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. 

 

DSC_0357

 

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…

DSC_0358

 

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

 

 

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. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Dynamite Dogtooth Pockets

It`s been a great winter so far, only about six weeks of normal cold weather and two weeks of very cold weather, and then in February, we started warming up like it does in May…we still have March to go thru, it may come in like a lamb as it did this morning and go out like a lion, but who knows…I just know that everyone really likes the weather we have now, we hit 76 degrees yesterday alone !!  Last weekend, Nathaniel Reid and Chuck Reed joined me on a trip to Eminence to check out the quarry on another warm day, we had not been there since November last year, mainly because there had not been any activity down there. I received word from my good friend Jim a few days before the weekend that they had blasted the northwest corner of the quarry. In the past year since they began removing rock from the west side of the quarry, we never found anything more than the poker chip wanna bees on that side, but we had not been there in a while so we decided to go down and look things over…glad now that we did.

Onxy was in rare form that morning, rarin to go do some rockhounding with me, cause he had not been with me on the St Louis County trip to look for Union Road Agates a few weeks before. Chuck and Nathaniel joined me on that trip as well, where we walked in to a couple of creeks in the South County area and found quite a few of the geodes for the few hours we were there. There was a third location that we wanted to check out, but didnt have time and instead went to a buddys home, where he sells geodes from the Keokuk area. I had purchased a few flats of geodes from Ken a few weeks earlier, to include in my bathroom remodeling project…have my tile guy place them into my shower walls with the barnwood tile. When I went there to pick them up, Chuck met me there and Ken showed us his private collection, this time we had Nathaniel along and he got to see it as well. We got up early on Sunday morning, Feb 19th to discover heavy fog outside…visibility was maybe quarter of a mile…thick enough Nathaniel got turned around on his way to my house to catch a ride with me to the quarry.

We got on the road about 7:30 and by the time we reached Licking, the fog was starting to lift with sunlight burning it off. East of Houston the skies finally cleared off and remained that way til we dropped off into the Jacks Fork Valley near Alley Spring Mill, then the fog enveloped us once again all the way to the quarry. We arrived around 9:45 to find Chuck sitting on a rock up on top of the blast pile, cobbing down a boulder and wrapping up specimens to put into his bucket….

and some fog still hanging in the wind….

Nathaniel grabbed his tools and bucket and headed to the west side of the pile while Onyx and I started up the east side along the wall, toward Chuck….

About midway up to him, I spotted some green calcite at the base of the wall and stopped to check it out…there was some brown mixed in with it and pretty soon, I pulled a few dogtooth crystals out of the pocket, showing them to Chuck, and decided to park myself right there and explore some more….

…here is the pocket when I got about halfway down into it, after removing at least one bag of wrapped crystals and clusters….

…and some of my finds…I also passed a few of them off to Chuck as well….he came down and started looking closer at the wall below me at the same level my pocket was at….

In the meantime, Nathaniel started shouting to us that he had found some huge yard rocks and some nice smaller clusters over on the west side of the pile, some of them covered in what looked like aragonnite….here they are on my tailgate….

Soon after, Nathaniel and Chuck took a break and drove over to the other side of the quarry to check out the walls there, while I continued to dig out my pocket…an hour later and I had it cleaned out, all the way around the sides and down to the very bottom, which took awhile cause I just kept pulling clusters and doubles and triples out of the bottom of the pocket…for awhile I thought it was gonna be a bottomless pocket. Many of the crystals are dogtooths, a black or brown center inside a green or brown poker chip, and then I was able to remove a few of the top and side wall plates of clusters, as well.

By this time, I had three bags completely full of wrapped crystals as well as three large clusters that I had no room for in the bags, so had to make two trips down to the truck, where I took a short water break, got Onyx some more water in his bowl, and then took another bag with me, back up to look along the wall for more pockets. When I got to the top of the pile, I located more pockets and soon after, Chuck and Nathaniel returned from their exploration break. Nathaniel joined me up on the top wall where I had located four pockets close together. I worked one pocket and let him have the others, as I was beginning to tire already….before heading out, Chuck grabbed my camera in the truck and snapped a couple of Nathaniel and I working the wall too….

I filled one bag halfway up with wrapped crystals and then walked down the west side of the pile to take a look at the two huge yard rocks he found over there…he said they were too heavy for him and Chuck to lift and then carry to my truck. As soon as I got to the floor of the quarry, I spotted them sitting there…

I got my four pound hammer and chisel and cobbed down the plate on top of the first boulder, getting one large plate and a smaller plate intact. I remember someone telling me that calcite was only a hardness of four…sure didnt feel like a four to me, more like a seven…seemed like it took a lot longer to hammer those two plates off than it should have…I was wore out by the time I carried them to the truck. The second boulder had a lot of damage to the crystal tops, many sheared off, so I didnt even try to cobb it down. Nathaniel decided not to try either. Chuck left a few minutes prior headed home, so Nathaniel and I wrapped up our crystals, loaded up my truck, and headed to my dealer buddys house to see what he had in Viburnum Trend minerals. We hadnt been to his place in a few months and he had let me know that he had some new stuff, buying a few collections in the past few weeks. We arrived there about an hour later and found that he did indeed, have some beautiful new stuff, and after about 30 minutes, we both had a flat full of some nice new crystals…the first two of mine were smokey calcite clusters from an old collection, the clusters from the forbidden crystal cavern at Brushy Creek Mine, likely removed from there over twenty years ago…..

here is the second smokey calcite cluster….

…plus when he purchased this collection, it came with a nice barite piece from an Iowa quarry that was super sweet looking, so I got all three for one price….

..and some chalco pieces on druse, one with a green crystal on the end of the plate….

…sure ended a very nice day of collecting, thats for sure !!

 

 

 

Eminence and Park Hills Show 2016

I forgot to complete my story on the weekend of the Park Hills Show, the weekend that David and Janyce Sorrells came up for the show and then went rockhunting with me at the quarry in Eminence…and my buddy Travis from Tennessee came up to meet us there and rockhunt with us as well as his two sons. David reminded me this morning and so here I am, three months later, completing the story on the weekend, my apologies to all….that was a rough week and a rough month…as my Dad passed away that week as well and I went to the show on Saturday and rockhunting that Sunday to give myself a break…something that I took a bit of heat for later on, and knew would happen, but sometimes you have to listen to your heart and mind and do what is best for you.

David and Janyce were camping out south of Park Hills, so they met me in the middle of Eminence at the junction of Hwy 19 and 106…I had been in touch with Travis, let him know what time we were meeting there and he was there soon after Onyx and I arrived. I then led them over to the quarry, and we found a huge blast pile waiting for us on the west side, to check out…it didnt take them long to get their gear on and head up the pile of rocks to do just that….

01-new-blast-pile-on-west-side020304-david-janyce-climb-the-pile

…if memory serves me correctly, we found some of the deformed dark calcite chunks, they were laying all over the place, and alot of massive calcite as well…I honestly have not been impressed with that side of the quarry since they started blasting over there, much of it plain looking rock and massive calcite layers, very little crystalization like we have seen in the other areas. Here lately tho, we have been finding some of those longer dogtooth crystals, brown and black colored, that I always refer to as not knowing what they wanted to grow up to be, cause they have great form but on the outside, are rough edged and pitted much of the time, but still in a classical dogtooth formation. Whatever David and Janyce were finding, they seemed happy with and filled two buckets pretty fast….below you see David carrying them to the truck while Janyce keeps on digging into a pocket….

05-two-buckets-full-already

I had told them to check out the walls in the coved area, because we find many more nice pockets there, plus in the heat of the day, its cooler there as well, the high walls retain that cooling shade longer and there is a cooling waterfall there too, that you can stand under and get soaked and cooled down fast if needed. So soon after working the western pile, we moved over to the coved area and found Travis and his two boys already there. David found some big boulders there that had some vugs of calcite druse with some poker chips inside and began to work them while the boys were working the small piles to the left side looking for goodies…

06-david-finds-goodies-cove-wall

 

…and pretty soon, Travis was up in the cove corner looking for pockets where the 07-travis-works-the-corner-of-the-covewaterfall was located…while David continued to work those boulders….

08

…pretty soon the boys wore out and it was down to Travis, David, Janyce, and I to continue looking for goodies….

09

10

I told Travis to check out the wall behind David and Janyce, cause we had found several pockets full of nice dogtooths in there a few weeks earlier…

11-working-the-boulders

…and pretty soon he was scrambling all over the pocket wall to look for goodies…

13-travis-searches-for-pockets

…despite the heat, we had a pretty good time and everyone found some nice crystals…by the time 3 pm rolled around, everyone was done in from the warmth of the day and headed home. It capped off a great weekend of rockhunting, starting out the day before at the Park Hills Show where the old Federal Mine and Mill is located….

14-old-federal-mill-park-hills

 

 

 

 

Justin Comes to Visit

Back in July, my good friend Justin emailed me to see if he could come visit with me and asked if I would take him rockhunting here in Missouri. I met Justin a few years ago on one of my annual trips to the Hot Springs area of Arkansas…one of my quartz crystal excursions in the fall time, and we quickly hit it off and became good friends. I met him in the parking lot that evening shortly after I arrived at the condo I stayed at on Lake Hamilton. I brought him some flats of Missouri crystals and minerals and told him back then to come visit with me and I would take him rockhunting up here…so he was finally taking me up on the offer. Justin is a neat guy, very mature acting for his young age…he works in what some of us would consider a stressful job…hospice care…a very vital and caring field these days and one that is much appreciated as well by many….so I highly respect him even more for choosing such a field to work in. He drove up a few weeks ago on a Friday and arrived early evening…he checked out my collection inside the house that evening since it got dark soon after his arrival, and then the next day checked out my rock gardens during the daylight. I have heard many refer to my interior collection, like ” walking thru a museum ” but Justin thought the outside gardens were like a museum as well, although they could prob use some weeding and its been way too hot for that this summer.

We decided to drive down to Eminence the next morning, getting up and headed out by 7 am, stopping off at the donut shop so I could get one of my favorite donuts, the unfilled white icing long john with nuts sprinkled on top, and a chocolate milk. Soon after, Onyx, Justin, and I were heading west to Rolla and then turned south on 63 toward Eminence. They had done some blasting there a few weeks before and I told him that maybe they would have that pile cleaned up to where we could check the lower wall for dogtooth pockets, as we had found several in that wall there years prior. As we started down into the Jacks Fork River valley, we noticed some heavy fog and I told Justin that we might have some fog at the quarry as well, and sure enough we did have just a little bit of it when we arrived soon after, stopping off briefly in town at the Sinclair Station to get some water for Onyx that I forgot to bring….here you see Justin halfway up the pile finding some nice calcites…

01-arrival

…he had his boots on when we arrived, so he took off and started walking and searching for crystals before grabbing a bag or anything to put them in….he was too excited to even grab his gloves or tools…as you can see, he made do with his shirt tail when he started finding them up there…..like a kid in a candy store believe me…..

02-justin-searches03-blast-pile-still-there04-looking-west

 

 

 

 

 

…and as you can see from the photos above, the blast pile was hugely still there, little had been worked to remove it…stretching back to the west much as it was the last time I was there. Soon I had my boots on and grabbed my gloves, tools and a bag and headed up into the base of the pile…and soon I was finding alot of dogtooth crystals, or what I would refer to as wanna be dogtooth crystals, five to ten inches long and a beautiful nestle chocolate brown color to them…many were upside down in what appeared as pockets blasted down from the wall intact and held in place by dirt, much,and rock around them. It appeared they had been uncovered by the machinery recently, because they sure were not to be found or seen when I was there last…Justin was hollering every few minutes about finding something here and there, showing me some of his finds…..

06-shazam-they-r-everywhere

…..and finally made his way back to the bottom with this shirt full of crystals…

05-filling-up-his-shirt

…one thing was for sure, we sure had a beautiful day to collect there….gorgeous sky and nice weather, but it was warm just without the humidity if I recall correctly…but we did eventually warm up….

07-looking-east

…I pointed out the coved wall and told Justin that when MAGS was there in April, the quarry personnel had cleaned off the upper ledges and hundreds of dogtooth crystals landed down below on the floor and in the smaller piles near the coved wall….so he migrated over there to see what he could find…

08-coved-area09-shirtless-now101314

…and actually did pretty good this time as well, eventually having to use his hat this time since he shed his now dirty shirt for the heat….I had forgotten to tell him about the short cleft wall we had pulled down with prybars when the Tyler Club was there with me, mainly to make it safer, but we also found pockets behind it and Justin was able to find several under the rocks in that area, many that made him happy. 🙂  

Here are some of my finds that morning just doing some surface collecting mainly….1718

 

 

 

 

 

That cluster up above was one that I just found sitting in the pile and picked up…has a little damage to it but very nice spray looks like…I dont have it cleaned up yet or would post a photo of it, but will eventually….

19

…I also found a few small orange dogtooth crystals too, here and there….

20

Justin had so much good luck on the right side of the coved wall, that he went back over there and looked some more, and found even more good stuff, this time using his hands and arms to hold them…

21222324

…then we moved back over to the big pile to look for more dogtooths…by the time we finished I had four bags full of them and I know Justin had more than I did, he was ecstatic over them too. 🙂  Pretty soon he was back up near the top of the pile looking for more….

2729283132

…by this time, it was approaching 1 pm and we wanted to go to Rocky Falls and cool down a bit, then go see my buddy Dave so I could show Justin the pretty minerals and crystals that come out of the Viburnum Trend Doe Run owned mines just north of Eminence, so we did a little high grading….or I should say Justin did….

36

37-a-bit-sunburned-now

34

40

44

…and then we headed over to Rocky Falls for a bit of a cool down…found a church group there…we hiked up to the top for the bigger view….

06

08

14

15

18

..and then we drove up to see my friend Dave, where Justin learned even more about lead minerals from the Viburnum Trend in Missouri. all in all a great day. The next day we drove down to the druse spot near Viburnum…we didnt get an early start, slept in a bit as we were wore out from the day before. I had told Justin all about this location, assured him he would have no problem finding some nice stuff to take home, depending on what colors he liked in druse quartz…I think he was a bit skeptical of me…but within about five minutes of arriving, all that skepticism went right out the window. Onyx and I were up on the hill above him and we could hear him talking about it…sometimes to me…sometimes to Onyx…and sometimes I think, to himself…I even captured it on video…

 

…just click on download file and let it load up, then click on it and it will open and play full screen for you. Took Justin a while, but he finally made it about halfway up the hill to where Onyx and I were hunting….

010203

 

0607

…he was like a kid in a candy store and fun to watch…I dont believe I have ever seen one person so enthusiastic about finding druse quartz at this location especially !! I also dont believe I have ever seen anyone load up as much druse quartz to take home with him from this location…he was starting to worry about having enough room in his car for it all by the time we got done.  In the meantime, I was finding some nice stuff up the hill and to the south a little ways from him…

080910111213

…next thing you know, Justin is halfway up the hill toward us, as Onyx and I are starting to move to the south to search the erosion ditches on the hillside…

16

…and then I found a smokey druse pocket….

21

….at the same time,  Justin made it to the top of the hill and then checked out a freshly dug out area, where he also found some nice smokey plates and a ton of other nice stuff including some bubbles that he was searching for. A couple of hours later and we were fairly exhausted…Justin had a few buckets full plus his backpack, and I had a couple of bags full of wrapped pieces.  We drove up to the Caseys Store and took a snack and water break. 

From there we drove over to the Bixby Quarry to see if we could find some poker chips or dogtooth crystals…while we were searching for pockets, Onyx decided to go wading and swimming….

01-onxy-goes-wading0403bJustin got his hard hat on and took off up to check out the old pockets at the base of the west wall and started exploring…due to his size, he was able to squeeze into some of the smaller pockets and pull some crystals that remained in them, out of them….

0607

 

 

1114

 

…I looked down at my feet and was surprised to see golden rod growing in the floor of the quarry….see it in the fields all the time, never expected to see it growing out of the rocks….

16

17

By this time, I was quickly running out of energy, having spent most of it at the druse spot and using up much of the rest of it trying to find Justin a dogtooth pocket so he could take home some beauties….its great to receive minerals and crystals as gifts but everyone likes to find them on their own even more, the thrill of pulling them out of a pocket is just much more exhillarating. I wasnt able to find anything substantial, so Justin decided to try the wall on the north side, which is more vuggy and has produced many of the huge pockets I have found in the past. He walked over and came in from the top, taking my advice on how to reach the bottom, watching for plates of druse quartz that are often found over there…he did….

1820

21

…and after about an hour over there, he finally had a shirt full of crystals and was ready to leave as well….

23

I`m not sure, but I think I was more worn out than he was…but a good meal at Missouri Hick really helped us both out and restored us just a little bit and the hot tub finished it up later on. After sleeping in again on Monday morning, Justin took some time to pack his car from the front seat to the trunk and then set off for home at noon, arriving about eight hours later safe and sound.  It was great seeing him and rockhunting with him once again. See ya again in November Justin !!

 

Green Poker Chip Pocket at Eminence

Friday afternoon I received word from my buddy Jim in Eminence, that more activity had occurred at the quarry that morning. Since I had to work that weekend, I let my buddy Chuck Reed know about it and he decided to drive down Sunday morning and see what he could find. I had driven down there the weekend before and discovered then, that more activity had occurred on the west wall of the quarry again, but they were drilling up on top of the wall between the cove and the west wall, and that wall had been full of dogtooth crystals pockets some years back. I let Chuck know this and wished him well. I called him Sunday evening on my way to work to see how he did, and he told me that he did pretty good, so I decided to take Onyx…despite the forecasted heat…and drive down Monday afternoon and see what I could find. After dealing with morons all Sunday night at work, I got a good five hour nap in Monday and then we headed south to Eminence. Here is what it looked like when we arrived…the cove is on the right side and to the left it tapers down to the ” West Side “, which you really cannot see in this photo below……

32 New Blast

I parked about midway down and rolled the windows down, got my boots on, my apron on, and took the next few photos with my camera….

01 Coved Wall02 Blast Area Just West of Cove

…and the next photo shows the activity on the newly created ” west side ” of the quarry…

03 New Blast Area West of Cove

…after that I started hearing some rumblings of thunder just to the north of the quarry, and started studying the clouds above…to see which way it was moving…took awhile to figure it out cause they were moving extremely slow to the southwest…too bad, cause that blast pile was extremely dusty looking and I would have had no problem sitting in the truck waiting for a good washing off. I also started seeing some neat sunbeams…aka windows to Heaven…all over and above the quarry…I took them as a good sign…and maybe more than that….

07 Sunbeam City10 Sunbeams to West

Beautiful Sunbeams on Arrival

…everyone that knows me, knows I LOVE sunbeams, sunsets, and sunrises…pretty much in that order, rainbows too, but they are much rarer to capture….and my Dad knew that I liked sunbeams too…and here I was at one of my favorite places to rockhunt at and within a few minutes, sunbeams started popping out all over the top of that quarry….

13 Sunbeams

14 Sunbeam City15 Sunbeams Before Storm

…and I took that as a good sign of things to come and more…this happened yesterday and today is my Dad`s birthday. Onyx and I took a quick sashay around the front of the blast pile to see if we could find anything interesting, looked at the big boulders in the pile and checked for vugs..didnt see anything worthwhile, so I left my bag down near the bottom and climbed up along the wall starting on the west side to check the walls out for pockets….

17 Started On West Side

18 Moved Across to East Side

…and moved to the east side along the wall…finding very little of anything but the calcite that looks either rotten or ill formed, or looks like it belongs in a cave. I moved all the way across the east side and then came to a point sticking out….

 

 

…and as soon as I rounded that corner sticking out, I spotted about four pockets, but only one really caught my eye, due to the content of it that was plainly visible to my eye…

20 Pockets To Right of Broken Wall

If you can see my red handled mini mattox in the photo above, look to the left of that about ten feet to see the pocket I saw….if you still cant see it, here it is below…

24 Pocket of Poker Chips in Red Druse

…filled with greenish brown poker chips nestled in red dolomite druse and several came out nice and intact, while some did look like they had some blast damage, which does happen from time to time. Shortly after cleaning it out, which took about 30 minutes to do, I looked back to check on Onxy in my truck below….

29 Truck in Cove

…and then pulled this huge center plate out of the pocket, revealing two smaller pockets behind it…which took only a few minutes to clean out each one of them, and then we headed for home, stopping off for ice cream at the Bourbon Family Center and then on home for a late supper. If you have any questions or just want to give me a shout, my email addy is jwjphoto7@gmail.com 

Tyler Texas Gem and Mineral Club in Missouri Late July

The first morning of my vacation in early July, I was standing on the front porch of a landowner`s bed and breakfast near Bismarck, Arkansas, talking to him and Andrew Stauber, new rockhunting friend from Conway, about an old lead and copper mine located on the property. The landowner was showing us photos of the old mine back in its heyday and telling us what could be found there, when my cellphone rang. Not expecting a call that morning, I answered it and found WC Mc Daniels on the other end, the club President for MAGS…the Memphis Club I am a member of…and he wondered if I might be available to take the Gem and Mineral Club from Tyler, Texas, out rockhunting, as they were going to be up in Missouri later in July. I told him what weekends I had free in the few weeks ahead and then he asked where I was right then, and I told him I was checking out an old mine near Hot Springs, something I am sure he is used to hearing me say these days. He said he would put the Tyler bunch in touch with me next week and let me go to check out the old mine there a bit more. We actually decided against walking up the hill to check it out that day, due to the weather being very suitable for copperheads and water moccasins, both of which the landowner said were very prevalent near the old mine lately..me being allergic to both, we decided to bypass this exploration til the fall time when it would be cooler and more likely not to see any of them.

A week later, I received a call from Fred Mahaffey, the Field Trip Director for the Tyler Mineral Club and worked it out that his group could come up the weekend of my birthday to go rockhunting with me. The following weekend they were going to be on the other side of the state at Lincoln, to dig for Missouri`s state gemstone, Mozarkite, however I had to work that weekend, so they decided to come up a week before and stay over. On Saturday morning, the 23rd, I was already committed to something else, so I agreed to meet them at the Caseys Store in Cuba at 3:30 pm…Onyx and I arrived to find them compacted into two pickup trucks, and after introductions, we headed south to the druse spot in the Viburnum area. It was extremely hot out there, and I had already been outside much of the morning, but had kept hydrated and was hoping the heat would relent a bit or provide us with a bit of a breeze, so we could do some decent hunting out there. Alas, that did not happen, and while there was drusy everywhere to be found, and they found plenty of it, we only lasted about ninety minutes in the heat. I had taken them an assortment of crystals from Missouri, Arkansas, and Kentucky, from my travels, and let them go thru them and pick out whatever they wanted to keep. The rest of the material was placed in the truck of one of the members to take back to the rest of their members. Everyone headed back to their motels and campgrounds, some were staying in Rolla motels and some were staying at a campground near Steelville…we decided to meet at 6 am the next morning at Rolla for the Eminence Quarry trip.

Onyx and I got up early Sunday morning and drove up to Rolla, arriving at the JC Penney parking lot at four minutes to 6 am…and found the Texas rockhounds waiting for us and raring to go hunt on a much cooler morning. I had brought them some more material, in case we didnt find anything at the quarry this morning, which sometimes can happen, and I also brought them a nice quartz cluster from my favorite mine in the Mt Ida area, for their club collection as well. We headed south, stopping off at Licking for a bathroom break and then continued south to Eminence, finding the Jacks Fork Valley completely socked in with heavy fog as we dropped down the hill into the Alley Spring holler and crossed over the Jacks Fork River. I figured we would find fog at the quarry as well, but was pleasantly surprised to only find a cool shade waiting for us there…..

010204

03

 

 

 

 

 

 

I told them as long as the shade stayed with us, we would be much cooler, but when the shade disappeared, we would need to as well, cause that sun would be unbearably hot by then…everyone spread out and started looking for poker chip crystals…a few of us walked down to the western side to check the recent blast area but found very little…and then we wandered back to the walls inside the shaded coved area…

0605

Kenny, the guy in the blue shirt and hard hat above, and I, walked over to the east wall of the coved area and I showed him some of the pockets that I had worked there two weeks before…Fred wandered over and looked them over as well. I told them how you can look into older pockets along the wall and sometimes other openings and pockets will open up in the walls behind them, hiding even more pretty crystals and sometimes some neat looking dolomite and calcite druse plates and pieces too. We started working the area I had been in two weeks before….

12

…while some of the gals were working the berm piles looking for crystals…which a lot of folks take for granted, but a few months before when MAGS was there, we were finding dogtooth crystals all over the place including those berm piles…..

11

..Kenny and I worked a few pockets there and did a little clean up along there as well, then when we finished, Fred came over and started working some pockets up higher as well….

1718

…and here are a few photos of what Fred was able to extricate from the walls there….

10

070908

…while Fred was working his pockets, the rest of us were taking it easy and cooling down with water and snacks…I took a few minutes to look over the flat of Texas agates and black palmwood that they brought me from Texas….

13

14

…and a few minutes later, when the shade left us, we left as well, headed north to see my buddy Dave, to show them what Viburnum Trend minerals look like, including the fab double terminated green and yellow calcite crystals encased in pyrite that have been coming out of the Fletcher Mine lately…they were very taken with the minerals and crystals he had on hand and purchased several from him. On the way up there, I had a buzzard take off in flight from the road right in front of me as I crested a hill…feathers flew and there was a pretty hard thump, and he spiraled up and over my truck and to the grassy shoulder on the far side of the road…I stopped a few miles down the road to check my grill, thinking I might have a damaged headlight…but to my surprise, I had no damage to the headlight or the grill. From Daves house, they headed back to their motel rooms and campers, and Onyx and I headed home…took a nap, and then I drove back up to Cuba to MO Hick to meet them for supper there. I invited them all down to my house the next morning to look at my collection and they decided to come down about mid morning. Like everyone else, they thought my house looked like a museum and really enjoyed my rock gardens. They were going to stick around a few days and then drive over to Lincoln to look for Mozarkite.

I heard from Fred a few days ago, seems they had very good luck at Lincoln, their guide there had just dug out an electric line underground to his house, and they were able to find some nice stuff in that ground cut. He also asked if they could join me on my vacation trip to the Hot Springs area in November, they are interested in getting some nice quality quartz crystals and novaculite for cutting material…so I am sure I will see some of them down there then. 🙂

If anyone else is interested, give me a shout at jwjphoto7@gmail.com 

 

Pocket City Wall at Eminence

Onyx and I had not been rockhunting for a few weeks, so we drove down to Eminence on Sunday May 29th to see what we could find there. My buddy Jim had been laid up recovering from surgery and so I had no information on the quarry down there, just figured we would drive down and check things out. We got a later start, and arrived about 10 am, finding that the entire west side of the quarry where they had been pushing the hilltop back lately, had been terraced and walls of rock replaced all the clay dirt…..

50

52

…the first photo shows the far west end of the area and the lower photo shows the right side of the new area going into the coved wall. I laced my boots up and grabbed my tools and gloves and started a surface hunt from left to right and when I reached the short wall on the right side, had quite a surprise…pockets all over it….

14

…and I don`t even know if the photo above even does it justice, as the pockets were hard to see until you walked right up on the wall. I was able to photograph several of the pockets as I worked on them as you will see from here on….here are a few of the first ones I started working….

04 19

2123

2425

…and pretty soon it was evident I was going to be there for quite a while, because after working several pockets that were visible, I discovered there were one to two pockets more behind the pocket I was working on, hence the name pocket city….so I grabbed another bag of cloths and a bottle of water and kept on pulling crystals from pockets….

2728

…pulling plates of crystals like these out…

293034

 

 

 

 

 

…including some nice black dogtooth crystals….

3337

…and this unique pocket too…

424344

All in all, after four hours, I had six bags full of wrapped crystals and plates, some gorgeous stuff, will post some more photos as soon as I can of them cleaned up.