrick, the claim owner, to unlock the gate. At the site, Frank told everyone that we would find small pockets in the white clay, but bigger specimens could be found along the fault. I grabbed my borrowed tools—thanks Bill & Donna!—and headed down the hill. April was showing Robert what we were looking for so I asked to take a peek. She was incredibly helpful and we both started combing the ground looking for float crystals. After picking up a few pieces, I decided to find a place to dig. I ran into Dave & Kathy and asked if I could dig near them. They ran into a seam and provided me with tons of tips and great conversation. I kept trying to pick up the seam, but didn’t have much luck so I decided to see how others were doing. Bill, Lindsey, and Paul from the Flatiron’s club were digging along the fault and had a 5-foot hole going. It was intriguing to watch them work AND a lot easier. They found some nice, small crystals and let Bob take over the hole when they left. April came across a nice pocket and the boys she and Robert brought along even found a fat, horned toad.

I talked to Paul for a while and he showed me the crystals he and Eldon dug up. Before he left, he offered some more pointers and suggested I hike along just under the ridge and look for concentrations of float on top of the clay. I decided this was a good afternoon task. During my hike, Jim, his son and friend came up and asked if I’d found anything. I emptied my pockets to show the boys some of the things I’d found. They were impressed so I didn’t feel quite so dejected about how little I’d found. Further along I found a nice crystal with a “bite” taken out of it. I slid down the hill three times trying to get to it!

I kept hiking and heard a pick. I decided to investigate and found Don and Erik down in one of the ravines. They invited me down to dig as they had found a seam with a lot of big crystals. I dug with them the rest of the afternoon and was really encouraged by the end of the day.

Bob, Erik, Jim, Sam, Anthony, and I stayed over for Sunday. That evening a fierce shooting star competition ensued. Final score: Eric-3, Bob-2. The stars were incredible. I forget how much we miss being near the city lights.

The next morning, Erik headed back to the ravine and I headed up there shortly after. He was kind enough to let me dig with him and we managed to find a nice seam. Erik pulled out a crystal that was at least an inch wide, if not bigger. Again, he gave me some great tips. Bob joined us a while later after filling in the 5 ft deep hole from the day before, and he and I continued to dig after Erik left. Denny Vittum & his family showed up late that morning and came over to see what we’d found. Bob and I finally gave up around 2:00 p.m. As we left, Denny and his family were still hard at work.

I had a GREAT time and I love this club. Thanks to all of you for your help!