Eldon's Utah Trip Report
April 25 - May 4, 2006

by Eldon Hunewell

Paul Lyvere and I left metro Denver, in his large truck, in dreary weather but it cleared up after we got to Georgetown. We arrived at the junction of I-70 and I-15 mid-afternoon. There we spent an hour or two looking for "moki marbles" that a friend told us was there... it was all volcanic rocks and no concretions... so we proceeded to forty miles north of Orderville by evening and saw Bob & Doris Drisgill's truck at a motel in Panguitch and checked in that motel for the night. The next morning we headed to Orderville, Utah and visited THREE rock shops in the small town! All had Septarians but the price was high for the probable larger ones but the small ones were not expensive... little chance of geodes in those.

We arrived at a large quarry later that morning which was mostly filled in but saw a few (maybe) very high in the sheer quarry walls, so indeed, the owner (a friend) wife had it correct for us not to bother going to the quarry, haha. After some time, some of us found a few small ones down the dump. We decided to go prospecting via truck, which I do a lot, and then get out and check around. After going down from the mine and driving around a long way down below, I spotted a large smooth egg-shaped concretion, not a Septarian because those are somewhat lumpy on the outside. Bob got out to assist me and promptly broke the end off and immediately said it was junk... I immediately said it was a fossil... and proceeded to give it my customary hard whack... mistake, maybe... inside further was the rest of a very large Ammonite and it broke out pretty good but should have been sawed out. After that, Doris immediately walked over to the hillside in the brush and found a really large and nice half Septarian with crystals all over one side in great shape but dirty... it was face down and Paul helped her upright it to see the crystals. It will be as good as any ever found, am sure! Bright yellow unweathered crystals of Calcite that were protected by dirt and mud...heaven knows where the rest of it is! After that it was "panic city" (in a nice sense) because we all climbed and searched over a wide area of hillsides and found lots of large broken Septarians with some showing small crystal pockets butno larger whole ones on the surface that we could find with the time we had but I do believe some could be dug out of the soft dirt. Paul and I went to town and got a motel again because we had to meet this fellow, who is a descendant of a famous naturalist, in Minersville at 9:30 the next day. Bob and Doris camped at the collecting site and went to Zion National Park the following day.

Wednesday we met with the fellow and he showed us his collection, including his father's collection, which included a large meteorite weighing some 35 pounds! His father had discovered a neat collecting area near Beaver, Utah in the 1920's and also had a shop in Minersville at one time. You would not believe that the area near Milford, Beaver and Minersville would have such a HUGE amount of variety... some agates looked like those from Laguna and there was Aquamarine as dark or darker than any ever found on Mt. Antero. He also showed us Smithsonite, cutting material of all types, banded multicolor Opal, various types of Obsidian, Arrowheads, Fossils and various Copper minerals. This fellow's mother and sister were both very sick so he could not join us, but only gave us locations, etc. He also pinpointed an abandoned Wonderstone quarry I had visited some 20 years ago and we went to that for the rest of the day (it was O.K., but not as interesting as I remember it so long ago).

The following day we headed to the Beaver location and found it to be an extremely nice place to collect and very interesting. The agate became more abundant as we climbed the hills and it mostly had a bluish or white exterior. Some were fortified and the size of agate increased as we got higher and higher. It seems rather an ideal place to get lost in because of the thick forest and similar hills all around... thank goodness for GPS!

We got lots of leads and info from the Minersville fellow who is writing a book on his and his fathers discoveries, etc. It is about half finished, he said.

That night we camped at the Opal site and the following morning we explored the hills nearby for Opal and Obsidian. Some places we were quite successful and some we were not, but it was a grand scenic drive!

Saturday morning Paul and I searched for a Hematite rose place that I had information on but we failed to find it as the directions were quite vague. By noon we arrived at Dugway where Bob and Doris already were digging and it was a "zoo" with about 30 boy scouts there as well as a few rockhounds, but not many in the large pit. Bob, Paul and myself prospected around and after a few hours of frustration, we all started finding geodes at various places... Bob was finding nearly basketball size ones and Paul and I were finding smaller, but gemmy ones. Some were mud filled... mostly the larger ones. Paul helped me start a hole where others had been digging and also started one nearby. We stayed another day or two and headed for Topaz Mountain.

After setting up camp, we went to look for a new Garnet place and also check out the old Garnet place east of Topaz Mountain. Paul found many Garnets while I found only one! We could not locate the Garnets referred to as "west of topaz" according to my literature, but will try again sometime in the future.

The next morning we hiked up the East wall of Topaz Mountain and I found a few very nice medium size Topaz of very great color and quality.

We headed for Delta early the next morning and cleaned up after a long time of camping and checked out a shop in Nephi where we discussed some places I had known about. Later we went back to town to see Gary, Rex and Ed Harris. Rex talked to Paul a long time about his latest adventure and investments... he always has something going on with rocks and gems!

We headed for home the next day and ran into thick clouds and rain as we neared the metro area, but it was great weather for the whole trip as the temperature was great and was bright and sunny most of the time and NO bugs, except for a couple mosquitos!

Eldon Hunewell