After ten days of being sick and confined to the house two weeks ago, when my weekend off finally showed up, I decided to get out of the house and head for the secret spot…if nothing else, just to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. Missy and I loaded up the truck and took off late Saturday morning last weekend and on the way, I said a short prayer…asking for a safe trip and said I didn`t care if I found any pockets…just wanted to have a little fun by stretching my legs and looking for some pretty stuff. I really could have cared less if I found anything, I just sooo wanted to get outside and do something different…I had returned to work last Wednesday after ten days confined to the house with a bad cold and sinus infection. We hadn`t been to the location in four weeks, having spent the last couple of trips at the Eminence Quarry and finding some beautiful stuff down there. The floor of my kitchen was literally still covered in Emience material, even though I had given quite a bit of it to local friends who enjoy pretty stuff as much as I do. I wasn`t quite sure where I would put more stuff, but we would figure that out when the time came, if I found anything on this trip.
We arrived a little after noon and while driving in, encountered some heavy soupy and sloppy mud, on top of the otherwise normally rocky solid roadway, so I had to shift into four wheel drive just to drive down the hill to the lower spot, something I have never had to do before. Once parked down at the lower spot, I looked back at my truck and noticed all the mud on the sides and snapped this photo….
I walked over to the area that I had dug into the last time there, back when Virgil and Larry were there, and found the two pockets I had worked, half full of crystal clear water with a muddy orange oxide bottom….
…and about fifty feet to the left, the pockets that Virgil and Larry had worked on….
…and after locating the small pocket I had found prior to leaving there that day, I decided to start raking down the area around it in an effort to locate other pockets nearby…..
…within thirty minutes of raking, I located a couple of soft spots and a hole appeared about five feet away….
…the shallow spot on the right side of the photo above near the end of the handle of the mini mattox, and the hole at the end of the handle of the hand rake on the left side of the photo above….the shallow trench produced this combo crystal below….
…and it also produced a pocket of gray druse plates in the initial pocket, however I found no poker chip crystals at all….
…I decided to get up and stretch my legs after all the digging, so I walked over to the former pocket now filled with water….
…and I was glad to see that many of the clusters were still intact as well as the arch cluster….
…so after a few minutes of walking around and resting up…I walked back over and started raking around again, and following the trench which started leading me toward the ridge, right over to the base of it….and pretty soon I was finding some poker chip crystals that appeared to have either rolled down the ridge to the floor below or were coming out of a pocket at the base of the ridge…
…so for the next thirty minutes, I explored the area at the base of the ridge and attempted to find a pocket opening, specially after finding this little jewel….nice poker chip and druse combo….
…I started moving big rocks around and out of my way that were sliding down the hill to the floor. I wasnt able to find a pocket opening in the floor where it intersected the hillside, but I was still seeing single poker chips on the hillside mixed in with the ugly rocks, so I decided to work my way up the ridge hillside and see if I could locate a pocket further up, as it appeared to me that the crystals were possibly originating from up higher on the hillside. Within another thirty minutes, I located a hole that appeared to drop down into a pocket, down below a large dome of heavy dolomite rock….
…the hole located in the right hand side in the middle of the photo above…I decided to see if I could rake around and find yet another entrance to this possible pocket, perhaps one easier to access, as I wasnt looking forward to moving alot of heavy rock around to get in if I didnt have to. As you can see in the photo above, I raked to the left and above about ten feet and then hit another soft spot and stopped where my gloves are, to explore further.
In that depression above my gloves in the photo above, I pulled some pretty druse plates out and set them up above, then started working my way down that little embankment toward my gloves, and then hit another soft spot and dug it out to reveal a bluff line….
…and here are the druse chunks and ball plates I pulled out of the dirt above the bluff line….
….and continued to rake down the bluff line til I came to this large plate…..
….and when I turned it over, I not only had a pretty plate of bubbly gray druse, but a few openings indicating a deep pocket below….
…and as you can see in the next photo, there were several indicators of poker chip crystals and druse plates under the gray bubbly druse plate I turned over….
…so after digging a few crystals out and pulling a few smaller plates of druse out, the top of the pocket soon revealed itself more clearly…
…I didn`t realize it at the time, but the hole on the right side was the start of yet another pocket, leading to a second cavern type pocket…but I concentrated on exploring the pocket in front of me first….I took a photo of the opening of the pocket first….
…and then began removing some of the loose crystals in the pocket under those roof plates….the first one I pulled out was this nifty little poker chip and druse combo……
…and decided to clear some of the bigger rocks off the top of the pocket and away from the entrance so that it would be easier to remove the roof plates later…..
…as you can see, there are some big rocks sitting right on top of the roof plates and off to the side, a small rockslide just waiting to happen. I set the crystals and plates I had already found up on top of the pocket, and eventually had to move them back away from the edge, too…..
…I then began removing the roof plates of druse…not sure if they were just druse or not…..
..and was pleasantly surprised when I pulled this first roof plate out to reveal….
…and allowed me to look inside and see even more plates with nice poker chips attached to them waiting inside the deep pocket….
…so naturally I removed as many plates as I could and then looked inside again to see even more pocket waiting for me to explore….
….and after getting as much material out as I could, I then turned my attention to that hole on the right side of the calcite face above, and soon after, discovered pocket number two…..
…you can see a nice poker chip crystal laying in the dirt at the bottom of the photo above, as well as a nice druse plate upside down to the right and above the crystal…I started digging out the hole above the crystal and removed the plate and within thirty minutes, here is what the second pocket looked like next to the first pocket….
…and here is what the entrance looked like to the second pocket…
…I cleaned out the entrance crystals and pretty soon it was obvious at the back of the pocket that there was yet another cavern pocket behind the initial pocket, opening up….
…and if you look to the right side of the photo above, you can see alot of crystals under that orange looking roof plate…when I pulled them out, another pocket opened up under it….
…and one of the first crystals I pulled out from behind the mess of crystals and debris above, was this next one….
…this was one very big and beautiful crystal and right behind it I pulled two more out, one really big one….the next photo shows the pocket to the right that developed after I cleaned this pocket out, if you see that white calcite seam to the right side of the photo, there is a bowl depression there with a hole at the back, this was pocket number four….
…and up close…..
..and soon expanded wider….
…and pretty soon I was pulling crystals and plates from the bottom and sides of the expanded fourth pocket….
…including this nice large bubbly druse plate with a poker chip attached to it….
..I actually pulled three plates this size out of pocket four, and the third one I pulled out at the back of the pocket, opened up a hole that led to pocket five….
…and out of pocket five, I pulled out several smaller clusters and crystals and plates of druse, piled up in the next photo…..
…in the next hour I was working the ridge location, I soon discovered a pocket underneath me, this nest photo shows the spot I was sitting on, as well as the pockets in front that I had been working….
…by now it was about 4 pm and I had about 30 minutes of daylight left, so I took a short break and snapped a nice cloudy sky….very pretty day….
…and after a few minutes break time, I decided to stop for the day and return the next day and clean out the clusters.Here is what the pockets looked like when I finished for the day….
After wrapping up the beauties I had collected today and packing the truck, I headed out and noticed the clouds forming up for a nice sunset…I drove to a nearby lake and shot a few nice sunset photos before heading home for the day with a truckload of clusters and crystals and plates….
Sunday morning, after breakfast, Missy and I loaded up the truck and drove back down to the secret spot, this time we went in a different way and didnt encounter any mud. I put my boots on and grabbed my hammer and chisels and bags and walked over and started chipping out the clusters from the walls on the side of the hole….
….. look at that loose crystal in the middle of the photo above, I had started chipping on the sides of the big hole and worked my way around as much as I could, chipping out several smaller clusters and a few bigger ones…I finally got around all six sides and the only thing left was the area in the middle…so after a short break, I started brushing the loose dirt away from the middle clusters so I could get a better idea of what was there…when all of a sudden….
…I pulled a few chip crystals out and another pocket opened up underneath them. I wasn`t expecting another pocket at all, just figured I would come chip a few clusters out and then head home early….but decided to work the pocket and see what I could find…
..including these two chips and the next photo of plates and clusters…
…so after cleaning the floor pocket out, I again turned my attention to the massive cluster in the middle of the floor. I knew I wouldnt be able to remove it all in one piece, that would have been nice, but it was way too big to even imagine that happening. I was able to remove it in about six pieces….
…and by the time 4 pm rolled around, I was just wrapping things up when I decided to check out this square hole in the end wall of the large hole I was sitting in….I had briefly checked it out before I left the evening before, and it appeared to be heading down into a pocket below, possibly another cavern pocket farther underneath…you can see the tunnel hole in the photo above, right above the yellow end of the chisel and below my bags…there was a plate right above the hole and to the left side a bit…I figured if I removed it I might be able to get my hand in the tunnel hole and see if I could pull some crystals out….so I chipped it out of the way and when I did that, WOW, behind it…..
…a whole other pocket opened up, and this pocket is not the pocket I thought the hole led to cause looking in the tunnel hole, the path goes down, where this pocket that opened up after chipping out the plate, is up above the other one…however after removing a few plates and crystals, you could see an opening going down into a cavern so its prob the cavern pocket that the tunnel hole leads to as well….anyway, I reached down into this pocket and the first two things I pulled out where these two crystal combos….
…and in this other photo you can see more crystals hidden in the dirt and gravel right under the surface at the entrance to the pocket….and the roof plates of the pocket just hanging there waiting to be pulled out….
…I reached in again and pulled out two nice poker chip twins….
…I then worked on removing the roof plates and that was no easy task this time…maybe because I was getting tired after chipping out about forty clusters or maybe because these roof plates were in there pretty solid, or a combination of both factors…but I finally did remove a nice section of the roof plates with a beautiful poker chip attached to it….
…and the pocket above, after removing the long roof plate…and a pile of crystals removed from this pocket as well….
and here is a pile of combos that came from this pocket as well….
….and a look inside the pocket toward the back of the pocket at the crystals just waiting to be removed….
…and here is the pocket after working it over and opening it up…..
…and the entire hole as I finished working it today…..
…and same as the evening before, there was yet another beautful sunset on my way home….some pretty unusual clouds as well….
…hope you enjoyed it as much as I did….hope everyone has a Merry Christmas…