***June 12, 2019 – American Geode received an email from a gentleman who lived in the area, and knew about this site, and informed us that what we were calling “The Little Grand Canyon” is actually called “The Echo.” We have corrected the title of the article with this new information.
So the American Geode team had planned for a rockhound trip for quartz crystals in McAdoo, Pennsylvania, and instead of finding the cache of quartz, we found something even better,,,,Pennsylvania’a “Little Grand Canyon.” So the American Geode team had heard stories and rumors of rockhounds finding large quartz crystals around McAdoo. We had to go see for ourselves!
The area around Mcadoo is largely abandoned coal mines, strip mines. There is a lot of abandoned history in the area as the coal industry dwindled. You see the row houses that make up the small towns that dot the areas around the abandoned and closed down strip mines, and when you are driving you notice the division between new homes and new business is very stark from the older homes and the old coal mining business.
The story we were told is that rockhounds were finding quartz around the areas exposed by the mining operations. We drove to the largest strip mine in the area, and it was clearly and heavily marked with “no trespassing” signs. Now we don’t do anything illegal, but sometimes what we do may be “unlegal,” but we do abide by “no trespassing” signs when we see them.
We drove around to some other areas not far from the strip mine, kept finding “no trespassing” signs, and we nearly gave up until, while driving down one road, Joe noticed a shack on the side of the road, a fella was sanding down the leg of a coffee table or a stool or something, but his porch was full of stones. Joe said “pull over!” and we did. I let Joe do the talking in these situations, he is kind of like Anthony Bourdain and has the gift of being to strike up a conversation with just about anyone he encounters. Well, after Joe spoke to this fella for 5 minutes, he comes back to the car with directions where the locals find the quartz crystals!
We followed the paths, that were not marked “no trespassing,” but they were not exactly marked “welcome” either. We stopped in our tracks when we saw what looked like THE GRAND CANYON! This gorge, unknown if man-made or natural, was giant, steep, sheer cliffs, beautiful, and a site to behold. Here are the photos:
Now we are pretty reckless at American Geode, but without the right equipment we were not going to scale the Little Grand Canyon to find the source of the large quartz crystals. We did find the area however. Look closely in these photos at the blue rope, tied to the tree? We had been told that people scale down that thin rope, more like cord, to an overhang where one can dig into the side of the mini canyon. Look closely, the rope, cord really can be hard to spot.