Rock Guiding in Southeast Missouri Now….

Back in November of 2023 I was laid off for the winter from my golf course job, and like they say, one door closes and another one opens…I began taking groups of rockhounds to privately owned farms and locations in Washington County, Missouri, to collect druse quartz, barite, and galena, for the most part.

Most of the locations have those basic minerals and crystals because most of them are former mines with extra farmland surrounding the mines and mining areas. Some of the locations have a wide variety of material to be collected there and some just have one or two that can be collected….all of them have druse quartz, at least. Here is a list of the places available now in Washington County, that I helped become operational in the last few years and recently, in order. Each one is categorized as public or private, the private mines are the ones I now take groups of rockhounds to collect at. Most of them are only available to collect at through me, at the request of the landowners.



A friend of mine was retiring from Rock Guiding and asked me to contact a resident of Washington County, who he had talked to a few weeks back, said he had a gold mine of a farm with beautiful druse quartz all over it.

I met with Greg Coleman and his wife Judy about 4 years ago,  in December after a large club outing at his farm and Greg gave me the nickel tour of his 200 acre farm. We then talked about the basics he needed to get started, I helped him with the release forms and helped him set up the groundwork for his collecting operation, now called Haunted Ridge. Once he had everything ready to go, I set up dig events at his farm and began leading clubs and groups of rockhounds there for about six months….until he and Judy became familiar with the operation and opened it to the public on a daily basis. Initially, they had several family members involved in the operation and now have been able to add some friends in as well. He and some of his staff members even go to some local rock shows in and out of state, to sell druse quartz from his farm…including the outdoor venue at Geode Fest in recent years.

He and Judy set the bar on Customer Service so high that very few collecting places anywhere across the USA can come close to meeting the services they run every day there.

Greg has lots of druse quartz in many colors, small to boulder size….like this yard rock my buddy Randy Gentry is showing off, he found it that day in December in the pond bank behind Greg`s house….

…and here are a few nice sized druse`s that my buddy Patty found that day, making her four hour drive from southern Illinois very worthwhile….

….he has a few forms of iron covering some druse including hematite and limonite, and he has a lot of Missouri Lace Agate there as well. Greg and his staff operate side by side UTV`s and can transport rockhounds and their buckets/tools, from the time of their arrival and filling out the paperwork, to any spot on the farm, as well as pick them back up to return them to their vehicle, or take them to another collecting spot on the farm. They will do all the heavy lifting of your filled buckets as well. Greg also has at least one porta pottie on site…during the first year of operation he was placing a porta pottie at each of the popular spots on his farm and thru the summertime, he was placing large foam coolers at each spot, filling them with ice and bottled water, to keep the rockhounds hydrated. Greg hosts events each year there and at times, had an ATM machine on site. He quickly outgrew the small parking lot behind his house, so he then built a huge parking area under the canopy of trees back behind his lake, located 100 yards behind his house and smaller parking lot, and created a road leading to it from the main road leading to his house. That road is lined with huge boulders of druse quartz in every color and form imagineable.

About a year ago, Greg acquired a medium sized trackhoe and began digging on his farm, discovering a whole hillside of root beer druse quartz, he dug out several pits to make it easier on rockhounds to reach the plates of root beer and several large plates have been dug out from those pits now. I remember telling Greg that one day his place would become so popular that he would have to retire from his dayjob of managing a truck company…he thought I was joking, but found out I was right. Haunted Ridge has become their full time daily job now, and that is how they run it, with the help of family and friends, too. You can find them on Facebook with their own page now…Haunted Ridge Rocks.


That door closed and another one opened…the same retired Guide that asked me to help Greg get going, and then asked me to take over his guiding services, then told me about another Washington County farmer who had druse quartz on his property and was interested in having rockhounds come to his farm to collect. I contacted him and drove out to meet him…after taking a nickel tour of his farm, I saw that he had about 50 acres of druse quartz there, but nothing else. I told him the surface would be clean of any quartz after one or two groups…he wasn`t open to digging to reveal new material nor doing anything that would help rockhounds find more material at all. He did put me in touch with another nearby farm owner tho, so I left his place and drove a few miles to meet Chris, who turned out to be very nice, and open to digging and making things easier for rockhounds.

At that time, Chris had about 400 acres and a working cattle farm, one of three…he has since added another 60 acres to his main farm….and back in the early 1900`s to about 1970, the Arnault Lead and Barium Mine was in operation there on most of his farmland. There was also a milling operation there and when he purchased the land, a large spring fed lake came with it, as well as a major creek running through his property. This is how his lakeside property looked in 2021 when I began helping him get set up…

He showed me the boundaries, completely fenced in and we walked the barren field by the big lake….see photos above… which was pretty much covered in multiple colors, shapes, and sizes of pristine and clean druse quartz…..colors found here include golden brown, honey, white, yellow, green, red, orange, and blue….as well as black, smokey, pink, and purple….for those interested in making jewelry, can find a lot of druse quartz buttons here in many sizes as well as some sugar druse pieces….

Some of the quartz had turtleback barite attached to it….

…..some had cockscomb barite attached to it…..

….some had crystalline barite attached to it…..

…..and later we found a little bladed barite on the west side of the property and then discovered the rare, blue barite on the property….

…the first photo above shows how the blue barite looks in the field, right out of the ground, and the second photo shows it cleaned up. So far we have only found a few pieces of druse with bladed barite attached, here is one I found early on just above the new pond in a wash….

….in a honey root beer color of druse no less.

Missouri Lace Agate is also found here in beautiful colors, we found some galena cubes early on in a wash near the field by the big lake, but nothing since. We also find some barite plates with hematite nails, nailheads, and rods embedded in the plates…some of the rods were as big as huge drill bits, even…..

Here are a few photos of a Cockscomb Barite Plate I found on the back side of the new pond dam, with both short nails and nailheads embedded in the barite of the plate…

It didnt take long to get Chris up and running with his operation and soon I was taking groups to his farm as well, a few groups numbered 50 to 60 rockhounds initially. Chris and his sons provide transportation with their Razor UTV`s and do the lifting on buckets and yard rocks as well, provide rides from one side of the property to the other, too. He also has his bobcat available if you find a landscape rock and need help lifting it into your vehicle.

Chris ran into some problems with the access road from the back of the property line about a year in, so we sat it out a year while he tried to regain the access legally, and then he was able to purchase some additional property that allowed him access to the back of the property once again…one needs another way in when the creek gets six feet high and you cant get across to check on your cattle.

He cut and cleared a road down the hill on the back of the property, then rocked it with limestone road material, and smoothed it out with his bobcat machine. Until the road gets tightly packed down from all the late spring rains and storms we had this year, four wheel drive and all wheel drive are pretty much needed to get back up the hill and out the back gate. Some vehicles with front wheel drive have made it up the hill fine, while others struggled to get through some soft spots. For those that do not have front, four, or all wheel drive vehicles, your vehicles can be locked and parked on top of the hill, and rides can be arranged down to the valley floor for you with your tools and buckets.

The depth of the druse quartz here is at least 30 to 40 feet in most places, there is a pit in the middle of the field next to the big lake, that is at least 40 feet deep and druse was found all the way to the bottom of it before it was filled in four years ago.

I named Chris`s farm West Druse Farm and it remains open for privately arranged group digs through me only,  at his request. Clubs can contact me by PM for more info.

Check out my new FB page and hit the join button, to go with us on group digs to the West Druse Farm and other privately owned locations to collect pretty rocks, dig events are found in the Events Tab at the top of my new FB page at



This winter while I was laid off from the golf course for the second year in a row, I met another rockhounder who asked me to help him get a friend of his in operation, and he introduced me to Todd, who owns Bluff View Farm north of Potosi on Hwy 185. Todd wanted to start out open to appointment only but soon opened his farm to the public as well.

Todd showed me his property, 300 acres in size, and there are a couple of hillsides on the back of the property line, that are completely dotted with spiderholes…which is what the miners called the hand dug and machine dug holes where the miners explored for galena lead. Around the sides of these holes, one can find calcite crystals, some of them in dogtooth form, some in plates, some in poker chip form, as well as druse quartz in mutiple colors, sometimes 2 and 3 colors combined, galena lead, barite, and hematite nails. Here are some photos of material I have collected at Bluff View….1st two are barite on druse, third is druse, fourth is galena lead on druse and matrix….last one is the farm on west side of the property line…


for more information, take a look at Todd`s Facebook page under Bluff View Farm Rocks,  and give him a shout there, be sure to check out the photos of material recently found there, too. He has several areas to collect in and he does provide transportation of rockhounds and their filled buckets / tools with his Side by Side UTV.

You can also check out my new FB page for photos of druse and other minerals found at Todd`s Bluff View Farm at



After working for a very short time at another location where some of my closest local rockhound friends assisted me with many hours of scout time, and I only wound up taking 2 groups to, resulting in a bad experience there,  I stopped taking groups there,  chalking it up to a learning experience and moved on.

Soon after, thanks to another rockhounding friend,  I was able to make contact with a well respected family in the Tiff area of Washington County, and I have been able to help them as well as friends and members of their extended family in the area.

My buddy Sam Linton was with me when I first met Lance, and he took us to a better place to collect at, instead of the smaller location we met him at. The better place turned out to basically be the supply house for the smaller first location, and the site of an old barite mining operation that dated back to the early 1900`s when National Lead Company started mining there, for their Barium Division. This mine covered hundreds of acres…as far as we know, galena has never been found there, only barite and in a few forms as well.

Lance has burned the leaves off several acres of wooded areas where druse quartz in many colors, including pinks, purples, and blues, are found, small to large in size. He has also cleared out many cedar trees and created alot of walking trails in the popular collecting areas of his property.


…the last photo above was the top of a small boulder that Sam removed with his sledge hammer and took home with him. We were there mid February and it began raining, then quickly changed over to snow and then sleet as the temps dropped…Sam and I were the last to leave….Mary and Dee wisely took off before the snow started falling….we left when the second round of sleet hit and got out of there just in time as the roads were starting to get bad. Four wheel drive doesn`t work on ice, but the roads were only slushy so it worked just fine all the way home.

I took the first group in there two weeks later on March 2nd, and it was much warmer that day, and many nice and pretty rocks were taken home that day by many satisfied rockhounds…

…and a lot of barite was found in many forms there too….my retired firefighter friend Gary Jones found a beautiful and unique plate of crystalline barite with huge fingers on it on top of a pile of dirt that contains barites, at the 2nd collecting spot known as the Shack Spot…

At the same time Gary was pulling that one out of tall grass, Tonya discovered some knobs of crystalline barite sticking up out of the dirt on top of the pile…

…and a few minutes later, Gary and Tonya found two nice plates…here they are showing them to me, Gary`s on the right….

..while others were finding some that were much bigger, like clusters of hand grenade barites…

…and then some of the crystalline plates were found mixed with druse quartz…

…and Curtis found a really nice plate of crystalline barite there…

Sam decided to return two weeks later and help me do some more scouting there, as we had not covered but about a quarter of the entire property yet…he brought a new rockhound friend with him on this trip, it was actually Marco`s first field trip in Missouri. While they were checking one area, Onyx and I were checking a series of berms down the hill below the Shack, aka the second collecting spot there…and I came upon this nice plate of soda straws…

and we discovered some of the berms were chock full of clusters of hand grenades and pineapple bladed barites….

Lance`s Mine Site is also known for the many huge piles of Missouri Lace Agates…like this one my buddy Tony found there in May….

…and on the scout trip in February Dee found other nice colors there too…

My buddy Bob Steele located some nice boulders in an area down near the Shack as well, that were covered by what the miners called Tongue Depressors, in clusters….

Lance has brought in machinery and turned over the old piles of rock to make it easier to find pretty druse and barite. In the first collecting area, there are clay dirt piles near a pond that are full of druse quartz in smoky, blue, and green colors and barite in forms of hand grenades, pineapples, crystalline, bladed, and combos…..

Lance`s Mine Site remains open for privately arranged group digs through me only,  at his request. Clubs can contact me by PM for more info.

Check out my new FB page and hit the join button, then once approved, check the Events Tab  at the top of the page to see when we are going next. In order to go with us, all you have to do is click on the event, read the info, make note of the meeting spot and time to be there by, and click Going.

My new FB page is at



Another good friend told me about a couple of guys with 400 acres of land in the northern part of Washington County, said it was a former mine site and abounded with bladed barite and druse quartz, especially blue druse quartz. He put me in touch with them and after a few weeks, when their schedule lightened up, I was able to drive down and meet Jesse and Chris at their farm.

It turned out to be part of a huge mining complex called The Big Four that operated in that area for many years, encompassing over ten thousand acres at one time, where two galena mines and two barite mines were in operation within close proximity of each other. This one was one of the barite mines and it had a quarry on the west side of the property at one time as well. The quarry, while no longer there, produced hundreds of piles of rock, which are scattered all over the 400 acres, and contain an enormous amount of druse quartz, from crushed small sizes to big boulders of it, and when the sun is bright and shining on those piles of rock, it becomes Glitter City there.

They took me for a ride around their property, showing me the outside boundaries and then showed me the west side of the property where the quarry had been located, and I was able to take a closer look at many of the piles there, and blue druse quartz was definitely in abundance there, as well as other colors too. The blue here comes in a light blue, medium blue, and dark blue and sometimes bladed barite is attached as well.

I was able to get them started by the first week of April and the first dig event  there numbered about 55 rockhounds. I took my personal rockhounding group in there at 8 am, and then drove over to the meeting spot and picked up about 35 rockhounds from my new FB page group, and led them to the dig event at 9 am. The landowners had several of their friends there to help them with the crowd of rockhounds, several Side by Side UTV`s and Razor UTV`s available to assist with rides and transporting filled buckets back to their vehicles all day long. They also brought a skidsteer with them and were actually using it to make additional parking space as I arrived with my personal group of rockhound friends. It was also put to good use later in the day when a couple of rockhounds found some large landscape rocks to take home with them. Here are some of the finds from that first day there…

Not eight days later, I took a second group there to join up with members of the Nashville, Tennessee Mineral Club,  and many more goodies were located and taken home by more happy rockhounds….

…followed by a third outing with members of the Fairfield, Iowa Club and rockhounds from my FB page group….

In addition to the transport and rides available at this site, a porta pottie is also located on site as well as assistance with landscape rocks.

Richwoods Mine Site is open for privately arranged group digs through me only,  at the request of the property owners. Clubs can contact me by PM for more info.

Check out my new FB page and hit the join button, then once approved, check the Events Tab  at the top of the page to see when we are going next. In order to go with us, all you have to do is click on the event, read the info, make note of the meeting spot and time to be there by, and click Going.

My new FB page is at



In May, Lance told me about one of his cousins, who has a large lake on his property and told me that an old mining operation covered much of his cousin`s land at one time. I made contact with Daniel and drove down to take a look at his place soon after, asked two of my local rockhound friends Mary Chris and Tony to join me there and help me scout it out.

We started at the creek just inside the entrance and below the lake…Daniel and his family members dug the lake out to create a fishing and recreational lake, so it wasn`t a tailings lake like some mine sites have. The dirt they dug out tho, was chock full of beautiful druse quartz and barite in a few interesting forms…like hundreds of soda straw plates with the straws reaching 2 inches in length, many in colors of a vivid blue and purple, yellows, and some were coated with hematite black coloring, some with metal tips extending out the tips of the straws….

The soda straw plates in the photos above, came out of the creek below the lake…I call it Spillway Creek and it carves thru a section of Daniel`s property that is loaded with this material and more…each time it rains, more material is exposed for collecting. I believe this area will last for collecting purposes for quite some time to come…..

Turns out the Dresser Mining Company operated there and in the surrounding area as well, in search of barite, and judging from what I saw that day, the barite they found there was very plentiful, laying all around the property in various forms, including bladed barite, hand grenades, pineapples, and crystalline bladed barite. Many of the pineapples and hand grenades were seen in clusters of them…some of them very large clusters.

One of the very first things Tony found that morning, as we were beginning our search and scout of the property, was several plates with Hematite blades in Rosettes,  on them…they had a yellow coating on them, which led me to believe they were Limonite blades, but Sam believes they are Hematite blades instead, just with a yellow coating on them possibly from weathering. He is probably right as I have never seen Limonite blades that big…..

and this is another one that he gave to Mary….

and some of the soda straw plates Tony found that day there too….

…the second photo above are three that I collected.

I took the first group in there a week later and everyone did very well with their finds…many of the soda straw plates have been found in two locations, Spillway Creek and a large dirt area at the foot of the lake dam, farther down the road past the creek…that collecting area is probably a hundred feet long and 60 feet wide with a couple of shallow washes running through it that provide alot of beautiful material including the plates and some barites too….

you can see the outline of one of the washes in the photo above, about middle of the photo…it runs left to right across the photo, that is the main wash with all the soda straw plates in it. Everyone started collecting over there that morning, it was a little muddy and thankfully, many wore their rubber boots or they might still be there stuck knee deep in the muck. It rained the night before and it was a bit gooey but much easier to pull stuff out of it, too. I got tickled at my retired firefighter friend Gary, who didn`t take a bucket out there with him, so he just piled his finds up on the rear bumper of his truck instead….

and Tonya found a really nice green plate of quartz there….

I walked up to the upper end of Spillway Creek to check out the ground up there and discovered a small pocket of smokey druse quartz plates just under the surface of the creek water….

…and here are some finds that others sent me photos of….a barite by Michael James….

…bubble druse plate and barites from Curtis….

…the three photos above are Mary Chris` finds….so everyone did very well that day too. When Sam was here hounding last week, the creek had run dry of water due to a drought trying to return and it was full of even more barites…

….Daniel is preparing to do some more clearing of the brush around the creek as well as brush hogging the lake dam to make things easier for rockhounds to locate the nicer druse and barites. He plans to create some trails free of brush into the wooded and brushy areas that lead to more mining areas for us as well.

Dresser Mine Site remains open for privately arranged group digs through me only, at Daniel`s request. Clubs can send me a PM for more info.

Check out my new FB page and hit the join button, then once approved, check the Events Tab  at the top of the page to see when we are going next. In order to go with us, all you have to do is click on the event, read the info, make note of the meeting spot and time to be there by, and click Going.

My new FB page is at



I was tipped off to Mary`s Lake Site by Lance a few weeks back, when Mary and her kids stopped by during a dig event at Lance`s Mine Site and I gave her one of Sam`s books at that time. She let me know that mining occurred on her property as well and said she would think it over. Recently she contacted me and told me that I could bring rockhounds to her place as well, and within a week I had it all set up for her. Mary Chris and I scouted the property two days in early May, but we didnt enter the rugged area of the woods, due to the annoying and high pitched cicada`s in that area…they were louder down there than my own county and area. Mary Chris and I discovered alot of druse quartz there with large points on them….

…we also found a few areas with purple druse sitting around….

We walked to the other side of the lake and discovered the road over there was laced with yellow druse quartz, an area about 100 feet long and every bit of 50 feet wide at least, and again, big points on the druse there. There was also a high wall bank that Tony checked out on our second trip there…

…this high bank is what you first see when you cross the dam of the lake to the other side, to get to the road with the yellow druse, you pass by this bank and keep going up the road…there are areas to the left up in the woods and down closer to the bank of the lake where druse is found as well.

The first dig event there was a week later and I combined it with Dresser Mine Site first, then to Mary`s, and last to Lance`s Site…everyone did well but it made for a long day and we had to leave Lance`s sooner than expected, due to a fast moving thunderstorm line that popped up on radar pretty fast with a line of hail embedded in it. The second dig there was June 9th and everyone did quite well there that day…while they were all out hunting and collecting, I did a little extra scouting on the hillside above the lake dam and found a road full of druse and barite both up there…found hand grenades and pretty druse all over the place…

Sam traveled back down from Virginia to do some hounding and I took him to Mary`s Lake Site to check it out on the 21st of June…Tony went with us, enabling us to do some more scouting in areas that we had not been able to check yet. We discovered some beautiful crystalline bladed barite in a couple of areas there that we had previously overlooked…areas that Sam noted, made you think ” WHOA ” when you came upon them and recognized everything in front of you…

Tony and I expanded that search a few days later when I took another group to Mary`s Lake Site and discovered an even broader area for the crystalline bladed barites, which should make it much easier for others to find some now as well. On the most recent trip to Mary`s, a young rockhound named Bo, rode down with his sister Maddie and his Mom Amy, to do some collecting on their 2nd rockhounding trip and they had a great time. Bo and I hit it off pretty quickly and he followed me through the woods as I was trying to help everyone find some great stuff to take back home with them. We started down near the parking area where berms with barites can be found, then moved up to a little mining area with a shallow and dry pit, as well as a few berms surrounding the pit are found…there are a couple of seams of quartz that run thru the pit with colors of green, yellow, and sometimes blue druse found in the seams. Tony was down one of the steep hillsides finding both druse and barite, so Bo and I checked out a few of the washes and then started seeing pile of rocks others had found and then left behind…we rounded one tree and stopped suddenly in our tracks, with a nice big bubble of root beer druse right in front of us…I took a picture of Bo after he picked it up, pretty happy with a shirt tail full of good finds…

They drove down from Central Iowa, where there are no pretty rocks to be found, and left here with 4 or 5 full buckets of beautiful druse and barites, as did many others that morning. The heat ramped up mid morning and most were gone by noon, leaving two gals with Tony and I, so we helped them find some pretty barites before they too decided to head for home. Tony and I scouted another hour before calling it quits ourselves…here are some of the barites we found in that hour…


Mary`s Lake Site is privately owned and remains open to collecting by groups through me only, at Mary`s request. Clubs can send me a PM for more info.

Check out my new FB page and hit the join button, then once approved, check the Events Tab  at the top of the page to see when we are going next. In order to go with us, all you have to do is click on the event, read the info, make note of the meeting spot and time to be there by, and click Going.

My new FB page is at



The most recent location I am now taking groups to, is B and G Farms near Potosi, where druse quartz is mainly found in many colors, sizes, and shapes. We have seen a few with a smattering of iron on them, but for the most part, many are iron free druse quartz. I took one small group there before the heat became an issue for many and here are some of the finds from that day and my scouting trip there…

After the scout trip, the landowner decided to name it B and G Farms and I took the first group there on the morning of June 15th….the heat ramped up and everyone left within four hours, but they all seemed content with their many finds, too….


Once the fall and cooler temps arrive, all of these locations will be much easier to search without the oppressing heat and bugs.

B & G Farms remains largely a privately owned site, you may contact me for further info or join my new FB page and join us there on private group digs.

Clubs can send me a PM for more info.

Check out my new FB page and hit the join button, then once approved, check the Events Tab  at the top of the page to see where we are going next. In order to go with us, all you have to do is click on the event, read the info, make note of the meeting spot and time to be there by, and click Going.

My new FB page is at


I will be checking out a couple of more new sites in the next few weeks hopefully, just waiting on word from the landowners.

One new site a few of us looked at mid June this year, will be doing some excavation work and some brush hogging, possibly some land clearing to improve their site this fall, so it wont be ready til then, but it is smack dab in the middle of an old mine site, so should be a great place to go to as well.

Stay tuned for more new site info.


Update 2023 to 2024

Hey Everyone,

Onyx and I were pretty busy fall of 2023 doing a lot of rock and mineral scouting…but scouting for locations to take groups of rockhounds to collect at for a bucket fee, payable to the owner of the property. In December, I put the word out and really became busy taking groups out rockhounding, and I have my own Facebook page for that as well now…MO Rock Collecting & Digs is the name of it, here is the link to it as well if you would like to join and go on digs with us :

There are four membership questions to answer and they are really simple. At the present I am up to 3200 members of my private group on the page, but am really more interested in taking in people that truly want to go with us as a group to the collecting locations…quality is more important to me than quantity. Have had to remove a few bad eggs along the way in the past 8 months as well when some drama reared its ugly head, but things are progressing along more smoothly now and I am still going out and looking at new locations for group hunts.

Check out the Event Tab at the top of my page when you join up, and there you will find digs we are scheduled to go to in the future. Also check out the Guides Tab and you can read the rules there in the first 3 Guides and then there are 5 locations described in the next 5 Guides.

Will be adding a few stories later today to my page. I didnt get to go to New Mexico this year due to how busy I was taking groups of folks rockhounding, but some of my friends did make it out there…am still waiting to hear how they all did.

New Druse Quartz Locations Found….

Hey all, been super busy since the New Mexico trip this spring, and havent had a chance to update my website. Been doing a lot of scouting for druse quartz and barite at a few new locations with some of my local rockhounding friends. We also did some more scouting at the newer Mineral Point location east of Potosi, were last there in early May, just about the time the weather was starting to warm up to summer temps from spring temps. Seems like it takes longer to warm up from those chilly spring temps each year. Johnny Pettus, Pete Hahn, and Bob Steele were with me that day…we had checked out a new location for bladed barite attached to druse quartz that morning just south of Potosi, where one of the original mines was located, and where bladed barites like this were found….

However, despite an extensive search of the area, we did not locate very much pretty stuff there…it could be that information I had from a prior collector, that told me that the really good stuff there had to be dug up, was correct. There are so many leaves on the ground there, from a forest of oak trees in that area, that it makes it very difficult to find anything there. We found a few scrap pieces of druse and a few small pieces of barite too. We might go back later this fall when the temps fall again, to do a more extensive search.

From there tho, we drove to the newer Mineral Point location to do more scouting on the west side of the area, and found several smaller areas with beautiful blade barites and druse pieces….

….so there is def a lot of potential good material to be found and collected there still. To date, we have prob only scratched the surface of what is there and maybe searched only a tenth of the total acreage.

In the past couple of months, we followed up on information from a firefighter friend of mine about some areas in some other areas of Washington County, where we have found bladed barite as well as multiple colors of druse quartz. We were in some of these areas in the fall of 2022, but didn`t get a chance to return til this year in May, June, and July. Some of these areas are known to have deadly venomous snakes that can be quite aggressive toward people…going by accounts from friends who have hiked in these areas and friends who have rockhounded these areas during the summer months. Wild hogs have also been spotted in these areas and another downside of these areas, is a lack of cellphone signal, so if a person did run into trouble there, and needed help, they would not be able to call for help, hence another good reason not to go these areas alone.

One of the places my firefighter friend noticed last year during some fires, described by him as ” sparkle city “, we checked out during a few days mid July this year, and found some beautiful plates and pieces in vibrant reds, pinks, yellows, browns, and root beer colors….

I plan to return to one of the hazard areas later this fall, when temps cool way down and we don`t have to worry about the serious hazards, where I have found beautiful areas containing bladed barites and druse plates….

A couple of these areas are on private property, luckily I have been able to obtain permission to go there and collect there, and have permission to take groups there as well. Most private landowners do charge a fee these days to rockhounds and collectors, and require a waiver of liability form signed by each person as well…a small price to pay for beautiful, collectable material.

My Group Travels to Missouri Nov 2022

After updating my group about the dismal outlook on quartz collecting in Arkansas in November again this year, many decided they would like to travel to Missouri instead on the same dates and rockhound with me again instead, for the second year in a row. Some have traveled here on their own at various times of the year and like the places I like to go rockhounding at. I decided I would take them to the new druse location at Mineral Point on Friday the 11th, since Haunted Ridge would be shut down for deer season by then, and then we would go to MFQ on Saturday the 12th and the SSQ on Sunday the 13th.

Sam Linton and Aaron Baker came in a day earlier this year, arriving on Wednesday, the 9th, so I took them to a new location in southeast Missouri, that my buddy Bob Steele and I had been talking about scouting for druse. I had received good info from a firefighter friend that druse was practically all over the place at this location, so we drove down there on Thursday morning and Bob joined us as well…he had the easier drive, as he is only like 20 minutes from it.

There were a few spots at this location that we wanted to check out, but were unable to get to one of them that day, likely due to deer season opening on Saturday, so we went to the first location and pulled off the road, then wandered over to the other side of the roadway, where I immediately started seeing sparkles on the hillside….

…then I spotted this one higher up on the slope above the ditchline…

…and after searching that side of the road for about fifteen minutes, I had added two more to it….

…while Bob, Aaron, and I were searching that side, Sam crossed the road and down the hill on the other side to a wash below, where he began finding some larger plates with beautiful colors. We continued down the hill on the same side, while Sam stayed on the other side.

After trying to get to the one spot we wanted to check out, after looking at the satellite maps, discovering our access was blocked, we decided to drive over to a friend of Bob`s, south of there, and see if we could find any druse there.

Aaron was the only one of us that found a decent druse there…..

… we drove back toward Potosi, thinking we might go scout one more location before returning to Sullivan.We also stopped off briefly at Bob`s house, where he showed me a druse plate he found with a ball of barite perched on the druse….

We stopped off at one more spot, that was on the way, another of Bob`s friends, after Bob made a call and obtained permission for us to stop there. It is a little ways off the road, Bob and I discovered it a couple of weeks prior, and pleasantly discovered calcite crystals there in vugs of limestone boulders that had been dug out of a field, in preparation for a basement to be poured there….

…Bob found a huge dogtooth calcite crystal there, which I am sure, made his day….


By now, I was getting a lot of text messages from the rest of the crew who were arriving in town and wondering when and where supper was going to be at, so we packed it in and headed to Sullivan. I think we ate at El Nopal that evening.

The next morning I drove over to America`s Best Value Inn and led my group down to the Mineral Point location, let everyone know the boundaries and we all dispersed into the forest to look for druse and barite. Both can be found there separately and together, and are quite beautiful. This is a beautiful rose colored druse bubble plate I found sitting in the leaves…

…and here is a beautiful bladed barite that Aaron found there….

…this location also seems to have a lot of blue colored druse quartz, which all by itself can be quite pretty, but when you combine the druse found there with the bladed barites found there, those combination pieces really come alive…..

this is one of Sam`s bladed barite finds, prior to him cleaning it up….

…we stayed there for the morning and then drove over to a newer private location, paid our fee, signed the waiver, and dropped it in the dropbox, then walked down to the wooded area at the far side and began finding and collecting beautiful druse quartz. We collected for a few hours and then returned to Sullivan. Dinner that evening was at Missouri Hick BBQ for the all you can eat catfish….

David Hodge and I had the catfish…it was excellent…Aaron decided to try the stuffed baked potato dish… called Ory`s Spud….they are huge…

….but not everyone made it up there that evening due to a traffic snafu and that was partially my fault for not letting everyone know where we were going and providing directions.

That night, snow fell in the southern part of Missouri, and it sounded like the roads may have been ice and snow covered in the area of MFQ, so I decided to take the group to the SSQ instead. I had heard the main roads down there were just wet…we found out when we got close that the ground and trees were covered with some snow, maybe an inch or two at most, but the roads were in good shape….

..I should say, when we first started seeing the snow, it was a dusting, and then the further south we progessed, the deeper it got…but we never saw more than a couple of inches on the ground and only the dirt roads were covered….

…snow really sets the pine trees off well, very pretty…we arrived to find the quarry floor with a dusting of snow here and there. Everyone did a little walking around, looking for various goodies, as there is a wide variety found there…holie rock druse quartz, plates of soda straw druse quartz, poker chip calcites, dogtooth calcites, the latter two usually found in wall pockets, so some were looking for new wall pockets, some checking out older wall pockets, and then began looking for floor pockets, and that is when the work began….

…it was a little cold that day, but as long as we were staying busy, we really didnt notice the cold that much….and boy, did we stay busy….

…then they started pulling the loose crystals and clusters out of the bottom of the pockets…yes they are wearing gloves because the water was very cold….

While the guys were working the pockets with their saws, Sam found a huge pocket of his own and began working it…it had actually been there for awhile, and everyone thought it was played out, but he opened it up, crawled into it, and began pulling poker chips and clusters out soon after…

…and while that was going on, I was looking for other floor pockets myself…only found a few but filled a bucket or two like everyone else. 🙂

…and soon Sam came over and showed some the dogtooth calcites he began finding deep inside his pocket….

….and here is the loot that the other guys found….

The next morning, I led everyone down to MFQ and the roads were good and clear, there were a few areas at the quarry with a dusting of snow, like the point where David Hodge and Don Lapham started working….

…we found several pockets of calcite blades down there…a few of them even produced some nice calcite poker chips and dogtooths…

As you can see, we had our hard hats on, and we wear safety glasses when we use our saws, hammers, and chisels, and we wear boots as well, usually steel toed boots which are required by many places. We like to work safely and go back home in one piece. We also follow safety rules at the places we rockhound at, we don`t want to cause any landowners any problems, that is a good way to be uninvited back.

Some headed for home from there and the rest of us returned to Sullivan for dinner.

All in all, it was a great weekend, everyone went home happy with their finds. Slade, Sam, and Aaron had the longest trips home, so they started home about 4 am Monday morning and everyone had safe trips home. I took Monday off and rested up before returning to work on Tuesday. 🙂



Nashville Club Comes to Missouri Nov 2022

Shortly after letting my group know that the state of the Union in Arkansas was again in bad shape, as far as the quartz collecting goes, deciding instead to have my group come to Missouri to rockhound the second weekend of November, Randy Gentry called me to inquire if the Nashville Club could come to Missouri and rockhound with me on the first weekend in November. I told him they were definitely welcome to do so and as luck would have it, he had already checked with Greg Coleman at Haunted Ridge to see if they would be open on Saturday the 5th. Greg had decided to remain open until Nov 7th,  so Randy and the Nashville Club were in luck. Randy also wanted to take his club to the new location I am taking groups to, the Mineral Point location, so we decided to go to Haunted Ridge on Saturday morning and Mineral Point in the afternoon, and then a quarry on Sunday.

Randy and Gerald came up a day early and I took them to one of my favorite roadcuts, where a different type of calcites could be found.  Randy and Gerald decided to check the wall, and wound up climbing up on a ladder to check some pockets about ten feet up…they were having good success while I did some surface collecting and found some pretties hanging around in the ditchline…

…this roadcut produces some nice dolomite plates with Williamsville Calcites and this is the pocket I pulled them out of….

The next morning I drove over to America`s Best Value Inn in my town, where Randy`s club members had decided to stay at, and led them down to Haunted Ridge Druse Farm.  I had taken my rockhound Don Lapham there earlier in August and discovered that Greg had created a new driveway into the huge parking area on the south side of the big lake behind his house…..

He had also lined the new entrance with huge boulders covered in different colors of druse….

…and built a pay station as well, it also serves as a souvenir and t-shirt stand for them….

usually manned by Judy Coleman and/or Ronnie`s wife, who is a family member as well. During the machine digs, they usually have an ATM stationed along one of the walls of it for the convenience of customers.

We arrived around 8 am and after visiting with Greg, Duck, Johnboy, we were soon transported by Greg and the guys in various side by sides to the popular rootbeer plate dig spot that Greg had discovered and dug out to make it easier for everyone to dig out nice plates and knobs of pretty quartz. I am pretty sure everyone found some beautiful plates of quartz there, rootbeer color as well as other colors…

And about 1 pm, we left Haunted Ridge and I led them to the Mineral Point location and the Nashville Club members dug in and started finding some bladed barite from the get go, from small to huge plates….like this big one…

…if I remember right, this one was covered with beautiful blades of barite on both sides, it had about eight inches of matrix in between as well and was quite heavy for its size. While they were having a heyday in the trenches, I scouted around in the wooded area and located a couple of druse bubble beauties…

The next morning I led them down to My Favorite Quarry and we had a great time there…the day warmed to the point that short sleeves felt alot better. By mid day most had left for home already, and Randy and Gerald were the last ones to leave for Nashville. They found a nice large calcite in the middle of the quarry before heading for home…

Geode Fest 2022

Well it has been so long since I updated my site, and six months past Geode Fest, that I have forgotten much of what happened end of September there. I remember having a good time, weather was a little cooler, and I remember spending much of my digging time at Josh`s Railroad Creek location…mainly because he brought in a mini trackhoe that weekend and dug out several areas along the creek to make it easier for rockhounds to find geodes…

….a fact that was not lost on hundreds of rockhounds there, who not only went there in droves but let everyone else at Geode Fest know about it, so that they too could go and experience it.

Onyx and I stayed at the Budget Inn this year, just north of the Casey`s Store on Business 61/Main Street. We usually stay at the Super 8, which is across from the Geode Fest Venue, but this year I had a problem booking it in the spring, thru Expedia…it was supposed to be pay at hotel, but my money was removed from my bank account a day after I booked the reservation…Expedia blamed it on the hotel and I later found out that Expedia not only lied to me, but they were the ones that removed my money and held it for the hotel. I found this out after contacting Kirk, the Director of Tourism for the City of Keokuk, told him what had happened and asked if he had any pull with the hotel owner there. He stepped in and contacted the new owner of the Super 8, let her know what was going on, she contacted Expedia and had them release my money back to my account, which they did finally do…I had to threaten them, that I would get the Missouri Attorney General involved in it as well, and then amazingly, they returned my money in a matter of minutes. Needless to say, I am done with using Expedia for anything, anymore. By the time I got that snafu straightened out, the Super 8 was booked solid, so I discovered the Budget Inn was under new ownership as well, and had been remodeled, so I booked a room for Onyx and I there, and it was a very nice and quiet place to stay at.

Bob and I arrived early on the 23rd, as Bob had made arrangements with a local guide to take us to the Fox River and see what we could find…he took us to a section of the Fox River near Wayland, told us he had taken some folks there a couple of weeks before and they found several large geodes there…as you can see in the photo below of Bob walking the river, there was definitely no large geodes to be found in the same area when we were there that day….

…we never saw much of anything in the several sections of the Fox that we had to wade and cross back and forth…at least half a mile section of the river…neither one of us filled the bottom of our buckets…we both felt we had been screwed over, especially after giving this guide some very nice finds from our respective areas in exchange for his time. Bob brought him a huge box of beauties and I gave him a flat of nice wrapped calcites from MFQ.

Friday was the first morning, so Pete, Bob, and I drove down to Josh`s place, and parked down on the field hillside, and waited for everyone to arrive before walking in…Marla Moore and her family from Cape Girardeau area, joined us…we walked up to the upper end of the gravel bar on the east side and started digging into the bank, where smaller geodes up to cannon ball sizes are normally found. In the past, some of these geodes have had pale amethyst centers…we had more luck pulling them out from around the tree roots, and it didn`t take long to fill a bucket or two….this is Bob walking the creek…


I normally stay at the Geode Fest venue in the afternoons, as I don`t handle the heat well up there, plus it gives me a chance to roam around and visit with several of the vendors I know there. John Cain and Duck were there for Haunted Ridge Druse Quartz this year and were doing pretty good on sales.

My good local rockhounding friend Bob Steele came up this year for his first Geode Fest experience, too…he is a retired Deputy Sheriff from St Francois County and decided to camp out at Hickory Haven Campground on the north side of town…a campground that has served hundreds of rockhounds well for many years. Bob and I hung out with John and Duck quite a bit at their booth. I asked them where they were staying at, they didn`t get their reservations in soon enough to book rooms again at Quality Inn, so they were staying at the Baymont Inn this year instead. I told them good luck…they looked at my funny and said, what do you mean by that ? I told them in years past the Baymont had a reputation for bugs…they still didn`t get it…so Bob and I had to explain to them what bed bugs were and how some hotels took them serious and addressed the problem, while some did not take the matter seriously. I told Duck that the ratings were higher recently, and reviews were much better this year for the Baymont, so I guessed that they had finally eradicated the bugs from their hotel. We told them where they could check inside their rooms to make sure it was okay.

Marla told us later on, that they had torn their beds apart once they arrived in their rooms at the Baymont, as they had heard the same thing, and they found no evidence of bedbugs and slept just fine. Apparently, John and Duck decided that was too much work, so they slept in their truck instead.

As usual, my buddy John was set up in a booth along the first row, closest to the parking lot of the church, and he was busy selling rocks and cracking open geodes daily. Two booths down were good friends Charity and Jamie Moog, with Jerry Mazur helping them crack open geodes while Charity sold rocks..unless they got really busy with customers, and then Charity would operate a third geode cracker. My buddy Ken Vaisivil is always set up in the middle of the vending area, he has ALOT of geodes, a HUGE variety of colors and variations and sizes, and he often sits on the pavement and cracks some open for the kiddos. I also have to visit the Amish booths, they have delicious food booths, like the pastries, pies, and cookies booth, which is next door to the home made ice cream booth.

I also get to visit with the paid firefighters for Keokuk, who always bring their older model Telequirt pumper to the vending has an onboard generator which is used to power up the trailer with the modern men and women`s restrooms. They return in the evening to take their truck back to the station, then bring it back in the mornings.

On Saturday, the second morning, after I photographed the gorgeous sunrise at the Des Moines River Bridge on Highway 136 just south of Keokuk…



….Pete Hahn and I often drove there direct and dug at one spot, where Josh had taken the nose of a hillside off and made it much easier to dig out geodes from golf ball size to cannonball size and up to basketball sizes…many of the bigger ones were solids, while the cannonball sizes were mostly hollows. We were joined there initially by Shell and her friend Caitlyn, who were digging into the nose of the hillside to the right of Pete and I…

This is Caitlyn, showing me what she was digging out of the semi muddy bank…Shell had already filled a bucket and then moved up a dry wash to our right, up the holler to see if she could find some bigger geodes. Caitlyn stayed with us and we made some huge progress that morning, digging at least 3 feet into that nose bank….have to say, I don`t know a lot of gals that like to get muddy and are happy about it, but Caitlyn sure fits that mold and seems to enjoy it…

I still don`t have any of mine cracked open, except for the few that I cracked open on the spot with my rockhammer, like this one….

Have to say the City of Keokuk has a huge dining business district up and down Main Street, and there are good restaurants all up and down the street, with a few hole in the wall places just off the beaten path as well. Since last year, I try to get at least one evening in at the Italian Restaurant in the old part of downtown, because the food and atmosphere there are excellent. However, they also have a great Dairy Queen, just off Main Street and it has not been remodeled, looks like something out of the 50`s and 60`s, and they have 30 blizzard flavors, including nestle crunch…I cannot get a blizzard at my DQ with nestle crunch, yet in Keokuk, Iowa…I can !!

On Sunday morning, the last day, Pete and I drove back down to Josh`s, having had great luck there in digging out some great geodes the day before, and returned to the nose hillside again, and began digging in…Caitlyn joined us again for a few hours, took some photos of us too…

she caught us taking a break from all the work of digging and filling at least two more buckets full of light geodes. 🙂

After that, she had to head for home…once I had my two buckets full, I headed back to the Venue to say my see ya later`s to my friends…discovered that John and Duck had sold out the rest of their druse to some gal that had been buying several the day before…she finally decided to make them an offer and they accepted it, helped her pack the crystals into her vehicle and then they headed south back to Washington County. We still kid them about the bedbugs. 🙂

I talked to my buddy John Oostenryk and then visited with Jamie and Charity….took a photo of a guy that brought Jamie a nice geode to crack open for him…

…filled with smoky quartz no less….



Cleaning and Cutting in August

I took some time off in August to get caught up on some cleaning ahead of the Labor Day trip, so I could take some beautiful calcite clusters out there with me. I also rented a tabletop wet tile saw from a friend of mine, who has an equipment rental business, rented it for the entire weekend for less than a hundred bucks. Came in the form of a mitre saw…think it works better on lumber…despite my best attempts to lock it down into place, it kept raising up on me…

Something else these saws need, is a guide and vise, one that securely holds what you are cutting and doesnt vary from the course, which is, or should be, straight ahead….something to work on in the future.

I thought I did pretty good for a first timer with a wet tile saw…

after cutting this one open, I thought I had a colorful egg half, but the yellow came off with paint thinner, turns out it was off the side of the diamond blade. 🙂

have great color and pattern on these two halves, but couldnt finish the cut all the way thru, prob gonna be a bear to fix these, too.

Many, many moons ago, as a youngster, I had a six inch Lortone Rock Saw, my parents bought it for me for Christmas one year, had it for a few years…enjoyed it, but I dont think anyone realized how noisy those things could get…it was in our utility room off the garage, right next to my Dad`s home office. 🙂  I was limited after that as to when I could use it and for how long. 🙂

The last weekend of August I was able to clean up some beautiful poker chips encased in the gorgeous red calcite druse from a few pockets I found back in mid January at MFQ, and put them in flats to take to Kentucky with me….

…that was almost as much fun as it was finding them. 🙂


How I Spent My Birthday Weekend July 2022

For my birthday this summer, I took the day off and had lunch at Missouri Hick BBQ and then prepared for a visit from my friend Don Lapham. Don spent a few days before down in Springfield, Missouri and emailed me a few months before, asking if I could take him rockhounding to Haunted Ridge and another location while he was down here. I said sure, no problem buddy…I did let Don know, that normally we are baking by that time of the year tho, so be prepared for some Missouri wet heat. 🙂

Don came prepared for the wet heat, had a beach umbrella or two with him and brought his Sheik wear too. 🙂  Due to the heat, I had asked Greg Coleman if it would be okay if we arrived around 6 am and he told me that would be fine. It had been some time before I had been to Haunted Ridge, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Greg had made good on his thoughts to build a new entrance off Roderick Road……

…and he had lined it with a lot of big boy plates and landscape boulders of druse, some rootbeers included, and these are available for purchase…and I would bet Greg and the guys will assist in loading them for you….

you pass by these beauties and then stay to the right of the lake on down to the new parking lot….

…big open parking lot, with a lot of parking space, and the pay shack in the middle on the far side…

There is still no entrance fee, you get your liability waiver forms here, sign them, hand them back to Judy or one of the other employees, and then one of the guys loads you, your buckets and tools, into the four wheeler, and takes you off to your choice of locations. When you return, you can either pay your driver or pay here at the shack for your buckets you filled with beautiful druse.

It was much cooler in the day then, and after a brief visit with Greg and the crew, he loaded us up into his new side by side and took us over to the new Rootbeer Pits, so we could dig up a few buckets of rootbeer plates.

Greg showed us a couple of spots in the pits where he had seen some rootbeer plates pulled out and we began digging soon after…

It didnt take long for the heat to catch up to us, despite being in the shaded areas of the forest, so we drank our water bottles and kept on digging, and soon had our buckets filled with rootbeer.

this is how they look when you pull them out of the clay dirt…they do take a good powerwashing and then most will treat them with Dawn Powerwash soap and water…most are afraid to use Iron Out on the rootbeer colored plates, for fear it will remove the rootbeer color.

As soon as we had our buckets filled, and were ready to go and escape the heat, I texted Greg to let him know and we were picked up soon after and taken to our vehicles…

Don was staying in the Potosi area, so I told him where to meet me Sunday morning and I would take him to the SS Quarry from there.

Don was waiting for me bright and early the next morning and I led him to the SSQ…luckily we had a couple of hours before the sun heated things up to the unbearable stage…Don broke out his umbrellas for this one since there was very little shade except next to the walls and where we were digging at, there was no shade at all…


Don was telling me about collecting blue halites in New Mexico….he tells a good story, let me tell ya. 🙂

I was able to find him a good deep pocket to work after a little while there, and he was able to liberate some WHOPPER size Poker Chips for his trip home…