Ruggles Mine

Yesterday was a beautiful day so we took a trip to Ruggles Mine.  Everyone was pretty excited for the outing.  We packed a picnic lunch and our rock collecting gear, we studied the rock guides, and we slathered on the sunscreen.


Lex was filling his sample jars with mica before we even got out of the parking lot!


The view is just amazing! All the way around.


We started with a picnic lunch, despite protests from the kids, who were super eager to get into the mine!

mine entry p1

Almost there… must pose for a picture first.

mine entry p2

Or a few pictures. :)

into the mine

Into the mine! At last!

bright opening

Dad, pausing to explain something on the ceiling to Eve (who you can barely see in the shadow).


Don’t hammer on the pillar!

cave view

First stop, into the caves to check out the water level.

eve in pink

This picture cracks me up because Eve looks so delicate and pink. She brought a stuffed animal in a carry bag and just looks delicate. That lasted about a minute before the toy went into the rock bag and her hands were filled with tools!

cave water

In the caves.


Handsome boy, always happy to smile for the camera.


Dad, chiseling away what we thought was beryl but maybe wasn’t.

lex quartz

Lex, working hard on a big block of quartz. I wanted to just take the whole thing home!

eve chisel

Eve, hard at work, or so it would seem. When I got a little closer I discovered the true story.

eve stuck

This is her “I’m a little embarrassed” smile. Turns out she had hammered the chisel straight into a crack in the wall with no clear idea how to use a chisel or how to get it out of the wall!


Grandpa Tom to the rescue. He got the chisel out and gave her a lesson on how to use it.


I think these holes are so cool. I always imagine ancient cave dwellers living in them. Turns out it’s just the results from past blasting. Still pretty, but a much less cool story.

mema rock

Nice find, Mema!

dad and kids

Miners, hard at work.


Looking back towards the entry.

peeking eve

There is a kid-sized tunnel that runs in the rock. In the tunnel is one little window for peeking out.

tunnel end

The end of the tunnel. I went through a few times, but as a semi-tall person I had to stay bent over for most of the path. Not the most comfortable, but it is pretty cool inside.


I love this big sheet of mica, also known as isinglass (Mema, I Googled it!) It is super fragile, but thanks to Mema’s good ideas it survived the trip home and now decorates my shelf.

eve creek

Eve took it upon herself to help this little creek flow better. All along the way she moved rocks, terraformed the muddy banks, and did what she could to assist the creek. Thoughtful girl. :)

brave mema

Mema The Brave offered to hold the chisel while Lex hammered off a piece of this quartz. I’m happy to say it was an injury free day!

rocks at the bottom

Near the end, looking back.

mica rock

Grandpa Tom found this big rock full of mica. He and the kids chipped away at it, creating beautiful mica glitter.


We made it to the end! Time to refuel before turning around and heading up the hill, carrying bags full of rocks!

lex and mema

Happy miners!

heading back

On our way back up the path.

family p1

Me and the kids.

family p2

Eve was happy this day that we both were wearing “hats with brims that go all the way around to protect our necks and ears.” All those times I encouraged her to wear a hat with a good brim and she remembers and encourages me as well. :)


This rock was full of names and initials. Dad added a few of his own.


T + ME


Awww… the cute couple!

hard work

We all worked together to carry five bags of rocks out of the mine!


Back at the top we flopped down to watch the information video and rest!

I “carried out” way more photos than rocks!  Many of these are probably exactly the same as I took when we went to Ruggles Mine two years ago, but I’m not even going to look or link back to that post so they’ll all seem fresh and new. :)

After we got done mining we had another snack, then headed home.  Along the way we passed a cool looking playground so we made a quick stop.  The littles in our group still had plenty of energy to burn!  After that stop we decided ice cream was in order.  Sadly my camera broke at the playground so I didn’t get any pictures of the rest of our day.  You’ll have to just imagine our delight at eating ice cream by the lake on a beautiful day!

We got home in time to unload, unpack, and order pizza for dinner!  A good day was had by all!  I love summer vacation!

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