Cleaning and Cutting in August

I took some time off in August to get caught up on some cleaning ahead of the Labor Day trip, so I could take some beautiful calcite clusters out there with me. I also rented a tabletop wet tile saw from a friend of mine, who has an equipment rental business, rented it for the entire weekend for less than a hundred bucks. Came in the form of a mitre saw…think it works better on lumber…despite my best attempts to lock it down into place, it kept raising up on me…

Something else these saws need, is a guide and vise, one that securely holds what you are cutting and doesnt vary from the course, which is, or should be, straight ahead….something to work on in the future.

I thought I did pretty good for a first timer with a wet tile saw…

after cutting this one open, I thought I had a colorful egg half, but the yellow came off with paint thinner, turns out it was off the side of the diamond blade. ๐Ÿ™‚

have great color and pattern on these two halves, but couldnt finish the cut all the way thru, prob gonna be a bear to fix these, too.

Many, many moons ago, as a youngster, I had a six inch Lortone Rock Saw, my parents bought it for me for Christmas one year, had it for a few years…enjoyed it, but I dont think anyone realized how noisy those things could get…it was in our utility room off the garage, right next to my Dad`s home office. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I was limited after that as to when I could use it and for how long. ๐Ÿ™‚

The last weekend of August I was able to clean up some beautiful poker chips encased in the gorgeous red calcite druse from a few pockets I found back in mid January at MFQ, and put them in flats to take to Kentucky with me….

…that was almost as much fun as it was finding them. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

How I Spent My Birthday Weekend July 2022

For my birthday this summer, I took the day off and had lunch at Missouri Hick BBQ and then prepared for a visit from my friend Don Lapham. Don spent a few days before down in Springfield, Missouri and emailed me a few months before, asking if I could take him rockhounding to Haunted Ridge and another location while he was down here. I said sure, no problem buddy…I did let Don know, that normally we are baking by that time of the year tho, so be prepared for some Missouri wet heat. ๐Ÿ™‚

Don came prepared for the wet heat, had a beach umbrella or two with him and brought his Sheik wear too. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Due to the heat, I had asked Greg Coleman if it would be okay if we arrived around 6 am and he told me that would be fine. It had been some time before I had been to Haunted Ridge, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Greg had made good on his thoughts to build a new entrance off Roderick Road……

…and he had lined it with a lot of big boy plates and landscape boulders of druse, some rootbeers included, and these are available for purchase…and I would bet Greg and the guys will assist in loading them for you….

you pass by these beauties and then stay to the right of the lake on down to the new parking lot….

…big open parking lot, with a lot of parking space, and the pay shack in the middle on the far side…

There is still no entrance fee, you get your liability waiver forms here, sign them, hand them back to Judy or one of the other employees, and then one of the guys loads you, your buckets and tools, into the four wheeler, and takes you off to your choice of locations. When you return, you can either pay your driver or pay here at the shack for your buckets you filled with beautiful druse.

It was much cooler in the day then, and after a brief visit with Greg and the crew, he loaded us up into his new side by side and took us over to the new Rootbeer Pits, so we could dig up a few buckets of rootbeer plates.

Greg showed us a couple of spots in the pits where he had seen some rootbeer plates pulled out and we began digging soon after…

It didnt take long for the heat to catch up to us, despite being in the shaded areas of the forest, so we drank our water bottles and kept on digging, and soon had our buckets filled with rootbeer.

this is how they look when you pull them out of the clay dirt…they do take a good powerwashing and then most will treat them with Dawn Powerwash soap and water…most are afraid to use Iron Out on the rootbeer colored plates, for fear it will remove the rootbeer color.

As soon as we had our buckets filled, and were ready to go and escape the heat, I texted Greg to let him know and we were picked up soon after and taken to our vehicles…

Don was staying in the Potosi area, so I told him where to meet me Sunday morning and I would take him to the SS Quarry from there.

Don was waiting for me bright and early the next morning and I led him to the SSQ…luckily we had a couple of hours before the sun heated things up to the unbearable stage…Don broke out his umbrellas for this one since there was very little shade except next to the walls and where we were digging at, there was no shade at all…

 

Don was telling me about collecting blue halites in New Mexico….he tells a good story, let me tell ya. ๐Ÿ™‚


I was able to find him a good deep pocket to work after a little while there, and he was able to liberate some WHOPPER size Poker Chips for his trip home…

Missouri Rockhounding November 12th, 13th, 14th, 2021

As many of you know, normally my group and I go to southern Arkansas the second weekend of November each year to dig and collect Arkansas Quartz Crystals at privately owned mines owned by good friends. This year, we were expecting to hear from a couple of good friends north of Hot Springs, where we all normally stay at,ย  regarding our first visit to their new mine as a small group. I started checking with them before the Kentucky trip, because I always get asked there if I have any idea where we are going in Arkansas. I was told that they were still waiting on the FS to approve their contract for their new mine, and what was holding them up was remarks from the Osage Indian Tribe, which sounds like another ploy by the FS to delay someone from making a living and helping promote the tourism industry, which that area of Arkansas, depends heavily on in the first place. I checked with two other mine owners, and they were both having issues with their machines, so we basically did not have a mine we could go collect at, knowing we would likely find some good material. I let everyone know at the Kentucky trip and by October, with nothing changing for the good, I suggested a Missouri rockhounding trip to many of my favorite locations instead. Many liked that idea and so I began to plan for that instead.

Slade let me know that he would like to come up and go rockhunting with me a day earlier than the rest, so he drove up on Wednesday, Nov 10th, arriving in Sullivan about 4 pm and I took him to El Nopal for supper…Rafa and Sean, the two managers there, also like rocks and minerals, Sean more into crystals as Spirit Stones, and they were amazed that I have rockhound friends willing to drive from North Carolina to go rockhounding with me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I told them they seriously had no idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

The next morning I met Slade at Cracker Barrel about 7 am for breakfast, and then we headed out soon after, driving southeast to check out a roadcut that sits way back from the highway. I had been there before a time or two, and it produces Williamsville Calcites, that are only found in a very small area of Missouri`s Ozarks region. There is a quarry south of there that also produces those calcites but it is owned by a company that does not like rockhounds…and I am putting that mildly from what the stories I have heard about this company.

I have always tried to surround myself with good rockhounds, and I expect every rockhound in my group to be a good rockhound, treating others with the same respect and courtesy, as they would want to be treated, following good ethics when it comes to rockhounding in general as well as when they are around others. Luckily, everyone in my group is exactly like that, nice and respectful to others, and many in my group are both knowledgeable and experienced as well.

At the same time, many of us also know people who are not respectful of others, not nice to others, do not care about rules, laws, or ethics, and could care less about safety policies/procedures…unfortunately these days, there are people like that in every walk of life, rockhounding included, and those people are why many of us are not allowed to go rockhounding in certain places, that quarry being one of those places. When I hear about privately owned and operated places like that, that do not like rockhounds, that is exactly the scenario I think of and the reason we cannot go there. Believe me, I personally know people like that, have seen what they do with my own eyes, so they are definitely out there and they can definitely ruin it for all of the good rockhounds.

Slade and I arrived mid morning and parked well off the shoulder, grabbed our tools and buckets, donned our hard hats, and walked over to the wall, a good sixty feet from our trucks…I left Miss Onyx in the truck and we started walking the wall checking for pockets. We found several but many were tight and offered little room to work on them, Slade was able to work on a few near the base of the wall and we also found some crystals and plates that had fallen from way up high as well, some were intact, too. We hadย  been there a little while and worked our way down to the very end of the wall, finding some large calcite clusters in a couple of vugs in the lower end, and I was on my way back to my truck to get a hammer and chisel and another bucket.ย I looked up and spotted our buddy David Hodge, driving up and parking in front of my truck…David is the Field Trip Director for the Central Arkansas Gem, Mineral, and Geological Society of the Little Rock area and has been in my group a few years. He was doing some exploring on the way up and thought he might find us at that roadcut, since he knows it is one of my favorite ones. He stopped off at one on the way up Hwy 63 and found some nice crystals in that one, too, showing us what he had found there.

He walked back down to the end of the wall with us to look at the big cluster Slade and I were trying to remove, and helped us remove it…it refused to budge with just two of us hammering on the chisels under it, so David worked his way around behind it with a pry bar and started moving it and pretty soon it came right out…size of a beach ball and pretty solid calcite with Williamsville petals all over it. I let Slade take it home with him, as I have several basketball sized ones in my collection already.

As we were walking it back to Slade`s suv, I noticed some small plates of calcite petals with some pretty dolomite crystals sticking out here and there, so I grabbed my mini mattox and did some exploring, also filled half a bucket of small clusters that were on the ground there as well, and some plates of very brightly colored yellow dolomites. Pretty soon all three of us were over there filling our buckets with even more nice stuff. Here is what Williamsville Calcites look like….

Pretty soon, I checked the time, and told the guys we needed to get on the road, because we had a dinner date with Sam and Aaron, who were driving in from Virginia and wanted to eat supper at Missouri Hick BBQ in Cuba, so we drove that way…I knew it would be closer to 6 pm before we got there and texted Sam and Aaron to let them know. I had forgotten to let the others know, but knew that several of them knew about El Nopal and Cracker Barrel close to the motel they were staying at, so I wasn`t worried too much about them. Some of them had something to eat on the way there as well.

We arrived very close to 6 pm and found Sam and Aaron waiting just inside the door for us, and I am sure they were as hungry as we were, I think all of us had the two meat platter with the side dishes and it definitely hit the spot, plus we were able to sit in my favorite area, in the back by the big stone fireplace and they had a good fire burning in it. The next morning I was leading them down to the West Druse Farm, located 3 miles northwest of Potosi on Hwy 185, and we were due to arrive there at 7:30 am, so breakfast was a grab and go option for everyone. Patty Hermann had let me know before I left the house, that they were running late, because when they got to Vickie`s house, she was still asleep, her alarm didnt go off when it was supposed to. Once they arrived, not long after we did,ย  I sent Gunner down to pick them up and bring them up there, and they had a great time and found lots of nice stuff.

I drove over to the America`s Best Value Inn to pick everyone one up, and found out then that Thomas and Michael had tire problems coming across central Illinois on their drive from eastern North Carolina. They had to leave their car about an hour east of St Louis and hitched a ride on over with Dawson, and they had just arrived and checked into their room. Dawson was going to take them back to their car, and they would get a new tire put on the car, then drive back to the motel and then join us at Potosi. I figured it would prob be noon before we saw them. The rest of us headed south on 185 and arrived about 7:30 at West Druse Farm. I got my group settled in on collecting there and then I headed over to the Washington County Fairgrounds to meet up with some rockhounds from all over Missouri, who I had invited to join us, thinking it might be the last available trip to the West Druse Farm for 2021.

Mr. West gets heavily involved in charity events during November and December, besides operating three working cattle farms on a daily basis plus he has a few businesses in town as well, and then helps his grandparents as much as he can, too. He is a busy guy and he tries to accommodate rockhounds who want to come to his farm there and collect druse quartz, barite, blue barite, and galena lead cubes. That morning, he was directing a construction crewย  on the hill above the creek crossing, where he was having them build him a haybarn, as we drove in and down to the creek, where we found his son waiting on us in the AWD razor. The wind was really ramping up that morning and I was having trouble getting a good signal on my cellphone, couldn`t even check the weather very much, and I sure hoped Dawson and the guys would be able to find us okay.

About a dozen extra rockhounds were scheduled to join us at the druse farm and collect with us…I found a few of them waiting for me at the parking lot by the fairgrounds, and as I pulled in to park at the front of the line near the road, I noticed a Toyota Tacoma four door pick up already there, same color as mine and a black tonneau cover like mine over the bed. I visited with the couple in that truck for a few minutes, he didnt have as many miles on his truck as I had on mine, but it was in very good shape and looked great like mine.

As we visited there, several more showed up ready to go with us. We waited til about 9:35 am and then headed to the farm. Once everyone was across the creek and settled in collecting, I headed over to a spot that I knew some of my crew would be at and started rockhounding with them. Some of the Missouri rockhounds worked their way in that direction also, many often follow me around to various areas as they know I am familiar with many collecting areas there.

Everyone was finding some great stuff, David Hodge found some nice big plates of druse with the crystalline barite balls on it…I would still love to find the source of that stuff, but so far we have only found it in washed out areas. Several of us found some small clusters with blue crystalline barite covering them, some were mixed with druse, we found several small combos of turtleback barites on grey and blue druse quartz that were nice and shiny.

The couple with the Tacoma truck like mine, were mainly looking for yard rocks and landscape rocks, and they had found several near the new pond….

…and up hill above it where some of us were looking for the barites. Slade and I walked over and checked out some of the rocks that she had in the back of the pick up, a mix of yard rocks and landscape rocks…landscape rocks being much bigger than yard rocks….

She had one in the back of the truck that took up the entire right side of the bed, it was at least 3 feet long, and every bit of 24 inches high and thick on one end, tapering down to a narrower mass at the other end, covered with knobs of druse and barites…heavy enough that she said neither she or her husband could lift it into the truck, so she had requested the owner come pick it up with his machine, near the new pond and place it in the back of their truck. Gunner went to the barn by their house and got the Bobcat machine, drove it over to the new pond area and lifted it up and placed it into the back of their truck. He took a photo of it and sent it to his Dad so that he could price it for them. When Gunner told them what the price would be for it, they got upset…they considered it a yard rock, Gunner told them no, that was a landscape rock, not a yard rock and said there was a huge difference between the two. He also explained to them that when he has to go get the machine to lift one into a vehicle, there can also be a separate machine assist charge for that…they apparently thought that should be free because another location in the area does not charge for the use of their machine. Gunner offered to remove it from the bed of their truck and place it back on the ground and she said no, they definitely wanted to take that one home with them, which they did, but they made a stink about it on FB after they got back home with their treasures.

As far as I know, that was the only problem encountered that day. Everyone in my group had a great time and enjoyed the day plus the treasures we found.

Around noon, I started getting text messages from Dawson and Thomas, they were trying to find us, they knew the general area were in, but couldnt find us…the wind was playing havoc with the signal down there that day…normally I have a strong signal down there, but not that day. I was able to send them road name information by text and short phone calls, cut short by the signal failing many times, but they finally managed to find and join us, with a couple of hours to spare. By that time, we were exploring the wooded area on the north side of the big lake and we found some nice plates and clusters of druse over there. We headed back to Sullivan about 3:30 pm, mainly because we like to give the Mr. West and his son some daylight and time to take care of their farm chores, like feeding their cattle after they have accommodated us for six or seven hours. We would have split the day and gone to Haunted Ridge as well, but they were closed for deer season, which was set to start the next day.

Once we got everyone out of there, I led my group back to Sullivan and over to El Nopal for a hearty Mexican dinner. The next morning we were getting up even earlier and driving down to My Favorite Quarry.

It was still dark when we took off and the sun was up and warming when we arrived…I had not received any word that any new activity had taken place recently, so I wasn`t sure how we would do today, but like I always tell everyone, I have never had a bad day there. There was a little bit of a pile still there, so we checked it out first, not finding much of anything nice on it tho…I spotted one poker chip cluster sitting up near the wall on top of the loose rock…

After we finished that, everyone fanned out and started looking along the wall for pockets,ย  or in the boulder piles for vugs to work.

By early afternoon we were all nearly back together, working pockets along the wall on the east side tho, except for the Hewlett brothers, who were over on the west side of the quarry checking out some old pockets, one that was big enough to lay down completely inside it and I heard they were able to pull some crystals out of them and found some new pockets as well. I began working my way to the east along the wall, starting where Kim Hill discovered and worked deep pocket of razzle dazzle calcites all day when MAGS was there in late October….

….and next I came upon Aaron working some pockets….

…then I saw Dawson, with aย  nice plate of poker chips in his hand and a huge smile on his face…

…I have come to find out that Dawson is a big fan of calcite like I am.

I continued down the wall a short distance and found David Hodge and Slade looking for pockets so I moved down the wall in between them and started looking as well. Pretty soon I had a hole opening up in the wall….

….and I began pulling a few small calcite blade and druse plates out…

I was showing the guys the plates as they came out and it was oooohhhh and wowwww city for awhile over there…I would clean out an area and then another hole would open up behind it….

…and each time I would find another opening, larger usually, the plates coming out were getting bigger, longer, wider…I had to move a little slower because those calcite blades are razor sharp, and I was getting sliced and diced a bit…I just kept going…just a little slower to be more careful pulling those bigger plates out…

and one came out as a hole in one end piece….

…and then they started coming out in multiple colors with alot of sparkles

….

The only major problem I was having, was that the plates were getting larger and the entrance to the pocket was not…so I slowed down and pulled out more smaller plates until I had two buckets filled with wrapped plates, and then I returned to the truck for a bottle of water as well as more tools. I no sooner returned and was able to open the entrance a lot wider, then I pulled this huge plate out of there…this one was multi-colored and double sided as well….

…followed by these two big plates….

…soon I had three buckets completely full of smaller stuff and several large plates wrapped up to take home…I stuck my phone inside the pocket and took this photo to show you how sparkley it was on the back wall…

..and then I decided to let everyone get some plates out while there were still some in there…Slade was the first one over and he pulled out a nice plate on the back wall that had a poker chip on the back side, that unfortunately broke off as it was coming out….

…after the dust settled, Sam and Dawson decided to open the entrance much more and see if they could remove more of the back wall and using prybars they made a huge difference !!ย  Now you can see how deep the pocket was and how much the back wall is completely covered in pretty calcite druse and blades, with pockets of black druse mixed in as well…

I called it my EPIC Pocket !!

We headed back to Sullivan, arriving about 7 pm and drove directly over to the Du Kum Inn Home Cooking and Steakhouse…there were a few customers still there when we walked in and I asked if it was okay to come in that late, they said come on in and we did…we did close the place down and the food was great.

We slept in a little the next morning and drove down to the Secret Spot Quarry..Patty and Gabriella met us along the way and followed us there.

 

Roadcuts With Dolomite Crystals and….

…Williamsville type Calcite Crystals…that is what we discovered at a couple of roadcuts late in January 2020 after we checked out the new quarry. I`m not going to reveal the location of the roadcuts we visited due to concerns we all had, this is not a location that children should be present at for one thing, nor groups… and I won`t show photos of the roadcut that might give away its location either. It`s unfortunate, but I just don`t trust everyone when it comes to rockhunting.ย 

About an hour after we left the new quarry, we pulled up to the first roadcut and parked off road, well out of the way of traffic, not wanting to be a hazard or distraction to anyone passing by us, and we walked over to the nearest wall and began checking out existing pockets for signs of life.ย 

This was the 1st pocket we checked…it was interesting to see that whoever found and worked it first, only worked on the ceiling some, the walls more, and completely avoided the floor of the pocket. I started pulling crystals and plates out of the floor of the pocket which was about six inches deep in dirt, sand, and rock fragments from above and the side walls. The first plate I pulled out was covered in dolomite crystals…this is the first roadcut in Missouri I have even seen dolomite crystals !! It wasn`t long before David was up there with me, pulling even more plates out of there…

…and Chuck was soon busy walking the base walls of the roadcut and picking up poker chip calcites and dolomite plates both…these poker chips resembled the Williamsville Calcites also…he also discovered some nice vugs in small boulders nearby, like this one…

We worked that first pocket for about three hours, took David and I both, that long to clean it out pretty good about two feet into it. I then walked down the wall to another pocket that Chuck had discovered and began to work it. It didn`t take me long to start pulling medium sized Williamsville style Poker Chips out of the floor of this pocket, and I had no sooner showed them to David, when he backed out of the large pocket he was working on and walked down to join me at the second pocket. ๐Ÿ™‚ Darn it, I knew he would do that. ๐Ÿ™‚

It`s all good tho, as we are good rockhounding friends and often hand things to each other while digging out pockets and crystals, as good rockhound friends often do when working together. He began working the left side on this one while I worked on the right side of it and eventually my side started moving downward at an angle…I was soon pulling out more poker chips and even some dogtooths, albeit small ones…but hey, a dogtooth is a dogtooth, no matter the size…they are all good. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  He began pulling even more of the Williamsville Calcites out and even some attached to dolomite and druse plates, one huge plate that was upside down, was especially pretty when he was finally able to detach it from the ceiling and pull it out of the pocket, which by then was several feet in length. I had asked him to remove it for me, but allowed him to take it home when he told me he didn`t have anything like it in his collection. ๐Ÿ™‚ We decided to take a water break about this time as the temps were beginning to rise a bit and warm up the atmosphere around us. We also took time to gather up our goodies and do some wrapping and loading into the trucks. Here are some that I took home that day….

…and this neat calcite cluster that was unusually shaped…

…we returned the next day to check out another roadcut nearby and found even more calcites and dolomite plates, as well as dolomite clusters the sizes of basketballs and beach balls…in four different flavors…red, pink, orange, and yellow, as well as a few black and white combos, and one or two that sparkled like mica flakes…still not sure what those are.ย  We returned to the roadcut above later in the day and worked it some more, too, and had a few curious visitors stop by and visit with us. We handed out some small dolomite plates to show them what we were finding after they told us that they liked rocks, and one was getting ready for a presentation in his science class, so we figured those crystals might make a good addition to his class presentation. We also had a good visit with a Missouri State Trooper, he had passed us by earlier in the day unable to figure out what we were doing, then looped around a few hours later to stop and inquire. After we explained that we were rockhounds, and then what a rockhound is and does, he was fine with it, had no clue what could be found at roadcuts and we showed him what we had found there. We offered him a few of the crystal plates and he politely declined…he was truly amazed at the drive David had made up to this part of Missouri to rockhound, and pleasantly surprised he said, that we both had clean driving records. We made sure to thank him for his service before he returned to his patrol of the area. We had a great time at all three roadcuts and the quarry too, brought back a few buckets full of dolomites and calcites….here are a few more photos of what I brought back….

New Quarry to Check Out

Walmart had me off for a few days in late January, so David Hodge, Chuck Reed, and I drove down to southeast Missouri to check out a new quarry for pretty rock. I had been in touch with the owner by email a few weeks prior, and he let me know that his quarry was receptive to rockhounds in the past on Saturday mornings when they were not working. I asked if we could come check it out on the 25th and he said yes. I met both of them at the quarry office and we met the owner there…Mr. Scaggs turned out to be a very nice guy, but I already knew that since I had read about him on his FB page and the way he handled his work near his hometown, spoke volumes about him, all good stuff. He told us he had been farming and managing quarries all over the USA for many years before he moved back to his hometown and opened this quarry about 12 years ago, where they mined some different types of rock and produced some unique products that helped farmers and other industries as well, giving them a corner on the market that other quarries cannot compete with. He did warn us tho, that he had hosted other rockhounds there before, as well as mineral clubs, and no one had ever found anything pretty there. He showed us where inside his quarry we could check for pretty rocks, and turned us loose for a few hours. We drove down to the first of four pits and after about ten minutes of diligent searching, we started finding calcite crystals in small poker chip formations, perched on top of dolomite crystals in saddle formations and in orange, yellow, red, and pink colors !! Chuck discovered them first and began working on some small boulders..when David and I heard and saw him working on the boulders, we immediately walked over to that area to investigate and found him hard at work harvesting some nice plates and pieces….

…he said they rolled down from above, so we looked up above on the wall and discovered a whole section covered with all four flavors of the dolomite crystals…

..on this wall….

…and then we checked the boulders below…we liked what we found so much of, that we never left that pit to go check the others, we were there finding and wrapping for three hours….

…vugs full of dolomite crystals, pretty as you please. We drove back up to the office and let Mr. Scaggs know that we found some pretty crystals in his quarry and would love to come back some time and he said we would be welcome to return. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

see the next story above for what we did after we left there…

 

MFQ on New Years Day

What better way to spend New Years Day than go rockhunting ??? ย I couldn`t think of a better way to spend the day, specially since I was off the night before, and could get some good rest before making the drive down to hunt. Missy and I woke up and headed down early, photographing the dawn`s early light on the way down there….

01 Sunrise Enroute

…Missy and I arrived about an hour later, the air a bit crisp at that time of the morning, and from where I parked near what was left of the blast pile, I could again see pockets up high, so I grabbed my stepladder and began exploring…..

05 Whats Left of the Pile

12 Ladder to Pockets

…this first pocket above and below, working out to be a very good one. I filled two bags with beautiful wrapped plates of calcite druse with poker chip blades that sparkle and shine in the sunlight….

13 Pockets Above Ladder

…more of these puppies….

03 Druse From First Pocket on Wall

…and of course while I was cleaning those pockets out…there were a couple of smaller ones on either side of that large pocket…Missy was content to roam around the quarry and check things out….

08 East Side Quarry

11 Far East Side

…we headed home about 4 pm, with four bags full of goodies. all in all a great New Years Day and great start to rockhounding in 2015.ย 

 

Pretty Sunrise on the way to MFQ

I wasn`t on call Saturday the 29th of November, so Missy and I loaded up early in the morning and headed to MFQ, stopping off in Rolla to fuel up. As soon as I got out of the truck, I noticed the beautiful sunrise in the eastern skies and while the pump was operating, I grabbed a couple of quick images, in case it fizzled out on down the road….

Sunrise 1 at Rolla

…however, not only did it not fizzle out, it was even prettier as I traveled on….

Sunrise 2 S of Rolla

Sunrise 3 S of Rolla

Sunrise 5 S of Rolla

Sunrise 6 S of Rolla

Missy and I arrived at the quarry about 7:30 am, temps were about 50 degrees, cloudy skies with a promise for clearing off and warming up a bit. I changed into my boots and grabbed my mini mattox and walked the wall to survey it… and I noticed soon after that there were several pockets with great potential up on the wall just out of my reach, so I called my buddy who lives down there and asked him if he had a ladder I could borrow…about twenty minutes later, he pulled up and delivered a nice sturdy step ladder to me…

01 Laddered the Wall

...and I laddered the wall right below the pockets and began working them from left to right. Many of the pockets had some beautiful chocolate brown druse inside them…the first three pockets I pulled plate after plate of druse out. If only I had a hydraulic lift bucket truck, I could have accessed the potential looking pockets way up high on the wall, several appeared to be very nice looking, in the top third of the photo below….

00 Pockets Way Up There Too

I was able to brace the ladder well in the rocks below and then climb up to the top…and that pocket at the top in the next photo, looked very promising….

02 Laddered the Wall

…and boy let me tell you, it was full of some nice dark colored poker chips, some dogtooth crystals, and some nice plates of chocolate colored druse too….

03 Pockets Up High

05 Blk Poker Chips Inside

…and as I worked it even more, it kept expanding….

06 After Working on Dark Poker Chip Pocket

…and I pulled some gorgeous dogtooth crystals out of that ever expanding pocket…

07 Inside the Pocket

…I filled four bags full of wrapped plates and clusters, loaded up the ladder and returned it, then headed home, exhausted but very happy.ย 

 

Great Pocket On My Way Home From Black Rock

I decided to stop by MFQ on my way home from Black Rock, Arkansas on May 31st. I had driven down to Black Rock early that morning for a MAGS sponsored trip to the Vulcan Quarry to look for pink dolomite and calcite crystals and maybe some chalcopyrite., however, if I want good chalcopyrite, I def know where I can go to find some big crystals of it. I took the scenic route getting there from Black Rock.

I spotted some pretty Jersey cows in a field off to the right of the highway and stopped to photograph them on this beautiful cloudy blue sky day….

01 On The Way Field of Jersey Cows

 

03 On The Way Field of Jersey Cows

…then I spotted this lone pine tree against the big fluffy white clouds and blue skies….

04 Lone Pine Tree

I stopped off ten miles south of Winona at Falling Spring Mill, to photograph it…neat little water grist mill with a waterfall right next to it and a big millpond in front of it, accessed by a wooden footbridge….

07 Falling Spring Mill

…it has been several years since I last photographed it, good to see that it is still being well taken care of by the Forest Service.

I then continued on, eventually arriving to find that another short wall had been blasted down, with rocks strewn everywhere from it…

08 Short Wall Blast Spread Out

 

…and I mean everywhere, in all directions, all over the floor of the quarry….

09 Spread Out All Over Lot

11 No Clean Up Yet

I drove around to the east side and parked…..

12 Started Out Cloudy

….then walked around the edge of the pile, looking for any signs of crystals or druse, finding some nice larger pieces of druse on the west side and set them out on the floor to pick up later before I left. I then decided to climb up along the wall to the top of the pile to check for wall pockets…

10 Started Up East Side

 

…finding one very nice pocket that expanded to the size of a beach ball at the entrance and was chock full of little caverns off on each side and up above it, stuffed full of plates of dolomite and calcite druse, with poker chips attached to them. It was soon very apparent to me that one bag was not going to be enough, because every plate I was pulling out was so delicate and gorgeous, that I needed to wrap each one to protect them. I returned to the truck and grabbed a couple more bags, full of wrapping cloths and grabbed a bottle of water as well…it had been cool and breezy down at Black Rock, but now, after only an hour here, it was getting very hot and the clouds had rolled away to leave blue skies and full sun. In the hour I had been there, my arms had already darkened from the intense sunlight and I could feel the beginnings of a mild sunburn starting on the back of my neck. ย An hour later, and I had filled both of these bags and I carried them back to the truck…there was only one easy way down to the truck and back up to the pocket…hugging the wall to the east and then sliding down the slope like a slalom course…but I made it without any spills each time. I grabbed two more bags filled with wrapping cloths and another bottle of water and an hour later, I had the pocket cleaned out completely. I`ll get some photos taken of those gems soon…took a few down to Tina at the Clement Mineral Museum this past weekend and everyone down there just oohhed and ahhhed over them, just as I did when I was pulling them out of the pocket. The wall I was working actually had several small vugs in addition to the pocket I found….

14 Pockets Along Wall

I made one more sashay around the other side, carefully checking for more pockets, then drove around and loaded up the larger druse pieces I had found earlier, and then I headed home, tired but happy as well. All in all, though, a very good trip and day.ย 

James ๐Ÿ™‚

jwjphoto@fidnet.com

Thanksgiving at MFQ

I received a phone call a couple of weeks ago from a good friend who told me that there had been a blast at the quarry at MFQ a few days before Thanksgiving. I had to work Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving night, but was off that weekend so I made plans to go the day after Thanksgiving. I emailed my friend Ray in St Louis and told him, and he decided to come along with me. I was able to get a good nap in and Ray met me at the house, we loaded up the truck, and headed out shortly after 8 am. After stopping for gas, we headed east and arrived about 11:30 am and osbserved the west corner of the cove wall had been blasted down…..

03 Blasted Corner

As we pulled up to the blast pile, we stopped and talked to one of the owners and his wife, for a few minutes, thanked them for allowing rockhounds to come there and rockhunt, and then we began searching to see what we could find after the blast. He told us that he had taken some of the pine cone looking crystals to his wife, occasionally, and they liked them too.ย 

We immediately started finding some nice crystals in various colors, that had survived the blast and the fifty foot throw to the ground as well…

02 Allowed to Work Left Side

 

…within minutes, I had one bag full and returned to the truck for another, as Ray climbed up on the pile in search of boulders with vugs…he found several and was able to remove some nice clusters from them…

06 Ray Works Middle of Pile

 

I kept walking around the perimeter of the pile and soon found this one just sitting there waiting to go home with me…

08 Cluster Found in Pile

 

…this of course is the cleaned up version of it…and we found a few that had a red crust on them…still haven`t figured that part out yet….

09 Double Chip Cluster

 

…although I can tell you that it isnt soft like clay, is hard and rough just like it looks, nothing seems to wash it off at all. ย I managed to find quite a few dark grey colored crystals, even a nice set of twins like these….

10 Twin Poker Chip

 

…and quite a few chocolate colored crystals as well….

11 Several Crystals

 

…and some bigger chunks covered in chocolate brown crystals, too….

12 Large Cluster of Brown Poker Chips

 

14 Cluster Dark Brown Poker Chips

 

…Ray found a big chunk of crystals coated with that red crust and gave to me…he didn`t like that red crust at all….I don`t like it, but found it interesting since we have never seen it there before….

13 Large Cluster Covered in Red Crust

 

We were there til about 3 pm and then headed home, with a truckbed full of crystals…we didn`t find many pockets but were able to liberate quite a few crystals from the vugs we found.ย