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DELTA, UTAH

Rockhounder's Dream: Dugway Geodes, Sherry Colored Topaz, Wonderstone

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Road Scholar
Program #1996RJ
7 Days | 6 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Delta's altitude is 4,650 feet, but we will be rock hounding at slightly higher altitudes.

Itinerary for Sep 28 — Oct 4, 2014

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Type: Hotel

Description: AAA-rated, double and single occupancy. A laundromat and swimming pool are located at the Inn (pool opens in May). A post office, movie theater, and other merchants are located nearby.

Contact info:
527 East Topaz Blvd.
Delta, UT 84624 USA
phone: 800-354-9378
web: www.daysinndelta.com/

Room amenities: Private bath, cable television and direct-dial phones in room. Both smoke-free and smoking rooms are available on request. Clock, Coffee maker, Hair dryer, Iron, Ironing Board, Refrigerator in Every Room.

Facility amenities: Free High Speed Wireless Internet; Business Center with High Speed Wireless Internet, Computer, Copy Service; Fax Service, Printer, Messaging, Audio Visual Equipment; Fed-Ex / UPS / DHL; Heated Outdoor Pool

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: around $70/night, plus tax
Contact the Inn directly for room availability at (800)354-9378.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, September 28 - Arrival & Check-In/Welcome & Orientation
Afternoon: Check into your room at Days Inn Hotel. Rooms may not be ready until the 3:00 PM check-in time. At 5:45 PM, come to the hotel front lobby, for our Road Scholar Registration, you will receive your name badge with participant list and detailed itinerary for the week.

Dinner: Around 6 PM, we travel to a local restaurant for dinner.

Evening: Following dinner, we will cover all the details for the week, show samples of specimens you will be finding on field trips. We will discuss preparations needed for each day and items to bring.

Lodging: Days Inn

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: AAA-rated, double and single occupancy. A laundromat and swimming pool are located at the Inn (pool opens in May). A post office, movie theater, and other merchants are located nearby.

Contact info:
527 East Topaz Blvd.
Delta, UT 84624 USA
phone: 800-354-9378
web: www.daysinndelta.com/

Room amenities: Private bath, cable television and direct-dial phones in room. Both smoke-free and smoking rooms are available on request. Clock, Coffee maker, Hair dryer, Iron, Ironing Board, Refrigerator in Every Room.

Facility amenities: Free High Speed Wireless Internet; Business Center with High Speed Wireless Internet, Computer, Copy Service; Fax Service, Printer, Messaging, Audio Visual Equipment; Fed-Ex / UPS / DHL; Heated Outdoor Pool

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: around $70/night, plus tax
Contact the Inn directly for room availability at (800)354-9378.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, September 29 - Probe the complexities of the Japanese Relocation...
Probe the complexities of the Japanese Relocation Camp during WWII, Discover Beryllium, Understand "Gemstones of America," Examine the geologic history, Explore the Great Basin Museum and Learn about the rare and beautiful Red Beryl.

Note: Most of the day will be spent in a classroom setting learning all about the geologic history of the are so you gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of what we will be finding and collecting the remainder of the week. Visit West Desert Collectors and see a cutting and polishing demonstration.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Learn and explore the fascinating history of the Topaz Relocation Japanese Internment Camp established in Delta during WWII from the Topaz Camp Historian and examine the artifacts from the site. Learn and discover about the modern Day Beryllium Mining from a representative from Materion Mine and learn how Delta provides one of the richest pockets of Beryllium which when processed becomes the lightest weight and strongest metal in the world. Learn how it is used in military applications and other applications needing this high strength and light-weight properties. Learn and understand more about the "Gemstones of America" through a wonderful video presentation.

Lunch: Local Restaurant.

Afternoon: Learn the fascinating Geology of the Great Basin area and organizing and labeling your collection from a Geology Professor. Explore the Great Basin Museum, artifacts from the past, from the oldest rocks found in Utah, to Native American, to settlers who lived in Delta, UT and much more amazing artifacts to discover. Watch a video presentation on "Red Beryl," the rarest gemstone and it's only in Delta, UT, filmed by Ted and Robert Harris.

Dinner: Local Restaurant.

Evening: Visit West Desert Collectors Rock Hound Shop and learn about the ups and downs of owning a large rock hound business and discussion of Red Beryl Mining in Utah by the Harris family of Delta. Also known as Red Emerald, this gem is found only in Utah and is more valuable than diamonds. Enjoy a rock cutting and polishing demonstration and see how specimens evolve from a rough rock or gemstone to a beautiful finished product ready to sell for top dollar in rock shops and gift stores. Explore the gift shop at leisure.

Lodging: Days Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: AAA-rated, double and single occupancy. A laundromat and swimming pool are located at the Inn (pool opens in May). A post office, movie theater, and other merchants are located nearby.

Contact info:
527 East Topaz Blvd.
Delta, UT 84624 USA
phone: 800-354-9378
web: www.daysinndelta.com/

Room amenities: Private bath, cable television and direct-dial phones in room. Both smoke-free and smoking rooms are available on request. Clock, Coffee maker, Hair dryer, Iron, Ironing Board, Refrigerator in Every Room.

Facility amenities: Free High Speed Wireless Internet; Business Center with High Speed Wireless Internet, Computer, Copy Service; Fax Service, Printer, Messaging, Audio Visual Equipment; Fed-Ex / UPS / DHL; Heated Outdoor Pool

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: around $70/night, plus tax
Contact the Inn directly for room availability at (800)354-9378.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, September 30 - Explore and Discover Fossil Mountain and Collect ...
Explore and Discover Fossil Mountain and Collect Brachiopods, Echinoderms and Cephalopods, Collect Mahogany & Snowflake Obsidian, and Sunstone, (Labradorite), at Sunstone Knoll

Note: Van ride for several miles on dirt roads to collect Fossils, Mahogany & Snowflake Obedsidian and Sunstone. Wear clothes that can get dirty and dusty. Rock Hounding tools are provided or you can bring your own.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Travel to Fossil Mountain and discover and be the first to collect some old fossils from the past such as: Brachiopods, Echinoderms and Cephalopods. Fossil Mountain is located at the southern end of the Confusion Range in the western Utah desert. Named after the numerous fossils that can be found on its’ slopes, Fossil Mountain is the second highest named summit in the Confusion Range next to King Top (elev. 8350 ft). Some of the best early Ordovician fossils in this area can be found on Fossil mountain. A variety of shells and other invertebrate fossils including trilobites, brachiopods, cephalopods and echinoderms can be found here. Some geology information about Fossil Mountain can be found here. The Fossils are completely legal to collect, since it's BLM land. Aside from the many fossils that can be found on the slopes of this mountain, the summit of Fossil Mountain is a worthy goal. The east face of Fossil Mountain is impressive and rugged; from the summit and down is a 300 foot cliff that begs for you to stand above it. Expect solitude and excellent views of the west desert from the top of this peak. Rock Hounding tools are provided or bring your own.

Lunch: Enjoy a Boxed lunch at Fossil Mountain

Afternoon: Collect Mahogany obsidian is a natural volcanic glass and can be found in areas with volcanic activity and is a deep reddish-brown with black inclusions. The distinctive coloring comes from high concentrations of iron. Afterward, collect Snowflake Obsidian, a rock - a natural volcanic glass containing white 'snowflake' crystal patterns of the mineral cristobalite. Obsidian is a naturally occurring glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock. It is produced when felsic lava released from a volcano cools without crystal growth. Obsidian is commonly found within the fields of obsidian flows. Because of the lack of crystal structure, obsidian blade edges can reach almost molecular thinness, leading to its ancient use as projectile points, and its modern use as surgical scalpel blades. In some stones the inclusion of small, white, radially clustered crystals of cristobalite in the black glass produce a blotchy or snowflake pattern (snowflake obsidian). It may contain patterns of gas bubbles remaining from the lava flow, aligned along layers created as the molten rock was flowing before being cooled. Then on the way home collect Sunstone at Sunstone Knoll. The sunstone here is a transparent, yellowish labradorite (a plagioclase feldspar mineral) found as crystals in volcanic rocks and on the flats surrounding the knoll.

Dinner: Dinner at Mi Rancherito at your leisure. Mexican & American cuisine options.

Evening: Free evening to explore the local area.

Lodging: Days Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: AAA-rated, double and single occupancy. A laundromat and swimming pool are located at the Inn (pool opens in May). A post office, movie theater, and other merchants are located nearby.

Contact info:
527 East Topaz Blvd.
Delta, UT 84624 USA
phone: 800-354-9378
web: www.daysinndelta.com/

Room amenities: Private bath, cable television and direct-dial phones in room. Both smoke-free and smoking rooms are available on request. Clock, Coffee maker, Hair dryer, Iron, Ironing Board, Refrigerator in Every Room.

Facility amenities: Free High Speed Wireless Internet; Business Center with High Speed Wireless Internet, Computer, Copy Service; Fax Service, Printer, Messaging, Audio Visual Equipment; Fed-Ex / UPS / DHL; Heated Outdoor Pool

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: around $70/night, plus tax
Contact the Inn directly for room availability at (800)354-9378.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, October 01 - Dig for Trilobites in the Drum Mountain Range. Co...
Dig for Trilobites in the Drum Mountain Range. Collect Wonderstone. Visit the Ghost Town of Joy. Collect Agate and Jasper. Visit the Topaz Relocation Camp.

Note: Van ride for several miles on dirt roads to collect Trilobites, Wonderstone, Agate and Jasper. Wear clothes that can get dirty and dusty. Rock Hounding tools are provided or you can bring your own.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Digging for Trilobites at Antelope Springs. Privately owned quarry, good quantity and quality. Requires sitting on rock and splitting layers of rock using small picks and wedges. Rock Hounding tools are provided or bring your own. Western Utah is one of the best-known Cambrian fossil localities in the world. The Wheeler Shale and Marjum Formation, strata of Middle Cambrian age, exhibit various exposures throughout the House Range and nearby mountain ranges west of the town of Delta, Utah. The Wheeler Shale is named for a major feature in the House Range, the Wheeler Amphitheater. The most famous Wheeler Shale fossil is the trilobite Elrathia kingi; so common at some sites that specimens are commercially quarried and are made into novelty accessories, as well as sold to collectors and institutions all over the world. However, Elrathia is just one of about fifteen trilobite genera of the Wheeler Shale. Bathyuriscus fimbriatus is also relatively common at certain sites. Even more abundant are several species of agnostid trilobites, such a Peronopsis interstricta. These are typically less than a centimeter in length.

Lunch: Enjoy a Boxed lunch at the Trilobite Quarry

Afternoon: Collect Wonderstone (beautiful red, cream, orange swirled-unique to area) at Drum Mountain Range. Wonder Stone a type of Rhyolite: Rhyolite is a light-colored rock with silica (SiO2) content greater than about 68%. The word Rhyolite comes from the Greek word for stream (rhyax) the suffix lite. Rhyolite was named streaming rock because of its beautiful flow bands, which are made of bubble and crystal rich layers that form as the lava flows onto the surface and advances. Rhyolite can look very different, depending on how it erupts. The color of Rhyolite ranges widely, but generally is white or light yellow, brown, or red. Most Rhyolite is flow banded; that is, they show streaky irregular layers that are formed by the flowing of the sticky, almost congealed magma. This particular variety was once a very fine volcanic ash. Through pressure and time this ash became rock hard as the colorful chemicals such as iron in the earth seeped through and swirled into a glorious design producing a smooth texture for a soft, desirable cutting material. Visit the Ghost town of "Joy". Collect Agate and Jasper. Agate is the Mystical birth stone for September. It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Gemini. Agate is the accepted gemstone for the 12th and 14th wedding anniversaries. Jasper is the mystical birth stone for the month of October. Jasper is an opaque variety of chalcedony quartz. Agate and Jasper can be found all over the world but in great quantities in California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Washington. This mineral comes in multiple colors due to its impurities. The mystical powers and energy omitted by a jasper vary depending on color. Visit the site location of the WWII Topaz Japanese Relocation Camp on the way back to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at Mi Rancherito at your leisure. Mexican & American cuisine options.

Evening: Free evening to explore the local area.

Lodging: Days Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: AAA-rated, double and single occupancy. A laundromat and swimming pool are located at the Inn (pool opens in May). A post office, movie theater, and other merchants are located nearby.

Contact info:
527 East Topaz Blvd.
Delta, UT 84624 USA
phone: 800-354-9378
web: www.daysinndelta.com/

Room amenities: Private bath, cable television and direct-dial phones in room. Both smoke-free and smoking rooms are available on request. Clock, Coffee maker, Hair dryer, Iron, Ironing Board, Refrigerator in Every Room.

Facility amenities: Free High Speed Wireless Internet; Business Center with High Speed Wireless Internet, Computer, Copy Service; Fax Service, Printer, Messaging, Audio Visual Equipment; Fed-Ex / UPS / DHL; Heated Outdoor Pool

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: around $70/night, plus tax
Contact the Inn directly for room availability at (800)354-9378.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, October 02 - Explore and Collect Apache Tears, Dig for Topaz C...
Explore and Collect Apache Tears, Dig for Topaz Crystals (Utah State's Gemstone) at Topaz Mountain and Dig for the world-famous Dugway Geodes.

Note: Van ride for several miles on dirt roads to collect Apache Tears, Topaz and Dugway Geodes. Wear clothes that can get dirty and dusty. Rock Hounding tools are provided or you can bring your own.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Explore and collect Apache Tears which originate from obsidian lava flows or lava domes. If water is present during cooling of the obsidian lava, the obsidian may hydrate (i.e., water enters the obsidian glass converting it to perlite). Curved, onion-like fractures may form. If the central core does not get hydrated, that fresh obsidian core ends up being the Apache tear, (can range from black to red to brown and looks opaque by reflected light). Search for and excavate Sherry-colored Topaz on privately owned claim. Rock Hounding tools are provided or you can bring your own. (dental-type excavation tool recommended). Topaz, Utah's state gem, is a semiprecious gemstone that occurs as very hard, transparent crystals in a variety of colors. The topaz crystals at Topaz Mountain are naturally amber colored, but become colorless after exposure to sunlight. The crystals formed within cavities of the Topaz Mountain Rhyolite, a volcanic rock which erupted approximately six to seven million years ago (Tertiary Period) from volcanic vents along faults in the area. The Topaz became the State Gem in 1969. It is a semiprecious gem found in Juab County of Utah at the Thomas Mountain. This hard gem is an aluminum fluorisilicate and is next in hardness to carborundum and diamonds (two of the hardest natural minerals around). A favorite location for the mineral collectors and rock hounds is called "The Cove" on the southern end of the Thomas Range. Wear topaz only if you wish to be clear-sighted: legend has it that it dispels all enchantment and helps to improve eyesight as well! The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz was also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink. Its mystical curative powers waxed and waned with the phases of the moon: it was said to cure insomnia, asthma, and hemorrhages. Topaz is the birth stone of November.

Lunch: Enjoy a boxed lunch at Topaz Mountain.

Afternoon: Brief discovery of the Pony Express Trail, Dig for Dugway Geodes on private claim (geodes range in size from golf-ball to bowling ball size).

Dinner: Dinner at Mi Rancherito at your leisure. Mexican & American cuisine options.

Evening: Free evening to explore the local area.

Lodging: Days Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: AAA-rated, double and single occupancy. A laundromat and swimming pool are located at the Inn (pool opens in May). A post office, movie theater, and other merchants are located nearby.

Contact info:
527 East Topaz Blvd.
Delta, UT 84624 USA
phone: 800-354-9378
web: www.daysinndelta.com/

Room amenities: Private bath, cable television and direct-dial phones in room. Both smoke-free and smoking rooms are available on request. Clock, Coffee maker, Hair dryer, Iron, Ironing Board, Refrigerator in Every Room.

Facility amenities: Free High Speed Wireless Internet; Business Center with High Speed Wireless Internet, Computer, Copy Service; Fax Service, Printer, Messaging, Audio Visual Equipment; Fed-Ex / UPS / DHL; Heated Outdoor Pool

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: around $70/night, plus tax
Contact the Inn directly for room availability at (800)354-9378.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Six: Friday, October 03 - Visit "The Bug House," Stone Carving Demonstratio...
Visit "The Bug House," Stone Carving Demonstration and Rock Hounding Business overview, Clean, cut and polish Dugway Geodes,Trilobite & Fossil Cleaning, "Show and Tell," and "Trading Post," Receive Certificates and Passport stickers and Goodbyes at Dinner Finale.

Note: Field Trip to "The Bug House" in Delta. Wear clothes that can get dirty and dusty from cleaning and cutting geodes and cleaning trilobites and fossils for the day. Bring your favorite rock, gem or mineral from your collection at home to show the rest of the group or show your best specimen found during the week. Bring samples or any rock specimen to share with rest of the group during the "Trading Post" at Dinner Finale.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: A hands-on experience at local Rock and Mineral shop called "The Bug House" Learn the Rock Hound Business from a local distributor and wholesaler. See a cutting and polishing demonstration. Begin cleaning, cutting and polishing your Dugway Geodes. Program includes cutting all of your geodes and then pick your favorite Geode for polishing up to a Cantaloupe-size, which is also covered in your program fee. You may choose to have all of your Geodes polished or at least pick out the best ones for polishing.

Lunch: Enjoy a Boxed lunch at "The Bug House"

Afternoon: Continue cleaning and cutting geodes and other treasures. Learn how to clean, polish and catalog your trilobite fossils collected earlier in the week. Includes classification and storage techniques. Spend the afternoon participating in this hands-on Trilobite cleaning and preparation class (involves use of dremel tool and safety glasses which are provided).

Dinner: Local Restaurant.

Evening: "Show and Tell" time! Marvel at each others' collections, special finds or specimens from home and/or found in Delta. Bring samples of something from your home state or something you have collected in the past to share with the rest of the group during our "Trading Post" time. Please enclose your specimens in baggies with a label or piece of paper describing what the rock or fossil is, where it was collected and the date. You can also include any geologic history of your specimen on the piece of paper. This is a fun but completely voluntary activity and if you do not have any specimens to share, at least you will go home with other participant's samples to add to your collection. Receive Certificates and Passport stickers and Goodbyes at Dinner Finale.

Lodging: Days Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Seven: Saturday, October 04 - Independent departures after breakfast
Breakfast: A continental breakfast is provided by Days Inn in the front lobby. You can eat in the lobby or take your breakfast to your room.

Morning: Program ends after breakfast Saturday morning. Check out of rooms by 11:00 AM. As listed in transportation information, the shuttle van will leave at 9:00 AM to the Salt Lake International Airport and then downtown Salt Lake City to the Plaza Hotel for anyone staying an extra night or have a later flight.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
6 nights of accommodations
17 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners
15 Expert-led lectures
7 Field trips
17 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

5
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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