Last Sunday, with nothing to better to do, I decided to drive down to the secret spot and see what I could find. I realize what that statement will provoke in the minds of those who know me well and have seen inside and outside my home, with all my rock gardens….their thoughts will most likely be in the line of…what else do you need…which makes me chuckle. Truth be told, though, I found myself with nothing to do and so I decided to drive down and even if I found nothing at all, I could at least just look around the new clay dig area and perhaps find some nice druse plates to take down to Tina at the BE Clement Mineral Museum in Marion, Kentucky. Tina seems to like Missouri druse plates as much as Docia and I do. Docia decided she needed to cut more firewood for her new Hardy stove last weekend so she stayed home and took care of that instead.
Missy and I had a nice breakfast with Mom and Dad and several friends at Du Kum Inn, and then headed down to the secret spot. As we drove into the upper area, I discovered heavy rock dumped on a section of the roadway that has seen some mild erosion in the past year, and then graded and tamped down.
We parked and got and decided to walk down the newly rocked road and see if I could spot any poker chips or druse and poker chip combo pieces in the mix…as it was, after walking down one side and back up the other, I did see some damaged poker chips and druse pieces, and figured there was only one spot that could have produced all this rock, but I wasn`t sure if it came from material already removed from the lower area or was fresh material. I looked across the upper area to the far side, but couldnt see the pile that used to be over there. However, there was no way that all of this material came from that one small pile either. I decided to drive on over to the far side and see what could be found over there…there had been some nice big stuff over there last year and if the work crews had reduced that pile, there was a chance I could find some nice stuff there now.
It took me a while to get over there…even though the heavy rock had been tamped down by something heavy, most likely a bulldozer, it was still quite a rough ride across there, and even as I was moving along at a one mile per hour crawl, I still managed to hit bottom a few times on some rocks sticking up a little higher than I had thought they were. When I finally reached the other side and looked back, this is what it looked like…
It was across this now rough stretch of road, that Docia and I used to stop and find plates of druse on both sides, eroding out of the roadway and sand, but now it will be a while most likely, before we are able to find anything eroding out now…the heavy rock covers not only the top of the roadway but is also on both sides a few feet too.
I parked about midway down the pile and found it to be reduced down about halfway on one side….
….I removed my hammer and mini mattox from the truck and walked up into the pile and started looking around, the first nice one I found was this beautiful yellow bubbly druse plate…..
…and just a few minutes later, located a few nice sized small boulders covered with druse and poker chips. The druse on these smaller boulders were large quarter inch size quartz crystals of a bright gray color that just dazzled in the strong sunlight. I picked up about half a dozen smaller pieces that had obviously broke off something bigger when dumped in the pile last year….a few minutes later, I found the big boulder that they were broke off of, finding a few vugs with similar druse in the vugs. There were also a few poker chips on the medium sized boulder with druse that I decided to take home with me.
As I placed the medium sized boulder in my truck, I looked up and saw a new area where the work crews were obviously removing some clay dirt from a hilltop just east of my location…and I immediately thought of calling Docia to let her know, but I dont have a signal out there half the time, so figured I would just let her know later.
While it was obvious that there were a ways up access it, I decided not to try it out…one of the access roads was a stretch of the same heavy rock I had just driven slowly across and I didnt really want to go through that again so soon, and the other route to take was through soft sand, which I figured I could go through going down hill but the trip coming back up hill might be a different story. While I have faith in my good tires and four wheel drive, my truck doesnt sit all that high and one has to know their limitations. Besides, I really wanted to get on down to the lower area and see what more I could find in the pockets and druse plates. I took the new lower road down to the main road and continued on down to the lower area.
I drove down the steep hill and rounded the corner, and had quite a surprise waiting for me….
..finding a two story high pile of rock blasted down from the east and south side walls, and off to the right side, you can see where they went in and removed some of that rock for the entrance road in the upper area. Now we have two new areas to search through in addition to the other areas there. Wow, I was really excited now.
I let Missy out and she wandered over to the pile faster than I did, to check things out, finding out rather quickly that the pile of new rock was now covering up one of her favorite places where she normally stretches out and waits on me to finish….
…I decided to walk down to the other end and pulled out a few bags along with my rock hammer, hand rake, and mini mattox……as it was, I didn`t even get twenty feet from the truck and looked down at the floor, which had been graded again, and all of the pockets we had previously found in weeks past, were all covered up and filled in once again, and I spotted some signs of calcite, an obvious sign of a pocket nearby. Now I had to make a decision and while I was being influenced by the new blast pile to get up on it and check it out, I was also faced with obvious signs of a sure thing right at my feet….I chose the sure thing at my feet and knelt down and started digging in…rewarded shortly with a few poker chip crystals….
…now I know what some of you are thinking….are you crazy ?? you have a brand new blast pile right in front of you and you are going to sit there and dig for some pockets in the floor ???? have you lost your mind ???
I have to admit, I had those same thoughts, but my reasoning to myself was, the fact that we haven`t had a blast pile in so long to climb up and look around on, and have had to adapt to the other possible locations, namely the pockets, that they have just about become a sure thing to find crystals in…and not knowing how recent this rock was blasted down, and not having had any rain or snow lately, I knew it might be quite dirty and dusty up there and be hard to find anything nice. Prob lame excuses to some of you but with that, I decided to at least walk along the bottom of the blast pile and see if anything could be found. I stopped digging and walked over about midway on the pile and started walking down toward the tapered end of it….scanning the slanted slopes for any signs of poker chips or druse. I didn`t see anything in the pile slope, but at the floor level, a few signs of calcite again caught my eye, as well as obvious ledges, so I stopped and once again dug down into the floor area, albeit this time closer to the pile, and within moments, found another pocket with promise….
…you can see the ledge on the left up above and in the next photo as well, where within just a few minutes of digging down, I located a couple of nice poker chip crystals. My only worry at this point, was that I might merely be relocating a pocket that we had already found….
..but a few minutes later, crystals started popping up in the mix all over the place in front of me, so I was fairly sure then, that I had found a new pocket……and here are a few nicer crystals that popped up that turned out to be fairly large and pretty….
…and some plates that included druse and poker chips both….
Here is a photo of the initial ledge, and if you look close under it, you can see crystals popping up in the mix and what appears to be a pocket under the ledge, opening up as well…
…and the next photo shows the initial ledge in the upper right hand corner, and another ledge uncovered on the left side, as well as defined bluffs on the lower side of the photo….…and alot of crystals in between as well as plates and combos, including this nice combo that I turned over just below those first ledges….
…and you can see the hole it came from right there…it was quite a nice surprise as I turned it over….it was a BEAUTY !!!!
After I pulled it out, it opened up a few more nice little pockets of crystals and plates too….
…which produced even more crystals for my growing pile….
…I was pulling more and more combo plates out and crystals too, that were covered in permafrost…it was cold today but not as cold as the day before…I had wanted to go both days but everyone convinced me not to go the day before when the wind chills were down around freezing…the next photo shows a combo plate with the permafrost showing…
…while there today, the temps warmed up to nearly forty and I didn`t notice the wind too much…I normally don`t when I start finding pockets full of crystals though.
The pocket kept expanding, even though it was slow going, since everything was semi frozen down below….
…and then the pocket took a turn and started moving back toward where I was sitting….and a nice yellow poker chip turned up as well….
…and then the pocket turned again after I cleaned it out under me and turned toward the pile of crystals….
Well after cleaning out the crystals and plates, I decided to take a break and stretch my legs a bit, so I grabbed another bag and headed up the blast pile from the lower north end. As I suspected, the area up on top was covered with dirt and a thick layer of dust, making it tough to find anything laying around…I found a couple of chunks of solid green calcite and that was about all. I walked over to the east wall and found a few pockets and pulled a few pure white poker chips out of them…as I was making my way back to the edge of the pile to climb back down, I discovered a nice big plate of bubbly druse and some big poker chip crystals laying in between the bubbles. It took about everything I had to carry it down to the truck, but even with dust covering it, it sure looked pretty.
After climbing back down, I went back to the pockets and found a few more, but didnt have my camera with me so I`ll take some photos of the nice combos that I found after I get them cleaned up.