Dandy Black Dogtooth Crystal Day

I received a phone call from my buddy Jim regarding recent activity at Eminence about mid week, and since I had already arranged to take Saturday off to go rockhunting, it made perfect sense to drive down there Saturday morning and see what could be found. After a relatively calm night at work Friday night, I drove home and changed from my uniform into comfortable jeans, picked up Missy, and headed south. We got stuck behind a state road crew re-striping the lanes of Hwy 63 just south of Rolla, which slowed us down about ten minutes, til we hit the first passing lane and passed them. From there it was smooth sailing and after filling the gas tank at Houston`s Caseys Store, at 3.31 a gallon I might add, thirty cents a gallon less than the St Louis area, we arrived about 10 am. Jim was right, it was a short wall that came down…the smallest and shortest wall there yet.

02 Short Wall Blasted

 

The last time I had seen activity in this area, you could walk from the parking lot up the slope of the pile and come out on top of the upper bench, but one look at this pile, and I knew that wasn`t gonna happen, it didn`t even go halfway up. It was evident they had already removed some material in the past few days and were working on some boulders, reducing them down with the hydraulic hammer. Missy and I drove around to the back side of the new pile and began looking around back there first….

03 Piles Everywhere

 

…walking around the front of the pile along the edges and then walked up the pile next to the back wall….

04 Short Wall

 

…well I didn`t find much, other than a few shallow pockets, so I drove back around to the other side and decided to check out the pile where they had been taking some material out….and soon discovered a huge boulder with some pockets at the base of it chock full of light green colored poker chips….

05 Boulder With Green & Grey Chiips

 

I decided to wait til later to see if could liberate them and walked up into the center of the pile and made my way toward the back wall, looking from side to side to see if I could spot any crystals. I found a couple of calcite druse pieces until I got close to the back of the pile…then I started seeing small black poker chips with black center dogtooths laying all over the pile…I finally looked up and around for the source and spotted a HUGE boulder, half the size of my truck, with many pockets of huge black poker chip crystals with the black dogtooth centers, many of the dogtooths exposed even….

06 Blk Dogtooth Pockets in Boulder

 

..including this pocket that was located at the bottom of this huge boulder, containing several black dogtooth crystals, many that appeared to be four or five inches in diameter and about six inches long….

07 Huge Cluster in Vug

 

…and this one next to it, with a bit of damage, most likely from the blast or the fall afterwards….

08 Dogtooth Crystals in Vug

 

…and this next one was underneath and to the side of both of the other pockets, a single large dogtooth crystal in this vug….

09 Blk Dogtooth Crystal in Vug

 

…well needless to say, I was stunned and happy at the same time…and after picking up a few more loose crystals in the pile below, many of which were unblemished and just plain beautiful, I walked back down to my truck to retrieve another bag of wrapping cloths, a bottle of water, and my hammer and chisels. After drinking half a bottle of water, I walked back up and started filling one bag with all the loose crystals around the base of this boulder that I could locate, some were even down below in a few drop holes, and I pulled them out and wrapped them up and bagged them as well. Within moments, I had one bag filled and was working on the other and still hadn`t even touched the boulder vugs. It was about this time that my buddy Jim Bay drove down to visit a bit. He was enjoying the weather on his day off and waiting for his wife to get home from work.

I soon returned to the boulder and began to see what I could successfully chip out of the vugs. Luckily for me, everything was coming out just fine and pristine, and soon I had two more bags full of goodies…here are a few….

11 Some of the Dogtooths

 

12 Two Small Dogtooth Clusters

 

13 Three Small Dogtooths

 

Double Pocket Chunk 1

 

Double Pocket Chunk 2A

 

Double Pocket Chunk 2B

 

Double Pocket Chunk 2C

 

here is the cluster that I chipped out of the bottom of the HUGE boulder at the back side of the pile….

Cluster Chipped Out of Boulder 2B

 

Cluster Chipped Out of Boulder 2C

 

16 Palm Size Brown Dogtooth

 

17A  Palm Size Cluster

 

15 Medium Size Cluster

 

19 Blk Dogtooth Cluster

 

22 Palm Size Blk Dogtooth Crystal

 

23 Palm Size Blk Dogtooth Crystal

 

24 Palm Size Blk Dogtooth Crystal

 

26A  Twin

27 Small Blk Dogtooth Crystal

30 Small Dogtooth

 

31 Small Dogtooth

 

36 Small Dogtooth

 

37 Small Cluster Dogtooth

 

38 Small Cluster Dogtooth

 

39 Small Dogtooth

 

40 Small Dogtooth

 

47 Brown Dogtooth Cluster

 

48 Brown Dogtooth Cluster

 

50 Brown Dogtooth Cluster

 

55 Dogtooth Cluster

 

58 Dogtooths

 

….and the last thing I did after cleaning all those black beauties out, was try to liberate some of the green poker chips in the boulder on the front side of the pile…but like most green poker chips, that tend to shatter much easier than other colors, I was only able to get these two out somewhat intact….

53 Green Poker Chip Cluster

 

54 Green Poker Chip

 

I did manage to find a few pockets on the back wall that were full of calcite druse, some with poker chips attached and liberated some of them as well, however I have no photos of them, maybe I can add some later. It sure was a Dandy Dogtooth Crystal Day. 

James 🙂

jwjphoto@fidnet.com

MAGS Missouri Field Trips 2014

I was really looking forward to the visit by members of MAGS the weekend of April 5th and 6th, their members are some of the best people you would ever want to meet and rock hunt with, one of the best clubs I have ever had the pleasure of joining. My scouting trip the last week of March turned up a couple of new locations, one which needed further exploration and one that sounded too good to be true. I was able to contact the property owner of the quarry and it turned out he was into metal detecting, so we shared a common interest and he gave me permission to check out the quarry on his property. I then contacted my good friend Virgil Richards, who lives in the Tulsa area, to let him know what I had found out and he indicated that he would be back up on Friday night to go with me to the new druse spot and check out the other location for the first time as well. He also wanted to rejoin the MAGS Club in order to get in on some other field trips throughout the rest of the year, too.  I also updated my friend Ray from St Louis County and he indicated he would be out early Saturday morning as well. I had all my grab bag material separated and ready to hand over to MAGS Club for grab bag material at their end of April Show and I coordinated with WC on when and where to meet up with them Saturday late morning.

After a late supper with Virgil at Cracker Barrel, soon after he arrived in my town, I retired early to bed on Friday night, but then woke up around 4 am for some reason, so when the fire department was paged for a house fire about six blocks from my house at 5:30 am, I quickly dressed and headed that way to photograph it for the local paper.  I was on the scene until nearly 7 am, when I headed home so I would be ready when Virgil and Ray showed up at my place at 7:30. Virgil arrived soon after and I gave him the grand tour, heading out soon after Ray showed up. We stopped at Steelville to gas up, where Virgil grabbed some ice and goodies for later, and then headed on south to check out the abandoned quarry.

We arrived there around 9 am and after changing to my boots and grabbing a bag and my mini mattox, we started climbing up to the rock walls to check for pockets….

01 Virgil Checking Out Orig KK Quarry

 

…it was obvious, once we got close enough to inspect the walls, that we were in a quarry that had been abandoned for years, the walls were heavily discolored and weathered….

05 Pockets in West Facing Wall

 

….and it was a steep climb to get up to those walls as well, slippery slope as it were. We found some beautiful druse quartz on the way up there as well, some intense sparkles and colors….

07A Druse Found at Old Quarry

 

07B Druse Found at Old Quarry

 

…and I was working a small pocket near the entrance, while Virgil and Ray were taking a short break down below me…I was pulling some wild looking clusters out of the pocket that had some druse that was def wired differently and poker chips attached to them, looked like a knarly mess to me, but they were def different than anything I had seen, so I pulled about a dozen out and then decided to turn the pocket over to Virgil, since he had made a five hour drive up there and hadn`t found anything good yet. I had already filled another bag on a pocket I had found up above, where I pulled this pretty druse plate out that had this poker chip attached to it….

07C Druse With Poker Chip

 

07D Druse With Poker Chip

 

We began to get a bit worried that we hadn`t seen the MAGS members drive up on our location when 11 am rolled around, so we decided to load up and head toward their Washington County location that they were slated to go to early that morning. We drove down to where I had been told they would be located and found no one there except some workers preparing a cemetery plot for a service, and after they told us that no one else had been down there in that area, we turned around and headed to Viburnum, to see if they had gone on to the site without us. We kept trying to call but as it is in most of those valleys in south central Missouri, there are few times you can pick up a signal. Not until we were deep within the heart of Viburnum did we finally get a signal and make contact with WC, and then as it turned out, they were about half a mile behind us and followed us to the druse spot from there. It seems they had gone to a different location than where they originally thought they were going to, and we had prob driven by the turn off to that location and missed them by mere minutes. I was just glad that we were able to meet up and that everyone was okay, and that they had good luck finding some big pieces of druse at the other location.

After directing them into the parking area and helping them get situated, I noticed one of the trucks had Blue Springs Marina on the side of it as well as a KC phone number, and pleasantly discovered there were now a few more members from Missouri in the club now. I knew most of the member from the year before and it was great seeing Bebe again, as I met her the first time down at Marion, Kentucky at a fluorite dig.  I talk to WC and Matthew online all the time, WC is the Field Trip Director and Matthew is the Newsletter Editor, both very accomplished in their respective duties and great to talk to. After getting to visit with everyone and explaining to them that I had left Missy at home so she wouldn`t get so muddy, I pointed out the boundaries of the druse spot and what they could expect to find, and soon after everyone spread out in search of beautiful druse. Some had been there the year before and were looking forward to this spot once again, its a great place to bring kids, too. 

08 Druse Spot Hunt

 

09 Cornelia Looking for Druse

 

10 Hunters Seeking Druse

After I saw that everyone was finding some nice stuff, I started looking specifically for some more smokey colored druse bubbles for my own collection.

12 Druse at Druse Spot

 

Virgil had run up to the Caseys in Viburnum to get some more goodies and when he returned, he started checking out the ditches and gullies on the north side while most of the rest of us were on the south side.

11 Carrie and WC Look For Druse

 

13 Bentley and D Looking for Druse

 

13 Looking in the Washouts

 

We had been there about 90 minutes when a guy pulled up in the road and stopped to check us out…he wasn`t sure what we were collecting and his curiousity got the best of him, so he stopped and started asking questions…turned out he was Cindy`s husband Bob, and he invited us on up to his property to look for druse there. We continued on down the road to their farm about an hour later…they have fifty acres there of mostly cleared forest land, but as it turned out, the only druse we found there were contained in very small vugs, not the type of stuff we were looking for and used to finding. From here, everyone was pretty tired and decided to head back to Park Hills to get some supper and rest up for the dig tomorrow, so I pointed out how they could return to Hwy C from where they were located to make the return trip. I told WC that Missy and I would meet them at the quarry entrance the next morning at 9 am in Eminence. Ray, Virgil, and I headed up to the Caseys store to get a few slices of pizza and decided the day had been long enough for us as well. Virgil decided to head on home from there, since we hadn`t gotten the word about any new blasting at Eminence, so we all split up at Cuba and headed home.

 The next morning, Missy and I headed south by 7 am, arriving in Eminence a little after 9 and on pulling into the entrance to the quarry, discovered we were the first ones there. I had enough time to get out and make some needed adjustments to one side of my tonneau cover to make it more secure when closed…I honestly think the wind has slapped it around enough this year to make it hard to open and shut. Soon after changing to my boots, we saw the convoy of vehicles head down the hill toward us, with WC leading the way….

15 WC Leads the Way

 

…and as soon as everyone was in the lot off the highway, we drove on down to the newer cove area and parked. Missy jumped out and everyone wanted to say hi to her…she was a bit easier to pet this year, easier to catch up to I should say…she is getting older and doesn`t run around as much these days, comes back to where I am hunting at and lays down to watch and rest, so it`s easier to catch up to her and pet her these days.  She has been a very good and constant travel companion in my life these past fourteen years and a great buddy girl to have around….she absolutely loves to go rock collecting with me.

On driving in, I had noticed a couple of new areas of activity, and pointed them out to everyone, and soon after, most headed to those new areas to check them out. Even though I grabbed my tools and bags, I mainly helped everyone get started finding stuff, specially the two kids there, Bentley and ” D ” who were part of the Kansas City group.

16 Looking for Pockets

 

17 Looking at a Big Chunk

 

18 Decisions Decisions

I checked out a pile to the east for a bit and then returned to the west side of the coved wall, after Matthew`s wife Carolyn called me over to check out some finds. I  began picking up dark colored poker chips all over and we all began digging in and finding even more laying around all over the place. Soon after, my buddy Jim Bay drove down to visit with us and I introduced him to everyone there too.  We continued to look around and even though we didn`t find any major pockets, I`m pretty sure everyone went home happy with what they found there. We had hoped they would blast before they arrived, cause then there would be even more material laying around to go thru, but alas for some reason that didn`t happen. By 2 pm, it was just Missy and me, and we looked around in another area before heading home an hour later. I look forward to seeing everyone at some of the other field trips later this year. 

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

Last Week of March Vacation

I took the last week of March off for some vacation time to get ready for the MAGS visit here the first weekend in April, they had asked me to take them druse quartz hunting on Saturday April 5th and then to the quarry at Eminence on Sunday, April 6th. I wanted to do some additional scouting the weekend before they arrived to make sure the sites we were planning to visit were still producing great material and still accessible. Therefore I made another trip to both of the major locations and did some collecting as well as the scouting….hey if I`m making the drive down , I might as well have fun and collect too. I also took the time to separate my finds from the prior year into several buckets to give them some good grab bag material for the upcoming show at Memphis, April 26th and 27th, The Earth Wide Open…if anyone is going to be in that area during that weekend, make plans to visit the show, it`s one of the best and largest gem and mineral shows across the United States.

I also wanted to check on an abandoned quarry that I had been given information on, that was closeby as well. On Sunday afternoon on the 30th, after breakfast with my parents and some friends, Missy and I drove down to Iron and Washington Counties and after locating the abandoned quarry with the information given to me, I then set about trying to find the property owner. I spotted a guy working outside at a nearby farm, and stopped to ask him if he might know the owner, and had some great luck, It turned out he was an assistant to the Assessor for that part of the county and was able to point out the house where the property owner lived, even though he didn`t know the guy`s name. He also told me that he had been collecting rocks and minerals since he was a kid, too, and told me of a few other locations nearby that were on National Forest Land and accessible for druse quartz. I thanked him for his information and drove down to the residence near the quarry to see if I could locate the owner there. While I didn`t find him there, I was able to copy some information that would enable me to locate him later in the week and obtain a phone number and name for him. From there we drove over to one of the roads that the Assistant Assessor had pointed out and slowly drove down the road looking for druse…I spotted a large chunk of pink druse halfway down the ridge road and stopped to check it out. I liked it so well that I placed it in the bed of my truck and as I started to get back into my truck, I noticed many aluminum cans laying all over the place on both sides of the road right there, many within fifty feet of my truck. I grabbed a small bucket in my truck and within five minutes, had it filled with cans. As I drove on back to the highway, I thought of how any of my friends that collect cans, would literally have a field day collecting down that road and could likely fill a few large plastic trash bags on cans alone there. 

I then drove up to the druse spot near Viburnum…as I was driving down the road on approach to the spot, Missy and I came upon a nice lady that was collecting cans…she was walking along with a walking stick and accompanied by a big beautiful and fluffy Golden Retriever…I stopped alongside her and struck up a conversation and asked her if she needed some more cans. She said she would gladly take donations and I opened the tonneau cover and gave her about a dozen cans. I found out her name was Cindy and she is a nurse with her own business in town, and Cindy introduced us to Ed, her dog as well. She and Ed walk about three to four miles a day picking up cans, she said. I told her I was out scouting druse quartz locations for a gem club trip the following weekend and she offered her property which is a few miles on down the road. I thanked her for her hospitality and continued to the druse spot….

01 Druse Spot Rescouted

Missy and I hunted the druse spot for about an hour and I filled one bag completely with beautiful  smokey colored druse, which is my favorite color from there, and then we loaded up and headed to the secret spot. We stopped briefly to visit with Cindy again, who was then on her way back to her house and nearly in the same spot as we saw her an hour before. I told her it was very possible that we would be visiting with her and her husband and Ed the next weekend.  We arrived at the secret spot about thirty minutes later and found a pocket fairly quickly this time….

03 New Pocket Found

 

…and within minutes, it seemed to be going deep….

05 Deep Hole

 

06 Pocket Interior

 

…here is one of the top plates I pulled out of the entrance to the pocket, with a poker chip attached….

07 Druse Plate

 

…and a pile of goodies growing, which contained alot of twins and triples….

08 Pile of Goodies

 

…and on the way home, I spotted these nice sunbeams….always a good sign of a good day….

10 Sunbeams Landon Road