SS Quarry Right Before Kentucky Trip

Onyx and I drove down to the SSQ again on August 19th, turned out to be pocket city that morning…we returned to try and clean out the huge pocket in the corner that I found the week before….I didn`t write about that one either at the time, due to my work schedule, was putting in several days in a row at work without a break, so by the time I would get home from work, I was too exhausted to do anything but take an hour nap, go to supper, watch a little tv, and then hit the hay to get up and repeat the next day…after about six to nine days in a row of that. you are ready for a break, believe me. As I age, that type of routine gets old fast, so am thinking next year I am going to have to get a different schedule at work cause I don`t like working that many days in a row without a break. Since both visits were in August, hottest month of the summer, and since I am now used to getting up each morning around 4 am for work, I know that we arrived both days around 6 am and collected during the cool early hours of the morning while there…this is how the quarry looked when we arrived the week before….

…and I remember walking over to the right side wall to re-check the big pocket in the wall that I found two weeks before when Abbi came to visit, to see if I missed anything….and discovered that either Abbi or I had failed to remove a couple of small clusters from the rocky floor below the pocket…so I put those in my bucket and then climbed up to peer inside the pocket again, pulled out a few smaller crystals and a few baseball sized clusters, then grabbed ahold of some crystals in the bottom, midway back in the pocket floor…low and behold, they moved…the cluster was loose, so I was able to pull it free from the floor of the pocket !!  and here it is on my tailgate a few min later surrounded by some of the loose smaller ones I pulled free….

…from there, I ventured over to the left along the main wall and decided to walk over to the left hand wall corner, to see if I could find anything worth taking home or a new pocket…that is a very vuggy area sometimes but requires a closer inspection because it can also be unstable looking from afar. As I approached it, I started seeing poker chips laying on the ground under a large rock sticking out from the wall about six inches…I kneeled down to take a closer look and discovered a very large area of poker chips spilling out of yet another pocket opening up under that ledge of rock…flabbergasted would be an understatement for me. For one thing, standing where I parked, and looking over to that corner, you could not see anything due to a large pile of rock blocking your view from there..I literally had to walk over to it to see it, but then again, this was going to turn out to be yet another huge pocket and the last few weeks had been several huge pockets, one after another, so flabbergasted was very appropriate. 🙂  I do not have any photos of that pocket from the get go nor to the finish, but I can show you what the initial finds were that I pulled from it ….

…and these along the ledge of my sink came from a black dogtooth pocket along the main wall not far from the corner pocket….

…I was working the black dogtooth pocket when I looked to the left the week before and spotted that pocket at the foot of the wall in the corner, then walked over to check it out. It took me about ten minutes to clean out the opening of that pocket under the ledge rock sticking out from the wall…that ledge rock turned out to be a roof plate…I decided to leave it in place til I was able to clean out the opening and once I was about a foot inside, and had everything cleaned out under that front roof plate, I removed it and turned it over…big bubbles of shimmery gray druse with poker chips attached…it was gorgeous…I set it aside and out of my way and continued pulling poker chip after poker chip from the opening of the pocket, some were singles, some were doubles, some were triples, some were combos, and many I was pulling from the left wall inside the pocket were dogtooths. The further back in the pocket that I went, the more dogtooths came out of there…pretty soon I was in there to my shoulder and within 30 minutes I had two buckets completely filled with wrapped crystals. By then it was about 11 am and beginning to get quite warm so we decided to head home, quite happy with my finds. 🙂

So a week later, I returned to see about cleaning out the last pocket…the corner pocket, see how far back it went into the wall and see what else was there. Onyx and I arrived about 6 am and it was a bit foggy on the way down there, so we waited about twenty minutes for the quarry to lighten up…I shot this first video then…

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As soon as the light improved, I started walking over to the corner pocket I had found last week, but as I was making my way over there, I came across an area at the base of the wall where many poker chip crystals were laying around, so I stopped to check for a pocket and began digging at the base of the wall…can see where I stopped in the photo below, where my bucket and rags are located…

…to the right in the corner, you can see what appears to be a rockslide of sorts…the last pocket from last week is under that pile of rocks and I was going to have to dig it out first…I spent about 2 hours digging around where the bucket and rags are above…and found several poker chip and druse combo pockets, as well as several smaller shallow pockets…

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…and the first pocket I found along that wall was a pretty good sized one and deep inside…triangular shaped opening as well…

…and here are some of my crystals from this big pocket…

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As the videos show, it was pocket city on the wall there, many were shallow and full of a few small pieces of shimmering gray druse only, some had some dogtooth crystals inside, and some had combo pieces of druse and poker chips, but it provided me about 3 hours of work and fun. I finally did get on over to the corner pocket, and liberated it from the rockslide tho…

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….it`s a good thing I cleaned it out when I did, two weeks later it was completely gone with a new blast. 🙂

Abigail Comes to Visit

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and another video showing this as well….

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

…and several others attached to a yellow druse….

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

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

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

Great Job Shooting Abbi !!

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

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

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

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

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

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

…while Abbi admired the cluster…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secret Spot Quarry on my Birthday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 🙂

Three Weeks in a Row

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Secret Spot Quarry Surprise June 3rd

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

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

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

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

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

…sure was a nice day….