Last weekend I hosted rockhunts at two different locations for members of the MAGS Club, Memphis Archaelogical and Geological Society, based in Memphis, Tennessee…a club that I joined a few years back on the recommendation of rockhound friend Docia. They like to come up here in February to look for druse quartz and this year we added poker chips and dolomite/calcite druse with a trip on Sunday to the quarry at Eminence, a location they had heard of before, but never been to.
I got up quite early on Saturday morning and dropped Missy off at my parents house, since the location I was taking the members to to look for druse quartz, was new and gets quite muddy, plus there is a water pond there that Missy likes to bound through and comes out soaking wet and covered in red clay mud from head to tail…something I have never figured out since she absolutely seems to hate baths. My mom likes to take a few walks each day and Missy likes to go with her, so I knew it would be a win win for both her and me.
As early as I got up, I was going to have an extra ninety minutes before the club group was scheduled to arrive at the high school, so I drove down to a private quarry farther south that I wanted to check out since I had been told there was a recent wall blasted there for new material. I arrived and made a quick walk around the blast pile, and found what appeared to be an obvious pocket along the wall within a few short minutes. Since I knew I would be pressed for time if I found something good, I didnt take my camera with me. I started pulling extra rock away from the opening of the pocket and soon started seeing bright orange dogtooth crystals in the muck. I made my way back to the truck and grabbed two more bags and wrapping material, and then returned to the pocket and began removing one dogtooth cluster after another, stopping only briefly to wrap them and place them in a bag. Let me tell you, forty five minutes went by very quickly and soon I had three bags full of crystals…I`ll let you be the judge of what I found with the following photos….taken after I cleaned them up Saturday night….
Some very pretty stuff for sure….but wait til you see what I found the next day….
Sunday morning I got up early and headed south once again, this time to meet the MAGS group near Ellington, and lead them west on Hwy 106 to the quarry at Eminence. This time Missy went with me, the quarry has a large open floor and she likes to explore and get some good exercise doing so, plus I never have to worry about her getting muddy at this location. It`s all rock here and even the few waterholes here consist of water and rock only. We met up with the group at the junction of Hwy 106 and B, and drove west to the quarry…for the rest of the story, check out the next story after this one.
About 2 pm, everyone headed home from Eminence, happy with their goodies located there, and Missy and I headed north. Despite getting a good workout in at Eminence, by the time I got to the secret spot, I felt somewhat revived by a good can of Arizona Green Tea and some rest in my comfy truck seat, and since I had at least three hours of daylight left, I opted to drive over and check it out once again…
…the photo above showing the left side of the blast pile…….and the photo below showing the right side of the pile….
…I started walking around the left side and once I came out on the right side of the pile, I glanced across to the south wall and just about fell over in shock….if you click on the photo above and enlarge it, and with your eyes, follow the shadow below the square hole at the edge of the L shaped shadow, you might be able to pick up on the opening of the pocket as quickly as I did….if not you can try to find it in complete shadow in this next photo, about twenty feet above my mini mattox….
and a bit closer….
…with a nice short wall of orange dogtooth crystals on the right side of it as well….more to choose from I guess…. as if the choices presented already, were not enough. ..and even closer as I walked over and climbed up on the slippery slope of loose gravel and saw loose single orange dogtooth crystals laying all over in the mix…
…what caught my eye looking across the way, at first, was that wall of bright orange dogtooth crystals…they just jumped out at me….
….they were even more impressive up close and since some of them were a bit loose, I was able to remove a few of them from a small pocket at the base of that short wall as well…..
After that, I began working my way toward the pocket, starting at the base, mainly because of the extremely unstable material at the base, hundreds of loose single dogtooth crystals floating in and amongst the muck at the base, and it was all sliding downhill and literally into my hands the whole time….
and some to the right at the base of the short wall too….
I cleared off some level areas about six feet to the left to set my first three bags and some wrapping cloths…I didnt want anything to slide on down that slope and roll down to the base of the wall and get damaged along the way. It was extremely slippery up there the whole three hours, I was constantly trying to clear off areas I could safely stand on without slipping but it was a constant battle to do so, plus I was fighting the loss of time and daylight as it got closer to sunset.
After about thirty minutes of constantly raking down base material and picking up multiple loose crystals, I finally made it to the base of the pocket and began to focus on removing the loose material in the mouth of the pocket itself….
you can see how much matrix rock was sitting on top of the crystals in the mouth of the pocket above…thin sheets of rock and then those heavy chunks in the right hand corner heavily weighing down on the clusters below that cannot be readily seen here…not to mention that big plate of gray bubble druse in the middle, laying face down on top of some huge poker chip crystals…it was like eeney, meeney, miney moe in figuring out what to move first, and unfortunately I didnt make the best decision the first two times, cause much of it came crashing down into my lap right off the bat…soon I had it stabilized though and was able to gently rake some of the thin loose sheets of rock off the pile a little at a time after that. Here is a closer view of the pocket opening….
The first batch of crystal clusters that I pulled out and sat on the side to be wrapped up are pictured below….
…you can see in the next photo just how loose some of the base material was, after I worked over the pocket at the base of the short wall…
Since I was fighting time and daylight from here on, I didnt take any extra time to document this clean out process with my camera, even though I had it up there with me. I had to make a few fast trips back to my truck to get more bags and wrapping material as well, and believe me, I didnt walk back and forth…I ran….and wound up filling ten bags with wrapped goodies, as well as removing six large clusters of bubble druse & dogtooth crystals and two clusters of druse & poker chips…I hand carried the two larger clusters of druse & dogtooth crystals under one arm with a bag of wrapped crystals in the other hand, and it felt like I was carrying a porcupine under my arm each time I made a trip over uneven ground to the truck. I did take photos of these nice clusters after I got them inside my sunroom yesterday and here they are….
this is goodie number two above and below is the other side of it…
and some closeups of this one in greater detail….
The next three photos are of one beautiful cluster of large poker chip crystals that were in the mouth of the pocket with a cluster of dogtooths at the base….
These next two photos show a top view and side view of a yellow bubble druse cluster of poker chips with some dogtooth crystals embedded….
And the next one was pulled from the pocket by its base…when I pulled it out, I was disappointed to see that it had suffered damage on the top side of the huge poker chip crystal, but elated to see the cluster of poker chips at the base that did not appear to be damaged at all….
…and showing it from the back side….
The next two photos show an unusual piece I pulled from the backside of the pocket, just tucked away into a back corner, it had some damage but some different features as well, like the poker chips in an obvious pocket underneath the piece as well as one right smack dab on the bottomside of the piece….
The next few photos show a neat shiney, sparkley gray bubble druse chunk with some poker chips and dogtooth crystals attached, and a buddy said this first photo makes it look like an elephant sitting down….
…I was like…an elephant with how many legs ??? wondered what he had been drinking before he said that….lol…but it def is unusual looking for sure….
So I got all of those out of the pocket and the bags all packed with the smaller wrapped goodies and down to the floor of the quarry and then started making several trips over to the truck and loading it up, as the sun was setting and light was leaving me fast…I said a quick prayer for extended daylight and strength to get all the goodies to the truck and still have enough to drive home on…cause I was getting exhausted really quickly now…and on my last trip to the pocket, I took a few photos of the pocket cleaned out as much as possible…I was too exhausted to try to do anymore and ran completely out of bags and wrapping material too….
this pocket measured about 36 inches across from side to side…and top to bottom was about 30 inches….it was one of the deepest pockets I have ever seen, a person could have literally crawled down into it and had lots of room to spare….
…and I no sooner got in the truck and headed home than I saw this stunning sight when I reached the top of the long hill climbing out of there….
…all in all, a beautiful ending to a great and amazing day….