Memorial Day Weekend Field Trip to Spruce Grove Area
May 28-30, 2005

by Ron Knoshaug


On Saturday, after an arduous hike of about 1.25 miles, Judy and I finally reached the area where hunting for topaz was already in progress. Near the top of a small hill, Tom Miller, Don Beamer, and Bob Loeffler were busily moiling uphill. I thanked the group for removing the over-burden and was about to begin digging when Tom opened a sweat shirt and displayed a number of eye-popping topaz (the largest was over 400 carats). Judy and I began digging near the area but came away with nothing. After much earth moving and little to put in the collecting bag, we commenced to chat and gave the topaz a rest.

Later in the day, Eldon Hunewell and Melanie Hood-Lofthouse arrived. Melanie was walking across the area where most of the diggers were sitting, reached down and picked up a nice floater topaz. This got our attention and digging once again began in earnest. With great speed and with much dirt flying, Eldon uncovered a nice topaz. Now the digging got serious. By 7 PM, we were tired and headed back to camp. No new topaz was found.

Next day we headed back to a slightly different area. After a few hours of digging, Dale Gann found a beautiful, slightly blue topaz with complex terminations. Getting late in the day and since a thunderstorm was approaching, the Yee's headed back to their car to return to the camp site they found with great amenities (such as a warm shower) on the Tarryall Road. Judy and I headed back to the Spruce Grove Campground, ate a hurried dinner, and prepared to ride out the thunderstorm in our tent. After we left the digging site, K.C. and Kevin Larsen stumbled across another surface-floating nice topaz, about 5 feet from where I was digging. My eyesight must be failing!

That night the thunderstorm took its toll on the campers in Spruce Grove. We awoke to an overcast sky, the possibility of another storm, and the mostly deserted Spruce Grove Campground. We packed-up a wet tent, a wet dog, and headed to Bailey for breakfast. This was the end of another great field trip. Next time is our turn to find the elusive but beautiful topaz in the Tarryall area.