The Lake Mountains west of Utah lake have a number of collecting sites. A local rock dealer told me you can go to any random slot canyon and find many different kinds of minerals: optical calcite, onyx, fossils, and limonite pseudomorphs after pyrite. There is even a special type of banded calcite called root beer onyx. We decided to try our luck.
Pelican Point is about 30 minutes from Provo, and a few minutes south of Saratoga Springs, one of the new communities that sprang up on the west side of the lake during the real estate boom. We followed some instructions a rock dealer gave us (erroneously, we later found out) and turned off the lake road down a dirt road just north of the huge quarry, and came around the backside of the hills. We drove south through the valley, up the left side of a gravel quarry, and saw a little dirt trail heading east and curving up the hill to a cut at the top. I drove until the road seemed too steep for my Honda Accord, and walked the rest.
The quarry was pretty crazy – only a twelve foot wide cut in the middle of the hill. We looked down either side of the hill and the cut started and stopped every fifty feet, like some huge scalpel had cut a perfect straight dotted line in the mountain. The ground was littered with calcite: big boulders covered in white crystals, masses of yellow and green, and some cool blocks of optical spar. We were pleasantly surprised, but then we realized we would have to back our little car for a half mile down a hill on a narrow road.
We eventually made it all the way down the hill, with a few choice words, and decided we had a little time left to look for some fossils. We kept driving south, and the road curved to the right and looped north again. We reached the end of the road for our little car. There was a hill covered in slate tiles. We dug around a bit, found a little piece of discarded root beer onyx, but no fossils. Oh well, there would be other days, and next time we’d bring an SUV.