Park Hills Mineral Show 2019

Had some problems with my website for a few weeks, that stretched into a couple of months before I was able to get them resolved with the help of a good photographer friend in Arkansas…at this point we think it`s resolved now, so I will be posting on a regular basis again soon.

I drove down to the Park Hills Show on Saturday morning, the second day of the show, to see what they had this year. I always make it a point to stop and visit with my friend Johnny B from Mt Ida…..

….who is always on the second row near the info booth gate. Johnny usually has his green carved dragons and some new stuff…he did not disappoint again this year…the new stuff this year included a few flats of the last of a new discovery of creedite balls with multi-colored fluorite cubes attached to the balls. He allowed me to look through a flat or two so I could make a selection…he had some on display in a glass case on the table too….

and here is the one I selected, with a nice smattering of multi colored fluorites on it…

Afterward, I visited with my geode hunting buddy, Ken Vaisvil, he was also on the second row but further to the south east end of it, selling and cracking geodes as he does each year, and beautiful ones at that. I picked up a few more special ones from him, he always has some gorgeous ones….

Great talking to ya again Ken, see ya at Geodefest 2019 !!

From there I wandered over to the back row to see the new dealers and what they were selling, ran into some friends of John Oostenryk from Iowa, that were down to buy some druse quartz…the gal they bought some from didn`t even have the decency to clean them up before she brought them to the show. I let them know I had some much prettier stuff and would be happy to sell it at wholesale prices, as I normally do, and she said they would be in touch soon. From there I wandered on down the row and came upon my miner buddy Josh, who had some great chalcopyrite pieces with bladed barites attached in the snow white colors, as well as some new finds…galena cubes with double terminated golden calcites attached to them….

…large calcite crystals and the nice sphalerite balls attached to the chalco pieces…

…I plan to drop by his residence next week and see if he has some more nice stuff for sale, to take to Kentucky with me in a couple of weeks. Will see if anyone else down there likes it too. 🙂

Hope everyone is staying cool this summer, so far we cannot complain too much about excessive heat here in Missouri. 🙂

MAGsters Rockhunt Missouri 2016

Members of MAGS, the Memphis Archaeological and Geological Society, a club I am a member of as well, came up to Missouri two weeks ago to go rockhunting with me at the SS and MFQ areas. Also on that day, I was contacted by a guy out of the Chicago area named Bill, who had his own blogsite….he had contacted me the week before by email, said he was an avid fan of my rockhunting blog site…this site….and that he enjoyed my stories and photos…I was floored, because I had been reading his site recently about some locations he had been to recently, and told him that I enjoyed reading his stories too. He and his girlfriend Debbie were up in the KC area at that time and would be traveling back to the Chicago area by way of the scenic route, they were planning to drive to Potosi to look for druse…I advised him that they might want to avoid that area, because recently many locations where we used to be able to go to and collect both druse and barite at, had become closed to rockhunters. Many of those areas are very rural properties, they have become infested with meth labs and overzealous rockhounds, so property owners in that area are no longer tolerant of rockhounds on their property there. I suggested that he instead join MAGS members on their druse hunt with me…he and Debbie stopped off at my home to visit with me and see my outside rock collection. Before heading on to Potosi for the night, they decided they would drive over the next morning to join MAGS as members and go with us to the druse hunt. 

Many of the MAGsters drove up on Friday afternoon, April 1st, some camping out in various areas, some staying in motel rooms…. Onyx and I drove down early Saturday morning to meet them at the meeting spot.  We arrived a few minutes before 8 am and soon after, Bill and Debbie showed up, and then some of the MAGS members started showing up as well. WC, the club President, had told me a week earlier that he was not sure how many were coming up for the trip, he figured it might be a small group, but as more and more folks showed up, I decided we had better relocate to a larger parking lot just north of where we were at now.

While waiting for some of the members who had spent the night in Park Hills, Bill and Debbie joined the MAGS Club and I was able to meet Charles Hill, the Field Trip Director for MAGS..I have been talking to him for months but had no idea what he looked like and vice versa I am sure for him…it was nice to finally put a face to the emails. My friends Carrie, Jeff, and Bentley from the KC area, arrived soon after, camping just north of the meeting spot, and I was able to visit with them as well. WC and a few other members arrived soon after from Park Hills, bringing Betty Marler with them…I hadn`t seen Betty in a couple of years and wondered how she was doing. One of her nephews brought her over to join us and she looked and sounded just great…it was a real joy to visit with her that day, she and her husband Lloyd were some of the founding members of the Park Hills Mineral Club, they host the Park Hills Show at the old Federal Mine each year, which over the years has become a well attended and well liked show each year in June.

We soon were all headed down the road to the druse location, everyone following me in single file and we soon arrived there…I pulled over and directed everyone into the entrance, some driving up a small hill to the right and others pulling in to the left side to park…we had several vehicles but had plenty of room for all to park off the road. From there, everyone booted up, grabbed tools and buckets and headed out in different directions to hunt for druse quartz….

03010205 Bill and Debbie of Chicago


…while there, one of the local neighbors, who lives on down the road, and had invited us to her property when we finished collecting there the year before. stopped by to visit with us and see how we were doing. After collecting there all morning, we drove to a second location, an area that I have often referred to as the secret spot. There were some MAGsters who had inquired about getting some larger druse, and so we drove there because as Onyx and I had discovered a few weeks prior on a scouting trip, there were several large chunks of druse quartz there, and the members that drove over there looking for them, found several nice ones to take home with them. We were there for a couple of hours and then I led a few of the rockhounds still with us, down to the home of a good friend of mine who is a Viburnum Trend mineral dealer…he doesn`t charge an arm and a leg and is very knowledgeable about the minerals that come from the area mines as well. He had several pyrite encased double terminated calcite crystal pieces as well as lead cubes…..

01 Calcites With Marcasite08 Pocket 31 Pieces14 Pyrite & Chalco Calcite PiecesCrystals Available For Purchase 3

….and those who purchased from him left very happy. Most of the MAGSters headed to Salem to spend the night, while Onyx and I headed home, scheduled to meet them at MFQ the next morning at 8:30. Once home, I loaded up the bed of my truck with twelve buckets of grab bag material for the club`s annual show which is held the last weekend in April each year. 

Early the next morning, a fire truck woke me up going by my house at 4 am, enroute to a house fire north of town…Onxy and I drove out to the location, where I photographed the fire for the local paper….which I do quite often. It was a devastating fire, the family escaping with only the clothes on their backs and had to break in a front side window to get their grandson out as well. 

02 Fully Involved on Arrival

Forty five minutes later I was back home, editing up a few photos for the paper before heading south once again to meet the MAGSters at the MFQ. Onyx and I took Hwy 63 down there and came down Hwy 106 from Summersville…when we reached the top of the hill above the Jacks Fork River, there were some redbud trees fringing the side of the highway and down below, I could see fog rising above the water of the stream illuminated by the light of the rising sun….

08 Jacks Fork River09 Hwy 106 Near Alley Spring Mill


…and soon we dropped down the hill and I decided to stop and stretch our legs a bit, see if there was some fog down at the spring pond by the Alley Springs Mill as well….

11 Alley Spring Mill15 Alley Spring Mill

…lo and behold, there was a nice mist coming up off the waters there…..

17 Alley Spring Mill18 Alley Spring Mill19 Alley Spring Mill

..and then we headed on down the road, arriving a little after 8 am, to find a couple of members from Mississippi there waiting, and soon after, Charles, Mike, and the rest arrived and we all proceeded down to the coved wall area….

23 Eminence Quarry

…..and spread out to look for goodies, which were high in abundance that day, including many dogtooth crystals found laying all over the place, prime for the picking….


24 Eminence Quarry26 Eminence Quarry2930

I walked up on the knob in front of Charles in the middle of the center mass of rock and found a pocket at the base of it…everyone was busy with their own finds, so I grabbed my new mini mattox and was able to dig it out shortly after….


…soon after that, Chuck Reed and family showed up from the St Louis County area…Chuck and his daughter Mackenzie recently joined MAGS…he and I are also members of one of the St Louis area clubs, however MAGS is very proactive with field trips for its members where many clubs these days are not…field trips can be the very lifeblood of a club these days. We hunted there for another couple of hours before folks started heading for home…while I was out helping others find some nice crystals to take home with them…Bob Cooper, the Membership Director for MAGS, transferred the many buckets of grab bag material that I had transported down there in my truck, over to his heavy duty diesel truck to transport back to Memphis. If you find yourself down in the Memphis area the last weekend in April looking for something to do and see, The Earth Wide Open is a great rockhound show to attend there, something for adults as well as the kids. More info can be found on the show at 

We were finding alot of dogtooth crystals laying all over the floor of the quarry, as well as in several of the berms next to the walls…there were many pockets high up on the wall and it appeared the they had likely rolled out of the pockets and fell to the floor, many of them undamaged by the fall. Needless to say, many who found them, were quite happy with their finds, much easier to pick them up then to have to work a wall pocket to find them. Chuck and his family followed me up to my mineral dealer`s home shortly after everyone took off for home, and we purchased a few more crystals there before heading home as well. A long weekend for sure, but a very worthwhile and nice time visiting with good friends.

Lately, I have found out that several who read my blogsite stories, try to figure out where I am going to rockhunt at. Let me advise you first, that some of the locations I go to, are on private property and require permission to go there…I have that permission to go there and rockhunt there…if you do not have it, or you dont want to make the effort to get it, do not go and trespass there thinking just because I wrote about it, you can use my name to get access, or that it entitles you to go there as well. Those landowners won`t buy your story either, and you will wind up in jail for trespassing, or worse. 

This is why I do not list the locations many times, because some assume that they can go there without permission. Do the ethical thing, abide by the laws of the land, make the effort to contact the landowner yourself and secure permission to go there and hunt. It`s not any different from any other type of hunting on private property.


if you have any questions, give me a shout at


New Addition to my Rock Garden

One of the last trips Missy made with me was down to St Louis County to pick up a huge Dogtooth Calcite Crystal Cluster with Chalcopyrite and Galena Lead attached to it, that a guy was selling…he was downsizing from a house to an apartment and could not take it with him…he had purchased it from a friend of mine at the Park Hills Show a few years ago and had it in his front flower garden. He had told me it was quite heavy and recommended that I bring someone with me to help lift it into my truck, so I contacted my nephew Zack and he said he would be glad to help me with it. I picked up Zack at Eureka and drove on over to Dennis` residence in Fenton to pick it up. I backed up my truck into his driveway as close as I could get, which left about twenty feet for Zack and I to carry it…luckily that was as far as we had to go with it, cause Dennis was right, it was pretty darn heavy with all that galena lead attached to it, and we had to handle it carefully due to all the crystals on the front face of it…it measures about 18 to 20 inches high and about 15 inches wide, at least ten inches thick, if not more. Luckily Zack had his wheaties that morning and was able to help me lift it just fine. My neighbor Glenn helped me unload it when I returned home with it, and I was able to get the truck quite close to the spot I intended to set it down at…here it is in that spot on display….

Huge Crystal Centerpiece

Huge Crystal Centerpiece 2

Huge Crystal Centerpiece 4

Chalcopyrite & Galena On Backside

Fletcher Mine Additions to My Collection

I picked up some beautiful calcites and chalcopyrite to add to my collection back in May from my friend Dave….

01 Yellow Calcites With Chalcopyrite

02 Yellow Calcites With Chalcopyrite

08 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite



12 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite

14 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite

15 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite

17 Dbl Terminated XLS


20 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite

22 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite


…then a few weeks later, he let me know that he had some stuff in that was even prettier, double terminated calcite crystals many of them three to four inches in length, and surrounded by, even embedded in clusters of gorgeous pyrite !!  I had to go take a look and to say I was astounded would be an understatement….

38 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite

05 Dbl Terminated Calcite & Marcasite

06 Dbl Terminated Calcite & Marcasite

40 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite

41 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite

…so here is what my collection from the Doe Run Mines looks like now…well should say this is one countertop out of five now….

01 Calcites With Marcasite

…then there is this shelf as well…..

06 From Pocket 31

…as this one….

12 Pyrite & Chalco Calcite Pieces

..and then I changed the first one around a little….

14 Pyrite & Chalco Calcite Pieces

…hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do…I picked up another batch of them from him on Friday, do not have them photographed just yet, not even unwrapped yet…but I will get there eventually. 🙂 

Armadillo Day at MFQ

As usual, I am behind again on my posts and so am taking the time to catch up today. I worked on editing images all afternoon and then had to rest my eyes for a bit before taking up the task of putting the story together with the photos. In the past six weeks, I have been busy with some family matters , work issues, and yardwork while we had rain. I have also traveled a bit to do some rock collecting, and except for one day a few weeks ago, I didn`t find much of anything worth writing home about, until yesterday…when I had a great day of rock hunting and collecting. Today was rest up, recover, and catch up day, and so I did.

Friday afternoon, Missy and I drove down to Arcadia, Missouri, to check out an older collection of Doe Run minerals, that a resident there wanted to sell. I had been in contact with the guy for a few weeks, trying to work in a time when I could get down there and he would be available to show me his collection. He told me that he had about eighty pieces in his collection, and I had seen a few photos of the collection and liked what I had seen, so I was a bit excited as I arrived there. Once inside however, it was a different story…for one thing, I only saw maybe thirty pieces in the display case and they were covered in dust and very dirty, even cobwebs were strung out all over the minerals on the shelves, making it very hard to see exactly what was even in his collection. He had a few pieces with chalcopyrite, but they had oxidized so badly, I couldn`t see any color at all, even what little pyrite I saw was dull colored. He had inherited his collection from his grandfather who worked in a couple of the Doe Run mines, and I quickly found out the value he placed on it was sentimental value alone, which no one can afford. As it was, after making the drive down there, I did purchase a few of his pieces, but that was all…..I was quite disappointed and almost felt as if I had wasted my time.

Missy and I got up early Saturday morning and drove down to MFQ, after I received a call Tuesday night at work from my buddy Jim, who told me that there was some new activity there earlier that day, near the coved wall. I was looking forward to seeing what could be found, as that wall has produced alot of pretty crystals in the past couple of years. Usually it starts getting light about 5:30 am, but each time I glanced to the east, all I saw were a low line of dark blue clouds as we traveled down the road. Only as I got close, did the sun finally make a beautiful appearance, in the form of a large fireball from the clouds…if you look close, you`ll notice the crescent moon just above the sun as well…..

00B Sunrise 3

00A Sunrise 2

…then a few minutes later, there were sunbeams as well….

00D Sunrise 5


We arrived shortly after, and after gearing up, I started walking around the base of the new pile, which was smaller than I had anticipated, but I had to stop and remember that this happened Tuesday morning and staff had been working the pile since then…

02 New Blast Tuesday Left Side Cove


I had actually let a few of my rockhunting buddies know about it as well,  and a couple of them had considered making the drive up there as well. After walking around the new pile for about the first hour, I texted them and told them not to waste their time because in that hour, I only located one single crystal and no wall pockets either. I`m not saying there were no crystals there…it`s likely there were, but they were prob buried underneath all the rubble, too. It was starting to look like a bust for me, which would be the first time since I have never had a bad day of collecting down there yet. I took a water bottle break and then drove over to the prior pile…which they had used to create a ramp up……

01 New Lower Bench


….to the benched top of it….04 Lower Bench Wall

I had been up on that bench a few weeks back and found just a few pockets with some nice calcite druse and poker chips mixed in, some of them had some nice dogtooth crystals as well…. on a Saturday,  and then the next day I drove down to a location that a good friend of mine had told me about last year…I refer to it as the new secret spot….a location that has proven to be a very good place to find some great clusters of crystals, especially dogtooth crystals…on that particular day a few weeks ago, I def found something worth writing home about, but have chosen not to until recently when I told a few close friends about it. Suffice to say, I had a field day that day and brought home several canvas bags full of wrapped goodies, clusters, singles, twins, triples, all bright orange dogtooth crystals, from micro size to beachball sized, many of each. It`s been a few weeks and I am still cleaning many of them. I`ll post some photos of them when I get them cleaned up…I had a few of them cleaned up and on display when some new rock collecting friends showed up last week for a visit, and they were pretty impressed with them as well.

I decided not to climb up the bench ramp again this time, and walked around the base to see if I could spot any crystals that had rolled down the walls, that might indicate a pocket nearby. Within a few minutes, I spotted a couple of boulders embedded in the sloped wall, and it appeared that someone had found some druse in a pocket under the left boulder. I did some exploring and suddenly discovered some poker chips under the boulder on the right side….

03 Armadillo Pocket


…I dug down and around the bottom of that boulder and tried to dig out the right side, but the upper slope material kept sliding down and getting in the way, so I moved to the left of it and pulled bigger rocks and loose stuff away to find a large opening between the two boulders, which opened up into a large void between the two large boulders…

04 Armadillo Pocket

…it appeared to me that someone may have dug under the boulder on the right, but didn`t follow up…. in my estimation, since I soon began pulling out some beautiful plates…here is the opening between the boulders…

12 Armadillo Pocket

….I went back to the truck and brought back my flashlight and when I shined the light down into that pocket, I saw very shiny calcite druse all over the ceiling and walls and lots of pieces and plates with the same druse all over them, including some with poker chips attached to them….here are a few that I was able to reach as soon as I spotted them with the light….

06 Goodies Found So Far07 Calcite Druse with Chips

08 Calcite Druse with Chips

11 Calcite Druse with Chips


…I then stuck my camera down into the cavern and snapped a couple of photos to show you what the interior of it looked like…the photos you are about to see do not do it justice….

13 Armadillo Pocket Inside

…that big one at the bottom that you see in the photo, I had to pull it out thru that opening so that I could pull out some more plates that were located behind it…by this time I had removed more of the loose dirt and rock underneath me so that I could more easily, reach into that cavern and grab more plates…soon my arms were all scratched up and I felt more like an armadillo, digging my way in between those boulders…which by the way, were firmly entrenched and embedded into that sloped wall, deeply entrenched and attached to the wall behind it…the void appeared to be about six feet long and four feet wide and every bit of thirty inches high. The big piece you see above, was very pretty on the side facing away from me, covered in calcite druse with a big poker chip attached to one corner of it. Here are some more of the goodies I pulled out once it was clear of the void…

09 Calcite Druse with Chips

10 Calcite Druse with Chips

…one of the prettiest plates I pulled out was sitting right in front of the big one that was blocking me, plate sized and a few inches thick with calcite druse in three colors and poker chips embedded in it….

16 Spectacular Plate

…a few of these plates even had dogtooth crystals on them…the following image shows about half of my haul from this pocket alone…

15 Tailgate Covered

…after two hours on this pocket, I was ready for another bottle of cold water and I decided to wrap everything up and load it in the truck bed, and then evaluate to see how tired I was….the temps were climbing by now and the little shade I had by the boulders was just about gone and I had cleaned out the pocket quite well. After wrapping them all up, I had three bags completely full and then wrapped up ten large ones as well, basketball sized.  I decided that I had a little more energy left and moved further east along the wall, looking for more potential for pockets…and soon found an area that I had once found several pockets, some filled with druse, but beautiful druse and sometimes when I find those druse pockets, I find poker chips attached to the druse as well….yesterday, I found two more pockets of the druse with poker chips attached…I had to do a bit more burrowing in like an armadillo again, but managed to do so safely again and filled two more bags with goodies, before finally wearing out…the temps had to be near 95 now and the humidity was getting bad as well. Jim and his wife stopped by to chat for a minute, they too were tired of the heat and headed to the river to sit and soak in it. Missy had been inside my truck in the ac for the past hour and I soon joined her.

 I drove to the top of the parking lot and called a friend of mine, who is a mineral dealer nearby, he specializes in Viburnum Trend minerals, and I asked him if he had any new material. He said he did and I decided to drive up to his place and take a look. Boy, am I glad that I did drive up there because he had some gorgeous green and yellow calcite crystals attached to the blackest rock I have ever seen, many of the crystals were double terminated and some even skeletal looking, some with phantoms inside them, spectacular and breathtaking at the same time…they had come from the Fletcher Mine and since I didn`t have anything in my collection from the Fletcher Mine, I purchased a few from him….

Green & Yellow Calcite on Blk Rock 4

Green & Yellow Calcite on Blk Rock 2

Large Chunk of Blk With Calcites 2

Large Chunk of Blk With Calcites 4

Large Chunk of Blk With Calcites 5

…and this next one features a single calcite crystal attached to a chunk of dolomite covered by a quartz druse and some galena cubes spread out in the quartz….

Single Crystal on Quartz Druse 2

Single Crystal on Quartz Druse

…and this gorgeous piece of chalcopyrite that has multiple colors and is covered by a fine dusting of quartz as well…

Chalcopyrite Dusted With Quartz

Chalcopyrite Dusted With Quartz Back Side

…he had several of each one…most of my chalcopyrite has large chunks of it on the matrix, but this stuff was more like a dusting of smaller particles of color and covered with a dusting of quartz as well, just spectacular pieces, bit and small. I brought home a few boxes of material from him and so yesterday was a great day of hunting and collecting for me. I can`t wait to add these to my new display cases, but for now that gorgeous chalcopyrite piece is sitting here next to my computer for me to visually enjoy for a few days. 🙂

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

Rockhounding With Ian Merkel

One of my good rockhounding friends from Colorado, Ian Merkel, flew into St Louis last week to do some rockhounding in Missouri this weekend. Docia and I set up a couple of locations to take him to on Saturday and Sunday, and he had set up his schedule all day Friday to do some collecting half a mile deep in one of the Doe Run Mines near Viburnum.

I was at work when he flew into St Louis and soon after he let me know that he had reached Sullivan and would spending the night there in one of our motels, before heading to the Casteel Mine the next morning to meet up with some of his mining friends there. I arranged to have Docia meet him in Eminence on Saturday morning and take him to the quarry there, where we would spend much of the day looking for pockets of poker chip crystals and dolomite druse. 

Missy and I got up early Saturday morning and cruised down through Viburnum and Reynolds County countryside to Eminence listening to one of my favorite Colorado musicians, John Denver…..I had told Ian I would be coming in the back way and Docia could more easily meet him and guide him to the quarry since she travels down Hwy 19, which was the route he would be driving down as well. As I pulled into the quarry entrance on the east side of Eminence about 10 am, I spotted Docia`s blazer and Ian`s rental suv down below by the gravel piles….I pulled up next to them with the lyrics of Rocky Mountain High coming from my stereo speakers.

Ian was showing Docia what he had been able to collect in some pockets of goodie minerals deep down in the Casteel Mine the day before…..he had some pretty chacopyrite and lead cubes, but was ready now to take on some serious digging at one of the best locations in Missouri for poker chip crystals and dolomite druse. We all changed into our boots and grabbed our tools and bags, and headed over to one of the original bluff areas that is usually choked full of pockets…where Ian and I started in on the point of the bluff….

01 Ian Works Entrance Bluff


…and immediately we began seeing evidence of crystals and dolomite and calcite druse all over the bluff, next to a spot that I had been working on when I was there just a few weeks prior. It was obvious to both of us that we would need to knock some overhanging rocks down first, in order to make things safer, so we began clearing off the top layers and then the bottom layers, which were peeling off like the pages of a book. Soon we had a big pile of rocks below us and we began searching for pockets a bit more, and finding many soon enough….

03 Looks For Pockets


…within seconds, Ian was reaching into a pocket to explore a bit more carefully….

04 Reaching Inside Pocket


…and found a few loose ones right off the bat….

05 Found A Pocket

06 Pocket of Poker Chips

07 Examing A Crystal

…he started pulling some large clusters out soon after, but he wasnt able to take them home, they would take up too much room in the two medium sized suitcases he had for the flight home, so he gave me the bigger ones…I backed my truck up so I didnt have to carry them as far…

08 Backed Up to Load Big Ones

 …when I returned to the bluff, I found that he had pulled away some of the covering matrix and discovered yet another pocket off to the left of the original pocket found…

09 Ian Points Out Another Pocket

…and pretty soon, yet another pocket was located…

10 And yet Another Pocket

…and soon it was one pocket after another in this area of the bluff. We soon found ourselves having to carefully remove some of the covering plates of matrix to access more pockets…..

12 Carefully Removing Coverplate

…he was careful to use his screwdriver and small prybar to pull this one back to reveal….

13 Carefully Pulling It Away

….a nice cluster….now I had a very happy Ian on my hands….

14 Ian is a Happy Camper

…by this time we discovered that Docia was no longer right around the corner of the bluff from us…she had wandered over to the new blast area, so we picked up our goodies and tools and headed over to join her….finding her talking to a couple from West Plains that were looking for crystals as well…David and his mom,

15 New Blast Area

…if you look real close at the photo above, you can see a green dot at the top of that pile just left of center…thats Ian at the top of the pile looking for pockets…I had already filled two bags and came down for more bags and wrapping cloths when I took this photo and the two below….

16 Ian At Top of New Blast Area

17 Ian At Top of New Blast Area

…and this next photo will give you a better perspective as well…

18 Better Perspective

…I didnt take my camera up there with me as the footing walking up can be a little dicey sometimes, but I can safely tell you that we found four pockets that were absolutely filled with poker chips and dolomite druse….in fact, there are ten times more dolomite druse pockets than poker chip pockets up there, but both are pretty and Ian liked both of them as much as I do. I was working a pocket about five feet left of Ian, and it was much easier to reach inside and then around to the back of the pocket to pull crystals and clusters out of it, as the face was almost solid in matrix rock. Meanwhile, Ian was still finding larger clusters than he could manage, so he was handing a few off to me or placing them in my bags.

I walked my last two bags back down the pile to the bottom once again, going back to the truck for yet another bag, and Ian came down the pile along the wall, stopping at the bottom corner where there were several small openings of pockets that David described as woodpecker holes. Ian started exploring one of the small openings and all of a sudden, started ooohhing and aahhing so much, that I moved a little faster to get back up there…no easy feat cause you have to climb up an unstable gravel slide area ten feet high and then pull yourself on up the last three feet, with little to latch on to for solid support…cause nothing is solid there and rooted down.  When I did finally get back up there, Ian was holding a couple of small plates of dolomite and calcite druse covered with orange dogtooth crystals….hence the reason for the oohhs and ahhs…

So we worked on those pockets for about thirty minutes more and then decided to go up above and see what we could find on the upper benches. I had never been up to the bench right above the new blast area yet, but wanted to, so we left David with the woodpecker holes and went up to there to see what could be found. This time I forgot my camera in the truck but Ian had his with him and snapped a couple photos of me working my pocket to the left of his…

Me Holding Up a Just Found Crystal

….his being a pocket of beautiful green poker chip crystals and clusters…one of them so big that Ian  couldnt pack it in either suitcase, so he left it with me…here it is in the bed of my truck….

22 Big Green Poker Chip Ian Found Above

…well we worked that pocket for at least forty minutes and cleaned it out as best we could…the crystals in it were covered in a heavy oooey gooey red clay and limonite matrix, so it was a bit more difficult to work in getting the crystals out, not many of them coming out cleanly…I found a pocket off to the side that appeared to tie in with his pocket, but eventually ran out of steam and crystals.  We packed up and headed back down to the new blast area, to see if Docia was ready to head out…we were going to visit a mutual friend who has some beautiful Doe Run Mine specimens that he sells on the side…we have purchased beautiful specimens from him before and thought we would see what he had left.

Docia decided to get some information from David and his mom before we headed out, so Ian and I took another look at the area where Docia was collecting as we pulled back up. Ian immediately found yet another pocket, within a few feet of where Docia had been working and finding some dogtooth crystals, and I went up a crevice to the left and spotted a pocket about three feet higher up…

18A Crevice of Pockets

…where I spotted a beautiful  large poker chip in a very dark gray or black color, attached to the pocket wall…one side appeared to be loose, so with the help of Ian`s smaller prybar, I was able to wiggle it loose from its attachment…it split into two pieces, but I was able to recover all the key players and was quite happy with the way it looks….

20 Two Blk Poker Chips I Found

…the one on the right much darker of the two….

21 Darker Of The Two

…and probably the darkest colored crystals I have ever found here…found the chocolate colored crystals a few months back there, but never a dark enough gray to be considered black, that I can recall. In the meantime, Ian was trying to cobb down a cluster he found in one of the pockets so he could get it into his suitcase….

19 Ian Cobbs Down One

…and he wound up getting a few nice smaller pieces from it….

24 Ian Very Happy

…and here he is looking at yet another cluster….

25 Ian Examines a Cluster

…we left shortly after and drove north through the beautiful Reynolds County countryside and visited with David, our Doe Run mineral dealer friend, for about an hour, before heading home for the night, darkness overtaking us soon after we left. After a good dinner at Cracker Barrel and a little bit of tv, we retired for the night, in anticipation of another long day on Sunday.

We intended to get up about 5:30 am Sunday, but my internal clock went off earlier, so then we had to wait an hour for Cracker Barrel to open, cause that`s where Ian wanted to go for breakfast. I emailed Docia that we would arrive at the Secret Spot between 7:30 and 8 am, and we drove over to Cracker Barrel after Ian loaded up his tools and backpack in my truck.

After a great breakfast, we took off and as we were driving along, we spotted this large sun off to the east…found out he and I both like sunrises like this, with the sun looking larger than life, and so I pulled over and we both photographed it…

01 Sunrise Sunday Morning

03 Sunrise Big Sun

…and then drove on south….arriving about 7:35 am…no Docia in sight…and found half the blast pile removed on the left side…providing us more wall to inspect for pockets…..

06 New Look

…Ian was so excited, he was ready to go before I was…I had to change from my street shoes to my boots, then grab a bag and some tools, my trusty mattox for one thing…..I`m lacing up my boots and he is hollering at me…where`s that pocket at….so I told him and he heads that way and pretty soon I am too…..he was like a kid with a chocolate addiction in a candy store, lol…….and pretty soon he was digging away at a potential pocket on the wall….

07 Ian Working a Pocket

….he didnt like the looks of the pocket I had left him, like me, he thought the crystals on the back wall were too difficult to remove, and the pocket Docia had worked last week, looked cleaned out, so he started tackling this potential pocket above. I moved on down the wall to his right, about fifteen feet, and dug into a potentially looking pocket….

08 Ian Working a Pocket

09 Ian Works a Pocket

…pretty soon it was apparent that he had found some crystals and might just have a working pocket….

11 Ian Found One to Right

…while mine was def looking like it had some nice specimens inside…I would have to dig them out, but was already spotting orange dogtooth crystal points inside….

12 Pocket I Found to Right of Ian

13 My Pocket Up Closer

Ian took a break from his pocket and decided to look and see if he could find another pocket near mine…

14 Ian Searching Area to My Right


…so he decided to check behind this chunk of rock ledge and then decided it would be much safer to knock it down…

15 Ian Makes Things Safer

…so while I was continuing to work on my pocket, he knocked the ledge and overhang down…

16 Ian Makes Things Safer

…and while he didnt find anything here…..he did locate a pocket on the east wall  that turned out to be quite nice and productive for him. In the meantime, I was still pulling druse plates and crytals out of my pocket and making my way further back inside it…

18 Progress of My Pocket

…and here is the pocket that Ian located on the east wall…he let out a big whoop and I looked over to see him pulling a very big single poker chip crystal out of the pocket, here you see it against the wall at the end of his prybar…

19 New Crystal Ian Found

…and the pocket behind it…

20 New Pocket Ian Found

Ian was actually taking these two photos and then turned around and photographed me working on my pocket…

21 Me Working a Pocket

…something you dont see very often…lol…

22 Me Working a Pocket

23 Me Working a Pocket

…and looking inside…here is what he saw when he shot this one….

24 Working My Way Back into Pocket

…and here is a combo I pulled out of there while he was photographing me…

25 Combo Found in Pocket

…and here is Docia who was checking out some pockets near me as well…

26 Docia Checks Out Crystals

…by this time I had filled three bags full of crystals and I was ready to look elsewhere and take a break, so Ian asked if he could check out my pocket and I told him to knock himself out. He had to stack up some rocks to get up to it and the next time I looked over there, here is all I could see of him….

27 Ian Crawls Into Pocket

…and actually had some good luck inside after crawling nearly halfway inside it. He pulled a plate down from the top and all of a sudden…crystals started raining down on him from another pocket above…he said it was like activating a slot machine full of chips or coins. After working it and filling up a bag, he decided to walk over to the south wall and see what Docia was finding over there…I was still resting up and I looked up the slope to see them both working a pocket near the top….

28 Docia and Ian Work South Wall

…I walked over to the west wall to see if I could find some druse plates, cause Ian had mentioned he would like to take some druse home with him as well and we werent going to have time to run over to the new druse spot. I walked over and began looking down at the base of the wall, as they normally fall from the clay dirt above the rock wall and land at the base…when the sun came out from behind the clouds, and made them glitter, I was able to spot and pick them up….here are a few I found over there….

29 Druse Plates I Found

30 Druse Plate

31 Druse Plate

and here are a couple of cluster combos we found while there as well….

32 Poker Chip Clusters

Ian and I took off about 1 pm so Ian could get cleaned up and get the specimens wrapped up and packed away in his suitcases before heading for the airport…

33 Ian Wraps Up his Crystals

34 Ian Happily Wraps Up Crystals

…the photo above shows a happy but tired Ian, packing his goodies away in his suitcases before heading home...he had to leave a few of them with me cause they were too big or heavy….he took one with his camera of us and here it is…

35 Rockhunting Buddies

…had a great time taking him hunting here in Missouri and glad that he made it home safe and sound !!


A Friend`s Collection of Beautiful Chalcopyrite

If anyone is looking for some beautiful chalcopyrite for your collection, I know the perfect guy for you to contact. I met David a few years ago at the Joplin, Missouri Rock and Gem Show at Schifferdecker Park in late September.  I had just arrived at Memorial Auditorium in downtown Joplin for the show and he had a booth set up on the east side of the auditorium. When I walked up and began looking at the variety of beautiful minerals from several of the Doe Run Viburnum Trend Mines,  he was busy taking care of customers on the other side of the booth and his wife walked over and answered my questions. I was quite taken with the large variety of calcite crystals and lead cubes and just in awe of the multiple colors of what I later learned from him, was chalcopyrite, which is a copper mineral. I remember purchasing a nice plate of druse quartz covered in pyrite and marcasite from him that morning, and returning later the next day and purchasing a few more from him.

I never have a problem purchasing minerals I know I`ll never have a chance to collect myself…I say never, because its pretty safe to say I wont be going down half a mile deep in any of the Doe Run Mines anytime soon, if ever at all. Thats where you have to go to find beautiful specimens like the ones in David`s collection.

Recently, a friend and I traveled down to his house and met with David, and after reviewing what he had in stock, purchased a few specimens from him yet again. See for yourself, and if you like what you see and are interested in making some as well, let me know and I`ll put you in touch with him.

06 Large Crystal Piece with Chalcopyrite

However…having said that,  let me point out….  the mass of calcite crystals with some chalcopyrite sprinkled in, pictured above center stage, is no longer available because its now part of my collection. 

03 Chalcopyrite


07A   Large Chalcopyrite Piece


08 More Chalcopyriite


09 Even More Chalcopyrite


11 More in Back


12 Crystals and Smaller Chalco Pieces


13 Two Exceptionally Pretty Chalco Pieces


14 Really Pretty Piece


16 All Chalco


Here are a few I purchased from him…. 

1 of 2 Chalcopyrite I Bought Today


2 of 2 I Bought Today


2 of 2 I Bought Today Other Side