|Inedible mushroom on forest floor|
|Typical torn up landscape|
I understand that the east side of Rampart Range road is a better place to look for topaz than the west side. However, the east side has really been worked over, so we went with our local guide to the west side. I have searched this area before with limited success. Part of the problem with this area is its popularity with diggers and difficulty in prospecting due to the proliferation of digs. Despite a rather warm day, the air was dry and the shady trees were abudant so the weather was tolerable. Unlike Lake George, the Hayman burn did not reach this far east so we plunked down in a shady area surrounded by digs. Our guide suggested we could go further south to less dug up areas, but we settled on what is refered to as the "Virgin Baths" area. I must say I didn't see the devil, any virgins, baths or topaz for that matter.We did find some smoky quartz. I'm not sure which one of us had the best find. I worked downhill from a couple older digs hoping to run into missed float or an extension of the pegmatite that produced the pocket/dig up hill from me. I had some success and followed a pegmatite that produced small crystals. I did uncover a few small crystal plates, but nothing to write home about, though good enough for this blog ;-) While others found a couple 2" crystals I went for quantity, unearthing about 20 or so 1" or less in length smokys. It was a fine day, with good company and easy digging though not as productive as we had hoped.
|Cathedral crystal on microcline|
|A few crystals shown here in matrix|