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. 🙂

 

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. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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 

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

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…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…

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…including some nice black dogtooth crystals….

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…and this unique pocket too…

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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. 

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

 

Life After Arkansas

Took all of two weeks after my return from Arkansas before I was driving down to Eminence once again, this time it was just Onyx and I making the trip. We arrived about 10 am and discovered one large blast pile right in the middle of the quarry, and two smaller piles remaining from prior blasts, one to the right and one over to the left in the coved wall area. This one was spread out extensively and covered the back road going around the crusher to the coved wall. It was huge and I photographed it from right to left in four photos….

01 On Arrival New Blast Pile in Middle02 On Arrival New Blast Pile in Middle03 New Blast Pile Cuts Off Back Road04 Piles All The Way Over to Dumpster

Onyx and I got out and stretched our legs a bit and then as I was getting ready to hunt, he got in a couple of wind sprints and then returned to walk up the right side of the new pile with me…within fifty feet I started finding crystals and clusters laying all over the place….I was finding so many initially that I decided to drive my truck over to that side as well…

05 New Blast Pile in Middle

…and took this photo looking back at the front side of the pile and how scattered the rocks were toward the entrance….

06 New Blast Pile Fringes

…within a few minutes, I had two bags full of loose crystals and small clusters, many appeared to have a white sugar frosting poured all over them…and I started finding several yard rocks toward the middle of the pile as well…some I carried over to the far side and stacked them up on the edge of the pile so I could simply drive over and pick them up later. I didn`t take my camera up there with me, and just got them cleaned up this weekend so will snap some photos of them once the soggy rains stop in the next day or two and post them on here. I can safely tell you that I was afraid I wasn`t going to have enough room in the bed of my truck nor enough wrapping cloths to protect them either. As it was tho, I had just enough room in the truck, utilizing the front and back floorboards for many of the yard rocks. Afterwards, I drove over to the coved wall area….

08 Coved Wall Remains of Blast PIle

…where there was a small pile remaining…very steep tho, so wasn`t gonna be climbing it up the middle.  I was able to scramble up the sides tho and check the wall for pockets, and near the top discovered a few small pockets with some beautiful red colored calcite crystals that resembled hexagonal nuts rather than poker chip formations. There were also some pockets with the calcite that resembles cavelike formations, most of those I left there due to damage to them. 

09 Coved Wall Remains Up Close

…I filled another bag here, giving me a total of six bags, five at the new blast pile…and many yard rocks…by this time I was ready to leave and head home to get a nap in and grab some dinner. First I had to drive back over to the western side of the new pile to load up the crystals I stacked up on the edge….

10 Can Only Go So Far

I was a bit soaked from the light rain that had begun to fall shortly after we arrived, and Onyx had stayed in the truck when I got over the coved wall area…by the time we were leaving, he was nearly all dry once again.  I changed shirts and into my street shoes before leaving, planning to stop off and see a new miner friend on my return, not wanting to track mud into his house….he had some interesting pieces that I had not seen before, and I was able to pick up a few of them from him, one was a very small set of twin calcite crystals with malachite color at the base of the crystals. I`ll get a photo of it posted soon as well.

Thru the week, I received emails from Nathaniel and Chuck, both asking if I intended to drive down there again the next weekend…I had a couple of holidays to burn before the end of the year, so I took Sunday off to make the return trip. Nathaniel rode down with Onyx and I, while Chuck and his daughter Mackenzie, drove down the scenic route of Hwy 21 and 106 to arrive shortly after Nathaniel and I did. It was Mackenzie`s first time there and I think she was pretty impressed with the place. Nathaniel and I had only been there a short while before they pulled in, enough time for me to scout out some in floor pockets for her to check out, with some nice looking loose crystals and small clusters laying on the surface. She and Chuck started digging in when I pointed it out to them…while Nathaniel took off to check out the coved wall pile, which looked much the same as it did the weekend before when I was there. He climbed up the right side of the pile and was checking out wall pockets when I glanced over there about an hour later. For whatever reason, probably because I simply forgot, I did not take any photos at all that day, but I can tell you that we all did well…I only filled one bag with crystals that I found, but they were very nice crystals and plates from a few pockets that I discovered down the east wall…and after picking up a few plates, I called Chuck over and let him work the rest of the plates out of it. There were a lot of druse pockets along the wall as well and I pulled a few nice plates of those out as well as some druse pieces with poker chips attached to them….those always make beautiful sparkly plates to display…I have about four shelves of them at home…they glitter in the light like you would not believe, and are second to dogtooths in my book. By 1:30 pm, we were tired and happy, and headed up the road to see one of my miner friends to see some new material…both Nathaniel and Chuck wanted to get some nice Viburnum Trend minerals and we were able to do just that. I`ll get some of those posted soon as well. This weekend I took advantage of the beautiful unseasonably warm weather for December to move some rocks around in the backyard and made room for more. Today while it was raining outside, I high graded my crystals on the inside and made room for more that I have collected recently, including my Arkansas quartz crystals. 

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

 

Another Dandy Dogtooth Pocket Day

Earlier this week I decided I was going to drive back down to the quarry at Eminence and see if I could find anything good, after checking out both of the most recent blast piles last Sunday, and finding some nice yard rocks. I figured after they stirred up both piles a bit, if they decided to work both piles evenly that is, that more material could be uncovered…little did I know what lay in store for me.

I had talked to Nathaniel and he decided to ride down with me and on the way down, he told me that he sure would like to find one of those chocolate brown colored dogtooth crystals….little did he know what lay in store for him. I always pray for a few things before I make each trip…I pray for a safe trip for Onyx and I, pray for no flat tires, and I pray that I will find some pretty crystals and minerals. Sometimes when I get where I am going and there is some rock overhanging a pocket in front of me, I will say a quick prayer to keep me out of harms way and when I find nice stuff, I thank God for that as well. On really hot days, when the wind stirs up and brings us a nice cool breeze, I thank God for turning on the fan, too…and I usually thank him for nice weather as well….I realize he is super busy, but I believe in keeping the lines of communication open.

We didn`t get a real early start yesterday morning, but as I told Nathaniel, it wasn`t gonna get light til about 7:30 am, and it was gonna be cooler than what we were used to so far, so if we arrived around 9 am, with full sun, that would give it time to warm up a bit. We loaded up the truck as the sun was rising prettily…..

01A Sunrise

On the way down there, we spotted two bald eagles in a tree top next to the highway near Houston…as soon as we passed them and confirmed it, I turned around and returned so we could both photograph them, pulling off the side of the highway to do so…..as I turned around, one took flight and passed overhead, leaving one in the tree for us….

02 Bald Eagle in Tree Near Houston

…we had to approach from the side so as not to spook him, and after a few seconds of snapping images, he took flight…we just kept shooting images….

06 Bald Eagle Takes Flight

07 Bald Eagle Takes Flight

…a local farmer stopped by to make sure we were okay and told us that there were alot more eagles that could be seen along the river at Houston. Nathaniel used his phone camera and I was shooting with my Nikon D200 and zoom lens. I wasn`t sure what I had in my images until I got home last night and looked at them after loading them into my computer, sometimes my autofocus doesn`t work as well as I would like it to…needless to say, I was pretty happy with my images of the eagle. As I told Nathaniel, I have never seen two eagles in a treetop like that, so I took that as a good sign for our day ahead.

We stopped shortly after that at Alley Spring Mill to see how it looked with the fall colors…, only finding one small maple tree in color nearby….

09 Alley Spring Mill

Shortly after, we arrived at the quarry and found the pile on the left side to be quite a bit less than when I was there the week before. The pile was steeper so there would be no climbing to the top, and we could see stuff sliding down so we both donned our hard hats and grabbed tools and bags….

11 Other Side of Pile

….setting out to check for signs of pockets. Nathaniel went to the right from the middle…..

10 Looking For Crystal Pockets

…..and I went to the left from the middle, stopping at a big boulder 20 feet from the middle, where it appeared that a few pockets were located, one under the boulder, and one or two on the left side of it……

12 My Pockets

…pretty soon, Nathaniel went past me to the left and set up camp about ten feet from me, finding some openings in what appeared to be a vuggy wall….

20 Working Our Pockets

 

…and pretty soon after that, he was telling me that he had some nice dogtooth crystals inside…

21A Nathaniel Works His Pocket

 

…..I had walked back to the truck to get my flashlight to look inside my pocket at the base of the boulder, and I grabbed my camera as well. When I returned to the wall to see what he had found, he was pretty excited and I saw that he had good reason to be excited…..

14 Nathaniels Pockets15 Nathaniels Dogtooths

JACKPOT !!!   I was excited for him and told him to get his phone out and photograph them before and after, then told him how to remove the ones that were anchored in there, after carefully removing the ones that were loose, and to go ahead and wrap them up soon after removing them if possible…yes Virgil, I told him to wrap them up, just as I wrap mine up as soon as I can after removing them from the pockets…and yes I told Nathaniel all about you, Virgil….lol….

16 Nathaniels Dogtooths

….I then returned to my pocket and said a quick prayer, that while I was glad Nathaniel had found a great pocket of dogtooth crystals, I would sure like to find something similar as well…

18 My Pockets

 

…..and what do you know…the next thing you know, I am pulling dogtooths out of my pocket soon after too….Nathaniel took some photos of me with my finds, every time I pulled a nice one out…

Me Holding Up Dogtooth From My PocketHappy Camper Me

 

….he said I was killing him pulling one after another out…as he was chipping that huge plate of his out of his pocket….

Cluster of Dogtooths Nathaniel Chipped Out

 

…and in no time at all, we had been working those pockets for about three hours, opening the mouths of the pockets pretty big from the small openings we started with. Nathaniel had to open his up big time to remove that huge plate that he was chipping out, that alone took him about thirty minutes to do. When I was finally able to open mine up more, I shined my flashlight inside to see what all I had yet to pull out, turned out to be about fifteen inches deep inside and almost two feet across, with a massive base of chocolate colored calcite latched on to the top of the boulder and pointing down, those were the singles I had pulled out before, having broke off the base and were just laying there when I started reaching into the vug. 

22 My Pockets

When that pocket ran out on me, I moved a few inches to the left and right and found a few more and then another pocket under the boulder on the left side of it, opened up….

19 My Pockets

…as I was checking it out, pulling a few plates of black and brown sparkly druse out, Nathaniel finally liberated that huge plate of dogtooth calcite crystals from his pocket, he turned around with it in his hands and a big smile on his face, and I snapped this photo of him holding it….

23 Nathaniel With His Huge Dogtooth Cluster24 Nathaniels Dogtooth Cluster

…and here is another photo of another nice one he pulled out of there as well….

Dogtooth Cluster Found By Nathaniel

….after a short water break, we loaded Onyx up and drove over to the other side and checked out the wall over there, and found some more nice pockets of dogtooth crystals once again, spending about 90 minutes before heading for home. I stopped off at Rocky Falls to see if there was any fall color there, and found some nice color and some kids there…..Nathaniel remembered swimming there as a kid growing up in the Ellington area….

26 Rocky Falls

28 Rocky Falls29 Rocky Falls Pond

…on our way home, we saw several deer including a doe and two fawns, both fawns were as big or bigger than their mama….sure was nice to see so much wildlife, made for an even better day. Here are a few of my crystals from my pockets Saturday…..

30 Double Terminated Dogtooth30A Double Terminated Dogtooth34A Large Single Standing Up31 Small Dogtooth34B Large Single Standing Up

32 Small Dogtooth Cluster35 Large Single Standing Up

38B Set of Three Dogtooths35A Large Single Standing Up37 Large Single Slim Dogtooth Up39 Set of Bubbles42 Calcite Druse Plate44 Calcite Druse Plate46 Dogtooth With Bubbled Base46B Dogtooth With Bubbled Base47 Dogtooth Standing Up48 Dogtooth Partially Exposed45A Dogtooth Twins51 Dogtooth Partially Exposed52A Brown Druse Piece54A Dogtooth With Crown

…and a closeup of Nathaniel`s huge cluster, that he photographed yesterday and sent to me……

 

Close Up of Nathaniels Huge Cluster

…..it still has him pretty excited…which is always a good thing. 🙂

 

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

 

 

 

 

Secret Spot and Eminence With Rockhound Friends

Last weekend I took a couple of rockhound friends to a couple of places I frequently go rockhunting at in central Missouri. One of my friends is from northern Georgia, I had the pleasure of digging with Mark Bishop at the first machine dig at the Eureka Mine this year, courtesy of a referral by good friend Jeff Deere, who wasn`t able to make it to the machine dig. Mark had mentioned to me that he would be driving up to Keokuk, Iowa in September to attend Geodefest and would love to stop by on his way home and go rockhunting with me if I had time. As soon as I got home, I cleared my calendar for that weekend so I could take Mark to the Secret Spot and to Eminence. A few weeks ago, one of my Kentucky rockhunting friends who is fortunate to live within an hour of the Eureka Mine, met a new rockhound at one of the public digs there, found out he was living in the St Louis County area, and referred him to me for information and put him in touch with me by email. Nathaniel, it turned out, is a renowned Pastry Chef and loves to collect the same thing I like to collect, pretty crystals and minerals…he had a really nice large specimen of fluorite given to him by a fan in Florida while he was living and working down there a few years ago, yet had no clue where it might be from. I gave him my opinion, that it appeared to have come from the southern Illinois mines, and we started talking about rockhunting…I found out that he had not been on any other field trips in quite some time if ever, and invited him to go with Mark and I. He was available that day and accepted.

I had to work the night before for a few hours, and then left early to come home and get a good nap in, prior to Nathaniel arriving about 7 am, followed shortly by Mark about 7:30 am. My carpenter Joe Johnson, arrived in between them to make a small repair on my kitchen ceiling and when he finished, we loaded up and headed down to the secret spot. It was a cloudy and cool morning, there was a threat of light rain possible, however the temps were pretty much perfect for a good workout ahead. After a brief stop at the donut shop, we arrived at the secret spot by 9 am…after showing them around and explaining things to them, they divided up and set out to explore the place and see what they could find. The water holes that I normally have to contend with there, were completely dried up and made walking around there much easier….

05 Secret Spot

…and that enabled us to dig into a few areas where there were indications of dogtooth crystals…while we found a few, it appeared that maybe we had only found the top of an old pocket that had mostly been removed way earlier….from there both Nathaniel and Mark wandered over to one of the walls to look for pockets….

01 Brandon & Mark Exploring Wall

…after a short water break, I wandered over to the wall below them a ways and looked for some pockets too…Nathaniel snapped a few of me doing just that….

Me Up On the Short WallMe Up On the Short Wall 2Me Up On the Short Wall 3

…..and soon enough, Brandon found a good pocket and was able to find some poker chips with matrix attached….the look on his face was priceless….

04 Brandon Finds Good Pocket

…shortly afterwards, we decided to pack up and head to Eminence and see what we could find there. Mark decided he was too worn out after the past few days at Keokuk, digging and lifting and hauling around some large geodes, so he decided to head for home from there, while Nathaniel and I drove over to visit with a good dealer friend of mine, who sells Viburnum Trend minerals. Nathaniel really liked what he saw there and picked up a few from him. We then headed on down to Eminence and arrived about 1 pm, to find about a third of the wall remaining. After a short lunch break, Nathaniel decided to snap a photo of me getting prepared to find more goodies…..

On Arrival Getting Ready to Hunt More

….we started looking around at the face of the wall and found pockets staring us in the face all over that wall….

15 Remainder of Wall

…Nathaniel dug into this one spot above and below and soon was pulling out several brown dogtooth crystals from it….while it looks a little shaky looking, this particular spot he was in was quite solid around and above him, even forty feet to the right….

01 Brandon Works Dogtooth Pocket

03 Brandon Works Dogtooth Pocket

04 Brandon Works Dogtooth Pocket

06 Dogtooths Up Close Nathaniel Found

08 Dogtooths Up Close Nathaniel Found10 Brandon In Front of Dogtooth Pocket

…to the left where I started, was quite a different story, alot of overhang, so I didn`t mess with it much, just pulled out the easy ones out of the much and moved on…

02 Brandon Works Dogtooth Pocket11 Whats Left of Coved Blast Wall12 West Side of Wall

…after walking around and pulling out some loose crystals, I walked over to his crevice along the main wall and found a small pocket up about midway on the wall, and after retrieving my chisel and hammer, was able to pop out a few plates with brown and black dogtooth crystals all over them, they appeared to have sugar frosting all over them as well….

14 Blk & Brown Dogtooth Pocket

…after that, we walked around and found several nice twins and clusters in the loose rock below that high wall as well…each of us filled a couple of bags before we headed for home, Nathaniel snapping this selfie of both of us with the walls behind us….

Nathaniel and I at Crider Q

…..as we came into Rolla, this beautiful sunset appeared to the west…..

16 Sunset On Way Home Rolla

17 Sunset On Way Home Rolla

18 Sunset On Way Home Rolla

…we were both tired but happy with our finds…Onyx on the other hand appeared to be exhausted, having stretched out across the back seat of my truck on the way home. I found out later on that Mark made it home by 10:30 that night safe and sound. I returned to work later that night and then took the next night off, my exhaustion catching up with me, having been up for about 22 hours straight…haven`t done that in a very long time….had a great time tho and can`t wait to go again. 🙂

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