I decided I should return to the secret spot since I hadn`t been there for several weeks, last time being when I found the big and deep dogtooth pocket. Missy and I didn`t get up til mid morning and by the time we got started in that direction, it was late morning…it slipped my mind that it now gets dark sooner, so by the time we arrived, I had about four hours of light left..in my favor, it was cloudy so I knew that the evening light would linger longer, kind of like that one night there when I found that small cavern full of dogtooth crystals and needed as much time as I could get to clean it out…another prayer answered that evening. We arrived to find to our dismay, a large pool of water on two sides of the secret spot…the last time we were there, it was dry all the way across in there, and while it was due to be much warmer than it had been lately, I had been dealing with a lot of congestion and didn`t feel like taking a chance on making it worse. I changed into my boots, grabbed my mini mattox and walked down to the end of the pool of water and crossed over by climbing up the hill and then sliding down to the other side…walking along the wall looking for potential pockets. After about an hour, I got down to the spot where I located a large and deep pocket chock full of beautiful dogtooth crystals and clusters in September, many attached to bubbly druse pieces….
…so I started on down the wall and within about five minutes, began finding some single dogtooth crystals loose in the dirt again…which is exactly the way I found the pocket in September…so I began digging in and sure enough, a small hole opened up. I was standing on a ledge, that measured about four inches wide, two feet up off the gravel sloped floor above the water…you can see it in the photo below, at a forty five degree angle left and below my mini mattox….
…and here in relation to the September pocket, which is that large squareish hole on the left side of the photo below….
…at any rate, I reached into the small opening of the pocket and started pulling single bright orange dogtooth crystals out and within five minutes, had my sweatshirt pocket full, so I reached over and scraped clean a nearby ledge about seven inches long by five inches wide…and soon enough, I had it completely full as well. I then started pulling out some larger clusters of dogtooths attached to some beautiful bubbley druse…these I set up inside an older pocket located a few feet below that was within easy reach, seen here to the left of my mattox…..
….and in no time at all, I had it filled up as well….
…leaving me no choice but to step down off that narrow ledge and start filling the bag…which didn`t take long with all the goodies I had stored up by that time. I set the large clusters down on the dirt next to the bag, then climbed back up and pulled even more out. Soon I had the bag filled and knew I was going to have to return to the truck to get more bags…I was not looking forward to the long trip around the water hole to the truck, carrying a heavy bag, but I did it…and once I made it back to the truck, after taking a short water bottle break, I decided to switch to my old fireman`s boots and wade back across the water hole to the pocket with more bags, as well as my hammer and chisel. The only bad thing about this switch, was that while the rubber boots kept my feet dry and warm, they were not good for climbing back up on that narrow ledge…since I had to make several more trips across the water to the truck, carrying larger clusters and bags of wrapped crystals, I put up with the extra work and pain. I was up and down that wall pulling crystals out of that pocket, which I kept having to expand the opening, because the crystals kept going to the left…pretty soon I was also pulling down the roof plates, which were beautiful bubbley druse plates, some with dogtooths attached and some with just poker chips attached. This roof plate remained in the deep pocket when I finished for the evening…
and the pocket keeps going to the left where it`s dark…it was every bit of 30 inches from right to left in area that I had cleared out in three hours time and probably about fifteen inches across from front to back wall.
By the time I finished that evening, light was slowly fading and the opening of the pocket looked like this….
…but by the end of the day, my calf muscles and my feet were very sore, felt like I had been running up hill all day long. I returned the next afternoon to see about cleaning out the pocket, not having enough time the day before to do so. This time, I took a short step ladder with me so that I would have something wider to step on…
…and since it was much warmer today, 70 degrees to be exact…I decided to put my old hiking boots on and wade across in them….
…and another wise decision that afternoon was to widen out the mouth of the pocket once again, in order to reach the remaining crystals on the far left side of the pocket, so I started from this point…..
…and took out that big chunk just inside the gray outside rock, as well as some of the roof rock and that gray outside rock on the left side above….resulting in this size below….
..removing about another foot of rock, so that I didn`t have to use my hand rake and drag crystals and clusters across the pocket to my waiting hand…possibly resulting in more damage to the crystals, possibly even breaking off tips. The last thing I did after cleaning out the last elements inside the pocket to the very left side, was to remove that huge roof plate I left in there the night before…I had to jam my chisel in and wedge it out, first putting my hand rake under it to soften the blow…by this time, I was out of wrapping cloths and extra bags to do that with. When it came down, it landed on the rake handle, which did soften the blow as planned, and it was all I could do, mustering all of my remaining strength to roll that huge roof plate over and then think about muscling it down that ladder. I decided not to try that part, instead dropping it to the ground, where it immediately stuck into the soft dirt, again as planned. Later when I took one of my breaks, I picked it up, with my legs and not my back, and muscled it across the water hole to the truck….
…it had a lot of base dolomite rock on it…am guessing it weighed in about 100 lbs at least. I filled two more bags and wrapped up several roof plates that were smaller than this one, thankfully, and took to the truck, along with my tools and the ladder. The sun was beginning to set as I left, and I decided to drive down and see a good friend who is a mineral dealer in Doe Run specimens, before heading home. Here is how the sunset looked as I left….
Darkness fell while I was visiting with Dave and on the way home, I nearly struck a big doe, probably the closest I have come to hitting one in my life…I came around a corner on the highway and spotted a deer on the right side just up on the bank inside the woods, and then with my peripheral vision, caught motion on my left and I looked around just in time to see this big doe jump out into the roadway and skid across toward my pickup…instead of hitting the brakes, I hit the gas as this doe was fast approaching my mirror…never felt a bump and saw it still skidding across the road in my tail lights as I kept going. Luckily the rest of my trip home was just fine. I cleaned up the crystals yesterday and today on my days off and photographed them as well…enjoy….
…this next one is an enigma to me…looks like a small druse piece on top, but look closely at the edge….
…cause when you turn it over, there is a dogtooth inside a poker chip calcite formation, inside the shell of the small druse piece…..never seen one like that….
All in all, a pretty good weekend and beautiful weather for December too…hope everyone has a great and Merry Christmas, safe travels for anyone on the road as well.