Bladed Barite and Druse

Saturday morning Missy and I headed out to meet up with Docia down in the National Forest west of Potosi and since I had filled the gas tank on Friday, I decided to go down the backroads to reach the meeting spot. I was able to drive down some roads I hadn`t been to in while, the last time when Potosi had a lumbermill fire and I drove a fire truck down to assist them with it and we sprayed water through a portable deck gun for about ten hours on a burning pile of lumber thirty feet high by 100 yards long. I drove right by that same lumberyard and found it now to be a three times bigger operation than it was back then. Sure hope they are more careful these days.

As I approached the meeting place I drove by a few old tiff mine workings that date back to the 40`s and 50`s…tiff is what the locals down here call barite, and most of the old pits are now filled with water and the tailings remain above the undergrowth and brush.  We met up with Docia who was walking up the road I drove down on, looking in the ditchline for druse and barite. Missy and I stretched our legs for a few minutes and then we loaded back up and drove back up the same road, to check out the tiff pits.…we checked out a few older mining sites and pits and found absolutely nothing, so we decided to drive down to an old smelter site that Docia found the week before. We turned down a road that soon turned into some deep ruts of wash outs that a standard car would not be able to navigate….

05 Four Wheel Drive Access


03 Came Down Rutted Road


…and all that remained of the old smelter were some foundation walls and steel rails…

04 Old Smelter Along Rutted Road


06 Road By Old Smelter



…it was obvious the roads weren`t going to improve so soon we were four wheeling down the trail in search of druse and barite….

07 Roads Dont Get Any Better


…I haven`t done any true four wheeling for quite a few years but it was alot of fun reliving the old days…about a quarter mile down we drove through a couple of large and wide mudholes and then came to a gully crossing…I got out and looked it over first as there was a drop off and then a short ditch crossing, then up the other side and over a small rocky ledge to the top…figured if I could clear the ledge than Docia could as well as her Blazer sits higher than my Colorado does...but as soon as you drop off into the gully, you cant see anything for a few seconds, til the nose of your vehicle catches up with the tires on the downhill slant….apparently that makes Docia a little nervous so when we reached the top on the other side…..

11 Smelter in Distance


….above you can see the starting point on the other side and the edge of the rocky ledge at the top on this side…we parked at the intersection of three trails and she decided we should walk a while….so we walked down the trail leading to the right….

08 Walked This Road


…bout a half mile down this trail til we started hearing gunfire down the hill below us and decided it wasn`t a good spot to be out walking in, so we returned to the trucks and walked a short ways down the middle trail, but decided it was a bit rough looking to drive down and then chose to try the left trail. I grabbed a bag in case we started finding some nice stuff.

Soon after heading down the left trail, we spotted a clay bank off to the left and down across a holler on the next hill over and decided to walk over and check it out for druse. While we didn`t find much druse on the near side where we first started, as we worked our way around the hill, we started finding more of it. Docia headed up the hill to check for some and I continued around the clay back to the northern face of the hill and soon started finding large specimens of druse and hematite and limonite in colors of orange, yellow, and purple……just past this chunk of hematite/limonite above, we started finding bladed barite and druse all over the face of the hillside…

13 Bladed Barite in Woods


…like this one nestled in the pine needles and leaves…..and then I found a chunk of it buried in a clay bank and broken up some, but some large pieces of it still intact and quite pretty….

14 Bladed Barite Pocket


…and after filling my bag about half full, we started back to the trucks…that barite is quite heavy, so after about a hundred yards, I decided to stop and high grade along a trail…we then walked on back to the truck. We had a spare hour, so decided to drive back over to the barite spot and collect some more before heading back to Viburnum….

15A Road To Barite Area


…when we arrived back at the spot, I found some large bubbles of druse buried in the clay dirt and tried to dig them out…a few came out and a few were too big to come out….so we left them there for Mother Nature to take care of….here are a few of the photos of Docia`s nice bladed barite specimens that she found there….

Another Docia Found in Big Ditch


Docia`s First Find



…and a plate of druse with barite attached that she found….

Docia`s Druse with Bladed Barite


…I will get some of mine cleaned up this week and posted for you to see as well…one last note…I did notice that even though Docia admitted to being a ” wus “, when it came to four wheeling, she sure had no problem charging into and through the mudholes down there…

09 Fear Factor

10 Docia Goes Muddin






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