The 12-Day Rockhound Trip covering Book Cliffs,
Yellow Cat, and Topaz Mountain Area

by Don Beamer


Taking advantage of some field trips that were running close together, Gail and I decided to take an extended rock-hunting trip, something we hadnít done in a long time. We left Denver on Thursday Morning, May 17th, and headed out for the Barite Area outside Grand Junction, CO. We were by ourselves that afternoon and were joined by Ron and Judy Knoshaug and Tom Miller on Friday. Saturday Morning Bruce Sheldon from the RAMS, Brett Medici and Dennis and Linda Gertenburg arrived. Dennis and Linda are with the Flat Irons Club. Although the weather was starting to warm up considerably and we were attacked by many, many biting gnats (or something) we keep on digging. Gail and I found some nice Barite crystals but Tom was the one that got into the jackpot.

On Monday, we drove over to Yellow Cat for some wood and Agates. We meet Dale Gant just as he and the rest of the party was leaving to get back to Denver. Thereís lots of material out there and after a hard day of searching in the heat we camped out with Ron and Judy and Balou (see photos). Tuesday morning Ron and Judy (and Balou) left to return to Denver and we had the whole place to ourselves. There was nothing out there but me, Gail and lots of rabbits. We gathered lots of material and Wednesday morning packed up and drove over to Salina, UT, where we spent the night.

Thursday we traveled to Delta, UT, checked in and headed south searching for Obsidian. What a road! Forty miles, straight as an arrow, sixty-five miles per hour, and we only meet nine other vehicles. When we finally found the place there was Obsidian everywhere! Mostly black, but we found quite a bit of snowflake and some mahogany. We even found several nice pieces of Lava Rock with the Obsidian embedded in it.

Friday we traveled to Topaz Mountain where we ran into Bob Berry. We decided first to go out to the Apache Tear beds several miles beyond the mountain. The ground was literally covered with them. Most were small, but with a little looking you could find them up to golf ball size. We spent some time exploring around an old beryllium mine that was very interesting. We returned to Topaz Mountain and almost immediately Bob started digging out some small sherry colored Topaz.

On Saturday, we were supposed to meet with Eldon Huniwell and others around ten thirty so Gail and I went up early to see what we could find. Thatís some hard, hard rock digging. Gail located a vug with what looked like a decent crystal in it and we spent thirty to forty-fives minutes working it out. It was decent size, beautifully shaped, but clear, not sherry! Eldon, Brett, Denny and DJ Vittum along with Tim Arnett, his wife and friends from the Glenwood Springs Club showed up and unfortunately Eldon had hurt his right shoulder. Even though he was in pain, he insisted on leading the trip and he, Bob, Brett, Denny, DJ, Gail and I trekked off over to the East Wall looking for Topaz. Although not a whole lot was found, we did bring home some small beauties. (Ask Gail how to find small, clear Topaz in the moonlight!)

Sunday morning found us heading out on a dusty dirt road trip to the Dugway Geode Beds. And I do mean dusty! At times, the visibility was a complete white-out. However we all arrived safely and began digging for Geodes. It was really hot and only man-made shade (tarps) was available. Iím sure that everyone found some nice pieces, even by just picking up broken ones off the top of the ground. Eldon and Brett headed out Monday morning to look for Garnets and we packed up and headed on the long trip home. It was a great trip, very enjoyable; we got lots of rocks, and are looking forward to the next trip.