Oklahoma Visitors

This past weekend I had a visit from some Oklahoma Sooners who like to rockhunt…Virgil and Larry came up from Tulsa and met Missy and me at the quarry in Eminence Saturday morning. Missy and I got up early and headed out the door by 7:30, stopping off to pick up some snickerdoodle cookies baked by a friend at the Clark Street Cafe and Bakery in downtown Sullivan. It was a bit cloudy and about 35 degrees, but was due to clear off and get nice and warm by noon, so we were def looking forward to the day ahead. We stopped off in Houston to fill the gas tank and pick up some water for Missy and then headed east on Highway 17 toward Eminence. We pulled into the quarry by 9:30 am and no one was there…I texted Virgil and found out they were about 45 min away, so I got my boots on and grabbed my gloves and a mini mattox and walked over to the remains of the blast pile to check it out….

01 Remains of Blast Pile Cove Wall

 

02 Cove Side of Blast Pile Remains

It actually looked pretty good, vuggy even, and as I walked up to it, I started seeing dark colored poker chips clinging to the edges of rock and loose stuff, all over the face of the remaining pile.

04 Pockets Left Side of Boulder

 

I knew then and there it was going to be a great day for collecting. I sent Virgil and Larry a quick text to let them know I was seeing pockets everywhere and the message back to me was to the effect of ” get back in your truck and wait til we get there “, but I was totally sure those boys didnt expect me to do that. I certainly didn`t intend to do that either.

I went back to the truck and picked up a bag full of wrapping towels, and my camera, and returned to the spot and began pulling out dark gray poker chip, one after another….

05 Crystals All Over Face

…..from what looked to be a pretty deep pocket, going back under and behind a massive boulder that was just laying there, holding the entire pile intact above it, and let me tell you, there was alot of material above it. After filling half a bag, I knocked some of the loose stuff down as it was apparent to me, that it was going to come down sooner or later anyway.

09 Digging In Initial Pocket

10 More Loose Stuff Knocked Down

After clearing that small slide away, I began pulling even more crystals out of the loose fill until I had half a bag full. I then moved to the left side and began finding even more pockets…

07 More Pockets to Left

and did a search on the right side of the big boulder and saw even more potential for pockets, so I sent another text to Virgil and said I now had five or six pockets in sight.

I decided to explore on down the wall a bit til they arrived, and about twenty minutes later, they pulled into the parking lot. I wasn`t sure it was them at first, since Virgil had told me that he would be driving up in his Chev Suburban with a ladder on top, and they actually came in Larry`s new toy, a Chev Avalanche pickup, which I found out later, was built on a Suburban frame rather than a Silverado frame as many of the older models were. No matter, they were here safe and sound, and ready to rock. I pointed out the areas I had found pockets and Larry wasted no time in grabbing some tools and heading to a few of those areas.

14 Larry Checking Initial Pocket Area

Virgil grabbed some tools and headed to the wall near me. 

11 Virgil Looks for Pockets

12 Virgil Likes This Area of Wall

 

We dug along the wall in the coved area and the remaining blast pile for a few hours, then took a break and drove over to the east side of the quarry…pretty soon I found a pocket up on the wall and began pulling out dogtooth after dogtooth, some covered in some beautiful brown and yellow calcite druse. Virgil soon joined me and we began looking for more pockets in a very vuggy area of the east wall. Larry in the meantime, had walked further east along the wall and found some nice dogtooth clusters, a couple of them were as big as a basketball….

16 Larry Found a Big Dogtooth Cluster

 

By 6:30 pm, we were reaching the point of exhaustion and decided to call it quits for the day…I still had a two hour drive home and needed a little reserve strength for that. Larry and Virgil decided to drive to Cuba for the night and go druse hunting with me on Sunday in the Viburnum area, so I led them up the scenic route to Cuba. We met alot of US Forest Service Trucks going westbound on Hwy 106 soon after leaving the quarry, some pulling four wheelers, one or two a small bulldozer, and a few of them were firefighting vehicles. I could see a huge cloud of brown smoke hanging up high in the air to the east and as we approached the Current River bridge ten miles east of the quarry, we came upon a large brush fire, the flames were traveling down the steep hill toward the river in the US Forest Service Park area…apparently a controlled burn. We no sooner crossed the bridge and went by a small mini pumper fire truck, then we came up on about eight full size gobblers right on the edge of the highway….I slowed down and two of them took off out in front of me like 747 airliners…Larry and Virgil were a bit behind me but saw them as well and thought I was doing to run into them, or them into me….but luckily that didn`t happen…was definltely a close call though. As we drove through Reynolds County, I snapped a couple of setting sun images….

17 Setting Sun Headed Home

 

18 Setting Sun Headed Home

 

We made it to Cuba a little after darkness fell and stopped off at Missouri Hick Restaurant for some good bbq first, and then I headed home while they drove over to the north side of town to find a hotel.  I was nearly exhausted by the time Missy and I got home, enough strength to unload the truck and then hot in the hot tub for a good soak, check my email and then headed to bed.  

The next morning, Missy and I got up about the same time and were on the way to Country Kitchen by 7:45, meeting Larry and Virgil there for breakfast. I had picked out some goodies for them to take back to their gem and mineral show coming up soon, which for the first time in their club`s history, was going to be a Federation show as well. After a very good buffet breakfast there, we sat back and discussed what they would like to do while there…I told them about a friend of mine who is a mineral dealer and near Viburnum, and has beautiful minerals from some of the Doe Run mines in the area, they decided they would love to see some, so I gave him a call and we headed south soon after.  We arrived at his place and soon he was showing them some absolutely GORGEOUS specimens of chalcopyrite, beautiful translucent white calcite crystals, yellow barrel and hexagonal calcite crystals, galena lead cubes and some with sphalerite and zinc as well.

 After spending a few hours with my friend and purchasing some beautiful goodies from him, we again headed out in search of buried treasures and soon arrived at the secret spot. I showed Larry a few spots where I had found some nice pockets recently, that had even more potential for pockets behind these, and he started exploring for crystals. Virgil decided to do a short walk around and see what he could find surface collecting…which turned out to be quite a bit, for their upcoming show.  Larry continued to work on the pockets I showed him and I started looking for more pockets, finding a few shallow pockets all over the place. Within a few hours they were ready to head home, with a few extra bags full of crystals. Missy and I headed home to another nice hot tub soak and supper. After two long days of digging, the two alleves I took sure made for a good nights rest. 

James 🙂

jwjphoto@fidnet.com

Nice Combo Pocket Found

Missy and I returned to the new secret spot this past weekend and found yet another nice pocket, one that apparently the weather had been working over this winter. I didn`t find it for a few hours though, in the meantime I found a few smaller pockets and worked them, starting with this one….

01 Small Pocket Here

 

…after finding a few indicators laying around in the general area of this pocket, including these plates and chips….

02 Goodie Indicators

 

…this pocket was very shallow, didn`t even form a hole or indentation into the muck, so I pulled a few poker chips from the loose fill and moved on to the next pocket, which I found near a water hole…hoping that it would not fill with water as the pocket the week before did….I really didn`t want to spend two hours bailing water once again…that really cuts into your digging time…..

03 Second Pocket Found

 

…this one didn`t amount to much at all, a few druse plates hanging upside down as seen above and a few poker chips underneath them and that was all there was. I figured the rest of it must have been excavated and this was all that was left. The next pocket I found was about ten feet away, again near the water hole and again, luckily for me, it didn`t require any bailing either….

04 Third Pocket Found

 

…after pulling several poker chips out of it…

05 Goodies from 3rd Pocket

….all of a sudden, I heard a loud roar…I quickly turned around and looked up in time to see a low flying,  fast moving jet…and it was a little lower in the sky  than normal, I thought….

Military Jet Overhead

 

Military Jet Overhead 2

 

…and then I remembered the days when I was much younger and down at my grandfather`s farm in western Arkansas and you could first hear the jets coming up the valley toward his farm, moving fast and low, almost as if they were racing each other, from the Arkansas National Guard Base in Fort Smith…they always flew their maneuvers over his farm up and down that valley near the Oklahoma state line.

I figured these jets must have been from either Whiteman AFB, Scott AFB, or the Missouri National Air Guard at Lambert…and possibly from Fort Leonard Wood which wasn`t too far off either….within moments I noticed one more jet and they were circling my position quite a bit….pretty neat to watch….

Military Jet Overhead 3

 

Military Jet Overhead 4

 

…I couldn`t even tell you what types of jets they were, but they were pretty neat to watch…one of them might have spotted me down there and turned his jet up in a tight turn, I just looked up at the right time to see it and waved at the pilot…don`t know if he saw me or not…just to say hey and thanks for all you do….thanks to all of our great military for their service and sacrifices that have enabled all of us to enjoy our freedoms and our relatively peaceful lives and hobbies….

Military Jet Overhead 5

 

Military Jet Overhead 6

 

Military Jet Overhead 7

 

I cleaned out that pocket after it came to an abrupt stop with a very deep and narrow hole, that I was not able to see down into, nor could I even begin to chip it out to widen it, so I looked up and around, and my eyes settled on a mound of rock and dirt, that had a calcite chunk of a face…I wandered over to check it out as I had looked it over other times, and thought it had great potential….

06 Fourth Pocket

 

….after scraping around on it with my mini mattox, I soon discovered there was a pocket behind a few deteriorating shelves of rock….probably loosened up alot by the constant freeze and thaw we had experienced the past few weeks….the first plate I pulled out of this pocket was a bubbly pretty gray druse plate….

07 Pocket 4 Opens Up

 

…followed by several poker chips of a slightly pale reddish color, some were a couple of colors even…alot of small clusters and triples and twins more so than the normal singles that we tend to pull out of pockets, and quite a few more druse plates hanging upside down in the photo above came out as well, some with poker chips attached to them. The pocket continued back into the hillside, and then split into three different directions…I pursued to the left and straight back as much as I could, pounding the top shelves back as far as I could before I ran out of steam….

11 Goes 3 Directions Inside

09 Pocket Four Opened Up

 

…the entire time I was working on this pocket, Missy was about ten feet up the slope above me just chilling out…. 

10 Ever Attentive

 

When I ran out of steam, I wrapped up the clusters and bagged them, and then we headed for the barn and a good nap. 

 

 

 

Another Dogtooth Pocket Found

Figured I had better write this before I get too far behind and forget the details of it, found a very pretty dogtooth pocket at the new secret spot a few weeks ago, bright orange dogtooths attached to some very pretty colored druse. Missy and I didnt arrive til noon and it was the start of daylight savings time, so I knew we had at least six hours of daylight in case we needed it and it was going to be a nice warm day as well, reaching nearly 75 degrees that day. Here is one of the nicer ones I found, just to whet your appetite….

Dogtooth Chunk

 

…it`s not in very good focus, but is very appealing looking and you can see some of the colors I was enjoying as well. I actually found it by doing some raking around a few likely looking bumps at the base of the wall and  soon spotted some calcite indicators at the bottom of a ledge, as well as water filling the hole I was digging, which I really didnt like, but sometimes you have to take the bad with the good…..

01 Pocket Started Here

 

…as I dug into the pocket, I started seeing twins and triples of poker chips…very few singles except those attached to clusters attached to the base rock on the sides as the pocket expanded into a trench that was about fifteen inches wide and started expanding to my left and deepening down…..

04 One Hour Later

 

…the water in the pocket was cold….very cold…spring fed type cold….and kept filling in every ten minutes with whatever amount I took out by bailing….pretty soon it was evident that I needed something bigger to bail with, the little water bowl for Missy that I had wasnt getting the job done, so I went back to my truck and pulled out the 3.5 gallon square bucket that I keep my tools in, and began bailing water much more efficiently after that. I was taking seven to ten gallons out of that pocket every fifteen minutes and digging out crystals in between bailing times….here you see crystals just waiting to be pulled out of the loose fill and muck as the pocket kept expanding to my left….

05 Poker Chips Hiding at End

 

…and here is a group of crystals already found so far….

06 Goodies So Far

 

08 Goodies Up Closer

 

…some attached to some pretty plates of bubbly druse too….

 

09 Goodies Up Closer

 

10 Goodies Up Closer

 

…and after about four hours of continuously expanding to the left, pulling out twins and triples and small clusters, including some I was able to chisel from the sides of the trench pocket, I came to the end of the pocket….

11 Pocket Keeps Expanding

…after clearing away more loose fill and muck above, it turned into a cavelike opening, capped with a dome of ten inch thick dolomite rock, the pocket contained even more cold water and was filled with about twenty dogtooth crystals and clusters….

Dogtooths and Pocket

most of them just hanging out loose in the water waiting to be found…the one at the beginning of this post is the first one I pulled out, and one of the larger ones as well, here is a closer up and sharper view of it and another of the other ones as well….

Multiple Dogtooth Druse Piece

 

Dogtooths and Pocket 2

 

…after removing these and wrapping them up with three cloths as opposed to the normal one cloth, I sat back and rested a bit, then gathered up my bags of goodies, tools, and buckets, and Missy and I headed for the barn. Sure was a nice productive day. 

Ben E Clement Mineral Museum in Marion, Kentucky

Hey Folks, 

Tina from the Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum in Marion, Kentucky, called me this afternoon and asked me to let everyone know that the Museum suffered some flood damage earlier this year, to the roof and interior of the museum. The Museum Board of Directors has received several bids to replace the roof once again, however they are looking to construct a gable roof this time so that this hopefully will not happen again. They had the flat rubberized surface roof replaced just a few years ago by local personnel in their area that supposedly knew what they were doing, however, as it now turns out, apparently did not know what they were doing roof work wise. At any rate, the roof is failing and in the past few months of extreme winter weather, they now have multiple leaks inside the walls of the museum and are seeking financial assistance from not only local banks and tourism agencies within the state of Kentucky, but would also appreciate any donations from rockhounds nationwide. They have launched a ” Raising The Roof ” Campaign to raise funds to build a gabled roof. At this point, they have several bids and most are projecting costs up around $ 50,000 for the gabled roof. 

They are also offering Museum Memberships to rockhounds nationwide for $ 20 per year, which would allow any members unlimited visits to the museum at no charge with an id issued membership card, and all membership fees will be used toward the new roof as well. 

If you have any questions, feel free to give Tina a call at the Museum at 270-965-4263 and their address is 205 N. Walker Street, Marion, KY 42064

Tina can be reached at the Museum Wednesday thru Saturday 10 AM to 3 PM from Oct to May, and June to Sept Monday to Saturday at the same hours.  

Eminence in February

Boy after the winter we have had this year, with the extremely cold temps and snow/ice, one would probably think a trip to Eminence was impossible to pull off, but no one was more surprised than me to see about five days of beautiful warm weather and sunny skies, pop up into the calendar three weeks into the snowiest month of the year. Missy and I loaded up early Saturday morning, the 22nd and headed south to see what we could find. My buddy in Eminence had called me a few days before to let me know that very little work was going on at the quarry, but they were slowly and surely removing the blast pile. I figured everywhere else the ground would remain frozen and with work going on there, we could prob find some looser material to work with. We arrived at the quarry about 8:30 am, and I pulled up on the east wall and saw what appeared to be some fractured areas in the wall that may have occurred as a result of freezing and thawing…I parked here to check them out…I soon had my bags parked next to a few pockets along the wall and began working them….

01 Started on Center Walls

 

….I was up on the wall working the smaller pockets when my buddy Jim showed up and stopped by to visit briefly, taking a break from working on his house. I had worked my way down from where I parked the truck and found several smaller pockets…could see the wall was fractured in several areas, although some of them were way up high too….

02 Found a Nice Pocket

…my bags are about four feet up from the ground level, and footing up there was slip and slide, so those pockets higher than four feet were hard to reach, cause I was constantly sliding down in the loose gravel and dirt. I had filled my apron up with the smaller pocket goodies and then finally reached this area of the wall about thirty yards west of where I started and when I found this pocket, I knew I would need the bags, it was that nice looking up close….

03 Signs All Over Wall

 

04 Found A Nice Pocket

 

…some of the first few pieces I pulled from this pocket, were these nice chunks of calcite druse…

05 Calcite Druse

 

06 Calcite Druse With Poker Chip

 A few minutes later, a white car entered the quarry and drove over to my truck and parked, and a guy got out and said he hoped I would be there when he arrived…came over and introduced himself as Kurt and told me that he had been reading my blog site on rockhunting for the past year. Turns out he is a teacher in Lebanon, Missouri and new to rockhunting…he had dropped his wife off at a seminar in Rolla that morning and then decided to drive down and see if he could find anything, and was hoping to find me there as well. We talked for a few minutes and then I showed him what I was finding that morning and he decided to go further east along the wall and see what he could find. About thirty minutes later I looked up and he was over in the area of the original wall, which is still a very good producing area to work….

09 Kirk Checking Pockets on East Wall

 

….I continued to work the bigger pocket, which was positioned under some heavy rocks, that seemed very attached to the base rock, so one less thing to worry about…..

07 Pocket Under Overhang

 

….I started cleaning out the pocket, pulling out several smaller pieces of druse, enough to fill a bag by itself, and then started coming across smaller poker chip crystals mixed in. Soon I was able to look down into the gaps and see some darker poker chip crystals lurking in the shadows so to speak….

08 Looking Down Into Pocket

 

 

…and so far, I had a pretty respectable pile of keepers….

10 So Far Found

 

11 Druse and Chips Chunk

 

12 Chips and Druse

 

…I kept digging in and cleaning and pretty soon the pocket started burrowing in and more crystals started showing up in the dirt at the bottom of the pocket….

13 Pocket Expands

 

14 And Looks Good Expanding

 

…and pretty soon, it had expanded a bit more and I came upon this….

15 More Chips & Druse

 

…plus the bottom of the pocket started producing some very pretty poker chips, some of them quite big, some triples blended together like this one… 

17 Triple Poker Chip

 

…and here is the bottom of the pocket, where you can see yet another nice poker chip hiding in the dirt….what you cant see here yet, are the many other crystals that were hiding in cluster form, mainly because I haven`t yet dug them out and exposed them, but believe me, they were there, and I was able to chip them out a few minutes later….

19 And Even More Revealed

 

…and here is the one that was hiding on the right in the last photo…..

20 Another Beauty Pulled Out

 

Kurt left about 3 pm that afternoon, he had a little longer drive home than I did…Missy and I took off about an hour later, exhausted and very happy with my finds that day….sure was a nice day, as the temps got up to about 65 that day….