Two Afternoons and Another OMG Pocket….

After ten days of being sick and confined to the house two weeks ago, when my weekend off finally showed up, I decided to get out of the house and head for the secret spot…if nothing else, just to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. Missy and I loaded up the truck and took off late Saturday morning last weekend and on the way, I said a short prayer…asking for a safe trip and said I didn`t care if I found any pockets…just wanted to have a little fun by stretching my legs and looking for some pretty stuff. I really could have cared less if I found anything, I just sooo wanted to get outside and do something different…I had returned to work last Wednesday after ten days confined to the house with a bad cold and sinus infection. We hadn`t been to the location in four weeks, having spent the last couple of trips at the Eminence Quarry and finding some beautiful stuff down there. The floor of my kitchen was literally still covered in Emience material, even though I had given quite a bit of it to local friends who enjoy pretty stuff as much as I do. I wasn`t quite sure where I would put more stuff, but we would figure that out when the time came, if I found anything on this trip.

We arrived a little after noon and while driving in, encountered some heavy soupy and sloppy mud, on top of the otherwise normally rocky solid roadway, so I had to shift into four wheel drive just to drive down the hill to the lower spot, something I have never had to do before. Once parked down at the lower spot, I looked back at my truck and noticed all the mud on the sides and snapped this photo….

1 Beautiful Day and A Little Muddy

I walked over to the area that I had dug into the last time there, back when Virgil and Larry were there, and found the two pockets I had worked, half full of crystal clear water with a muddy orange oxide bottom….

2 Dug Here Last Time

…and about fifty feet to the left, the pockets that Virgil and Larry had worked on….

4 Virgil and Larry Dug Here

…and after locating the small pocket I had found prior to leaving there that day, I decided to start raking down the area around it in an effort to locate other pockets nearby…..

3 Started Digging Here

…within thirty minutes of raking, I located a couple of soft spots and a hole appeared about five feet away….

5 Shallow Trench Found

…the shallow spot on the right side of the photo above near the end of the handle of the mini mattox, and the hole at the end of the handle of the hand rake on the left side of the photo above….the shallow trench produced this combo crystal below….

6 Shallow Trench Crystal

…and it also produced a pocket of gray druse plates in the initial pocket, however I found no poker chip crystals at all….

7 Druse Plates From Shallow Trench

…I decided to get up and stretch my legs after all the digging, so I walked over to the former pocket now filled with water….

9 Several Clusters Still There

…and I was glad to see that many of the clusters were still intact as well as the arch cluster….

11 Arch Cluster Up Close

…so after a few minutes of walking around and resting up…I walked back over and started raking around again, and following the trench which started leading me toward the ridge, right over to the base of it….and pretty soon I was finding some poker chip crystals that appeared to have either rolled down the ridge to the floor below or were coming out of a pocket at the base of the ridge…

12 Shallow Trench Leads Here

…so for the next thirty minutes, I explored the area at the base of the ridge and attempted to find a pocket opening, specially after finding this little jewel….nice poker chip and druse combo….

13 Small Combo Found

…I started moving big rocks around and out of my way that were sliding down the hill to the floor. I wasnt able to find a pocket opening in the floor where it intersected the hillside, but I was still seeing single poker chips on the hillside mixed in with the ugly rocks, so I decided to work my way up the ridge hillside and see if I could locate a pocket further up, as it appeared to me that the crystals were possibly originating from up higher on the hillside. Within another thirty minutes, I located a hole that appeared to drop down into a pocket, down below a large dome of heavy dolomite rock….

14 Crystals Tracked to Upper Ridge Pocket

…the hole located in the right hand side in the middle of the photo above…I decided to see if I could rake around and find yet another entrance to this possible pocket, perhaps one easier to access, as I wasnt looking forward to moving alot of heavy rock around to get in if I didnt have to. As you can see in the photo above, I raked to the left and above about ten feet and then hit another soft spot and stopped where my gloves are, to explore further.

15 Intiial Pocket Starts Here

In that depression above my gloves in the photo above, I pulled some pretty druse plates out and set them up above, then started working my way down that little embankment toward my gloves, and then hit another soft spot and dug it out to reveal a bluff line….

16 Found Druse Plates Initially

…and here are the druse chunks and ball plates I pulled out of the dirt above the bluff line….

17 Druse Chunks Found Initially

….and continued to rake down the bluff line til I came to this large plate…..

18 Turned Flat Rock Over

….and when I turned it over, I not only had a pretty plate of bubbly gray druse, but a few openings indicating a deep pocket below….

19 And Found Druse Plate and Pocket One

…and as you can see in the next photo, there were several indicators of poker chip crystals and druse plates under the gray bubbly druse plate I turned over….

20 Pocket Under Plate

…so after digging a few crystals out and pulling a few smaller plates of druse out, the top of the pocket soon revealed itself more clearly…

21 Holes Lead to Cavern Pocket

…I didn`t realize it at the time, but the hole on the right side was the start of yet another pocket, leading to a second cavern type pocket…but I concentrated on exploring the pocket in front of me first….I took a photo of the opening of the pocket first….

21 Holes Lead to Cavern Pocket

…and then began removing some of the loose crystals in the pocket under those roof plates….the first one I pulled out was this nifty little poker chip and druse combo……

23 Combo Pulled From Cavern

…and decided to clear some of the bigger rocks off the top of the pocket and away from the entrance so that it would be easier to remove the roof plates later…..

24 Cavern Full of Loose Crystals

…as you can see, there are some big rocks sitting right on top of the roof plates and off to the side, a small rockslide just waiting to happen. I set the crystals and plates I had already found up on top of the pocket,  and eventually had to move them back away from the edge, too…..

25 Start of the Pile

…I then began removing the roof plates of druse…not sure if they were just druse or not…..

26 Removing the Druse Roof Plates

..and was pleasantly surprised when I pulled this first roof plate out to reveal….

27 Roof Plate Removed

…and allowed me to look inside and see even more plates with nice poker chips attached to them waiting inside the deep pocket….

28 Roof Plates Removed

…so naturally I removed as many plates as I could and then looked inside again to see even more pocket waiting for me to explore….

29 Roof Plates Removed More Pocket

….and after getting as much material out as I could, I then turned my attention to that hole on the right side of the calcite face above, and soon after, discovered pocket number two…..

30 Second Pocket Found To Right

…you can see a nice poker chip crystal laying in the dirt at the bottom of the photo above, as well as a nice druse plate upside down to the right and above the crystal…I started digging out the hole above the crystal and removed the plate and within thirty minutes, here is what the second pocket looked like next to the first pocket….

31 Second Pocket Starts

…and here is what the entrance looked like to the second pocket…


32 Second Pocket

…I cleaned out the entrance crystals and pretty soon it was obvious at the back of the pocket that there was yet another cavern pocket behind the initial pocket, opening up….


33 Second Pocket Opens Up

…and if you look to the right side of the photo above, you can see alot of crystals under that orange looking roof plate…when I pulled them out, another pocket opened up under it….


35 Crystals in Pocket Two

…and one of the first crystals I pulled out from behind the mess of crystals and debris above, was this next one….


36 Large Poker Chip Crystal

…this was one very big and beautiful crystal and right behind it I pulled two more out, one really big one….the next photo shows the pocket to the right that developed after I cleaned this pocket out, if you see that white calcite seam to the right side of the photo, there is a bowl depression there with a hole at the back, this was pocket number four….


37 Overall View

…and up close…..


38 Third Pocket Forms

..and soon expanded wider….

39 Third Pocket Opens Up

…and pretty soon I was pulling crystals and plates from the bottom and sides of the expanded fourth pocket….

40 Third Pocket Crystals and Plates

…including this nice large bubbly druse plate with a poker chip attached to it….

41 Large Druse and Chip Plate

..I actually pulled three plates this size out of pocket four, and the third one I pulled out at the back of the pocket, opened up a hole that led to pocket five….

42 Hole Forms in Back of Pocket 3

…and out of pocket five, I pulled out several smaller clusters and crystals and plates of druse, piled up in the next photo…..

43 Pile of Crystals and Plates

…in the next hour I was working the ridge location, I soon discovered a pocket underneath me, this nest photo shows the spot I was sitting on, as well as the pockets in front that I had been working….

44 Frist Three Pockets

…by now it was about 4 pm and I had about 30 minutes of daylight left, so I took a short break and snapped a nice cloudy sky….very pretty day….

45 Very Pretty Day

…and after a few minutes break time, I decided to stop for the day and return the next day and clean out the clusters.Here is what the pockets looked like when I finished for the day….

46 Pocket Location on the Ridge

After wrapping up the beauties I had collected today and packing the truck, I headed out and noticed the clouds forming up for a nice sunset…I drove to a nearby lake and shot a few nice sunset photos before heading home for the day with a truckload of clusters and crystals and plates….

47 Sunset Clouds


48 Sunset Clouds 2


49 Sunset Clouds 3


54 Sunset Clouds 8

Sunday morning, after breakfast, Missy and I loaded up the truck and drove back down to the secret spot, this time we went in a different way and didnt encounter any mud. I put my boots on and grabbed my hammer and chisels and bags and walked over and started chipping out the clusters from the walls on the side of the hole….

56 Cluster in Floor

….. look at that loose crystal in the middle of the photo above, I had started chipping on the sides of the big hole and worked my way around as much as I could, chipping out several smaller clusters and a few bigger ones…I finally got around all six sides and the only thing left was the area in the middle…so after a short break, I started brushing the loose dirt away from the middle clusters so I could get a better idea of what was there…when all of a sudden….

57 Another Pocket Opens Up

…I pulled a few chip crystals out and another pocket opened up underneath them. I wasn`t expecting another pocket at all, just figured I would come chip a few clusters out and then head home early….but decided to work the pocket and see what I could find…

58 Two Poker Chips from New Pocket

..including these two chips and the next photo of plates and clusters…

59 Clusters and Plates

…so after cleaning the floor pocket out, I again turned my attention to the massive cluster in the middle of the floor. I knew I wouldnt be able to remove it all in one piece, that would have been nice, but it was way too big to even imagine that happening. I was able to remove it in about six pieces….

60 Removing Middle Cluster

…and by the time 4 pm rolled around, I was just wrapping things up when I decided to check out this square hole in the end wall of the large hole I was sitting in….I had briefly checked it out before I left the evening before, and it appeared to be heading down into a pocket below, possibly another cavern pocket farther underneath…you can see the tunnel hole in the photo above, right above the yellow end of the chisel and below my bags…there was a plate right above the hole and to the left side a bit…I figured if I removed it I might be able to get my hand in the tunnel hole and see if I could pull some crystals out….so I chipped it out of the way and when I did that, WOW, behind it…..

61 Another Pocket Opens Up

…a whole other pocket opened up, and this pocket is not the pocket I thought the hole led to cause looking in the tunnel hole, the path goes down, where this pocket that opened up after chipping out the plate, is up above the other one…however after removing a few plates and crystals, you could see an opening going down into a cavern so its prob the cavern pocket that the tunnel hole leads to as well….anyway, I reached down into this pocket and the first two things I pulled out where these two crystal combos….

62 Two Combos Found

…and in this other photo you can see more crystals hidden in the dirt and gravel right under the surface at the entrance to the pocket….and the roof plates of the pocket just hanging there waiting to be pulled out….

63 Another Pocket Found

…I reached in again and pulled out two nice poker chip twins….

64 Twins From New Pocket

…I then worked on removing the roof plates and that was no easy task this time…maybe because I was getting tired after chipping out about forty clusters or maybe because these roof plates were in there pretty solid, or a combination of both factors…but I finally did remove a nice section of the roof plates with a beautiful poker chip attached to it….

66 Inside Ledge Pocket


71 Combo Plate From Last Pocket


68 Last Pocket Located

…and the pocket above, after removing the long roof plate…and a pile of crystals removed from this pocket as well….

70 Chips and Combos

and here is a pile of combos that came from this pocket as well….

72 Combos Found

….and a look inside the pocket toward the back of the pocket at the crystals just waiting to be removed….

73 Inside Last Pocket

…and here is the pocket after working it over and opening it up…..

74 Opening Up Last Pocket
…and how I left it looking as well, as I was wore out by this time, so I took a photo of the clusters that I had chipped out of the hole in the past few hours…..

75 Many Clusters Recovered

…and the entire hole as I finished working it today…..

76 Pocket Location and Crystals

…and same as the evening before, there was yet another beautful sunset on my way home….some pretty unusual clouds as well….


77 Sunday Sunset

78 Sunday Sunset


80 Sunday Sunset


81 Sunday Tree Sunset


83 Sunday Cloudy Sunset


85 Sunset On Way Home


84 Sunset On Way Home

…hope you enjoyed it as much as I did….hope everyone has a Merry Christmas…








Return to Eminence…….

Early yesterday morning, Missy and I left town at the crack of dawn and headed south to Eminence, Missouri, to meet up with Ashley, a new rockhounding friend from the Rolla area, after corresponding the last couple of weeks on the McRocks Rockhounding Board.There was a gorgeous sunrise as we were getting on Interstate 44 and I pulled over on the ramp to photograph it…

1 Beautiful Sunrise Approaching


2 Beautiful Sunrise Blossoms

I decided to take a different route than normal, opting to drive down Hwy 72 from Rolla, as it is a much better road than it used to be and the speed limit has been adjusted up on it as well. The only drawback to driving this route, is the extremely curvy section of Hwy 19 that one encounters at the Shannon County Line…as you drive 19 from Salem to the Shannon County Line, the road is fairly nice and straight down through the valleys and there are several passing lanes…but once you hit the Shannon County Line, that all goes out the window fast, leaving you with sharp curves and hills and very few passing lanes. Luckily there are only about 24 miles of it, as well as some beautiful scenery as you pass through the Round Spring Recreation Area and cross the Current River and Sinking Creek over some long bridges. 

I arrived at the quarry about 8:30 am and decided to drive on down to the lower area, despite telling Ashley I would wait for him up by entrance, and parked where he would be able to spot my truck as he pulled in. I put my hiking boots on and grabbed a couple of bags and my rock hammer and walked over to the pile on the right, one Docia and I hadn`t checked last week when there. I found some dark colored green crystals on a few boulders while checking out that pile…and quite a few boulders with some calcite druse as well. I was up on top checking out a big boulder with dark colored poker chip crystals and druse when Ashley arrived. After a few minutes of meet and greet chat, we started looking for some pretty stuff. I went back to my truck to get my camera to photograph those crystals and druse I had just found…

2A Boulder I Found Initially

I chipped off a few of the crystals, but I can safely say now, that those were nothing compared to what I found about twenty minutes later. Ashley found a small boulder with a nice crystal filled pocket on one end shortly after starting his search at the end of the pile…I walked down to the end and started checking out the bluff at the west end of the south facing wall. Within a few minutes, I had located some pockets along that wall and decided I was going to need more bags, so I returned to the truck to get a couple more. Pretty soon, Ashley joined me up at the base of the wall and found a few pockets himself.…and here are the pockets I started out with….

4 Pockets I Began Working On

..if you look close, you can see poker chips in the pocket in the upper right side and those are druse pockets down below to the left…here is a closer look at the poker chip pocket I started out working…

5 Poker Chips At Entrance to Pocket

…within minutes, several of them were rolling right out of the pocket and into my hands…some dark green and some chocolate brown and black colored….

6 Poker Chips All Over

..and after cleaning out the bottom of the pocket floor, there were still plenty inside on the walls as well as some beautiful druse….

8 Poker Chips on Walls Too

I was able to use my rock hammer to chip out the crystals on the left side, they came out in two large chunks with several crystals attached….

39 Pocket Sidewall Pieces


40 Pocket Sidewall Piece

and then I started pulling some druse plates with crystals attached from the bottom of the pocket that were loose once the side plates were removed. Pretty soon only the crystals on the right wall remained….

9 Widened Out Pocket

…or so I thought at the time. I turned my attention to the druse pockets below….

12 Three Druse Pockets

and pulled out some very pretty druse plates from three pockets, most were a deep red color and there were some areas of chalcopyrite as well. Here is one I pulled out of the upper druse pocket….

16 Red Calcite Druse Piece

…..after cleaning the three druse pockets out, I walked to the left and up to the end of the wall and within a few minutes found yet another pocket, this one full of larger pieces of yellow calcite druse like this one….

15 Calcite Cluster Found in Bluff Pocket

I left this pocket in Ashley`s hands and decided to walk over to the east wall and see if I could find more pockets, only finding more druse laced pockets, and filled another bag with even more druse plates. I then decided to walk up to the upper bench and so I grabbed two more bags plus my hammers and chisel, in case I found that huge chunk of chocolate covered crystals up there still.

Once up there, I began checking for more pockets along the wall beginning at the south end this time and working my way west…I didn`t take my camera up there with me this time, but I am sure glad I went up there because I found and removed some very pretty lime green colored poker chip clusters from a few pockets up there, three of them were the size of a grapefruit….

38 Clusters with Green Chips

As I made my way over to the west end near the ledge, I almost did a double take when I spotted a cluster of five to six poker chip crystals, all blended together with only their tips separated and the entire cluster appeared to be very thick and very heavy, embedded in a corner of rock….

Quadruple Poker Chips in Wall 2

this was one of those moments that I had to make a choice…you see there was this overhang of rock above them, about nine square feet of it, and only a four inch ledge holding it up…I decided not to chance it and left it alone…I did, however, find a wide crack around to the left side of the corner that enabled me to reach inside and pull out a few hand size clusters of poker chips that were loose and sitting behind this huge cluster, like this one….

35 Cluster of Dark Chips

..and then I reached back in and found this one as well, just a single crystal but with some beautiful multicolor to it…


32 Single Poker Chip Dark

It was about then that I heard Ashley yell out from down below…said he had just pulled out some dogtooth crystals on a matrix piece with calcite druse and poker chips.

After that, I got to the task at hand, find the huge chocolate covered poker chip boulder I located last week up there….


22 Small Cluster


23 Other Side of 22



24 Larger Cluster

…I was able to successfully remove those dark colored bubbles in the photo above and came away with some nice clusters of poker chips of a chocolate color….


20 Clusters from Huge Chocolate Chunk

..and believe me, with two full bags of clusters from up there, I was quite happy. I returned to the lower level and showed Ashley what I had and told him about the cluster in the wall that I couldn`t remove…he decided to go up and see what he could find.

While he was gone, I checked the pockets again and found a few more smaller plates of druse…within forty minutes he returned with the poker chip cluster that I had left in the wall…he was able to remove a few pieces of rock below it without too much trouble and it rolled out and hit him in the knee….I lifted it up and it was pretty hefty, prob around fifty pounds…and quite pretty…

Quadruple Poker Chips


Quadruple Poker Chips From Upper Bench Wall

and the tips of them….

Quadruple Ashley Chipped Off Wall

..and here is a photo of my crystals from the upper bench….

My Haul From Upper Bench

…he showed me some of the matrix pieces he found with the dogtooth crystals on them…


Dogtooth In Poker Chip on Calcite Druse

Poker Chip, Druse, and Dogtooth

I`ll add some more photos tomorrow if I get the chance to photograph some my crystals that I cleaned up today.

I apologize for the delay, been fighting a cold and its been a fight for sure, today is my first day of real rest, but did manage to get the photos taken and edited up today. Here are some more of the crystals with calcite druse attached, that I found last week. 

17 More Poker Chips with Druse


19 Druse and Poker Chips


Smaller Group of Small Poker Chips


Small Poker Chips with Druse

Grouping of Small Poker Chips

here are the poker chip clusters that I was able to chip away from the face of the chocolate chunk on the upper bench….

21 One Cluster from Huge Chocolate Chunk


25 Larger Cluster Back Side


26 Larger Cluster Other Side

Here are a few more that I collected from the quarry, really like the darker colors with the almost black tips in the poker chips.

27 Palm Size Clusters of Dark Poker Chips

28 Palm Size Cluster Dark Poker Chips


29 Another Cluster Dark Poker Chips


30 Small Group of Poker Chips


33 Small Dark Poker Chip

and one of the red druse as well….

37 Pocket of Red Druse


All in all, another amazing day at Eminence.