Abigail Comes to Visit

I received word that drilling activity was happening during the last week of July and that blasting could take place by the end of that week, and after letting all my nearby rockhound friends know, I started hearing from those that were interested in going…namely Chuck Reed, Nathaniel Reid, and even Abigail Evans from Nashville. Abbi believed she was healed up enough from her serious back injury that occurred back in December, and decided to drive up on Saturday morning, July 28th to visit and go rockhunting with us. Chuck and Nathaniel could not go on Saturday, so we decided to meet at Eminence on Sunday morning early…and I took Abbi to the Secret Spot Quarry on Saturday morning. She and I had a late breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then headed out to the quarry…by the time we headed that way, she wasn`t feeling very well, possibly due to eating food not approved for her diet. I told her just take it easy and if she needed to leave for a bathroom break, that would be fine.

We arrived about 2 pm and once out of my truck and looking across the water hole at the wall, I noticed even more rock pulled out from the base of the wall since the week before. I also noticed what appeared to be several openings in the wall near the base of it, and all along the length of it…

 

….what appeared to be several pockets including one potentially large one in the middle of the wall at the base…seen above in the lower left hand corner…below in the middle of the wall…. just staring back at me….

….and I began to get excited about what type of day it was going to be. I had my boots on and all I had to get was my apron on as well as grab my mini mattox, wraps and bucket and start that direction…I took the right side along the edge of the water, and as I neared the area of the wall where I found a nice pocket a few weeks before, I nearly stepped on this cluster….

…let me rephrase that…this beautiful cluster…and since I am in the habit of looking around when I find something this nice in amongst a lot of ugly rock, I did exactly that, made a 360 degree turn and look movement and immediately spotted two more large clusters like this as well as multiple single crystals and some twins and triples too…EUREKA !!!!  I looked around for Abbi and spotted her heading my way but slowly and surely, but once there, she didn`t stay long, as her stomach was not doing well so she headed for the nearest bathroom spot. She left me her bucket and I began to fill it with many crystals just in case. I looked up on the wall above the area of crystal filled debris and spotted what looked like a potential pocket to me…top of the next photo where the hole in the all is located…sure looked like a pocket to me…and crystals outside it and just below it really just cemented the idea for me…

…in fact, there were crystals dangling along the rock wall all the way down to the debris pile below, that I was standing in the middle of….you can be sure I was very careful where I stepped and how little I moved around then….I stepped back to the edge of the water figuring it would be safer there, but then looked down and spotted several small clusters in the water, pulling them free and placing them in our buckets for safekeeping. here is the first video I shot as well, click on the DSC_0033 and then click on the link that pops up starting with http://www.jwjrocks.com/ and ends with DSC_0033 and then a Windows Media Viewer Window should pop up…

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I also dug down into the debris pile and rescued several small clusters and combos for about 20 minutes, then began to work my way up the pile and along the wall to the base of the potential pocket….

…notice the druse on the left side in and around those big rocks on the left side ?  make note of that and in a few minutes, those will be come clear to you as well as it was to me….I climbed up on that debris pile after setting a few pieces of the dolomite up there to stabilize my footing, and then began to dissect the opening of the pocket…

As soon as I opened up the entrance to the pocket, after picking up all those loose crystals at the base of the opening, I knew I was going to have my hands full. There were gorgeous poker chips attached to beautiful bubbley gray druse that was in turn, attached to the walls and ceiling of the pocket….

…and then there is that pile of loose crystals inside the pocket along the floor of it…I knew I would have to carefully pick thru that to fully collect this pocket the correct way…time consuming, but it`s a good thing I did it that way, as there were several small dogtooths in amongst that pile of crystals and pieces of the roof plates that apparently came down during the blasting. Here is the second video I shot soon after this….

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BTW, here are the two entrance rocks that were guarding the pocket opening, note the gray bubbles of druse that match up with the druse you saw a few photos back….

…it was a while before Abbi returned from her bathroom break and when she did, she stayed close to her suv and wandered along the edges of the piles surface collecting only.

…and she photographed me and Onyx a few times as well….

I remained and collected the pocket and continued to wrap and put some in her bucket as well as mine…here is another look inside the pocket…you can see I had sorted thru and cleaned out the initial pile of crystals at the front of the pocket interior, now I was back to a second pile and once I sorted through it, I was barely able to reach the third pile at the very back of the pocket…down to my fingertips on the reach, so I decided to take a break, go back to my truck for another bucket and more wraps, some gatorade, and get my handrake which would give me an extra foot of reach….

and another video showing this as well….

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Soon after I had my bucket filled and so I took it back to my truck, and took a photo of the pocket from there…Abbi`s bucket remaining below the pocket….

This large crystal in the image below, was nearly at the very back of the pocket, I wrapped it up after pulling it out with the aid of my hand rake, and put it in Abbi`s bucket…I have so many large crystals like this, I figured she would prob love to have it for her collection….

It took me another hour to reach the back of the pocket and pull out the remaining loose crystals that were inside, using the hand rake to reach and pull many of them out…there was one huge cluster of bright yellow poker chips attached to a big and heavy plate of large bubble of pretty gray druse, here it is all cleaned up…

…and this next small plate with dogtooths attached at both ends of it, came out of the second pile of loose crystals inside the pocket….

many of the dogtooths found in the pocket as well….

here is a flat of the combos I pulled out of the pocket when I was sorting thru the second pile inside the pocket….many attached to that bright gray sparkley druse….

 

…and several others attached to a yellow druse….

….here is the pocket emptied out…it only took me a few hours to clean it out….

Abbi wandered over about the time I finished cleaning out the pocket to see what was inside her bucket…I photographed her from the truck as I was putting some yard rocks in the bed of my truck….

we got out of there shortly after, and headed back to town…after checking into the hotel, she decided to drive over to CB and get a light salad for her supper. I headed home to clean up and then went to our Mexican Restaurant for a late supper, and then bed…we were going to be getting up early to drive to Eminence and would need all the rest we could get…I could only hope she did the same. Here are some of her beautiful photos from that day….

Great Job Shooting Abbi !!

The next morning, after I got up and was nearly ready to go, I looked out front and saw Abbi parked in front of my house, dome light on and she appeared ready to go as well. I got my truck packed, Onyx inside and away we went toward Eminence, stopping only for gas at the Phillips. We made good time getting down there, stopping off at the deli at the Sinclair Station before driving on over to the quarry, and arriving just ahead of Nathaniel and Chuck, they were 10 to 15 minutes behind us. As we pulled in, I parked to the right of the new blast pile on the east side of the quarry….

We all spread out and began searching the pile for pretty crystals…Chuck and Nathaniel wandered over to the west side of the pile, which stopped on top of the little hill behind the main rock crusher…he found some huge boulders over there full of green and brown poker chip vugs and was able to harvest some for his collection. Nathaniel worked his way over to and down the wall to the west side of the coved area, where he found a new dogtooth pocket, he came and borrowed my ladder so he could get to it more safely. I found a nice vug half way up the pile on the east side near the wall with a nice set of black dogtooths inside, called it to Abbi`s attention but after awhile she did not think she could get up there to it, so I let Nathaniel know and he never came back to even look at it. I should have just taken it out, but I wanted to go up to the second level on the west side and see if there were any new pockets up there instead. On my way up there, I found Chuck over by the big boulder pile working on extracting some large brown dogtooth calcite crystals attached to the side of a large boulder….

Nathaniel discovered the boulder and dogtooths attached, pointed it out to Chuck, who wasted no time in trying to remove some, while talking to Abbi about rockhunting….here is Nathaniel showing me a couple of small ones that he was able to remove from a vug in that same boulder…

…and here is the pocket of calcites Chuck is working on up close…

…and one of the vugs on the left side of the boulder, that Chuck said eventually tied in with the pocket he was working on…

Chuck sharing a dogtooth cluster with Abbi above….and then he hammered on….

…while Abbi admired the cluster…

When I got up to the next level, Nathaniel was up there looking for pockets already…he wasn`t having much luck tho, he said…most were up higher, so I asked Chuck to bring my ladder up when he could and we looked higher along the wall, finding mostly shallow pockets up there…

..he did manage tho, to find some very pretty druse pieces….

I went further down the wall from him and found a few small pockets like this one…

We took off soon after, Chuck and Nathaniel headed back to St Louis area, while Abbi and I drove back to the Secret Spot Quarry for another round up there…here is what the west side of the Eminence Quarry looks like now all cleaned up…here is a video of that pocket I found up there too…

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and here is a video of Chuck hammering that boulder pocket and talking to Abbi at the same time…he was multi-tasking…

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check out those big green eyes Chuck has in the video….:)

Abbi and I started taking a look at the pockets along the base of the far wall on the other side of the big water hole, I told her to check out the bigger pocket that I had worked at the end of the day before, and take home some of those big bubbly druse clusters that resembled the grape agate clusters you see for sale from Indonesia…the gray in the pocket resembled the purple color of the grape agate…so she was checking out that pocket and I was working the pocket where the yellow rain jacket is sitting to her right…it was raining when we arrived so we wore our rain gear for maybe ten minutes, then it became so humid we had to take it off…I left my camera in the truck due to the rain…

…so you can`t see all five of the dogtooth pockets I found to the right of her….and here is a video that I shot a few min later….

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We left about an hour later, stopped off at Missouri Hick for some great BBQ, Abbi felt here stomach had returned to normal by then and then we hit the hay, completely drained of all energy by the time we got back to town. Abbi headed for her home in Nashville the next morning after a good night of rest…she decided she was going to check into the KETO diet that I have been on and lost 30 lbs from in the past year, it`s alot easier to maintain and go by. Good luck Abbi, think you will love the results as much as I did and do !!

Secret Spot Quarry on my Birthday

My birthday is July 22nd and for the past fifteen years I have always taken my birthday off from work if scheduled and gone rockhunting somewhere…when it falls on a weekend, I always go to one of the quarries, this year it was the Secret Spot Quarry that I decided to go to.  I let all my close rockhound friends know and Al was the only one that could go with me…I took it easy on him and we didn`t leave til around 6 am…we worked several pockets around the walls while Onxy did a lot of swimming in the water holes….

and we noticed the pile nearly removed from this section of the wall, so we worked our way carefully over to that section…as we did, we noticed that someone had been really nice to leave a large beach ball sized poker chip cluster laying next to the edge of the pile…I picked it up later and gave it to Al to take home as his very first yard rock. here it is….

After a few hours of searching and combing thru several pockets, we split up…Al stayed on one side of the pile when he found a large area of pretty white druse plates, he took several home with him…meanwhile I was on the other side and found a nice dogtooth pocket in the wall, and began pulling some clusters big and small out of the pocket. Al came over to assist me, bringing me some extra wraps and buckets, I let him know as soon as I had them cleaned up, I would let him pick some out to take home if he wanted. Here are a few of them all cleaned up with Iron Out a few days later…..

…and the one on the bottom in the image above, looked quite nice all by itself in the image below….

….and here is one of three larger clusters soaking in the Iron Out, has two large calcite crystals on it….

…I cleaned it up along with several pieces of wavellite that I collected back in March, while I had the Iron Out working for me…back to the quarry tho…we got out of there shortly after the dogtooth pocket as the heat was coming on strong..on the way back, despite his need to return home by 5:30 pm…he decided to stop off at Missouri Hick in Cuba and buy me a late lunch for my birthday…thanks again Al !!

New Rockhound Friends in July

Wow July was a busy month for me and really this whole year has been at times…I no sooner started my new job at the golf course and almost immediately found out I had three bosses that liked rocks…Nate who is one of my supervisors and has never been on a field trip yet, really likes them so I helped him get his collection built up a bit more since I started…Shawn, my Manager, really liked the looks of the orange dogtooths that I gave to Nate and then told me that his seven year old daughter, Miss Abby, really likes rocks and possibly fossils too…and then Dave, my Superintendent, came to me one day and started talking about geodes after I gave Nate a geode or two, and told me that he had driven past the old rock and mineral museum up by Keokuk several years ago on Hwy 61…I had to think about that one for a day, then figured out he was talking about the octagonal shaped building that Tim Scheffler`s parents had built as a rock and mineral shop, that Modot seized through eminent domain through the courts and pissed every rockhound in the country off by their shameful way of handling the situation just so they could expand Hwy 61 from a two lane to a four lane highway…I say shameful because of the way they treated Tim`s family over that situation…they could have easily gone around that beautiful rock shop and left it standing for the many generations of rockhounds that followed, to enjoy for years to come. When I asked Dave the next morning, he said yes, that was what he was thinking of, and then I gave him a geode from the Keokuk area that I had found at last year`s Geodefest, with some extra minerals inside it.

I think it was June when I found out that the seven year old son named Logan, whose Mom is one of my favorite Cracker Barrel employees, was interested in rocks, so I took his Mom Heather, a flat of druse quartz, poker chips, and some other pretties so she could give it to Logan…I did that for Miss Abby and Nate as well.

Last month in July, I found out from a local firefighter friend, that another seven year old daughter, whose Dad is a local Firefighter Captain friend of mine, was now collecting rocks and minerals, so I took him a flat of crystals to give to her and told him anytime they wanted to go rockhunting with me locally, to give me a shout. A few days later, another firefighter friend contacted me on FB and asked where he could take his new girlfriend rockhunting because she was big time into it, so I gave him some info as well.

On the 2nd of July, I received an email from a guy named Al, who lives just north of the golf course I work at, and asked if he could go rockhunting with me, after reading my blogsite about my trips and travels…I let Al know that my friend Chuck and I were going to the quarry at Eminence on Sunday, July 8th and asked if he would like to go with me and Onyx, warned him that we would be leaving quite early and he accepted the offer. That brings me to this next trip to Eminence…Al arrived at my house by 3:45 am and we transferred his digging stuff to the bed of my truck and took off by 4 am to Rolla and then south on Hwy 63…we saw a bit of wildlife on the way down, which I always take as a good sign of things to find. We arrived around 6:30 am….

…..and Chuck arrived an hour after us, I had Al working on a pocket with some poker chip calcites inside by that time…

…working the wall now exposed at the ground level after much of the last blast pile had been cleaned up and away…..

…when I walked over there, I discovered a beautiful mosaic pattern in the dried clay mud in front of Al`s position along the wall, so I took a few photos of it, never having noticed anything like that there before….

…he was hard at it, trying to get those poker chips out of the pocket too…

….while I was checking on Al, Chuck climbed on up to the second level to look for pockets up there, as soon as I let Al know to come on up and join us up above when he was finished to his satisfaction with the pocket he was working on, I went up and found Chuck working a pocket up there already….

…we both worked on several pockets and searched through a pile of crystals left below that ledge where someone had left a bunch of them behind…soon Al came up and joined us as well…when Chuck climbed up on this ledge above to work a bigger pocket, I walked behind and past him to the left and opened up another pocket in the vuggy rock wall…at first I was pulling out some beautiful druse plates, then they had poker chips attached to them, and then they immediately graduated to dogtooths attached and some were curvy plates and some were clusters…Al came over, sat down and started helping me with the pocket..I would hand one to him and he would wrap it and put it in his bucket, then the next one he would hand to Chuck, and anything I wanted I would put in my bucket next to me…we worked that pocket alone for at least an hour that way…it was chock full of beautiful crystals and druse….Chuck took these next few photos of me and Al working the pocket I found, when he returned for some water, gatorade for me, and some buckets and wraps….

…you can see the dark colored poker chips inside the pocket that I am trying to free up and pull out…the opening in the center of the pocket goes around a huge brown poker chip crystal that was probably two or three crystals blended together into one huge crystal of calcite, and that opening quickly turned to the right and went up, behind that huge crystal, so I was trying to enlarge that opening to get my hand in there easier…there was also an opening to the right of the hammer that went up as well…here is the center opening closer up….

I`m going to try and post a video here of our trip, to view it, simply click on the DSC_0357 and then click on the link that starts out with http://www.jwjrocks.com/ and ends with /DSC_0357.wmv, then the video will pop up, or should, in a windows media player box and begin playing automatically for you. 

 

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I wore out shortly after that and Chuck came down and chipped that big crystal out for us, here is the video on that, we had to take it out in pieces due to it`s size and placement in that pocket…

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we headed north and back home shortly after removing that big crystal, with about three bags full each from that one pocket. all three of us very happy with our finds for the day….I think this trip made Al`s day quite well, too, for his first field trip outing as a rockhound. 🙂

 

Paul and PJ Come Visit Missouri

Back around the first of April, I had an email from Paul and PJ, they live a few states northeast of me, and they were interested in coming down to visit and go rockhounding with me here in Missouri. Paul was asking about the Park Hills Show as well, but the timing of things on their end and mine, didn`t permit them to make it down that weekend, so they came down the weekend after the Show and I took them to the quarry in Eminence on Saturday and the Secret Spot Quarry on Sunday. We had great weather for both days..they decided to go to Eminence first and then the drive home from the Secret Spot would be shorter for them on Sunday. We arrived in Eminence to find heavy fog in the valley about 7:30 am…

….I usually arrive there much earlier in the morning, but it`s a two hour drive down there from my town and after their long drive down on Friday, they didn`t want to get up any earlier…but we had a cool morning with fog for a short time and got about five hours of digging in. PJ was ready to go as soon as she put her hard hat on, she was off and exploring…Paul and I took a bit longer to get ready, plus I took a few photos as well…

…the fog began lifting soon after we arrived, the sun burning it off from above and then we began to bake…as Paul began to take off, we spotted PJ up on the second level looking for pockets in the wall and we headed that way to join her, finding several nice dogtooth pockets shortly after….

…and this is the main area we were working, can see the newest area of activity from the left side to the right…..

…we did quite well on the left side, finding more crystal filled pockets over there as opposed to the right side where they were far and few between, the left side wall being more vuggy and where you find pockets more often. We each filled a few buckets with crystals before heading home about 2 pm…..

…..to rest up for the next day. We met at the Missouri Hick for a nice bbq supper that evening and I let them know what we could expect to find at the Secret Spot Quarry. Sunday morning we slept in a bit and arrived about 8 am, another beautiful morning and this time no fog to deal with…we had to park a ways out from the walls….

…and make our way back to the walls over some big boulders, so we took our time and watched our footing, making every step count…this is why it is so important to wear good boots, at least with ankle support and steel toed boots really help in case a boulder rolls down the slope and on to your foot…it won`t hurt as much as if you do not have steel toed boots, believe me. I showed PJ and Paul some pockets that I had worked the week before and that still had crystals inside them and they set to work on them at first….

..I also showed Paul this soda straw druse plate on this boulder down below that pocket and he got his hammer and chisel out to work the plate off the boulder….

After they worked that pocket a while and Paul took what he could of the plate off the boulder, I directed them to another dogtooth pocket that appeared to have more crystals in the back of it, so they pulled a few nice dogtooths from it after a while, here it is close up….

…and then we decided to check out a few more pockets along the wall as we were headed out later in the morning…here is Paul checking on a pocket….

…they headed for home soon after, with a seven hour drive ahead of them, stopping only for gas refills…Onyx and I stuck around about an hour longer, mainly finding only druse pockets like this one….

…pretty stuff, but hard to get out of a small pocket like that, and higher up on the wall as well…we stopped off on the way home to get some more yard rocks of druse and then headed for home…all in all, another great weekend on the books. 🙂

A Few New Additions to My Collection Lately

Recently I made a few purchases to add to my growing collection of Viburnum Trend Minerals…since I can`t go underground and get them myself, I sometimes have to purchase them, and these were from the old collection that my buddy Dave purchased a couple of months ago from a retired miner. I understand that he has several more flats available, and I am waiting for the word on acquisition of those as well. I will also be visiting my buddy Gary in southern Illinois in a few weeks, on my way to the Central Kentucky trip, and see what new material he has from the past few months of mining fluorite, quartz, calcites, and lead specimens in his area. I am looking forward to that trip and visiting with many friends down there over Labor Day Weekend, always a lot of fun for both Onyx and me.

Here are a few of the purchases I made in the past month….the first 2 images contain a beautiful smokey calcite with a thin piece of matrix covered with chalcopyrite, from the Brushy Creek Mine, likely from the Crystal Cavern that was discovered about 25 yrs ago…it is upper left corner of both images, there is a smokey calcite plate in the upper right hand corner of the images, with reddish yellow pyrite nestled in the cracks and corners of the plate, from the Casteel Mine, the only mine where the pyrite in these colors comes from, and the calcite plate in the bottom of the images is from the Sweetwater Mine and has a little bit of malachite on the plate…

The next three images show some of the Phantom Calcites I purchased from Dave back in June, and the 3rd image shows one of those crystals backlit….although many of the pretty calcites often come from the Sweetwater Mine, these came from Brushy Creek Mine….

the next two images show some very pretty blingey crystals, these are from the Casteel Mine…I can count on two hands the number of specimens in my collection that came from the Casteel Mine over the years…not very many, same goes for the Magmont Mine, not very many….

…this next image shows the underside of the calcite plate with the malachite on it…the underside of the plate is covered by quartz and simply gorgeous quartz….one of the reasons I liked it so well, kind of a two for one special…

This next image shows a few of the smaller pieces I purchased…not all of them are shown, as I purchased about three flats and only about one flat is shown here, so I am basically showing you the  highlights of my purchases….and some were sold within a week to friends who liked them as much as I did….

…the next several images show one or two specimens and many are covered or partially covered with chalcopyrite…I keep these in shaded and dark areas of my home to keep the chalco from oxidizing on me…luckily tho, there is a good and fast cure for that if it does still happen…

..I am often asked by new rockhounds, what colors chalcopyrite comes in…the image above and below should give you a good idea what colors and how bright they can be in the right light…

…and this next image shows a unique specimen with a chunk of calcite coming up out of one corner and anchored on the left end by big pyrite balls….

Beautiful stuff for sure. 🙂

 

Park Hills Show 2018

I dropped off Onyx with my Mom and drove down to Park Hills for the show on Sunday, June 10th, getting there a little after 9 am, and after parking near the old Mill of the Federal Mine, I walked over to visit with Johnny B of Mt Ida, who is always parked on the second row near the gate…you can easily spot him, he has the big white van, and purple curtains and banners blowing in the breeze around his tables and van. John has been a good friend for years, and he always has some nice quartz crystals and clusters in all sizes for sale…I have visited with him at his residence when he is home and he is usually cooking quartz when I get there, but always has some great stuff there as well, in whatever size you are looking for. We had a good talk, he always brings me up to date on things happening in the Mt Ida area and while I didn`t buy anything from him this time around, he did have some nifty irredescent dragons with him that were just beautiful…

…I knew I would likely stop by his place when I am down there in November and see what he has for sale then. Last year he had some green dragon quartz that was really pretty and made me a good deal on those as well as some sandstone roses from Oklahoma. I wandered thru the rest of the second row and soon came up on my buddy Ken Vaisivil at his geode booth…I always love to shop and see what unique geodes Ken has…he always has some of the prettiest irridescent calcite geodes too, and he had a few with a sunflower blue color this time…blue being one of my favorite colors, I could not resist buying a set of them from him….here they are and you can see the blue sparkles in each half….

…simply gorgeous…Ken never fails to impress…he will be at Geodefest as a vendor again this year if you would like to see what he has for sale…last year he had one with what looks like a poker chip calcite crystal inside one half, so naturally I purchased it. He always has some great pink dogtooth crystals inside some as well….this time he had a pair with some pink calcites inside that were somewhat pagoda shaped, so I purchased this pair too,….

…and some pyrites sprinkled on top of some smokey quartz inside this half….

…I didn`t purchase all of the above images, but just wanted to show you what some of his unique geodes look like…the only other thing I was specifically looking for were some of the Madagascar Agates…which one dealer had there, he had purchased them from another dealer on the first morning there and didn`t want to sell them, but let me take a photo of them…

I`m an agate fan and hope to find some one of these days for my collection…they can be purchased on Ebay but you have to wait for three months for them to arrive from China…I am not a big fan of Ebay for reasons like that. 

Three Weeks in a Row

I decided I was going to drive down to the Park Hills Show on Sunday morning…I wanted to see if I could find some of those new agates out on the market, found in the country of Madagascar and some more of the chalcopyrite-bladed barite-sphalerite ball pieces found in the Washington County Quarry. Since I knew that would be at least half a day wandering around looking at everything and visiting with my dealer friend Johnny B from Mt Ida, who is always there, I decided to drive back to the Secret Spot Quarry on Saturday June 9th and see what else I could find there. We were up before the crack of dawn thanks to my new job, which requires me to get up at 4 am these days to get ready to go to work…and as we exited I-44 at Cuba, I looked back and saw the beautiful sunrise….

…and when I reached Steelville, the sunrise only deepened and got better….

…and then when we reached Cherryville, we saw a beautiful rainbow…I was thinking, man what are we going to see next ??!!

…there were a few scattered thunderstorms on the radar before leaving the house, but going by the way they were moving on radar, it appeared they would miss the quarry, so I wasn`t too worried about getting wet this morning…soon after arriving at the quarry about 7 am, it was clear that some were going by just east of us…

and another storm passing by east of us about an hour later….

…and a few hours later, I heard some thunder and figured maybe we might get grazed by this one…

and as it was, it came right over the top of us and I decided to head on over to my buddy Dave`s house…he notified me that he had purchased an old collection of Viburnum Trend minerals so I decided to go see what he had…as we pulled into his drive, I looked east and saw another storm brewing…

…this storm apparently went over to the Park Hills area and paid everyone at the show there a visit, high winds, hail, and hard rain for about 90 minutes, from what I heard the next day when I was there visiting with everyone. Dave had quite a few nice crystals and minerals in the collection he purchased from a retired miner, nice ones that had been collected at least 75 years ago…

I was gonna crop this one off at the bottom of the image, then noticed Lola down there and decided to leave it…she is David`s guard dog for his Mom and a very pretty German Shepherd too. Those are some unique lead cube clusters above on the table, some with chalcopyrites attached. Closeup of the big one in the next two images….

…and some gorgeous never seen before pyrites with some deep reds, oranges, and gold colors in them, from the Casteel Mine, which rarely produces really pretty specimens…

…and there were some stunning calcites in this collection as well…golden honey yellows and orange yellows as well as several smokeys from Brushy Creek Mine….

 

 

 

Secret Spot Quarry Surprise June 3rd

Onyx and I drove down to the Secret Spot Quarry early Sunday morning June 3rd, to see if we could find some more druse yard rocks…I had expanded one rock garden and began another and had some extra room for a few more…the week before, we poked around at the tailings dam for a while looking for druse yard rocks, and then decided to drive over to the quarry and check it out…as we drove down the entrance road, it appeared to me that it was wider and smoother than it had been a few weeks prior, and when I got to the top of the hill above the quarry itself, I was surprised to see the dirt and brush pulled back quite a bit…….

…..and the road down the hill was at least ten feet wider and a whole lot smoother, ruts filled in and was like a super highway compared to what it had been like for the past couple of years…there was also a new road on the left where there had only been a trail before…lined with quarry rock as well…we turned the corner at the bottom of the hill and there was a blast pile sitting in the quarry, obvious blast activity that had not happened in at least three to four years….needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised and wished I had driven down there first….

…so today we drove back down to the quarry to see what more we could find…last week there were quite a few pretty pink druse boulders there and some nice plates as well, just laying all over the place…I had taken several sizes home in that color and found some huge druse plates with soda straws all over them as well as a few small pockets of poker chips and combo plates…this time I had my stepladder with me to reach a few other pockets higher up. It was apparent that they had removed some of the blast pile as Onyx was checking out the big water puddle….

…I started around the pile to the right side and immediately spotted this nice one shimmering in the sunlight, and took it back to the truck right away….

…have a hard enough time finding small plates of soda straws of druse…but a huge plate of them ??? unheard of !!  here are a few more nice ones that I found in the first couple of hours there….

…sure was a nice day….

 

 

 

Ben Clement Mineral Show 2018

Onyx and I made a quick drive down to Marion, Kentucky early Saturday morning, June 2nd, to take in the Ben Clement Mineral Show and visit with friends at the museum as well. It was a nice drive down on a nice day, not too warm at all. We arrived about 10 am and as I walked up to the museum, I spotted Ed Clement in front and visited with him for a few minutes before he was whisked away…I then had a few minutes to talk to Tina and Sherry, then found Bill Frazer inside and sat down to visit with him a few minutes before Russ brought him a taco pizza. We visited a few minutes more while they both chowed down on the pizza. Bill brought me up to date on some issues with the mine and museum before I walked over to check out the show. One of the main reasons I wanted to drive down there was to visit with everyone, including Gary Griffith and his son Walter, who are always set up with a fluorite booth at the show…they are great people and also donate a dumptruck load of rocks full of fluorite chips for the kids to dig thru outside the museum building each year. Gary lost his Dad Guy Griffith to cancer earlier this year…I always enjoyed talking to his dad whenever I stopped by their place to purchase great Southern Illinois Fluorite from them. I found Gary and Walter just inside the door this time….

…this time they had not only a couple of tables covered in fluorite specimens and octohedrons they chipped out, but they had one end of one table covered with fluorite jewelry…made by Walter`s wife….I purchased a couple of them as well, very pretty stuff. They also had discovered some neat stuff in their calcite pile at home recently…they normally separate the calcites from the fluorite, so they have a good sized pile of it and were going thru it recently and discovered fluorite cubes on the calcites, so they cleaned it up and brought it to the show…I purchased a few of them as well…

I sat on a milk crate they had behind the table and visited with them for quite a while, found out his Dad had cancer which slowly got worse and the pain finally became too much for him to handle at home, he had to be hospitalized to bring it under control. Def gonna miss talking to him as I am sure Gary and his family are as well. Gary told me a few stories about his Dad helping him and Walter when they were mining and Sherry told me a few about Guy as well.

Eventually I drifted down into the old school gymnasium to check out the vendors there….found Phil Daly up on the stage where Alan Goldstein is usually set up…Alan didn`t make it to the show this year…so I visited with Phil a bit and purchased some of his Kentucky minerals from his collection, which he is selling off…..

The dealer on the right in the photo above, had a beautiful cluster of smokey quartz crystals on the corner of one of his tables, sitting on a paper that stated the cluster was found in the Old Leatherneck Mine of Arkansas…which was the old mine that later became the Arrowhead Mine, both of which are now closed to the public….

…estimated retail price of $ 2300 only….lol…and no, I did not purchase it, but it sure is pretty. 🙂

Around 1:30 pm, Onyx and I headed for home and soon after turning west on I-24, traffic began slowing down and a few miles down the road we discovered why….

…and no, it wasn`t due to road construction…take a closer look ahead on the EB side….

…as we approached slowly, I thought at first it was two tractor trailer rigs involved in a serious accident, could see the medical transport helicopter in front of all traffic and then saw the firefighters scrambling around…

…and then as we finally drew alongside the scene, I could see it was a tractor trailer pulling a pup trailer, the pup trailer appeared to be rear-ended by a trash truck, and it appeared the driver of the trash truck required extrication by the Calvert City Fire Department, who has at least seven trucks on the scene and were helping with traffic control further back in the eastbound lanes that were backed up for miles…

…hopefully no one was seriously injured…thankfully we did not see anything else like that on the way home…this time I decided to drive straight in on I-64 and cross the Mississippi River by the Arch….

…always a great view….was great visiting with everyone in western Kentucky once again.

 

 

CAGMAGS Returns to Missouri

I received a call from Arkansas David, who had attended the field trip to Missouri with the MAGS Club end of March…David called me a couple of weeks later and asked if his club, CAGMAGS, which stands for Central Arkansas Gem and Mineral…could come up and go rockhunting with me to the Druse Location and quarry at Eminence again…I let him know what weekends I was off from my new job and he decided on April 21st and 22nd…and since MAGS…the Memphis Club that I am a member of…had invited his club to go with them, he decided to invite them to go with his club…and they did, as I received notice from MAGS of same by email a few days later.  The members of CAGMAGS decided to stay at the Viburnum Hotel as well, so Onyx and  I met them there Saturday morning about 8 am and then drove over to the Druse location about ten minutes later. David and John headed off to the right of where we parked, looking for druse and more pyrite and marcasite….we again had cloudy skies to start and the members this time, wanted to drive down to the quarry a little sooner than when MAGS was here….

…while others spread out on the other side of the road and farther back on the same side as where we parked…again we had peeks of sunshine that helped spot the druse a little faster and this time, a few more of us wandered down to the bottom of the hill to look for yard rocks of druse and poker chip combos….

…and after about an hour of looking for druse, we loaded up and drove on to the Secret Spot Quarry….

…where it appeared on the hillside behind the walls, that Spring was making its presence known…like the MAGS trip, this morning was a bit cooler and most of us were bundled up…once the sun finally came out, it warmed up quickly for us. I pointed out the potential areas for goodies and everyone spread out to look for them…

 

…and once I saw that everyone seemed to be finding stuff, I started looking for some pockets on my own…soon joined by John and a few others eventually…I usually have pretty good luck finding some and within 20 minutes I was working on one that kept going and going…deeper and deeper…producing some roof plates initially and then some nice single calcite crystals too….

…and some nice druse/poker chip combos as well, like this one…

…once John saw what my pocket was producing, he was hooked and sat down a few feet from me and started digging into an older pocket that soon produced crystals for him as well, once he tied into a couple of pockets that opened up for him…

After a couple of hours working pockets at the quarry, and several finding some nice druse plates as well, we traveled down to see my friend who sells Viburnum Trend minerals, about an hour south of there…we visited with him for a good hour and then the crew asked me if I knew of a good BBQ joint around…I told them about Missouri Hick BBQ in Cuba and said they have a satellite restaurant in Steelville as well…so we saddled up and drove up to Steelville for some good bbq.  Only after walking inside, did we discover that it was no longer Missouri Hick BBQ…instead was a burger joint…the crew decided they really didn`t want to drive any further for food, so we stayed and tried it out…wasn`t bad for a burger joint. After a good hour of talk and food, Onyx and I headed for home and the crew returned to the Viburnum Hotel and we decided to meet at the quarry in Eminence the next morning. I let David know that I would be going to the deli at the Sinclair Station in Eminence before driving on to the quarry the next morning.

On the way down there the next morning, Onyx and I stopped off for a few minutes to photograph Alley Spring Mill, as we pass right by it on the way there…

…and then we drove on into Eminence and turned to drive down to the Sinclair Station Deli, where we found David and his crew outside…after getting Onyx and myself a smoked ham sandwich, we drove over to the quarry and were soon joined by the rest of the crew there. A few days before, I had received word from a good friend nearby that some recent activity occurred and so we were some of the first rockhounds to visit since then…it turned out to be great hunting for all of us….

..we donned our hard hats, steel toed boots, gloves, safety glasses, and headed up the new pile to check things out…David and I started seeing some nice crystals right away, from the very base of the pile all the way to the top and some big boulders with nice vugs as well…soon John was in the mix with us and after pointing out some nice stuff to him, he began finding it on his own too, we were finding crystals that were nestles chcolate brown colored, black colored, and some nice green/brown mixes, some even had some irridescence to them…we climbed higher to the wall and started spotting pockets all over the place…pretty soon we were cleaning out several nice pockets…we found out later that John located some nice dogtooth pockets on his own, producing some nice crystals, singles, doubles, twins, and clusters…

 

…I have to say, John was quite happy with his finds…as he should have been…as you can see below…he had some real beauties come out of a couple of nice pockets and he shared them with everyone there…

I`m pretty sure everyone there had a great time over both days and the quarry at Eminence was a super hit with the recent activity prior to their arrival, making Sunday morning specially nice with more pockets of green and brown dogtooth calcite crystals to be found and collected. They left for home about noon, a five hour drive ahead of them, while Onyx and I decided to stick around another hour or so and check out the western side of the quarry. I had no sooner climbed up on the ramp to the walls above when I came upon a huge chunk, consisting of a large single chocolate brown calcite crystal, encased in calcite druse and dolomite matrix, with several smaller poker chips surrounding the entire base of the large piece…measuring a good 24 inches high and about 15 inches wide. In order to get it down to the parking lot, I wrapped it up in my rain jacket and scooted it carefully over to the edge of the pile, then after placing it in front of me and wrapping my arms around it, I slid down the pile like a slide and then brought the truck over to it and loaded it up.  I loaded up some smaller ones and then we headed for home, having our sandwiches on the way. 🙂