Guided Druse and Poker Chip Hunt

Last weekend, a friend of mine came up from the Atlanta area after arranging with me in March, to take him and a couple of his friends to some good locations to find druse quartz and poker chip calcite crystals. They definitely wanted to go to the quarry at Eminence and they wanted to find some druse quartz in varying sizes, so I took them to two different locations for the druse and we spent all day Saturday at Eminence. We had a few days of wet weather before they arrived and all the creeks and rivers were way up when they arrived Thursday evening. They were thinking of visiting Peck Ranch to see the elk herd being restored by the Conservation Department of Missouri, however they were not traveling in four wheel drive vehicles, so I suggested they avoid that area, as the roads there crossed several low water bridges and could be flooded easily. As it was, a good buddy of mine who works for the Conservation Department, advised me that the area was closed because additional elk were being brought in to add to the herd. 

I had to work Thursday night all night, came home about 8 am and got a four hour nap, then took Missy to get beautified and arranged with my parents to pick her up afterward, and then I headed south to meet them at Viburnum and take them to a great druse quartz spot nearby. I pulled into the Caseys Store and found Chet in his cargo van, sitting next to Don and David, in their smaller passenger van. After introductions and some small talk, we drove on out to the druse spot…..

01 Friday 19th Druse Spot

We started finding druse quartz all over the place, with the aid of beautiful sunlight…it had been a few days since we had seen sunlight, and while it was a bit cool on Friday, the sunlight made it feel alot warmer and was a welcome sight. Granted, we needed the rainfall, but five inches in a day or two is a bit much in my book. As a result, I had warned these guys to bring boots and expect to get muddy, and so they did. I have been to this spot before when every step you took, you added four pounds of mud to your boots, and eventually it becomes a workout just to walk around there, let alone pick up quartz clusters. 

I started out helping Chet, Don and David find some pretty areas of smokey colored druse and citrine colored druse, and then began looking around for a few pieces myself. Pretty soon they were immersed in a few gullies…..

02 Don Searches for Druse


03 Don Examines Druse

….and I was walking all over the hillside spotting some bigger clusters for them and pointing them out when I did find one. This is a great place to visit after a good hard rain, cause most of these pretties just erode and wash out of the clay dirt….

06 Don & Dave Searching

We only had access to about half of the area as there was some work being done and we didnt want to intrude or get in the way….

07 Chunk of Druse in Clay Mud


08 Box of Plates Found


I found some beautiful seams of smokey colored quartz here and there all over the place, here is one below….

09 Seam of Smokies


…and then I walked upon a chunk of bubbles that had eroded right of out of the clay dirt….

10 Bubble Chunk Found


…pretty soon, I came upon David with his head down and burrowing uphill in a gully, looking for druse and finding it all up and down it….

11 Dave Examines Druse


12 Dave Follows Smokey Seam


he was following a seam of smokey colored druse in that gully….

13 Smokey Seam


14 Smokey Seam


I also found some pretty white druse plates laying around all over the place as well….

15 White Druse Plate Found

These guys had brought me some beautiful quartz crystal plates from Diamond Hill Mine in South Carolina, close to Atlanta, and I was so busy since last weekend, that I didnt get a chance to unwrap them til today. There was also a very beautiful cluster of smokey amethyst and a nice small plate of smokey quartz crystals as well….

34 Smokey Amethyst from Diamond Hill


By the time 5 pm rolled around, I was wearing down pretty fast…the hill at this location isnt all that big, but after walking up and down it several times and carrying bags of crystals back to the truck a few times, my four hour nap after a fourteen hour shift the night before, was soon catching up with me. By 5:30 pm, I was headed out of there and back to the house, stopping off at my parents house to pick up Missy and then heading home to get some supper and then to bed. I stayed up just long enough to catch up on emails and then hit the hay, as I was getting up early to meet Don and David at the Eminence Quarry the next morning.

After dropping off Missy with my parents once again, I was on the road headed to Eminence a little after 6 am, stopping off in Steelville, to get some donuts and then back on the road. I made good time, running into very little other traffic and all the way down, kept seeing several squirrels and chipmunks on the pavement around every turn and over every hill. I had a good sized gobbler run out in front of me on Hwy KK, as I started down a hill south of the Buick Mine turnoff….I had passed several turkey hunters all the way down from Steelville to Hwy 106, most of them were warming up in their trucks when I passed by….it was pretty cool that morning and still a bit damp wind blowing as well, I can remember a few cold turkey hunts myself. The closer I got to the quarry, it seemed like the squirrels on the road just multiplied greatly…it was like driving an obstacle course at times, luckily I didnt hit any of them, although a few didnt move very fast and I held my breath a few times. 

I drove down the last hill on approach to the quarry entrance and spotted David walking the ditchline and as I pulled into the entrance, spotted Don outside their van pulling on his boots. David walked over and said he was looking for old bottles, another of his hobbies. We drove on down to the first bluff area and parked and I pointed out the area that Ian and I had worked for pockets of poker chip crystals with dolomite druse clusters, and they grabbed their tools and wasted no time in attacking the rocks….

17 Em Q Sat Working Small Bluff


Don decided it would be safer to work the point without that large overhang of rock above him so he first started working on bringing it down with his prybars….


18 Dave & Don Look For Pockets

19 Don Knocks Off Big Rock

It was apparent that the rains down there had been hot and heavy as well, due to the way the clay dirt had washed down over the rocky bluff there. I helped them look for some possible pocket areas, before driving on over to the newer area where the rock has been more actively worked lately….

20 Blast Pile Dwindles

I no sooner pulled up at the more recent spot, and stepped out, when I started spotting some beautiful dark grey and chocolate colored poker chips  laying all over the floor of the quarry at the base of the sloped rock pile…..

21 Blast Pile Dwindles


22 Blast Pile Dwindles

….and pretty soon, I had the entire tailgate of my pickup covered with them…..

23 My Finds So Far


24 Dark Grey or Black Poker Chips

I grabbed my mini mattox and a couple of bags and walked down the small pile of rocks at the very base of the pile along the floor and continued finding some great crystals and even a few clusters, including a couple of green ones….

25 Poker Chip Cluster


26 Smaller Poker Chips Found

I decided to stay there and see if I could find some pockets for Don and David when they decided to amble over and work it. I followed a couple of trails of crystals that had rolled down from above, way up above even, and dug a few out of some loose roll down material from above as well. I spotted a couple of potential pockets in the walls and made a mental note to point them out to Dr Destructo Don when he arrived later in the day…Chet arrived about an hour later and after visiting with Don and David at the smaller bluff area, drove over to see what I was finding as well. He liked the color of the crystals in the fresher area and then drove back to the smaller bluff to work with David, trading places with Don, who came over to work the fresher area with me….

29 Dave Searches for Pockets

I pointed out the mentally marked pockets and he went right to work with his bar, knocking down the loose stuff and working on the more confined stuff, to find pocket openings and soon found some nice clusters…..

27 Don Prepares to Work Left Wall


28 Don Finds Cluster Fast

I stopped to take a break and get another donut down, having worked off the other two already. As I was standing there watching Don work up on a shelf, my buddy, Jim Bay, pulled up in his pretty blue Dodge pickup, to see how we were doing with the rocks and see what we were finding so far. His girlfriend was with him and she was amazed at how we were working the rocks and what we were finding there. You cant see the pretty stuff from the highway when you pass by, so most people prob have no clue what type of pretty rock is actually there with the plain looking rock and stone that you generally see. They had been out turkey hunting early morning and then napped a bit before driving down to check on us. I had called him about an hour before that. After a bit, they headed on into town and we continued to break down the rocks and find some pockets. Don did a good job of pacing himself while I did a good job of wearing myself out. David ambled over while taking a break, took one look at the height of the walls and decided to go back to the small bluff area to work the pockets there…..

30 Dave Searches for Pockets

Don and I continued to work the fresher area for a couple more hours before I wore out….I wandered up to the top of the pile and looked around, but couldnt locate any newer stuff…I did spot a couple of large poker chip crystals cradled up high on the wall, but impossible to get to…I commented to Don if we only had a long pole with a metal catch on the end like they used on light bulbs in gymnasiums, we could prob dislodge those crystals but then would need a large basket to catch them in with lots of padding in the bottom….Don wanted a rapelling rope. I headed home soon after legs were sore as could be and I was exhausted as well. It was decided to meet at Viburnum again Sunday morning and travel out to the second druse location where larger druse pieces could be found.

Sunday morning, Missy went with me and we headed down the road about 8 am, arriving in Viburnum at the Caseys Store just ahead of David, Don, and Chet…and after they filled their fuel tanks, we drove north out of town to the other druse spot. I stuck around about an hour and showed them a few different areas there to check out, before heading home to help my parents with some more storm damage work. I heard from them later on, they had found several nice large pieces of druse and then returned to the quarry at Eminence, discovering a pocket that they wanted to check out, had already been cleaned out that morning by someone else. All in all, I believe they had a good trip up here and found alot of nice material. I found some nice material, made two new rockhunting friends, and got some more beautiful Diamond Hill specimens as well…a very good weekend….

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