David Hodge Comes to Visit and Collect With Me

I had a phone call a few weeks ago from my buddy David Hodge, who is the Field Trip Director for the CAGMAGS Club, sister club to MAGS, the Memphis Club I have been a member of for several years now. CAGMAGS is located in central Arkansas near Little Rock, they come up with MAGS sometimes to collect with me up here and sometimes they just contact me and come up on their own and invite MAGS to go with them. David let me know he was going to be in St Louis for a marching band event for a few days and would be returning home after the Saturday event, asked if I could take him rockhunting on that Sunday morning. I told him it was his lucky week cause I had planned to go rockhunting that Sunday and assured him he was going to love it. We planned to meet up at the Viburnum High School Parking Lot since he was familiar with that location, and I took him to the SSQ area and showed him the smokey druse plates I had been finding there. Needless to say, we found a bunch of them and had a great time, before he took off for home. He contacted me a couple of days later and asked if he could come back the next weekend and do that again and I said sure…cause I needed to get some together to take to Arkansas with me on my upcoming trip there…I let him know where we were gonna go down there and extended an invitation to join us at the privately owned mines we were going to. The second trip to the SSQ was a bit wet when we arrived..muddy I should say, they had quite a bit of rain the day before apparently….our trucks got muddy just driving up the druse road…..

….but it only sprinkled on us a few times that day and we did quite well and found some really nice stuff once again…this one right outside my truck as I stepped out….

…and once we climbed up the tailing piles, it was literally laying all over the place….prime for the picking….

Needless to say, by the time we left, we were both exhausted…David spent the night closeby before heading home the next day as he had about a six hour drive. 

 

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. 🙂

 

 

My Mineral Rock Gardens

I often get asked about my rock gardens, what I have in them and how big they get…last fall I planted several small beds of tulips and other spring flowering bulbs in all of my rock gardens and this spring I moved rocks around by type and location where found…and photographed the results when the spring flowers started blooming. This first image shows the rock garden on the west side of my shed, containing purple fluorites from western Kentucky, some of my wavellite from southern Arkansas, and many geodes from central Kentucky and the Keokuk area as well as a few quartz clusters from southern Arkansas mines…

…and as you can see, it mainly contains yard rocks…and some lillies at the top and on the west side as well….where my propane tank sits, I have Eminence yard rocks and some hybrid tulips….

the garden on the east side of the shed contains more flowers but starts near the shed door with a bed of lillies surrounded by a variety of beautiful crystals….

and on the far side of that garden is another bed of lillies surrounded by quartz clusters….

and just a little ways away in the curve of that garden is a nook of geodes….

…and more hybrids in yet another garden….

Hopefully that gives you a better idea of what my rockgardens look like. 🙂

MAGS & CAGMAGS Visit Missouri end of March for Druse 2018

During the MAGS Christmas Party in Memphis, my first one to attend in December 2017, W.C. asked me if I could take the members of MAGS rockhunting at the druse location near Viburnum again, and to the quarry at Eminence as well…they were kicking around a few dates and he said he would let me know what dates they decided on. I heard from him again the end of February and they had decided on the last weekend in March, I let him know I hoped to have another job lined up by then but would see what I could do about that weekend. As it turned out, I did have a new job by then, but was off weekends til sometime in April, prob due to the weird weather this spring…weirdest weather I can remember in sometime, including cold and damp weather, as well as late snowfalls…def not your typical springtime. I think the flowers and trees had a harder time adjusting than we humans did.

It was decided that Onyx and I would meet the members at the Viburnum High School on Saturday morning, March 24th about 8 am and then lead them to the Druse location. Onxy and I got up about 6 am and were on the road to Viburnum by 6:45…and pulled into the High School Parking lot an hour later…finding several members there already and more enroute from the Viburnum Hotel across the street where they spent the night. The Club had received word a week or two out that the hotel they normally stayed at in Park Hills, had sold earlier this year and ” had gone to the dogs “, not suitable to stay at any longer…too bad because the predecessor had run a very nice hotel with a great restaurant attached. I am sure that will be a loss to the communities nearby for many years to come.  Soon after arriving at the parking lot, I had a pleasant surprise to find my good rockhunting friend David Bruce, from northern Georgia, in attendance…long drive for him but he often goes with me to other locations I hunt at as well, like southern Arkansas and central Kentucky…he is a hard rock miner and dedicated to his hobby. 

After everyone assembled in the parking lot, we soon headed to the newer druse location…not far away but we had to travel a few miles by road to get there…and I had to go the long way with the group because some were driving low clearance cars and suv`s…we arrived about ten minutes later and parked on the side of the road…

….and I explained to them where they could find some pretty druse in all sizes from miniature pieces suitable for making wire wrap jewelry to yard rock size pieces. Everyone spread out and began to look…we had cloudy skies which make finding druse at any  location tough at best, but within the hour the sun was trying to peek thru and helped us out a bit better. I walked down to the bottom of the hill and found some larger and nice yard rocks, and pointed that out to some of the folks there, and soon more folks were also wandering down the hill to check it out. 

…while on the other side of the entrance road, I had let David Bruce and Arkansas David know about some marcasite and chalcopyrite dumped in special places, so they wandered over to that side first to look around…..

…we stayed up there the better part of a couple of hours, folks were finding some nice drusies and a few poker chip clusters as well…afterward we drove on down to the quarry, formerly known as the Secret Spot Quarry, and found a few wall pockets there that were full of nice calcite crystals. By mid afternoon, everyone was ready for a change, so we headed south to visit a friend of mine, at the request of MAGS members. We have visited with him a few times before, he is a mineral dealer of Viburnum Trend specimens and not only has great crystals and minerals for sale, but great prices and shares his knowledge on the minerals too…we arrived there about an hour later and everyone had a great time visiting with him once again. We had some new members along that not only made a new friend with connections, but purchased some nice crystals and minerals for their collections. Some of the group headed to Eminence from there, spending the night there so they could sleep in, while some headed back to Viburnum for the night.

The next morning, Onyx and I met them at the quarry in Eminence about 8 am again, after driving over to get a sandwich at the Sinclair Station`s deli shop…they make great sandwiches there let me tell ya…and I picked up a couple of bottles of water for Onyx as well. The folks that stayed at Eminence were there when we pulled in, but the crew that stayed the night at Viburnum were running a little later, so we drove on down into the quarry and I showed everyone where the most recent activity had been taking place and the more highly mineralized areas were located. 

…and everyone spread out to look for goodies….some heading to the coved area right away…one of my favorite areas to look for pockets of dogtooth calcite crystals….

…and one member finding a pocket that I had described as chock full of goodies the week before when I was there..looks like he had the same fun I did in pulling them out of the pocket….real back twister there….

…and while everyone was down at ground level, the two David`s and I headed up the western ramp to the newer activity work area…where I had found some pockets full of green poker chip calcite crystals, singles and clusters…you have to be very careful with the green colored calcites, as they damage more easily than other colors, tend to shatter even when trying to remove them from vugs and pockets. I was able to borrow a ladder which gave us a little better access to some pockets on the wall not very high up….after working this pocket, I let David Bruce work it for a while….

…and he did well too….we were a bit bundled up as it was about 40 degrees that morning when we arrived and maybe warmed up to 45 when we started working the wall pockets…this one in particular, went back to the left and then straight up and then to the right…making it difficult to get your arm into, specially if you had a couple of sweatshirts on like David did…Arkansas David got up there next and worked it and found out just how difficult it was to get the crystals out…there were several still in there if you could just get your arm in there enough to enable you to reach them…and then pull them back out…..

…we managed to pull some nice ones out, single crystals and small clusters both…and while we were up there, Jim Butchko wandered up to see what we were finding and looked down the wall from us to see if he could locate some pockets too….

…about an hour later, the Memphis and Arkansas crew decided to head for home…they had a five hour drive in front of them…and even tho David Bruce had a nine hour drive home, he decided to drive over to check out the old wall where we first started digging and hunting about ten years ago….

….he and I found some nice beauties in the old wall where the material was loose enough to dig into…I was glad to see him pull some nice clusters out for all the effort we put into that side. Here is one of the beauties I found in the old wall too….

…and a cluster I found shortly after….

David pulled about six clusters out of the muck there, similar to this one in size…and then left for home shortly after…sure was a good productive weekend for us all. 🙂

 

 

 

 

MAGsters Rockhunt Missouri 2016

Members of MAGS, the Memphis Archaeological and Geological Society, a club I am a member of as well, came up to Missouri two weeks ago to go rockhunting with me in the Viburnum and Eminence areas. Also on that day, I was contacted by Bill from Rockhoundbill Blogspot….he had contacted me the week before by email, said he was an avid fan of my rockhunting blog site…this site….and that he enjoyed my stories and photos…I was floored, because I had been reading his site recently about some locations he had been to recently, and told him that I enjoyed reading his stories too. He and his girlfriend Debbie were up in the KC area at that time and would be traveling back to the Chicago area by way of the scenic route, they were planning to drive to Potosi to look for druse…I advised him that they might want to avoid that area, because recently many locations where we used to be able to go to and collect both druse and barite at, had become closed to rockhunters. Many of those areas are very rural properties, they have become infested with meth labs and overzealous rockhounds, so property owners in that area are no longer tolerant of rockhounds on their property there. I suggested that he instead join MAGS members on their druse hunt in the Viburnum area…he and Debbie stopped off at my home to visit with me and see my outside rock collection. Before heading on to Potosi for the night, they decided they would drive over to Viburnum the next morning to join MAGS as members and go with us for the druse hunt. 

Many of the MAGsters drove up on Friday afternoon, April 1st, some camping out in various areas, some staying in motel rooms…. Onyx and I drove down early Saturday morning to meet them at the Casey`s Store in Viburnum.  We arrived a few minutes before 8 am and soon after, Bill and Debbie showed up, and then some of the MAGS members started showing up as well. WC, the club President, had told me a week earlier that he was not sure how many were coming up for the trip, he figured it might be a small group, but as more and more folks showed up, I decided we had better relocate to the parking lot just north of the Casey`s, before we completely filled the Casey`s parking lot and smothered the small business.

While waiting for some of the members who had spent the night in Park Hills, Bill and Debbie joined the MAGS Club and I was able to meet Charles Hill, the Field Trip Director for MAGS..I have been talking to him for months but had no idea what he looked like and vice versa I am sure for him…it was nice to finally put a face to the emails. My friends Carrie, Jeff, and Bentley from the KC area, arrived soon after, camping just north of Viburnum, and I was able to visit with them as well. WC and a few other members arrived soon after from Park Hills, bringing Betty Marler with them…I hadn`t seen Betty in a couple of years and wondered how she was doing. One of her nephews brought her over to join us and she looked and sounded just great…it was a real joy to visit with her that day, she and her husband Lloyd were some of the founding members of the Park Hills Mineral Club, they host the Park Hills Show at the old Federal Mine each year, which over the years has become a well attended and well liked show each year in June.

We soon were all headed down the road to the druse location, everyone following me in single file and we soon arrived there…I pulled over and directed everyone into the entrance, some driving up a small hill to the right and others pulling in to the left side to park…we had several vehicles but had plenty of room for all to park off the road. From there, everyone booted up, grabbed tools and buckets and headed out in different directions to hunt for druse quartz….

03010205 Bill and Debbie of Chicago

 

…while there, one of the local neighbors, who lives on down the road, and had invited us to her property when we finished collecting there the year before. stopped by to visit with us and see how we were doing. After collecting there all morning, we drove over to a second location, an area that I have often referred to as the secret spot. There were some MAGsters who had inquired about getting some larger druse, and so we drove over there because as Onyx and I had discovered a few weeks prior on a scouting trip, there were several large chunks of druse quartz there, and the members that drove over there looking for them, found several nice ones to take home with them. We were there for a couple of hours and then I led a few of the rockhounds still with us, down to the home of a good friend of mine who is a Viburnum Trend mineral dealer…he doesn`t charge an arm and a leg and is very knowledgeable about the minerals that come from the area mines as well. He had several pyrite encased double terminated calcite crystal pieces as well as lead cubes…..

01 Calcites With Marcasite08 Pocket 31 Pieces14 Pyrite & Chalco Calcite PiecesCrystals Available For Purchase 3

….and those who purchased from him left very happy. Most of the MAGSters headed to Salem or Eminence to spend the night, while Onyx and I headed home, scheduled to meet them at Eminence the next morning at 8:30 once again. Once home, I loaded up the bed of my truck with twelve buckets of grab bag material for the club`s annual show which is held the last weekend in April each year. 

Early the next morning, a fire truck woke me up going by my house at 4 am, enroute to a house fire north of town…Onxy and I drove out to the location, where I photographed the fire for the local paper….which I do quite often. It was a devastating fire, the family escaping with only the clothes on their backs and had to break in a front side window to get their grandson out as well. 

02 Fully Involved on Arrival

Forty five minutes later I was back home, editing up a few photos for the paper before heading south to Eminence to meet the MAGSters at the quarry. Onyx and I took Hwy 63 down there and came down Hwy 106 from Summersville…when we reached the top of the hill above the Jacks Fork River, there were some redbud trees fringing the side of the highway and down below, I could see fog rising above the water of the stream illuminated by the light of the rising sun….

08 Jacks Fork River09 Hwy 106 Near Alley Spring Mill

 

…and soon we dropped down the hill and I decided to stop and stretch our legs a bit, see if there was some fog down at the spring pond by the Alley Springs Mill as well….

11 Alley Spring Mill15 Alley Spring Mill

…lo and behold, there was a nice mist coming up off the waters there…..

17 Alley Spring Mill18 Alley Spring Mill19 Alley Spring Mill

..and then we drove on over to the quarry, arriving a little after 8 am, to find a couple of members from Mississippi there waiting, and soon after, Charles, Mike, and a few others arrived, having spent the night in Eminence. It was about thirty minutes later that the members who spent the night in Salem, arrived…finding out that Highway 19 is a bit curvy and hilly, requiring one to slow down from the Shannon County line south…soon after arriving, we all proceeded down to the coved wall area of the quarry….

23 Eminence Quarry

…..and spread out to look for goodies, which were high in abundance that day, including many dogtooth crystals found laying all over the place, prime for the picking….

 

24 Eminence Quarry26 Eminence Quarry2930

I walked up on the knob in front of Charles in the middle of the center mass of rock and found a pocket at the base of it…everyone was busy with their own finds, so I grabbed my new mini mattox and was able to dig it out shortly after….

2728

…soon after that, Chuck Reed and his daughters and wife showed up from the St Louis County area…Chuck and his daughter Mackenzie recently joined MAGS…he and I are also members of one of the St Louis area clubs, however MAGS is very proactive with field trips for its members where many clubs these days are not…field trips can be the very lifeblood of a club these days. We hunted there for another couple of hours before folks started heading for home…while I was out helping others find some nice crystals to take home with them…Bob Cooper, the Membership Director for MAGS, transferred the many buckets of grab bag material that I had transported down there in my truck, over to his heavy duty diesel truck to transport back to Memphis. If you find yourself down in the Memphis area the last weekend in April looking for something to do and see, The Earth Wide Open is a great rockhound show to attend there, something for adults as well as the kids. More info can be found on the show at www.theearthwideopen.com 

We were finding alot of dogtooth crystals laying all over the floor of the quarry, as well as in several of the berms next to the walls…there were many pockets high up on the wall and it appeared the they had likely rolled out of the pockets and fell to the floor, many of them undamaged by the fall. Needless to say, many who found them, were quite happy with their finds, much easier to pick them up then to have to work a wall pocket to find them. Chuck and his family followed me up to my mineral dealer`s home shortly after everyone took off for home, and we purchased a few more crystals there before heading home as well. A long weekend for sure, but a very worthwhile and nice time visiting with good friends.

if you have any questions, give me a shout at jwjphoto7@gmail.com

 

Druse Spot on the 24th

I cleaned up the basement all day Saturday, putting things back into place, after finishing up the hydraulic cement work down there the past few weeks, strengthening the walls and hopefully sealing off the leaks…prob wont have a true test of that til we get another soaking rain. I cleaned up the floor on Friday afternoon and decided to straighten up the rest of the basement on Saturday…it took me all morning and all afternoon, didn`t even get a nap in, and by the time supper rolled around, I was exhausted. Needless to say, bedtime came early. Onyx and I decided to go to the druse spot near Viburnum yesterday and see what we could find druse quartz wise. We arrived early afternoon and spotted a trackhoe sitting up the hill on the north side, something we had never seen there before, at least not on that side of the hillside….

01 Digging Now on North Side

…a few years ago they had dug into the hillside on the south side of that spot, digging out clay for a project…..

03 South Side Looks Same

This is an area where they have had problems with erosion so I wasn`t sure til closer inspection of it, and that`s what it appeared to be, was some type of erosion control up there…they had dug out two small pits and then there was a shallow ditch dug out leading to the pond in the middle….

02 Possibly Remediating Water Runoff

…one thing is for sure tho, no matter what they do, it sure did ensure that one can find some great druse quartz there…I filled one bag within an hour and then another bag in the next hour…I made it all the way up to the top of the hill in the photo above and found several pockets of smokey colored druse quartz, pieces with bubbles and knobs of it as well, great stuff…this is also a good place to find bubbles of snow white quartz as well as citrine yellow. Up above the trackhoe, I found a couple of small plates of rainbow quartz druse too, would have loved to find some bigger plates of it, or even bubbles of it. We hiked around and collected for three hours and then headed home. I`m going to let the rain today clean them off and then I will photograph them and include some photos here. 

I stopped off at the Casey`s Store in Cuba for a small pizza, they make some really good pizzas there…and caught this phenomenal sunset as we were coming into town, shot this one on the railroad crossing downtown Cuba…..

04 Sunset at Cuba Downtown

if you have any questions or wanna say hi, give me a shout at jwjphoto7@gmail.com

Horsefly Weekend

Nearly two weeks ago I drove back down to Eminence, after getting word that there was a little bit of new activity. Missy and I arrived about 6:30 am and it was just getting good and light on a cloudy morning…by the time I had my boots laced up and grabbed my gloves, mini mattox, and bags, I was able to see pretty good. I found a small pile of new material to climb up and around on and whle I found a few shallow pockets along the wall, as I started down the steep short pile, I discovered a few crystals teetering on the edge of the wall and was able to pop them out without too much trouble. By this time the sun had made an appearance and yet we still had some good shade to work in. It was due to be a scorcher temp wise by noon, so after filling half a bag with the crystals from the shallow pockets, I decided to move on down to the other wall and see if I could locate anything there. I loaded up everything, including Missy`s water bowl and Missy, and drove to the east side of the quarry floor.

Once there, I found that the gravel pile with the graded driveway up to the bench, was actually a short bench with the pile camoflaging it on three sides. The drilling rig had been up on it and holes drilled into the short walls, so I decided to stay on the ground floor and see what I could find. I was walking around the edge of the short walls and finding shallow druse pockets once again, when I dropped a nice druse piece…as I bent down to pick it up, I noticed a nice black crystal sticking out of the dirt at my feet. I reached down and pulled out a beautiful palm sized cluster of dogtooth crystals in a chocolate brown color mixed with black calcite druse. I wasted no time in kneeling down and pulling out several more, enough to wrap up and fill one bag. I returned to the truck for two more bags full of wrapping cloths and a bottle of water. Within two hours, I had filled both of those bags and was quite happy with what I had found. It was really starting to get hot by this time, so I took yet another water bottle break, loading Missy into the truck and turning on the ac for her, and then decided to check out one other place along the wall.

Within a few minutes, I had found yet another pocket, this time in an older section of the wall further east.  Out of this pocket, I found two more druse pockets and filled one more bag before giving in to the heat. By this time, I was drenched and my shirt felt more like canvas. We headed home and rested up the remainder of the hot weekend. I cleaned those crystals up this week and filled at least five flats full of some beautiful clusters of poker chips and druse, many with dogtooth crystals.

I received another call last Thursday and advised that more activity occurred at the quarry, this time on the east wall…I was excited to return and see what could be found, but at the same time, had been having thoughts of returning to see if more of those clusters with dogtooths could be found near the other pockets…guess that will have to wait til the newest pile is cleaned up some more. I took off Sunday, the 31st, and comped out of work about  4 am…drove home and picked up Missy, changing into rockhunting jeans and grabbed half a case of water, and then headed south. We arrived about 7 am and found a nice sized pile on the east side of the quarry floor waiting for us. After getting my boots laced up, I grabbed a mini mattox and climbed up on the rock pile to see if anything obvious stood out…it was a cloudy morning to start and really didn`t look like I was going to have any sunlight for quite some time that morning…that was fine with me, cause the cool temps were just perfect. As I walked around on top, I started spotting a few crystals here and there, and then on the way down to the truck to retrieve a bag, I came upon a nice pocket of druse, some of it with poker chips attached and even a few dogtooths. I was able to dig down and liberate a full bag of them, then checked along the wall and found some more nice druse pieces in a chocolate color that shined even in the muted light. I returned that bag to the truck and the sun started to pop out of the clouds about that time…in addition to the heat with the sunlight, several horseflies also showed up and started to annoy me. I don`t mind, and can actually tolerate flies, flying around me and buzzing me and landing on me to check me out, but let me tell you, when they start biting me, they are going to start dying as well. By the time I left, I believe I had killed at least ten of them…now I know how horses feel when they are getting buzzed by them…they can sure bite and leave a welp on ya….not fun at all. I seriously wonder what good they are to mankind.  Well I have to say, I filled five bags full of some beautiful crystals and nice combos of druse and poker chip clusters. Even found a nice beach ball sized chunk covered with poker chips all over one side…made a great yard rock. I was exhausted and drenched once again, and had to fight to stay awake on the drive home…as I age, it gets harder to do this type of thing on just a few hours of sleep. Needless to say, once home, Missy and I took a nice four hour nap in the ac and I slept well that night as well.

The next morning, we had intended to get up and head down to the druse spot, however the weather did not want to cooperate…it had started raining about 11 pm the night before…I didn`t hear it, read that the next day…I ididn`t hear a thing after 10 pm, slept like a log…and the rain was forecast to clear off by 8 am, however it was at least 11 am before the skies cleared and then we headed south once again. I decided to drive on down to the new secret spot to start, and see if I could locate some more dogtooth pockets. There are a few waterholes there that seem to stay full of water all the time, spring fed I always thought, but when I got there, I found them all to be dry as a bone, which was great, cause one of them had what I suspected to be a dogtooth pocket inside one wall of it, and now I would have the perfect opportunity to check for sure. I drove over to that area and didn`t even take the time to change into my boots, just grabbed my gloves and mini mattox and walked to the spot and began digging down…within seconds, I had pulled half a dozen single dogtooth crystals out of a shallow pocket and followed the trail of the crystals popping up out of the loose matrix, around a big knobby dolomite dome to the other side and then around a smaller dome and moving the other way…within an hour I was drenched in sweat and had uncovered several crystals in a fifteen foot long swath….dealing once again with horseflies…they must have followed me from the day before…they were all over the place.  Before this would have been impossible without scuba gear due to the depth of the water in this one waterhole alone. I took a water break, grabbed a bag of cloths and had it filled in ten minutes. I decided to walk along the walls and see if I could spot anything new…and no sooner walked about thirty feet down the wall when I came across a few nice clusters of poker chips and druse. Due to the heat build up, Missy and I took off and headed to the druse spot shortly after. I didn`t last long there either…it had been a while since I had been there last, most likely back in the springtime before things got to growing, cause the weeds were waist high and it was hard to see where you were walking. I did manage to find some beautiful smokey quartz druse plates within a short time tho, and then we headed home.

Earlier today, I rolled up my shirt sleeves and decided to sort out all my flats of crystals that I had stored away in the corner of my basement, something I had been putting off for some time. I actually started on it Tuesday afternoon, worked on it for six more hours Wed morning, and will prob finish it up by Friday evening, with any luck. I had completely forgotten about some beautiful crystals that I had found earlier this year, uncovering many of them this morning, dogtooth clusters and singles in many colors, and some great calcite druse pieces too. No horseflies to deal with tho. 🙂

 

 

Black and Blue Dogtooth Crystal Weekend

Earlier in the week, my chances of going rockhunting even one day during the first weekend in May, were looking pretty dismal for me…as I had scheduled a shoot on Saturday the 3rd, in the middle of the day and that meant I was going to have to stick around all morning…and I was going to an event on Sunday early afternoon to commemorate the lives of two firefighter friends that had achieved milestones in their lives, celebrating fifty years of service to the Sullivan Fire Department and District. Both men are good friends of our family and after attending the same event for my Dad the year before, and knowing it required a couple of hours time, I wasn`t sure I was going to have any time afterward to go hunting that day either.

 By midweek tho, my schedule cleared up so that I could not only drive down to Eminence on Saturday morning early, but I was able to squeeze in a few hours of hunting on Sunday after the event as well. I made a call to my buddy Jim on Friday evening and he told me that the new blast pile was nearly gone and he was seeing some streaks of black as well, so Missy and I got up early Saturday morning and were on the road by 7 am. under mostly cloudy skies, with  a hint of clearing skies by mid morning. After stopping off in Houston to fill the gas tank at nearly a quarter a gallon less, we stopped off briefly at Alley Spring Mill, since I had never photographed it in the spring time and the dogwood trees were in full bloom right now. I put Missy on her leash and we walked toward the mill from the small parking lot near the office and found a plastic and wire construction fence set up around the perimeter of the mill and the footbridge to the mill was fenced off as well.

01 Alley Springs Mill Closed Off

 

Looking in and across the bridge, I could see that the access to the mill was open from the other side of the stream, by the bluff trail from below, so we loaded back up and I decided we would stop off on the way back to photograph it then.

We headed on down the road toward Eminence, and arrived about ten minutes later. I came to a stop at  the intersection of Hwy 19 and looked downtown to see a flurry of activity in the streets below….Jim had mentioned that there was some sort of weekend celebration going on there and it appeared there was some organized activity going on in the downtown area. We headed on east and soon rolled into the quarry and found a much smaller pile of rocks and evidence that the huge hydraulic jack had been used recently on some of the larger boulders with a line of the busted boulders skirting the edge of the reduced pile from one side to the other.

02 Arrival Back Side of Pile

I pulled just past the back of the reduced pile and parked, and after switching to my boots, grabbed a bag, my gloves, and my mini mattox and decided to do a surface hunt first around the edge of reduced boulders on the east side of the pile. I found a few smaller pieces right off the bat and then made a closer inspection of the walls of the pile. I found a few small pockets of dark gray colored poker chips and some calcite druse as well. I walked down the wall to the east and found a few small pockets of druse as well as one nice poker chip cluster, a small one….

05 First Find

…..enough to fill one bag with some interesting looking shaped druse pieces. I returned that bag to the truck bed and then grabbed another one and headed around the skirt of rocks to the west side….

04 Cobb Pile in Front

….and immediately started seeing some nice cobbed down chunks of calcite druse all over the place, sparkling and glittering in the strong sunlight. I sat my bag and  mattox down and began selecting some of the nicer chunks and carrying them over to the parking area and creating a grouping of them to pick up later before I left. They would make some great yard rocks. I was up in the middle of them making more selections, when my buddy Jim drove up in his pickup with his wife and daughter. They were on their way to town for the festivities…I told him I had been hearing sirens and parade preparation sounds in the past hour and he said the parade would likely start soon downtown. Soon after they took off, I did hear the start of the parade and then later on, live music and what sounded like a drag race or tractor pull as well. They definitely had some beautiful weather for a celebration.

Soon Missy was back from her explorations and parked under the back of my truck in the shade…I put a bowl of cool water out for her and headed back to the pile to see if I could cobb some crystals out of a large boulder. I took my four pound hammer and chisels with me and soon came up on the huge boulder laying on its side on one side of the pile. I liked the looks of the crystals embedded in one end of the boulder, dark grey and black colored. I was able to free a couple of nice crystals from the boulder and was working on some others when a bumble bee starting flying around close by and even buzzing right by me a few times. I decided to give him some room and took a short water bottle break about thirty feet away to see if he was trying to get into a wall hole nearby…however, he didn`t settle down, even followed me over to my break area and buzzed by me some more. I walked back to the truck and retrieved my spray bottle of bee and wasp killer, however by the time I got back over there, he had apparently found a hole and ducked inside. I was glad, cause I was neither interested in killing it nor in being stung trying.

I tried to free a few more crystals and clusters, but was unable to do so, and decided to move to the back side of the pile and see if I could climb up to the top of the pile to see what more could be found. I got around to the back side and determined this was going to be no easy feat in getting up to the top of the reduced pile, as the dirt and rock material was extremely loose under my feet and for every step I took up the pile, I was either sliding back down or losing two steps down. I left the bag at the bottom…a mistake I later almost regretted…and used the mini mattox to carve out steps so I could get to the top, going up switchback fashion even. Eventually I made it to the top, after having to stop and knock down some of the top rocks to make things easier, dragging myself up and over the top edge finally. Once up there, I checked the walls for new pockets, finding a few pockets here and there. I decided to check out the huge boulder that had supplied me with many black dogtooth crystals the last trip down there, and to my surprise, started finding small clusters of crystals all around the bottom of the boulder once again. I even found some laying in the loose dirt at the base of the boulder as well as a few large ones that were nice too, and after digging down thru some of the loose material, I was able to recover some very pretty twin dogtooths…here they are cleaned up….

09 Blk Double Dogtooth Found

11 Blk Double Dogtooth Found

12 Blk Dogtooth Plate

 

It appeared someone had chipped off a few of the remaining clusters and crystals I had left behind and I`m glad that whoever was there, left behind a lot of pretty crystals for me to find and take home. One that was in the shallow area of dirt, was a spectacular twin black dogtooth crystal, in the shape of a V, each one about two inches in length. After chipping off several nice clusters from the huge boulder a few weeks ago, I was delighted to find a few more perfectly shaped small ones this trip too….

14 Brown Dogtooth Poker Chip

15 Brown Dogtooth in Cluster

16 Brown Dogtooth Cluster

I dug down around three sides of the boulder and found enough small crystals to fill two bags full…however since I had left my bag below and didn`t want to slide down and grab the bag, and then make the arduous climb back up with the bag in tow, I decided to take my long sleeve shirt off and wrap up the crystals  in it and then carry the whole thing back down the pile. I also grabbed two or three nice large chunks with lots of black dogtooths on them, and then slid down the loose talus pile on my butt…this was much easier. After wrapping them all up separately on the tailgate in my wrapping cloths, I decided I had enough goodies for the day and headed home. By this time, I had four bags completely full of wrapped goodies.

However, after getting them all wrapped up and bagged, I decided to drive over to the cove area and check that wall as well. By this time it was pretty hot outside so I turned on the ac and left Missy in the ac while I worked the wall. I started at the east end and worked my way back west and pretty soon was finding crystals, poker chips and dogtooth crystals, laying in the loose matrix at the base of the wall. I followed a trail of poker chips up the small ramped pile and pretty soon, discovered a pocket buried in the loose matrix that had apparently fallen from above and became buried. I pulled enough crystals out of it to fill half a bag and by this time, I was approaching exhaustion fast, and still had a two hour drive home. I`ll get some of these crystals photographed and loaded up here soon. 

Soon, Missy and I were headed home, stopping off briefly for a short hike to Alley Spring Mill and after finding only one dogwood tree in bloom near the mill pond…..

07 Alley Spring On Way Home

 

0503 Walking Up Trail to Mill

0503 Near Millstream Pond

0503 Millstream Pond Falls 2

Only to find this as the view….

0503 Mill Being Worked On

…and told that apparently this huge sycamore tree…

Mill and Millrace 3

which has been there many years and frames the mill beautifully in photos, is the root cause of the construction project now…the roots of the huge tree have penetrated the basement walls of the old mill and there is talk from the US Forest Service, of cutting down the beautiful tree instead of trying to find a way around it to save the mill…they say the roots are lifting the mill building up somewhat. I`m not sure I completely believe everything the USFS says in regards to this or anything else for that matter. 

….we headed back to the truck and ac, and drove home. Missy was as tired as I was, carrying ten pounds of fur in the heat…I thought I was going to have to carry her to the truck…luckily she gets her hair cut on Wednesday.

Sunday morning, I decided Missy and I would drive down to a neat spot near Bixby, where I have always been able to find some neat druse pieces….my Mom had asked me for some holie rocks that she could plant ground cover in for her rock and flower gardens. I had seen some holie rocks there that I thought would be perfect, and as it worked out, we had a few hours of daylight left after the event on Sunday afternoon. It was as hot Sunday as it had been the day before, and I was prepared to leave Missy in the truck if need be with the ac on full blast. We arrived about 4 pm and I was able to locate about half a dozen nice large druse chunks with some holes in them, tho the holes were not nearly as big as I thought they were going to be. I also found some really pretty soda straw plates nearby as well, some of the straws were about two to three inches in length and very sparkly in the sunlight.

After loading the holie rocks and druse plates up, I drove over to the secret spot to check it out and decided to putter around a bit and see if I could locate any new pockets there. The shade had stretched out about thirty feet from the west wall by that time in the day, so I drove over and parked in the edge of it, enough to cover the cab in case Missy would need to get in the truck in the ac again.

24  My Truck

 

As it turned out, there was a great breeze blowing from the northwest and came right across the shaded area very nicely. I scratched around a few times until I found a nice area that had great potential…I was ten feet under the huge pocket I found back in the spring time last year, the pocket that had apparently vibrated open after a blast seventy feet away from it…the pocket that was three feet in diameter…the pocket that was chock full of dogtooth crystals, some of them were a big as beach balls….and about ten feet below it, I found a very nice pocket. Missy by this time, had made a few forays to the edge of the parking area and then wandered back and laid down about fifty feet from me on a ledge in the shaded area. 

02 Found Under Big Pocket

I walked back to the truck and grabbed my camera to document the pocket after I had decided that it was indeed going to open up into some poker chip crystals…

03 Started Scratching

….the first one I pulled out was about four inches high and had a beautiful blue tint to it with a black dogtooth center…

07 1st Blue Tinted Poker Chip

08 1st Blue Tinted Poker Chip

….and once the pocket really opened up, I started pulling several nice large single crystals out as well as a few clusters, some with some beautiful druse attached to them….

09 Poker Chips Inside Pocket

…I could see several on the edge and just inside the loose mix of matrix at the bottom of the pocket…I really get excited when I see those, cause I start wondering what all is inside and how deep is the pocket going to wind up being…the thrill of the hunt I guess….

10 More Chips Edge of Pkt

11 More Chips & Roof Plate

What was really strange, was that after I had pulled out several blue tinted crsytals with black dogtooth centers, I also found a small pocket off to the side, with a few small orange dogtooth crystals inside it. I have never found the two colors that close together in different pockets, usually they are at least ten feet apart. I`m always thrilled when I find the blue tinted crystals tho, since they seem to be a rare color to find. Here are some of the initial crystals from the blue pocket….

12 Goodies So Far

The pocket kept expanding to the left, so naturally I kept digging in that direction and it continued to open up along the way….

13 Pkt Expands to Left

14 More Openings

The top section of matrix around the roof plates was very thin and loose, so everytime I started digging in that area, things started falling down and had to be cleared out gently….

15 More Roof Plates

…and pretty soon I was pulling some beautiful roof plates out too….

16 More Goodies Found

17 Roof Plate & Crystals

…then I set the camera down in front of the pocket and here is what was inside…

18 Looking Inside Pkt

..and then the pocket started going deeper, when it went as far to the left as possible…

19 More Goodies

20 Expanding Left & Deeper

 

here are some more of the crystals and roofplates from the pocket….

22 More Roof Plates

I filled two bags completely full and then Missy and I took off and headed home. Sure made for a nice weekend. 

Here are some of my goodies found at the secret spot Sunday….

25 Three Org Dogtooths Found

26 Poker Chip on Pretty Druse Plate

27 2nd Druse Plate & Poker Chip

28 Dogtooth Found

29 Cluster on Druse Blk Dogtooth

Roof Plate of Pocket

2nd Roof Plate of Pocket

30 Twin Dogtooths

31 Triple Dogtooth on Druse

32 Small Cluster Dogtooths

33 Small Cluster Blue Dogtooths

34 Small Dogtooth Partial Eroded

36 Triple Dogtooth Cluster

37 Yellow Druse Plate

 

James 🙂

jwjphoto@fidnet.com

MAGS Missouri Field Trips 2014

I was really looking forward to the visit by members of MAGS the weekend of April 5th and 6th, their members are some of the best people you would ever want to meet and rock hunt with, one of the best clubs I have ever had the pleasure of joining. My scouting trip the last week of March turned up a couple of new locations, one which needed further exploration and one that sounded too good to be true. I was able to contact the property owner of the quarry and it turned out he was into metal detecting, so we shared a common interest and he gave me permission to check out the quarry on his property. I then contacted my good friend Virgil Richards, who lives in the Tulsa area, to let him know what I had found out and he indicated that he would be back up on Friday night to go with me to the new druse spot and check out the other location for the first time as well. He also wanted to rejoin the MAGS Club in order to get in on some other field trips throughout the rest of the year, too.  I also updated my friend Ray from St Louis County and he indicated he would be out early Saturday morning as well. I had all my grab bag material separated and ready to hand over to MAGS Club for grab bag material at their end of April Show and I coordinated with WC on when and where to meet up with them Saturday late morning.

After a late supper with Virgil at Cracker Barrel, soon after he arrived in my town, I retired early to bed on Friday night, but then woke up around 4 am for some reason, so when the fire department was paged for a house fire about six blocks from my house at 5:30 am, I quickly dressed and headed that way to photograph it for the local paper.  I was on the scene until nearly 7 am, when I headed home so I would be ready when Virgil and Ray showed up at my place at 7:30. Virgil arrived soon after and I gave him the grand tour, heading out soon after Ray showed up. We stopped at Steelville to gas up, where Virgil grabbed some ice and goodies for later, and then headed on south to check out the abandoned quarry.

We arrived there around 9 am and after changing to my boots and grabbing a bag and my mini mattox, we started climbing up to the rock walls to check for pockets….

01 Virgil Checking Out Orig KK Quarry

 

…it was obvious, once we got close enough to inspect the walls, that we were in a quarry that had been abandoned for years, the walls were heavily discolored and weathered….

05 Pockets in West Facing Wall

 

….and it was a steep climb to get up to those walls as well, slippery slope as it were. We found some beautiful druse quartz on the way up there as well, some intense sparkles and colors….

07A Druse Found at Old Quarry

 

07B Druse Found at Old Quarry

 

…and I was working a small pocket near the entrance, while Virgil and Ray were taking a short break down below me…I was pulling some wild looking clusters out of the pocket that had some druse that was def wired differently and poker chips attached to them, looked like a knarly mess to me, but they were def different than anything I had seen, so I pulled about a dozen out and then decided to turn the pocket over to Virgil, since he had made a five hour drive up there and hadn`t found anything good yet. I had already filled another bag on a pocket I had found up above, where I pulled this pretty druse plate out that had this poker chip attached to it….

07C Druse With Poker Chip

 

07D Druse With Poker Chip

 

We began to get a bit worried that we hadn`t seen the MAGS members drive up on our location when 11 am rolled around, so we decided to load up and head toward their Washington County location that they were slated to go to early that morning. We drove down to where I had been told they would be located and found no one there except some workers preparing a cemetery plot for a service, and after they told us that no one else had been down there in that area, we turned around and headed to Viburnum, to see if they had gone on to the site without us. We kept trying to call but as it is in most of those valleys in south central Missouri, there are few times you can pick up a signal. Not until we were deep within the heart of Viburnum did we finally get a signal and make contact with WC, and then as it turned out, they were about half a mile behind us and followed us to the druse spot from there. It seems they had gone to a different location than where they originally thought they were going to, and we had prob driven by the turn off to that location and missed them by mere minutes. I was just glad that we were able to meet up and that everyone was okay, and that they had good luck finding some big pieces of druse at the other location.

After directing them into the parking area and helping them get situated, I noticed one of the trucks had Blue Springs Marina on the side of it as well as a KC phone number, and pleasantly discovered there were now a few more members from Missouri in the club now. I knew most of the member from the year before and it was great seeing Bebe again, as I met her the first time down at Marion, Kentucky at a fluorite dig.  I talk to WC and Matthew online all the time, WC is the Field Trip Director and Matthew is the Newsletter Editor, both very accomplished in their respective duties and great to talk to. After getting to visit with everyone and explaining to them that I had left Missy at home so she wouldn`t get so muddy, I pointed out the boundaries of the druse spot and what they could expect to find, and soon after everyone spread out in search of beautiful druse. Some had been there the year before and were looking forward to this spot once again, its a great place to bring kids, too. 

08 Druse Spot Hunt

 

09 Cornelia Looking for Druse

 

10 Hunters Seeking Druse

After I saw that everyone was finding some nice stuff, I started looking specifically for some more smokey colored druse bubbles for my own collection.

12 Druse at Druse Spot

 

Virgil had run up to the Caseys in Viburnum to get some more goodies and when he returned, he started checking out the ditches and gullies on the north side while most of the rest of us were on the south side.

11 Carrie and WC Look For Druse

 

13 Bentley and D Looking for Druse

 

13 Looking in the Washouts

 

We had been there about 90 minutes when a guy pulled up in the road and stopped to check us out…he wasn`t sure what we were collecting and his curiousity got the best of him, so he stopped and started asking questions…turned out he was Cindy`s husband Bob, and he invited us on up to his property to look for druse there. We continued on down the road to their farm about an hour later…they have fifty acres there of mostly cleared forest land, but as it turned out, the only druse we found there were contained in very small vugs, not the type of stuff we were looking for and used to finding. From here, everyone was pretty tired and decided to head back to Park Hills to get some supper and rest up for the dig tomorrow, so I pointed out how they could return to Hwy C from where they were located to make the return trip. I told WC that Missy and I would meet them at the quarry entrance the next morning at 9 am in Eminence. Ray, Virgil, and I headed up to the Caseys store to get a few slices of pizza and decided the day had been long enough for us as well. Virgil decided to head on home from there, since we hadn`t gotten the word about any new blasting at Eminence, so we all split up at Cuba and headed home.

 The next morning, Missy and I headed south by 7 am, arriving in Eminence a little after 9 and on pulling into the entrance to the quarry, discovered we were the first ones there. I had enough time to get out and make some needed adjustments to one side of my tonneau cover to make it more secure when closed…I honestly think the wind has slapped it around enough this year to make it hard to open and shut. Soon after changing to my boots, we saw the convoy of vehicles head down the hill toward us, with WC leading the way….

15 WC Leads the Way

 

…and as soon as everyone was in the lot off the highway, we drove on down to the newer cove area and parked. Missy jumped out and everyone wanted to say hi to her…she was a bit easier to pet this year, easier to catch up to I should say…she is getting older and doesn`t run around as much these days, comes back to where I am hunting at and lays down to watch and rest, so it`s easier to catch up to her and pet her these days.  She has been a very good and constant travel companion in my life these past fourteen years and a great buddy girl to have around….she absolutely loves to go rock collecting with me.

On driving in, I had noticed a couple of new areas of activity, and pointed them out to everyone, and soon after, most headed to those new areas to check them out. Even though I grabbed my tools and bags, I mainly helped everyone get started finding stuff, specially the two kids there, Bentley and ” D ” who were part of the Kansas City group.

16 Looking for Pockets

 

17 Looking at a Big Chunk

 

18 Decisions Decisions

I checked out a pile to the east for a bit and then returned to the west side of the coved wall, after Matthew`s wife Carolyn called me over to check out some finds. I  began picking up dark colored poker chips all over and we all began digging in and finding even more laying around all over the place. Soon after, my buddy Jim Bay drove down to visit with us and I introduced him to everyone there too.  We continued to look around and even though we didn`t find any major pockets, I`m pretty sure everyone went home happy with what they found there. We had hoped they would blast before they arrived, cause then there would be even more material laying around to go thru, but alas for some reason that didn`t happen. By 2 pm, it was just Missy and me, and we looked around in another area before heading home an hour later. I look forward to seeing everyone at some of the other field trips later this year. 

if you have any questions or wanna say hi, give me a shout at jwjphoto7@gmail.com

Last Week of March Vacation

I took the last week of March off for some vacation time to get ready for the MAGS visit here the first weekend in April, they had asked me to take them druse quartz hunting on Saturday April 5th and then to the quarry at Eminence on Sunday, April 6th. I wanted to do some additional scouting the weekend before they arrived to make sure the sites we were planning to visit were still producing great material and still accessible. Therefore I made another trip to both of the major locations and did some collecting as well as the scouting….hey if I`m making the drive down , I might as well have fun and collect too. I also took the time to separate my finds from the prior year into several buckets to give them some good grab bag material for the upcoming show at Memphis, April 26th and 27th, The Earth Wide Open…if anyone is going to be in that area during that weekend, make plans to visit the show, it`s one of the best and largest gem and mineral shows across the United States.

I also wanted to check on an abandoned quarry that I had been given information on, that was closeby as well. On Sunday afternoon on the 30th, after breakfast with my parents and some friends, Missy and I drove down to Iron and Washington Counties and after locating the abandoned quarry with the information given to me, I then set about trying to find the property owner. I spotted a guy working outside at a nearby farm, and stopped to ask him if he might know the owner, and had some great luck, It turned out he was an assistant to the Assessor for that part of the county and was able to point out the house where the property owner lived, even though he didn`t know the guy`s name. He also told me that he had been collecting rocks and minerals since he was a kid, too, and told me of a few other locations nearby that were on National Forest Land and accessible for druse quartz. I thanked him for his information and drove down to the residence near the quarry to see if I could locate the owner there. While I didn`t find him there, I was able to copy some information that would enable me to locate him later in the week and obtain a phone number and name for him. From there we drove over to one of the roads that the Assistant Assessor had pointed out and slowly drove down the road looking for druse…I spotted a large chunk of pink druse halfway down the ridge road and stopped to check it out. I liked it so well that I placed it in the bed of my truck and as I started to get back into my truck, I noticed many aluminum cans laying all over the place on both sides of the road right there, many within fifty feet of my truck. I grabbed a small bucket in my truck and within five minutes, had it filled with cans. As I drove on back to the highway, I thought of how any of my friends that collect cans, would literally have a field day collecting down that road and could likely fill a few large plastic trash bags on cans alone there. 

I then drove up to the druse spot near Viburnum…as I was driving down the road on approach to the spot, Missy and I came upon a nice lady that was collecting cans…she was walking along with a walking stick and accompanied by a big beautiful and fluffy Golden Retriever…I stopped alongside her and struck up a conversation and asked her if she needed some more cans. She said she would gladly take donations and I opened the tonneau cover and gave her about a dozen cans. I found out her name was Cindy and she is a nurse with her own business in town, and Cindy introduced us to Ed, her dog as well. She and Ed walk about three to four miles a day picking up cans, she said. I told her I was out scouting druse quartz locations for a gem club trip the following weekend and she offered her property which is a few miles on down the road. I thanked her for her hospitality and continued to the druse spot….

01 Druse Spot Rescouted

Missy and I hunted the druse spot for about an hour and I filled one bag completely with beautiful  smokey colored druse, which is my favorite color from there, and then we loaded up and headed to the secret spot. We stopped briefly to visit with Cindy again, who was then on her way back to her house and nearly in the same spot as we saw her an hour before. I told her it was very possible that we would be visiting with her and her husband and Ed the next weekend.  We arrived at the secret spot about thirty minutes later and found a pocket fairly quickly this time….

03 New Pocket Found

 

…and within minutes, it seemed to be going deep….

05 Deep Hole

 

06 Pocket Interior

 

…here is one of the top plates I pulled out of the entrance to the pocket, with a poker chip attached….

07 Druse Plate

 

…and a pile of goodies growing, which contained alot of twins and triples….

08 Pile of Goodies

 

…and on the way home, I spotted these nice sunbeams….always a good sign of a good day….

10 Sunbeams Landon Road