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