My Group Travels to Missouri Nov 2022

After updating my group about the dismal outlook on quartz collecting in Arkansas in November again this year, many decided they would like to travel to Missouri instead on the same dates and rockhound with me again instead, for the second year in a row. Some have traveled here on their own at various times of the year and like the places I like to go rockhounding at. I decided I would take them to the new druse location at Mineral Point on Friday the 11th, since Haunted Ridge would be shut down for deer season by then, and then we would go to MFQ on Saturday the 12th and the SSQ on Sunday the 13th.

Sam Linton and Aaron Baker came in a day earlier this year, arriving on Wednesday, the 9th, so I took them to a new location in southeast Missouri, that my buddy Bob Steele and I had been talking about scouting for druse. I had received good info from a firefighter friend that druse was practically all over the place at this location, so we drove down there on Thursday morning and Bob joined us as well…he had the easier drive, as he is only like 20 minutes from it.

There were a few spots at this location that we wanted to check out, but were unable to get to one of them that day, likely due to deer season opening on Saturday, so we went to the first location and pulled off the road, then wandered over to the other side of the roadway, where I immediately started seeing sparkles on the hillside….

…then I spotted this one higher up on the slope above the ditchline…

…and after searching that side of the road for about fifteen minutes, I had added two more to it….

…while Bob, Aaron, and I were searching that side, Sam crossed the road and down the hill on the other side to a wash below, where he began finding some larger plates with beautiful colors. We continued down the hill on the same side, while Sam stayed on the other side.

After trying to get to the one spot we wanted to check out, after looking at the satellite maps, discovering our access was blocked, we decided to drive over to a friend of Bob`s, south of there, and see if we could find any druse there.

Aaron was the only one of us that found a decent druse there…..

… we drove back toward Potosi, thinking we might go scout one more location before returning to Sullivan.We also stopped off briefly at Bob`s house, where he showed me a druse plate he found with a ball of barite perched on the druse….

We stopped off at one more spot, that was on the way, another of Bob`s friends, after Bob made a call and obtained permission for us to stop there. It is a little ways off the road, Bob and I discovered it a couple of weeks prior, and pleasantly discovered calcite crystals there in vugs of limestone boulders that had been dug out of a field, in preparation for a basement to be poured there….

…Bob found a huge dogtooth calcite crystal there, which I am sure, made his day….


By now, I was getting a lot of text messages from the rest of the crew who were arriving in town and wondering when and where supper was going to be at, so we packed it in and headed to Sullivan. I think we ate at El Nopal that evening.

The next morning I drove over to America`s Best Value Inn and led my group down to the Mineral Point location, let everyone know the boundaries and we all dispersed into the forest to look for druse and barite. Both can be found there separately and together, and are quite beautiful. This is a beautiful rose colored druse bubble plate I found sitting in the leaves…

…and here is a beautiful bladed barite that Aaron found there….

…this location also seems to have a lot of blue colored druse quartz, which all by itself can be quite pretty, but when you combine the druse found there with the bladed barites found there, those combination pieces really come alive…..

this is one of Sam`s bladed barite finds, prior to him cleaning it up….

…we stayed there for the morning and then drove over to a newer private location, paid our fee, signed the waiver, and dropped it in the dropbox, then walked down to the wooded area at the far side and began finding and collecting beautiful druse quartz. We collected for a few hours and then returned to Sullivan. Dinner that evening was at Missouri Hick BBQ for the all you can eat catfish….

David Hodge and I had the catfish…it was excellent…Aaron decided to try the stuffed baked potato dish… called Ory`s Spud….they are huge…

….but not everyone made it up there that evening due to a traffic snafu and that was partially my fault for not letting everyone know where we were going and providing directions.

That night, snow fell in the southern part of Missouri, and it sounded like the roads may have been ice and snow covered in the area of MFQ, so I decided to take the group to the SSQ instead. I had heard the main roads down there were just wet…we found out when we got close that the ground and trees were covered with some snow, maybe an inch or two at most, but the roads were in good shape….

..I should say, when we first started seeing the snow, it was a dusting, and then the further south we progessed, the deeper it got…but we never saw more than a couple of inches on the ground and only the dirt roads were covered….

…snow really sets the pine trees off well, very pretty…we arrived to find the quarry floor with a dusting of snow here and there. Everyone did a little walking around, looking for various goodies, as there is a wide variety found there…holie rock druse quartz, plates of soda straw druse quartz, poker chip calcites, dogtooth calcites, the latter two usually found in wall pockets, so some were looking for new wall pockets, some checking out older wall pockets, and then began looking for floor pockets, and that is when the work began….

…it was a little cold that day, but as long as we were staying busy, we really didnt notice the cold that much….and boy, did we stay busy….

…then they started pulling the loose crystals and clusters out of the bottom of the pockets…yes they are wearing gloves because the water was very cold….

While the guys were working the pockets with their saws, Sam found a huge pocket of his own and began working it…it had actually been there for awhile, and everyone thought it was played out, but he opened it up, crawled into it, and began pulling poker chips and clusters out soon after…

…and while that was going on, I was looking for other floor pockets myself…only found a few but filled a bucket or two like everyone else. 🙂

…and soon Sam came over and showed some the dogtooth calcites he began finding deep inside his pocket….

….and here is the loot that the other guys found….

The next morning, I led everyone down to MFQ and the roads were good and clear, there were a few areas at the quarry with a dusting of snow, like the point where David Hodge and Don Lapham started working….

…we found several pockets of calcite blades down there…a few of them even produced some nice calcite poker chips and dogtooths…

As you can see, we had our hard hats on, and we wear safety glasses when we use our saws, hammers, and chisels, and we wear boots as well, usually steel toed boots which are required by many places. We like to work safely and go back home in one piece. We also follow safety rules at the places we rockhound at, we don`t want to cause any landowners any problems, that is a good way to be uninvited back.

Some headed for home from there and the rest of us returned to Sullivan for dinner.

All in all, it was a great weekend, everyone went home happy with their finds. Slade, Sam, and Aaron had the longest trips home, so they started home about 4 am Monday morning and everyone had safe trips home. I took Monday off and rested up before returning to work on Tuesday. 🙂



MAGS Annual Trip to Missouri May 2019

When I received the call from my Manager Shawn at Greenbriar Hills to come back to work this year, I let him know that I had a couple of rockhound clubs that wanted to come up and rockhunt with me…MAGS Club was one of those two clubs…one of three clubs I am a member of…he asked me for the dates of the weekends I needed off to take both clubs rock collecting and allowed me to take both of those weekends off. I was sooooo glad to hear that. 🙂  I do love working there and I will say…they did work me pretty hard the day before both of those weekends. 🙂

I had been in contact with Kim Hill, the Field Trip Director for MAGS, for at least a few weeks on FB, regarding the timing of each day, locations we were going to, and final details on the trip, helping them with lodging information after discovering that their normal stay location was booked solid. I made some inquiries and found out there was a major Ozarks Mountain Festival in Eminence that weekend, so they would have to book pretty fast there if they wanted to stay there…Kim got the word out to her members and they booked their reservations pretty fast. I then had a text from W.C McDaniels, the President of MAGS, and he was concerned because he wasn`t able to contact a good mutual friend of ours, Betty Marler, of Park Hills…they always invited Betty up to go rockhunting with them and now he was not able to get in touch with her. I began making some inquiries with friends in the Park Hills Gem Club to see if they knew another way to reach Betty over the next week…they let me know that they really missed seeing Betty and hoped she would soon return  and tried reaching out to some of her relatives as well, by email.

However, I struck out…or thought I did, until W.C. texted on Friday and said he had finally heard back from Betty, that she was having phone issues and everything was okay. I was glad to hear she was okay tho…she and her late husband Lloyd have been good friends for years, they were very instrumental in not only starting the Park Hills Gem and Mineral Club, but the Park Hills Mineral show that is held annually at the Federal Hill Mine Complex and has grown to be one of the largest shows in the Midwest over the years, as well as one of the most enjoyed shows in the Midwest…many rockhounds not only talk about this show every year, but literally thousands look forward to it each year as well. It`s definitely one of my favorite shows to attend.

I was also contacted by Rockhound Bill from Chicago…I had rockhunted with him and his girlfriend Debbie, a few years before at Geodefest and a prior MAGS trip to Missouri, but then both of them went silent for the past few years since…so I was a bit surprised to hear from them all of a sudden. He let me know they were going to be in the KC area the week before the MAGS trip to visit family, then drive down for the rockhunting weekend a day ahead of time. He asked if I knew of any locations where they could rockhunt before the group arrived…I let him know that I did not know of any locations in that area that allowed rockhunting through the week, including the two locations we were going to that weekend.

This is advice I normally give to rockhounds all the time when asked…advice I hope that they take me seriously on and heed the suggested warning. We all know what can happen if someone decides to go into a location like that ahead of time, on a weekday no less…if caught by property owners…it can be bad not only for the person or persons who went there when they were advised not to, but can have dire consequences for clubs or groups of rockhounds afterward as well, such as the cancellation of a scheduled dig or collecting date and generally no invite back as well. Many clubs, including MAGS, also have rules for their members to abide by, regarding scheduled field trips…members attending field trips to quarries or other off road locations are not allowed to drive or walk into the location before the scheduled meeting time, within a time period of a few minutes to several days before the scheduled meeting time at the meeting place. It`s not fair to others waiting in the parking lot of the quarry or meeting place for a dig location, abiding by the rules waiting for everyone to show up and enter together, then all of a sudden they see a member of the club drive out of the quarry…their first thought is what was that member doing inside the quarry ahead of everyone else, and how long was that member inside the quarry…have they already done some digging and found some goodies that the rest of us would have had an opportunity to dig for as well…and even if nothing happened, it leaves those rule abiding members with a sense of violation, disrespect and a lack of trust for the member who violated the rules…no matter what explanation the violating member provided…so another piece of advice for anyone reading this….if you join a club to go to field trips, like many of us like to do…PLEASE FOLLOW THE RULES…they are in place for a reason…if you don`t understand the rules, ask for an explanation….and if you ask me for advice, PLEASE FOLLOW MY ADVICE OR GUIDELINES…believe me, mine are simple and I offer them for a reason…if you need to know the reason, you need only ask and I will provide it for you. 

Kim and I had decided I would meet with the MAGS members at the area High School on Saturday morning, May 4th at 9 am…allowing Onyx and I to sleep in a bit longer than what we normally do when going rockhunting. We arrived at the parking lot just ahead of the main group, about ten minutes to 9 am…I figured most were prob at the nearby gas station using the bathroom. It was a little cool that morning, around 48 degrees and we had driven through some valleys with fog on the way up there, some misting as well…I sure hoped the forecast for clearing was correct.

The rest of the group arrived and soon we were on our way to the first location to do some druse quartz hunting…it`s alot easier to do with sunlight, because you can see the sparkles all over the hillside, but we made do once we arrived…..

…..this was the location I took them to last year and they loved it so much, they requested a revisit of it this year, you can find small pieces of druse and all the way up to small boulders of druse here…


….we spent about two hours there and then once everyone was ready, we drove down to the second location, where the smoky druse quartz could be found….it was a bit muddy down there…afterall, we had been receiving rain on a daily basis for the past couple of weeks…why I do not know….


I stepped over into the mud at the side of the road and picked up a nice plate of bubbley smokey druse quartz to show them what it looked like as well as a few small plates in various colors….

….once they observed how easy it was to find  and how pretty it was, some in bubble form and some in soda straw form, some big, some small, plus all the other colors of druse available there…well, let`s just say they were nothing short of ecstatic !! They spread out on the tailing pile and began searching for pretty druse…easy to find as it was EVERYWHERE !! 


…suddenly it seemed like the sky had lightened up quite a bit…I looked up to see the clouds rolling apart and could see some blue sky here and there finally…it even seemed to be warming up a bit….NOW, I was ecstatic !! 

…and yes, I did manage to fill a couple of buckets of druse as well…here are a few of my finds…

It should also be noted that there are some lapidarists in this group and in MAGS as a whole too…lapidarists are those that like to use rock saws to cut slices of rocks like agates…and create cabochons to make jewelry…in the past few months of collecting here, we have found some pretty translucent pieces of what appears to be some form of agate or jasper or chert…whatever it is, it sure is pretty stuff !!  Anne Pender Pinkerton was asking me about it and so I gathered up a few chunks of this agate for her….

My good long time MAGS friends Matthew and Carolyn Lybanon were able to make this trip, they both enjoy surface collecting and druse at this location was a good one for them as well, fairly easy walking…here you see Matthew walking down the slope of the tailing pile toward me in the green rainsuit….

…and Rockhound Bill sitting in the middle of the tailing pile collecting druse….

…and a few of the gals hunting as well….Kim Hill at the top of the photo in the tye dye shirt and Anne in the bright green/yellow shirt kneeling in the roadway……

…and then Carolyn came walking down the slope as well….


Soon after that, we drove on over to the SSQ and everyone spread out looking for pockets and crystals…I was able to find a couple of pockets in the hour we were there. The problem there was the amount of water in pools everywhere…making it difficult to get around to various places to look for pockets…it sure didn`t bother Onyx any, he looks at those pools as potential swimming pools. 🙂 Afterward, we drove down to see Miner Dave and see if he had any new Viburnum Trend crystals and minerals for sale…I was finally able to get in touch with him by phone just minutes from his house, he was cooking some chili and said sure, come on down !!

He def had some new ones, four tables covered by some of the most gorgeous crystals I had ever seen from a recent blast out of a couple of mines, however he already had that collection sold and was waiting for the buyer to come pick them up…we were able to look and drool, but that was it…out of respect for the buyer and Miner Dave, that is all we did, look and admire. He had some nice phantom calcites and some other nice ones too, and the MAGS members purchased some from him while there. They then headed south to Eminence to take in the festival there, while Onyx and I headed home.

Onyx and I were up by 5 am the next morning and on the road by 6:30 am, driving down to meet up with MAGS members at MFQ…the weather noticeably warmer that morning with a forecast high of 75 and sunny skies. We arrived about 8:30 with a meeting time set at 9 am once again, this time at the quarry parking lot. I had received word the week before that recent blast activity had occurred then, however I was unable to get down there to check it out.

As soon as everyone else arrived, we had a short safety meeting…I let those that didn`t bring their hard hats, know that they should stay away from the walls as there are some rocks way up high that do roll off the wall and fall….we then traveled down to the pile and spread out around it to look for goodies. The sun was out now in full force and the temps were beginning to rapidly warm up…within about five minutes, I spotted a couple of nestles chocolate brown poker chips and then a medium sized green poker chip cluster immediately after…I let out a loud ” Holie Cow ” and everyone came running to see what I was finding. I had brought samples of what could be found there, just in case they didn`t have good luck finding anything, but if what I was seeing in a short time was any indication of what we were gonna find, it was obvious those samples they selected earlier in the parking lot, were just gonna be some nice extras for their collections. Be advised, from this point on, things happened very fast and I had no time to take any photos, I left that up to the rest of the members there, as I was busy finding nice crystals, making more loud ” Holie Cow ” calls and then tossing them down to various members to take home with them….one was a nice small plate of chocolate dogtooth crystals with a golden colored stream through them…I handed that plate to Anne and told her she could only take it home if she wrapped it up before putting it in her bucket. The last I checked, she heeded my advice and put them in her vehicle. 🙂

Mike, one of the members, and I climbed up on the pile and soon started spotting some more nice crystals, and clusters, alot of calcite druse plates and even a few vugs in boulders full of crystals and druse. Pretty soon I had to go back down and retrieve my bucket as well as a couple of bottles of water, as the sun was really starting to warm things up. The others spread out around the pile and began looking for, and finding goodies, others looked along the walls for pockets and fall down material. Everyone was having good success finding nice ones to take home. Pretty soon Onyx and I were the only ones up on top of the pile and I was finding stuff laying everywhere, much of it in great shape, all things  considered. Everyone else was looking for shade…I just removed my sweatshirt and then long sleeved shirt and kept drinking my water, and finding more nice stuff. I left some nice stuff in the pile in case some friends of mine from North Carolina, who were traveling to Missouri in the next week, might want to visit the quarry and find some nice ones to take home. Since the MAGS members had about a five hour drive home, they left about 1 pm…Onyx and I headed for home about 2:30 pm with a couple of buckets of nice goodies and a couple of yard rocks. I`ll post some photos of my crystals as soon as I get them all cleaned up. All in all, another enjoyable MAGS visit for sure. 🙂

SSQ Right Before Kentucky Trip

Onyx and I drove down to the SSQ again on August 19th, turned out to be pocket city that morning…we returned to try and clean out the huge pocket in the corner that I found the week before….I didn`t write about that one either at the time, due to my work schedule, was putting in several days in a row at work without a break, so by the time I would get home from work, I was too exhausted to do anything but take an hour nap, go to supper, watch a little tv, and then hit the hay to get up and repeat the next day…after about six to nine days in a row of that. you are ready for a break, believe me. As I age, that type of routine gets old fast, so am thinking next year I am going to have to get a different schedule at work cause I don`t like working that many days in a row without a break. Since both visits were in August, hottest month of the summer, and since I am now used to getting up each morning around 4 am for work, I know that we arrived both days around 6 am and collected during the cool early hours of the morning while there…this is how the quarry looked when we arrived the week before….

…and I remember walking over to the right side wall to re-check the big pocket in the wall that I found two weeks before when Abbi came to visit, to see if I missed anything….and discovered that either Abbi or I had failed to remove a couple of small clusters from the rocky floor below the pocket…so I put those in my bucket and then climbed up to peer inside the pocket again, pulled out a few smaller crystals and a few baseball sized clusters, then grabbed ahold of some crystals in the bottom, midway back in the pocket floor…low and behold, they moved…the cluster was loose, so I was able to pull it free from the floor of the pocket !!  and here it is on my tailgate a few min later surrounded by some of the loose smaller ones I pulled free….

…from there, I ventured over to the left along the main wall and decided to walk over to the left hand wall corner, to see if I could find anything worth taking home or a new pocket…that is a very vuggy area sometimes but requires a closer inspection because it can also be unstable looking from afar. As I approached it, I started seeing poker chips laying on the ground under a large rock sticking out from the wall about six inches…I kneeled down to take a closer look and discovered a very large area of poker chips spilling out of yet another pocket opening up under that ledge of rock…flabbergasted would be an understatement for me. For one thing, standing where I parked, and looking over to that corner, you could not see anything due to a large pile of rock blocking your view from there..I literally had to walk over to it to see it, but then again, this was going to turn out to be yet another huge pocket and the last few weeks had been several huge pockets, one after another, so flabbergasted was very appropriate. 🙂  I do not have any photos of that pocket from the get go nor to the finish, but I can show you what the initial finds were that I pulled from it ….

…and these along the ledge of my sink came from a black dogtooth pocket along the main wall not far from the corner pocket….

…I was working the black dogtooth pocket when I looked to the left the week before and spotted that pocket at the foot of the wall in the corner, then walked over to check it out. It took me about ten minutes to clean out the opening of that pocket under the ledge rock sticking out from the wall…that ledge rock turned out to be a roof plate…I decided to leave it in place til I was able to clean out the opening and once I was about a foot inside, and had everything cleaned out under that front roof plate, I removed it and turned it over…big bubbles of shimmery gray druse with poker chips attached…it was gorgeous…I set it aside and out of my way and continued pulling poker chip after poker chip from the opening of the pocket, some were singles, some were doubles, some were triples, some were combos, and many I was pulling from the left wall inside the pocket were dogtooths. The further back in the pocket that I went, the more dogtooths came out of there…pretty soon I was in there to my shoulder and within 30 minutes I had two buckets completely filled with wrapped crystals. By then it was about 11 am and beginning to get quite warm so we decided to head home, quite happy with my finds. 🙂

So a week later, I returned to see about cleaning out the last pocket…the corner pocket, see how far back it went into the wall and see what else was there. Onyx and I arrived about 6 am and it was a bit foggy on the way down there, so we waited about twenty minutes for the quarry to lighten up…I shot this first video then…


As soon as the light improved, I started walking over to the corner pocket I had found last week, but as I was making my way over there, I came across an area at the base of the wall where many poker chip crystals were laying around, so I stopped to check for a pocket and began digging at the base of the wall…can see where I stopped in the photo below, where my bucket and rags are located…

…to the right in the corner, you can see what appears to be a rockslide of sorts…the last pocket from last week is under that pile of rocks and I was going to have to dig it out first…I spent about 2 hours digging around where the bucket and rags are above…and found several poker chip and druse combo pockets, as well as several smaller shallow pockets…


…and the first pocket I found along that wall was a pretty good sized one and deep inside…triangular shaped opening as well…

…and here are some of my crystals from this big pocket…




As the videos show, it was pocket city on the wall there, many were shallow and full of a few small pieces of shimmering gray druse only, some had some dogtooth crystals inside, and some had combo pieces of druse and poker chips, but it provided me about 3 hours of work and fun. I finally did get on over to the corner pocket, and liberated it from the rockslide tho…



….it`s a good thing I cleaned it out when I did, two weeks later it was completely gone with a new blast. 🙂

CAGMAGS Returns to Missouri

I received a call from Arkansas David, who had attended the field trip to Missouri with the MAGS Club end of March…David called me a couple of weeks later and asked if his club, CAGMAGS, which stands for Central Arkansas Gem and Mineral…could come up and go rockhunting with me to the Druse Location and MFQ again…I let him know what weekends I was off from my new job and he decided on April 21st and 22nd…and since MAGS…the Memphis Club that I am a member of…had invited his club to go with them, he decided to invite them to go with his club…and they did, as I received notice from MAGS of same by email a few days later.  The members of CAGMAGS decided to stay at the same area motel that MAGS had before, as well, so Onyx and  I met them there Saturday morning about 8 am and led them to the Druse location. David and John headed off to the right of where we parked, looking for druse and more pyrite and marcasite….we again had cloudy skies to start and the members this time, wanted to leave and drive on to the quarry a little sooner than when MAGS was here….

…while others spread out on the other side of the road and farther back on the same side as where we parked…again we had peeks of sunshine that helped spot the druse a little faster and this time, a few more of us wandered down to the bottom of the hill to look for yard rocks of druse and poker chip combos….

…and after about an hour of looking for druse, we loaded up and drove on to the Secret Spot Quarry….

…where it appeared on the hillside behind the walls, that Spring was making its presence known…like the MAGS trip, this morning was a bit cooler and most of us were bundled up…once the sun finally came out, it warmed up quickly for us. I pointed out the potential areas for goodies and everyone spread out to look for them…


…and once I saw that everyone seemed to be finding stuff, I started looking for some pockets on my own…soon joined by John and a few others eventually…I usually have pretty good luck finding some and within 20 minutes I was working on one that kept going and going…deeper and deeper…producing some roof plates initially and then some nice single calcite crystals too….

…and some nice druse/poker chip combos as well, like this one…

…once John saw what my pocket was producing, he was hooked and sat down a few feet from me and started digging into an older pocket that soon produced crystals for him as well, once he tied into a couple of pockets that opened up for him…

After a couple of hours working pockets at the quarry, and several finding some nice druse plates as well, we traveled down to see my friend who sells Viburnum Trend minerals…we visited with him for a good hour and then the crew asked me if I knew of a good BBQ joint around…I told them about Missouri Hick BBQ in Cuba and said they have a satellite restaurant in Steelville as well…so we saddled up and drove to Steelville for some good bbq.  Only after walking inside, did we discover that it was no longer Missouri Hick BBQ…instead was a burger joint…the crew decided they really didn`t want to drive any further for food, so we stayed and tried it out…wasn`t bad for a burger joint. After a good hour of talk and food, Onyx and I headed for home and the crew returned to their hotel, and we decided to meet at MFQ the next morning. 

On the way down there the next morning, Onyx and I stopped off for a few minutes to photograph Alley Spring Mill, as we pass right by it on the way there…

…and then we drove on to MFQ and were soon joined by the rest of the crew there. A few days before, I had received word from a good friend nearby that some recent activity occurred and so we were some of the first rockhounds to visit since then…it turned out to be great hunting for all of us….

..we donned our hard hats, steel toed boots, gloves, safety glasses, and headed up the new pile to check things out…David and I started seeing some nice crystals right away, from the very base of the pile all the way to the top and some big boulders with nice vugs as well…soon John was in the mix with us and after pointing out some nice stuff to him, he began finding it on his own too, we were finding crystals that were nestles chcolate brown colored, black colored, and some nice green/brown mixes, some even had some irridescence to them…we climbed higher to the wall and started spotting pockets all over the place…pretty soon we were cleaning out several nice pockets…we found out later that John located some nice dogtooth pockets on his own, producing some nice crystals, singles, doubles, twins, and clusters…


…I have to say, John was quite happy with his finds…as he should have been…as you can see below…he had some real beauties come out of a couple of nice pockets and he shared them with everyone there…

I`m pretty sure everyone there had a great time over both days and MFQ was a super hit with the recent activity prior to their arrival, making Sunday morning specially nice with more pockets of green and brown dogtooth calcite crystals to be found and collected. They left for home about noon, a five hour drive ahead of them, while Onyx and I decided to stick around another hour or so and check out the western side. I had no sooner climbed up on the ramp to the walls above when I came upon a huge chunk, consisting of a large single chocolate brown calcite crystal, encased in calcite druse and dolomite matrix, with several smaller poker chips surrounding the entire base of the large piece…measuring a good 24 inches high and about 15 inches wide. In order to get it down to the parking lot, I wrapped it up in my rain jacket and scooted it carefully over to the edge of the pile, then after placing it in front of me and wrapping my arms around it, I slid down the pile like a slide and then brought the truck over to it and loaded it up.  I loaded up some smaller ones and then we headed for home, having our sandwiches on the way. 🙂



Green Poker Chip Pocket at MFQ

Friday afternoon I received word from my buddy Jim, that more activity had occurred at MFQ that morning. Since I had to work that weekend, I let my buddy Chuck Reed know about it and he decided to drive down Sunday morning and see what he could find. I had driven down there the weekend before and discovered then, that more activity had occurred on the west wall of the quarry again, but they were drilling up on top of the wall between the cove and the west wall, and that wall had been full of dogtooth crystals pockets some years back. I let Chuck know this and wished him well. I called him Sunday evening on my way to work to see how he did, and he told me that he did pretty good, so I decided to take Onyx…despite the forecasted heat…and drive down Monday afternoon and see what I could find. After dealing with morons all Sunday night at work, I got a good five hour nap in Monday and then we headed down there. Here is what it looked like when we arrived…the cove is on the right side and to the left it tapers down to the ” West Side “, which you really cannot see in this photo below……

32 New Blast

I parked about midway down and rolled the windows down, got my boots on, my apron on, and took the next few photos with my camera….

01 Coved Wall02 Blast Area Just West of Cove

…and the next photo shows the activity on the newly created ” west side ” of the quarry…

03 New Blast Area West of Cove

…after that I started hearing some rumblings of thunder just to the north of the quarry, and started studying the clouds above…to see which way it was moving…took awhile to figure it out cause they were moving extremely slow to the southwest…too bad, cause that blast pile was extremely dusty looking and I would have had no problem sitting in the truck waiting for a good washing off. I also started seeing some neat sunbeams…aka windows to Heaven…all over and above the quarry…I took them as a good sign…and maybe more than that….

07 Sunbeam City10 Sunbeams to West

Beautiful Sunbeams on Arrival

…everyone that knows me, knows I LOVE sunbeams, sunsets, and sunrises…pretty much in that order, rainbows too, but they are much rarer to capture….and my Dad knew that I liked sunbeams too…and here I was at one of my favorite places to rockhunt at and within a few minutes, sunbeams started popping out all over the top of that quarry….

13 Sunbeams

14 Sunbeam City15 Sunbeams Before Storm

…and I took that as a good sign of things to come and more…this happened yesterday and today is my Dad`s birthday. Onyx and I took a quick sashay around the front of the blast pile to see if we could find anything interesting, looked at the big boulders in the pile and checked for vugs…..didn`t see anything worthwhile, so I left my bag down near the bottom and climbed up along the wall starting on the west side to check the walls out for pockets….

17 Started On West Side

18 Moved Across to East Side

…and moved to the east side along the wall…finding very little of anything but the calcite that looks either rotten or ill formed, or looks like it belongs in a cave. I moved all the way across the east side and then came to a point sticking out….



…and as soon as I rounded that corner sticking out, I spotted about four pockets, but only one really caught my eye, due to the content of it that was plainly visible to my eye…

20 Pockets To Right of Broken Wall

If you can see my red handled mini mattox in the photo above, look to the left of that about ten feet to see the pocket I saw….if you still can`t see it, here it is below…

24 Pocket of Poker Chips in Red Druse

…filled with greenish brown poker chips nestled in red dolomite druse and several came out nice and intact, while some did look like they had some blast damage, which does happen from time to time. Shortly after cleaning it out, which took about 30 minutes to do, I looked back to check on Onyx in my truck below….

29 Truck in Cove

…and then pulled this huge center plate out of the pocket, revealing two smaller pockets behind it…which took only a few minutes to clean out each one of them, and then we headed for home, stopping off for ice cream at the Bourbon Family Center and then on home for a late supper. If you have any questions or just want to give me a shout, my email addy is 

Took My Buddy Mark Bishop to MFQ

A few weeks ago my buddy Mark Bishop from northern Georgia, emailed me and told me he heard that MAGS, the Memphis based club I am a member of, was going to be coming up to Missouri to do some rockhounding, and taking some other trips in the southeast as they often do throughout each year, so he decided to join MAGS to reap the benefits. I told him, as I have told him and countless others in the past, MAGS is by far one of the best clubs I have joined, their members are some of the nicest people I have met in the rockhunting hobby and many are good friends now as well. Mark said he and one of my other buddies in northern Georgia, Jeff Deere, wanted to come up and rockhunt with me at MFQ that weekend as well….Jeff has been talking about getting up here for a while now to hunt with me…he is affectionately known as Jeffadilla to a close circle of friends of ours… named that by Mike Streeter, a good rockhound friend from North Carolina and geologist as well….if you ever saw Jeff digging, you would know why we call him that.

Mark was going to be driving up to KC to see his sister and Mom, wanted to check and see if I had the weekend off to take him to MFQ as well. I checked my calendar and just happened to be off that weekend, so I told him that Onyx and I would meet him there about mid morning on Saturday the 20th. I contacted my buddy Jim Bay, who recommended lodging there, that Mark could stay at on Friday night, and then Jim called me a few days later to tell me that a blast had occurred so we would have fresh material to comb thru, plus the weather was going to be about 75 degrees down there that day…a win win for us. Onyx and I got up about 6 am and were on the road soon after stopping by the donut shop.  Mark called before I reached Rolla to say he had finished breakfast, checked out of the cabin there and asked if I minded him ambling over to the quarry to start looking…I just chuckled, figured he wouldn`t be able to wait on me. 

We made good time getting down there, despite a little fog on the drive down, arriving a little after 8 am. This is the view from the east side looking west…the last time I was down there, the ramp from the east side to the coved wall was completely blocked and covered in rock scattered all over the floor from the prior blast, which was centered on the east side of the nose rock sticking out there…

03 Looking West

…and this time the blast was just east of that one…..

04 Looking North New Pile

05 Looking NE

Mark was already working over some small boulders near the wall at the back of the blast pile when we arrived…..after changing into my boots, I grabbed my tools and bags and started walking the pile to see what I could find as well. We found a few spots where there were obvious signs of a pocket at some point, possibly one that had landed intact for the most part with some damage resulting in the fall from above, but several crystals intact and beautiful…and many of them were green poker chip crystals…which we find alot of on that side of the quarry, yet most of the time, we have found that the green crystals shatter more easily. One has be extremely careful when chipping the green crystals out of the pockets, placing your chisel way back from it in order not to break it while chipping it out. I rarely am able to get one out intact with no blemishes. After a couple of hours, I had filled two bags with crystals already, and had a few bigger ones as well…the day was heating up into the 70`s. I stopped for a water break, grabbed another bag, and Mark joined me in walking the wall to look for pockets. We found some nice ones on the east side of the pile and I was able to chip some nice combos out of  them to give to Mark….

17 Pocket I Found and Worked

14 Onxy and I Working a Pocket

16 Pulled This Combo From That Pocket







15 Pulled This Combo From That Pocket

…and while we were over next to that pocket, Mark found another plate with two or three large green poker chips nestled in some pretty druse as well….he took the photos of me above working the pocket I found, and I took these pics of him holding the plate that he found….

01 Mark With One of his Clusters02 Mark With One of his Clusters

…and after working the coved wall and other areas along the wall, he showed me his finds…he was one happy camper….and glad he had made the drive and stopped off to hunt with me…..

12 Crystals Mark Found13 Crystals Mark Found

…and from there, we drove over to visit with a friend of mine who sells Viburnum Trend minerals…he always has great material for sale and doesn`t charge an arm and a leg like some dealers will try to do. Mark picked out a few nice selections, getting a variety of minerals and crystals for his collection, including some of the greenish yellow double terminated calcite crystals encased in pyrite that came from pillar pockets at one of the mines and may never been seen again. I have several of those in my collection as well….

37 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite38 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite

39 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite40 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite



41 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite

05 Dbl Terminated Calcite & Marcasite


31 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite15 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite02 Yellow Calcites With Chalcopyrite







…from there, Mark headed north to I-70 and then west to KC….while Onyx and I headed home…shooting these beautiful sunbeams on the way….

06 Sunbeams On the Way Home07 Sunbeams On the Way Home

All in all, another great day of rockhounding with good friends and great weather… if you would like to chat. 

Life After Arkansas

Took all of two weeks after my return from Arkansas before I was driving down to MFQ once again, this time it was just Onyx and I making the trip. We arrived about 10 am and discovered one large blast pile right in the middle of the quarry, and two smaller piles remaining from prior blasts, one to the right and one over to the left in the coved wall area. This one was spread out extensively and covered the back road going around the crusher to the coved wall. It was huge and I photographed it from right to left in four photos….

01 On Arrival New Blast Pile in Middle02 On Arrival New Blast Pile in Middle03 New Blast Pile Cuts Off Back Road04 Piles All The Way Over to Dumpster

Onyx and I got out and stretched our legs a bit and then as I was getting ready to hunt, he got in a couple of wind sprints and then returned to walk up the right side of the new pile with me…within fifty feet I started finding crystals and clusters laying all over the place….I was finding so many initially that I decided to drive my truck over to that side as well…

05 New Blast Pile in Middle

…and took this photo looking back at the front side of the pile and how scattered the rocks were toward the entrance….

06 New Blast Pile Fringes

…within a few minutes, I had two bags full of loose crystals and small clusters, many appeared to have a white sugar frosting poured all over them…and I started finding several yard rocks toward the middle of the pile as well…some I carried over to the far side and stacked them up on the edge of the pile so I could simply drive over and pick them up later. I didn`t take my camera up there with me, and just got them cleaned up this weekend so will snap some photos of them once the soggy rains stop in the next day or two and post them on here. I can safely tell you that I was afraid I wasn`t going to have enough room in the bed of my truck nor enough wrapping cloths to protect them either. As it was tho, I had just enough room in the truck, utilizing the front and back floorboards for many of the yard rocks. Afterwards, I drove over to the coved wall area….

08 Coved Wall Remains of Blast PIle

…where there was a small pile remaining…very steep tho, so wasn`t gonna be climbing it up the middle.  I was able to scramble up the sides tho and check the wall for pockets, and near the top discovered a few small pockets with some beautiful red colored calcite crystals that resembled hexagonal nuts rather than poker chip formations. There were also some pockets with the calcite that resembles cavelike formations, most of those I left there due to damage to them. 

09 Coved Wall Remains Up Close

…I filled another bag here, giving me a total of six bags, five at the new blast pile…and many yard rocks…by this time I was ready to leave and head home to get a nap in and grab some dinner. First I had to drive back over to the western side of the new pile to load up the crystals I stacked up on the edge….

10 Can Only Go So Far

I was a bit soaked from the light rain that had begun to fall shortly after we arrived, and Onyx had stayed in the truck when I got over the coved wall area…by the time we were leaving, he was nearly all dry once again.  I changed shirts and into my street shoes before leaving, planning to stop off and see a new miner friend on my return, not wanting to track mud into his house….he had some interesting pieces that I had not seen before, and I was able to pick up a few of them from him, one was a very small set of twin calcite crystals with malachite color at the base of the crystals. I`ll get a photo of it posted soon as well.

Thru the week, I received emails from Nathaniel and Chuck, both asking if I intended to drive down there again the next weekend…I had a couple of holidays to burn before the end of the year, so I took Sunday off to make the return trip. Nathaniel rode down with Onyx and I, while Chuck and his daughter Mackenzie, took the scenic route to arrive shortly after Nathaniel and I did. It was Mackenzie`s first time there and I think she was pretty impressed with the place. Nathaniel and I had only been there a short while before they pulled in, enough time for me to scout out some in floor pockets for her to check out, with some nice looking loose crystals and small clusters laying on the surface. She and Chuck started digging in when I pointed it out to them…while Nathaniel took off to check out the coved wall pile, which looked much the same as it did the weekend before when I was there. He climbed up the right side of the pile and was checking out wall pockets when I glanced over there about an hour later. For whatever reason, probably because I simply forgot, I did not take any photos at all that day, but I can tell you that we all did well…I only filled one bag with crystals that I found, but they were very nice crystals and plates from a few pockets that I discovered down the east wall…and after picking up a few plates, I called Chuck over and let him work the rest of the plates out of it. There were a lot of druse pockets along the wall as well and I pulled a few nice plates of those out as well as some druse pieces with poker chips attached to them….those always make beautiful sparkly plates to display…I have about four shelves of them at home…they glitter in the light like you would not believe, and are second to dogtooths in my book. By 1:30 pm, we were tired and happy, and headed up the road to see one of my miner friends to see some new material…both Nathaniel and Chuck wanted to get some nice Viburnum Trend minerals and we were able to do just that. I`ll get some of those posted soon as well. This weekend I took advantage of the beautiful unseasonably warm weather for December to move some rocks around in the backyard and made room for more. Today while it was raining outside, I high graded my crystals on the inside and made room for more that I have collected recently, including my Arkansas quartz crystals. 

if you have any questions or wanna say hi, give me a shout at


Secret Spot and MFQ With Rockhound Friends

Last weekend I took a couple of rockhound friends to a couple of places I frequently go rockhunting at in central Missouri. One of my friends is from northern Georgia, I had the pleasure of digging with Mark Bishop at the first machine dig at the Eureka Mine this year, courtesy of a referral by good friend Jeff Deere, who wasn`t able to make it to the machine dig. Mark had mentioned to me that he would be driving up to Keokuk, Iowa in September to attend Geodefest and would love to stop by on his way home and go rockhunting with me if I had time. As soon as I got home, I cleared my calendar for that weekend so I could take Mark to the Secret Spot and to MFQ. A few weeks ago, one of my Kentucky rockhunting friends who is fortunate to live within an hour of the Eureka Mine, met a new rockhound at one of the public digs there, found out he was living in the St Louis County area, and referred him to me for information and put him in touch with me by email. Nathaniel, it turned out, is a world wide renowned Pastry Chef and loves to collect the same thing I like to collect, pretty crystals and minerals…he had a really nice large specimen of fluorite given to him by a fan in Florida while he was living and working down there a few years ago, yet had no clue where it might be from. I gave him my opinion, that it appeared to have come from the southern Illinois mines, and we started talking about rockhunting…I found out that he had not been on any other field trips in quite some time if ever, and invited him to go with Mark and I. He was available that day and accepted.

I had to work the night before for a few hours, and then left early to come home and get a good nap in, prior to Nathaniel arriving about 7 am, followed shortly by Mark about 7:30 am. My carpenter Joe Johnson, arrived in between them to make a small repair on my kitchen ceiling and when he finished, we loaded up and headed down to the secret spot. It was a cloudy and cool morning, there was a threat of light rain possible, however the temps were pretty much perfect for a good workout ahead. After a brief stop at the donut shop, we arrived at the secret spot…after showing them around and explaining things to them, they divided up and set out to explore the place and see what they could find. The water holes that I normally have to contend with there, were completely dried up and made walking around there much easier….

05 Secret Spot

…and that enabled us to dig into a few areas where there were indications of dogtooth crystals…while we found a few, it appeared that maybe we had only found the top of an old pocket that had mostly been removed way earlier….from there both Nathaniel and Mark wandered over to one of the walls to look for pockets….

01 Brandon & Mark Exploring Wall

…after a short water break, I wandered over to the wall below them a ways and looked for some pockets too…Nathaniel snapped a few of me doing just that….

Me Up On the Short WallMe Up On the Short Wall 2Me Up On the Short Wall 3

…..and soon enough, Nathaniel found a good pocket and was able to find some poker chips with matrix attached….the look on his face was priceless….

04 Brandon Finds Good Pocket

…shortly afterwards, we decided to pack up and head to MFQ and see what we could find there. Mark decided he was too worn out after the past few days at Keokuk, digging and lifting and hauling around some large geodes, so he decided to head for home from there, while Nathaniel and I drove over to visit with a good dealer friend of mine, who sells Viburnum Trend minerals. Nathaniel really liked what he saw there and picked up a few from him. We then headed on down to MFQ and arrived to find about a third of the wall remaining. After a short lunch break, Nathaniel decided to snap a photo of me getting prepared to find more goodies…..

On Arrival Getting Ready to Hunt More

….we started looking around at the face of the wall and found pockets staring us in the face all over that wall….

15 Remainder of Wall

…Nathaniel dug into this one spot above and below and soon was pulling out several brown dogtooth crystals from it….while it looks a little shaky looking, this particular spot he was in was quite solid around and above him, even forty feet to the right….

01 Brandon Works Dogtooth Pocket

03 Brandon Works Dogtooth Pocket

04 Brandon Works Dogtooth Pocket

06 Dogtooths Up Close Nathaniel Found

08 Dogtooths Up Close Nathaniel Found10 Brandon In Front of Dogtooth Pocket

…to the left where I started, was quite a different story, alot of overhang, so I didn`t mess with it much, just pulled out the easy ones out of the much and moved on…

02 Brandon Works Dogtooth Pocket11 Whats Left of Coved Blast Wall12 West Side of Wall

…after walking around and pulling out some loose crystals, I walked over to his crevice along the main wall and found a small pocket up about midway on the wall, and after retrieving my chisel and hammer, was able to pop out a few plates with brown and black dogtooth crystals all over them, they appeared to have sugar frosting all over them as well….

14 Blk & Brown Dogtooth Pocket

…after that, we walked around and found several nice twins and clusters in the loose rock below that high wall as well…each of us filled a couple of bags before we headed for home, Nathaniel snapping this selfie of both of us with the walls behind us….

Nathaniel and I at Crider Q

… we came into Rolla, this beautiful sunset appeared to the west…..

16 Sunset On Way Home Rolla

17 Sunset On Way Home Rolla

18 Sunset On Way Home Rolla

…we were both tired but happy with our finds…Onyx on the other hand appeared to be exhausted, having stretched out across the back seat of my truck on the way home. I found out later on that Mark made it home by 10:30 that night safe and sound. I returned to work later that night and then took the next night off, my exhaustion catching up with me, having been up for about 22 hours straight…haven`t done that in a very long time….had a great time tho and can`t wait to go again. 🙂

if you have any questions or wanna say hi, give me a shout at


How I Spent My Labor Day Weekend 2015….MFQ

That`s right…Onyx and I spent our 2015 Labor Day Weekend at MFQ on both Saturday and Sunday, after receiving word from my buddy down there that a new blast occurred on Friday afternoon. We drove down early Saturday morning, arriving about 7:30…..sure was a pretty sunrise to greet us tho along the way….

01 Sunrise Saturday

01A Sunrise

01B Sunrise

…and we saw some deer and a wild turkey on the way down, so I knew then it was going to be a good day ahead….the fog increased as we drew closer and I knew it was going to be a hot one once the fog burned off….

03 Froggy at Quarry

…and here is the before in the fog, and after the fog burned off later in the morning, images of the pile that greeted us on our arrival….

05 Blast Pile

33 Blast Pile Coved Wall

As I was lacing up my boots for the day ahead, and one snapped, I briefly thought I sure hope this isn`t a bad sign…luckily for me, within five minutes that thought went quickly out the window like a rock was attached to it. After switching to my spare booths, I started up the right side of the pile…..

07 Right Side of Pile08 Boulders Covered by Poker Chips

and came upon these boulders about halfway up, and circled around them to the left and then back to the right, looking carefully around each side of them, picking up a few nice loose crystals all the way around them, and then came to the right side of that one that appears to be in the middle on the right side…

09 Huge Boulder Poker Chips on One Side

…and wait til you see what was on top of the boulder to the left of this one…

10 Huge Boulder Poker Chips on One Side

whooeeee…. I was in dogtooth heaven……

11 Cluster Dark Grey Poker Chips on Boulder

…I climbed back down the pile to get my hammer and chisel and another bag of wraps as well as a bottle of water…luckily for me that nice mass of dark colored crystals above chipped out of that boulder rather nicely….while you might not be able to tell here, many of them turned out to be dogtooths, too….turned out to be alot of red druse in the pockets surrounding these beauties too….

12 Pocket of Chips on Boulder

13 Pocket of Chips on Boulder

14 Dogtooth Chips on Boulder

…by 9 am, the fog was burned off and luckily for me, there was a vast area of shade remaining to work with, and stay cool inside of, since I had a lot of territory to cover ahead of me. I was only halfway up the pile and seeing poker chips laying all over the place, many of them with dogtooths sticking out the ends. I was in poker chip heaven for sure…another prayer answered….

15 Midmorning Saturday

Onyx was staying pretty close to me today…he found a bed of soft dirt about halfway down the pile in front of me, after climbing up with me and walking around the top to check things out before I got up there…he took advantage of the soft dirt and laid right down there…

16 Onyx Stretches Out in Shade

17 Onyx On the Move Again

he stayed there til the shade burned off… I got to the top of the pile, I started finding a few more chunks of crystals with the red druse prominently stamped on and around them….beautiful stuff for sure….

18 Big Chunk of Pretty Found

…I climbed down from the top into this little niche of a depression and checked the wall for pockets…not finding any, I turned around and spotted this boulder in front of me, with a small looking vug at the base, so I grabbed ahold of what looked like a loose piece at the base of that vug and pulled out and back, and a gorgeous cluster of brown dogtooth crystals came loose from the vug and boulder. Here is the boulder after I have opened up the vug some…I will post photos of the cluster a little later….

21 Huge Boulder With Deep Vug

…and some of the vug itself after I had halfway emptied it…this boulder is about five feet tall, and that vug was about 2 feet deep and every bit of fifteen inches wide….about a foot high in front…..

22 Huge Boulder Vug Closer Up

23 Deep Vug Inside Huge Boulder

…in the image below, the cluster on the right is what I pulled out first to reveal the vug….the cluster on the left was the next one waiting for me inside the vug, has a nice dogtooth sticking up on the right side there….looks like a blade sticking out….

24 Dark Gray Cluster

…it took me the better part of an hour to clean out the vug…after that I wandered back up the middle of that depression and found some breathtaking chalcedony type chunks of what looked like red and yellow druse with poker chiips embedded in them…I`m describing them after the fact of cleaning them up, but when looking at them with the dirt and dust all over them, all I could tell was that they looked like chaledony and were red and yellow colored….I found about half a dozen of them….

20 Several Chunks Of Pretty

…they were in the last bag I cleaned up, yesterday, so I will try and get some photos of them tomorrow to show you what they look like cleaned up. By this time it was approaching 11 am and getting hot…so I grabbed the bags and headed for the truck, having to make a couple of trips back up to get some of the chalcedony chunks, wrapping them in my t shirt as I was by then, out of wrapping cloths. By the time I got back down to the truck, and got Onyx inside in the ac, and those beauties wrapped up in bubble wrap, and changed into clean clothes, I was pretty done in, and had only covered a third of the pile. I decided to return and see if I could check the rest of the pile the next day. I had no other plans.

Onyx and I did the same thing the next morning, only getting an earlier start this time, this time finding an ever prettier sunrise on the way, near some old stockyards enveloped in layers of fog with the sun rising over the top….

28 Sunrise Texas Co Stockyards

then I found it evolving some and shot the sun rising up over a small barn in front of us at the the next intersection….

30 Gorgeous Sunrise on Sunday

…and catching some foggy sunrise scenes on down the road too….31 Gorgeous Sunrise Sunday32 Gorgeous Sunrise Sunday

…arriving to find the quarry enshrouded in fog once more. I climbed up to the top of the pile once again and began finding dogtooth crystals all over the place along the top of the pile, and every five to ten feet were smaller boulders with clusters of poker chips covering them…and loose ones in the dirt and loose rocks below….I didn`t take my camera up there with me this time, but I recall finding about five pockets embedded in the dirt under a few boulders. I was able to split one boulder open and found the interior of the two halves coated with sprays of brown dogtooth crystals. here are those two haves with the spray of dogtooths inside one of them…

39 Boulder Half With Spray of Dogtooths39A Boulder Half With Spray of Dogtooths

…and some more images of the chunks of red calcite druse that I found laying all over the place as well, must have come out of huge pockets when the blast occurred, they were literally laying all over the place…and in boulder vugs too….

34 Red Druse Chunks40 Chunks of Red Druse

41 Chunks of Red Druse54 Red Druse With Poker Chips

52 Red Druse Chunk45 Beautiful Druse Plate

…and then I found a boulder up there at the top that had some beautiful clusters of crystals on the top…I wasn`t sure I would be able to chip them out, they looked like they were solid but lo and behold, they came right off the top with just a few whacks on the hammer, and I was astounded….here they are all cleaned up with just a little bit of damage to the ends of them…

35 Dogtooth Cluster Chipped From Boulder

35A Dogtooth Cluster Chipped From Boulder


36 Dogtooth Cluster Chipped From Boulder

…and I found this one down in a pocket in the dirt nearby….

38 Dogtooth Cluster Chipped Out


37 Dogtooth Cluster Chipped Out

and here are some of the many nice dogtooths that I found in those dirt pockets and vugs….the nicest one being this plate that I was able to chip out of one of the boulder vugs…

75 Dogtooth Plate

75B Dogtooth Plate

75C Dogtooth Plate

46 Small Dogtooths

47 Small Dogtooths

48 Small Dogtooths

49 Small Dogtooths

50 Small Dogtooths

51 Dogtooth Chunk

51A Dogtooth Chunk

55 Small Dogtooths

56 Dogtooth Cluster

57 Dogtooth Cluster

58 Dogtooth Cluster

59 Dogtooth Cluster

60 Dogtooth Cluster

61A Red Druse With Poker Chip




62A Cluster in Red Druse

63 Dogtooth Cluster

64 Dogtooth Cluster

65 Poker Chips

66 Dogtooths

67 Dogtooth Clusters

68 Chalcedony Piece

69 Black Druse Chunk


71 Dogtooth Cluster

72 Dogtooth Cluster

73 Dogtooth Cluster

74A Small Dogtooths

76 Dogtooth Crystal

77 Dogtooth Crystal

81 Small Dogtooths

83 Dogtooth Cluster

85 Dogtooth Cluster

86 Dogtooth Cluster

87 Dogtooth

Another great day that wrapped up a great holiday weekend for me…Onyx and I packed up and headed home by 11:30 am and rested up the rest of the day. Hope everyone else had a nice holiday weekend too !!

if you have any questions or wanna say hi, give me a shout at







First Field Trip For Two Young Rockhounds

Earlier this summer I was contacted by good rockhound friends Matthew and Carolyn Lybanon of the Memphis Club MAGS, they emailed to tell me that they would be up in the St Louis area the weekend of August 22nd and 23rd and wondered if I could take them rockhunting on Sunday the 23rd. After checking the calendar to make sure I was off that weekend, I answered them and said I would love to take them rockhunting that day. They were interested in finding some dogtooth calcite crystals so I knew exactly where I would take them, the secret spot and MFQ. In the weeks leading up to their visit, I drove down to both locations and did some hunting and digging to see if I could spot some specific locations where we might open up a pocket.

During one of those visits I found out that Onyx likes to swim, one of the quarries has some water holes that are about three feet deep on one end…the only problem with that is that I have to give him a bath a day or two later as that water has been there a while and is a bit on the dirty stale side of things, but that`s no big deal either, he smells better and I get a good workout in doing so.

 A few weeks ago, Tina from the BE Clement Mineral Museum in Marion, Kentucky, contacted me and told me that she had received a visit from a family located in Waterloo, Illinois, and there was a young man in that family that was starting out as a rockhound and looking for some assistance…she provided me with their contact information and I made contact with Mike Sabo last week, soon after they returned from their vacation. Mike told me his son Cianan was 12 years of age and just getting started collecting rocks and minerals and that they had not been out on any field trips as of yet. I asked them if they would like to go with us on the 23rd  and after checking with the rest of his family, Mike said they would love to join us. I let them know what tools and clothing to bring and we were set for their first field collecting trip.

Last week I was working with a new guy named Josh on some photo work and while talking to him, found out that he likes to collect rocks and minerals, but he too, had never been out on an actual field collecting trip, so I invited him along as well and he was able to go with us also. Sunday morning rolled around finally and Josh was the first to show up about 7:30 am….he, Onyx, and I had just returned from McDonald`s where we picked up some breakfast, and we were met at my house by Mike and Cianan. Luckily they had already stopped for breakfast and had no problem coming inside to talk with us while we wolfed down our hot cakes & sausage patties, while we waited for the Lybanon family to arrive. Matthew, Carolyn, and daughter Julie were due to arrive about 8 am, which they did, and then Alan, Debbie, and the twins arrived about 20 minutes later, finding most of us out in the backyard touring the rock gardens, and then walking inside to look at the rest of the collection including the dogtooth room. Everyone also got to meet Onyx and discover what a cute attention ham he is. 

Soon after, we loaded up and headed to the secret spot, arriving soon with cloudy skies and cool temps still intact.  Mike and Alan were driving vans, so we had to take it a bit easy going down the road at the secret spot due to the road being washed out in a few places…I even had Josh jump out of my truck and move a basketball sized boulder in the middle of the road as we were descending down the steep part of the hill. I had assured them the road was solid earlier so we had no problems, acquiring just a little bit of red clay paint is all. Soon after arriving and gearing up, everyone spread out to look for crystals and pockets….and Onyx naturally headed for the water holes….

01 Everyone Looking For Crysals

02 Everyone Looking For Crysals

…I took Alan over to a pocket that I had located two weeks before and showed him how the pocket expanded back into the hillside, explaining that with a small sledge hammer and chisel, he could prob get back into the deeper pocket and pull out some nice crystals and clusters. I left him there as he started hammering away, and headed to the other side to see if I could help others locate some likely looking areas to find crystals loose on top and what to watch for in terms of potential pockets. Cianan and his Dad were already checking out some old pockets and finding some loose crystals laying around on top. Josh called out and I walked over to where he was standing over a rocky bank with a ledge of poker chips embedded in the gravel and what appeared to be some openings in the dolomite ledge…he indicated he would work it but would appreciate some help, so I looked around and spotted Alan at another location and asked if he would like to help Josh work it…Alan came right over and teamed up with Josh to see how deep the pocket would go….

03 Josh & Alan Check Out Pocket

04 Josh & Alan Check Out Pocket

…I heard Carolyn and Debbie talking behind me and looked over my shoulder to see them checking for some sign of a pocket on the ground about thirty feet away…they were looking in an area that I had found several floor pockets over the past few years….

05 Carolyn & Debbie Look for Crysals

…and now that everyone was looking around and digging in, I grabbed my gloves and mattox and began to see if I could find a good pocket for them as well….soon after, I was joined by Cianan and we started digging into a couple of likely spots….

06 Cienan Searches for Pockets

…I got a chance to talk to him for a bit and found out he was a pretty sharp young man and totally into searching for pretty crystals and minerals. Back at the house, right before we left, I gave him a couple of flats of crystals from the Viburnum Trend area mines that a friend had given me the week before…I had cleaned them up and got them sparkling again with some super iron out just last weekend. We were able to find some shallow pockets of druse and poker chips but no big pockets opened up for us…Josh and Alan pursued the pocket on the bank as far as they were able to and then wandered off to explore other options….I took a water break about an hour later and spotted Josh on the wall on the far side, looking for signs of crystals and pockets….

08 Josh Searches Wall

…and looked back and saw that Cianan was still hammering away looking for a pocket…a good sign of a dedicated rockhound in the making….

09 Cienan Searches for Pockets

…then I heard some more hammering in the other direction and spotted Alan hard at work with two sidewalk supervisors behind him directing his every move….

10 Alan Seeks Crystals

…he was working some old pockets that I had discovered about a year ago, another location with potential to find more if a guy is willing to work and look for the pockets, moving a lot of rock to do so….

11 Alan Works Pockets

…in the meantime, Josh was down along the wall in the area that I had located several good dogtooth pockets during 2014…

12 Josh Seeks Pockets

…and Cianan continued to look for pockets and crystals in the clay dirt….

13 Cienan Searches for Pockets


…by this time it was nearly 1:30 and we had been digging a few hours there, and we decided to drive on down to MFQ and see what we could find there…Alan and Debbie decided they were going to head on home to Memphis tho as they had a short night of rest in St Louis and were worn out now…and Mike and Cianan decided to head home as well, so the Lybanon`s followed Josh and I down to the quarry as soon as everyone else peeled off on to other highways. Josh took a nap while I drove south and soon we arrived …I had received word from my good friend Jim that much of the higher bench material had been dozed off to the bottom, so when we arrived, we found a huge pile of rock leading up to the bench above like a giant stairway…..

08 Julie At Foot of Huge Pile

…we all walked over to the base of the pile and were pleasantly surprised to start seeing alot of red boulders and small chunks of red druse with poker chips and many with dogtooth crystals in vugs on the boulders too…..

01 Huge Boulder to Cobb Down

02 Small Pieces of Huge Boulder

03 Big Boulder of Druse & Chips

04 Big Boulder of Druse & Chips

…Carolyn took some of these home with her, she was ecstatic to find some beautiful stuff here….she likes to surface collect and this place was a dream come true for a surface collector like her that day….

04A Big Boulder of Druse & Chips

05 Top of Huge Boulder

06 Huge Boulder I Cobbed Down


I grabbed my new three pound hammer and chisels…my old ones were buried under quite a bit of tailings dirt in the old pit at the Eureka Mine by the trackhoe operator that we had problems with at the last machine dig….and I began cobbing down some of these boulders, as Josh decided to climb up the pile and see what he could find on top….

07 Josh Climbs Huge Pile

…joined by Julie down at the far end who was walking around on the base of the pile looking for more crystals too….and it was about this time that the sun finally made an appearance with the cloud cover rolling away….

08 Julie At Foot of Huge Pile


09 Sun Begins to Pop Out

10 Josh Climbs Pile

..and about halfway up, Josh stopped a few times, finding some nice small clusters of poker chips entertwined into each other and successfully tossed them to the soft sand bottom near my truck to pick up later and wrap up to take home….yes Virgil, I was able to convince him to wrap them up before placing them into his backpack….

11 Josh Finds Some Nice Ones on Pile

…about an hour later, Matthew, Carolyn, and Julie decided to head home, a five hour drive ahead of them yet to Memphis, and Josh and I wrapped up shortly after as well, the heat taking its toll on me and sapping my remaining strength for cobbing any remaining boulders. By this time, we had the back end of the truck completely packed with wrapped specimens, Onyx was soaking up the ac in the cab for the past hour, and we were ready to cool down, so we loaded up and headed to Rocky Falls to do just that….

14 Rocky Falls  13 Rocky Falls

…one of those beautiful treasures of the Missouri Ozarks that some folks don`t know about…there were several locals there when we arrived, sitting out in the shallow edge of the pool in front of the base of the falls while their kids were sliding down the falls into the deeper base pool…..

17 Looking Down The Falls

…we were there about 30 minutes and then headed on up the road for home…about ten miles down the road, coming down a hill, we spotted a beautiful doe and two spotted fawns in a field on the right side of the road…I slowed down and shot through the windshield to capture them… pretty…..

Doe & 2 Fawns On Way Home

…all in all a great day, albeit a long one, but full of so many enjoyable moments and time well spent with good friends….does it get any better than this ??? I doubt it.

James 🙂