Poker Chips Nestled in Dolomite Druse Again

I meant to have this story posted by Sunday night, but a bee interrupted my plans and stung me instead….I didnt feel the sting, which is unusual for me as bees and wasps normally get me pretty good, but I hadnt sat down at my computer to work on the story for ten minutes til I def felt the symptoms coming on…at first I figured I was imagining things, since I hadnt felt any sting nor had I been stung in about ten years….so when my hands started tingling and the light itching sensations came on, I started thinking maybe I had ate something that I was allergic to…but no, I hadnt ate anything for hours, so knew it couldnt be that….then when my throat started swelling and my airway tightening up, I knew it had to be an insect sting….and started looking for one, and found one shortly thereafter on my chest. It didnt have the telltale signs of a major sting, so I grabbed one of my allergy pills and within a few minutes, my throat muscles started relaxing and the itching started to ease up as well. I called Dr. Mom as well and she suggested I put some rubbing alchol on the sting wound and then take a zyrtec….this was around 9 pm Sunday evening and by 9:30 pm, the zrytec was making me sooooo drowsy that all I wanted to do was climb into bed and go to sleep…so thats what I did folks and it was 8 am Monday morning before I woke back up. All day Monday, I was groggy from the sting effects so I just basically rested up and didnt do much til it was time to go to work that evening.

Missy and I got up early, 3:30 am and got on the road by 4 am, headed south to Eminence to meet up with Docia and her grandson, David, who I hadnt seen for a couple of years, as he lives in Alabama and only comes up to visit with them occasionally. David enjoys rockhunting though so we were looking forward to seeing him once again. We took our normal route, down Hwy 19 and 49 to Viburnum, and then down Hwy KK and TT, 72, and then B to 106 and back west to Eminence. These roads are all well maintained and lots straighter and less hilly than Hwy 19, and actually twenty miles less traveling than if I took the traditional route through Rolla and Salem.  We were about twenty miles down Hwy B, when I came around a corner and a full size deer jumped out in front of me, luckily I wasnt going real fast and was able to slow down enough to let her get on across in front of me in about three leaps…she sure was pretty, her color a reddish brown, and we continued on down the road. We arrived at the quarry about ten minutes ahead of David and Docia, and I went ahead and changed to my boots and then started digging in the hillside where I had dug the previous pockets out…

01 Clay Bank Dug Out


…some stuff had been pushed down from above to the ground floor on the other side, so we would have another pile to check out for goodies later on…..

02 East Wall

…as it was, Docia spotted a pocket of poker chips near that pile and told me about it later on, and so I checked it out when the pockets on the hillside played out. On their arrival, I gave Docia the gift that Steven and April Gibbs, of MAGS in Memphis, had given to me at Marion, Kentucky, a few weeks back and asked me to convey to her. She opened it up and found a beautiful wire wrapped druse quartz necklace that they had made special for her. She was very happy let me tell ya.

She and David started digging near me on the hillside and quickly began finding pockets of dolomite druse as I had been finding just prior to their arrival. We found several of those pockets, but only very shallow pockets of the poker chips, even though we pretty much covered that entire hillside and twenty feet in both directions as well.

04 David Works To the Right of Me

Docia took a walk around the walls and came back about an hour later with some bags of goodies, but was having problems with her blood pressure and so they left soon after about mid morning. Prior to leaving she told me about a section of the wall that looked like an apparent pocket of poker chips. I worked the wall for pockets  near the hillside for another thirty minutes and then drove over to check out this possible wall pocket. I parked in the shade of the wall and left Missy inside with the ac on full blast, since by now the temps outside were about 92 degrees and still warming up.

05 Docia Spotted Pocket Here

I grabbed a couple of bags and my mini mattox and walked over to the short wall and after scanning it a few minutes, noticed several poker chips attached to a matrix and began working a few loose from the matrix with the mattox tool. I had some white cloths in the bags and pulled them out and laid these poker chips on the cloths. Pretty soon I had a bag full of chips and some nice dolomite druse plates as well, and it looked like a pocket was opening up to the right of the main pocket I was working on, and behind one of the large chunks I was working on, so I took a break, and went back to get another bag and my four pound hammer and chisels, as it looked like I was going to have to pop a few of the bigger chunks out. After taking a big drink of water, I came back and popped a couple of the larger chunks of poker chips in matrix out of the wall…. 

09 Poker Chip Pocket

then chiseled one out to the right, and sure enough, it looked like another pocket of chips was located behind the chunk of matrix to the right of the first pocket, as seen below……

10 Second Pocket Opens

…and closer up as seen below…..

12 Second Pocket Up Close

..its kinda funny when I think back now to what I had first found in the first pocket, compared to what I was about to find in this second pocket and then the next pocket behind it as well…there was no comparison…the photo below shows some of the first material from the first pocket, and it doesnt even compare to the photo above….

13 Waiting to Be Wrapped

…and below is one of the chunks I popped from the wall, to get to this second pocket, and you can see it is chock full of gray colored and some green colored, poker chips….very nice after washed off….

14 Bigger Chunk from Pocket

and a side view of it as well…..

15 Bigger Chunk from Pocket

…and while there was some dolomite druse in this pocket with the poker chips. alot of the poker chips I pulled out were in a brown dolomite matrix mainly, but still quite pretty.  I worked this pocket and then a third pocket opened up behind the second one, and I started pullign crystal clusters out right and left…..until utter exhaustion set in and I just couldnt do anymore. I took a short break, got some more water, and then I spent thirty minutes to wrap and bag all the clusters and chunks,  and we were soon on the way home by a little after noon.

All in all, I filled five bags alone from this one pocket and had about fifteen bigger chunks from it as well as some found on the floor below the pocket that had rolled loose from the wall in colors of green, gray, and black, and a few chocolate browns. I`ll get some extra photos of them posted tomorrow. Here is what the pocket looked like after I ran out of steam…..

16 Pocket Deeper Now


On the way home, on the short stretch of Hwy 72, we spotted a beautiful eagle gliding toward us about a hundred feet up or less. I dont always get to see eagles….we seem to see alot of buzzards and chickenhawks….. he sure was pretty and a sight to behold….. they just look so majestic to me when I see them gliding along like that. I still wish I had stopped and tried to get the camera on him.  I know where he roosted, so maybe the next time I`m down that way I can spot him again, and photograph him.

Here are a few more photos of the nice poker chips I found nestled in matrix or dolomite druse down there….

17 One Found That Rolled Down


18 Dolomite Druse Chunk

20 Chipped Out Chunk of Chips

21 Chips Nestled in Dolomite Druse


25 Chunk of Chocolate Chips


26 Chips and Dolomite Druse


28 Chips Found


31 Chips on Matrix


33 Small Cluster of Chips


35 Small Chocolate Chips in Matrix


36 Chocolate Chips in Matrix

37 Small Poker Chip on Matrix


38A Smal Gray Chip on Matrix

38 Small Gray Chip on Matrix


39 Small Cluster of Chips

40 Chip on Dolomite Druse


41 Gray Chip Nestled in Matrix


42 Gray Chip Nestled in Matrix


44 Cluster of Chips


47 Cluster of Chips


45 Chip and Matrix


46 Chips and Matrix Druse


48 Dark Colored Chip


49 Trio of Chips

50 Small Chip on Dolomite Druse


51 Small Chips of Color


52 Small Crystals


53 Small Crystals in Matrix

Return to Eminence….

Last weekend I planned to take off Sunday and return to Eminence to look for more poker chips, but some of my co-workers needed my day off instead, so I re-arranged my schedule and came home late Saturday night, then got up early and drove to Eminence and dug for two hours instead. Missy and I arrived about 9:30 am and found it to be a little overcast, even misted on us for about ten minutes on the way down the valley on B Highway, but it was cooler so I didnt mind at all…this is how it looked when we arrived…..

01 Found Another Pocket Here

…wound up working the end of the bank on the left in the photo above…which is where I had been digging at on Memorial Day when Mike and Chrissy were here…and was trying to find a pocket of poker chips nestled in the dolomite druse so Mike could work it and take some nice specimens home with him.  As luck would have it, I hit a pocket of them today and was only about ten inches from where I had been digging that day….I walked up to the bank after we arrived and I changed into my work boots, and found chunks and pieces of clusters of poker chips and dolomite druse, that had rolled down to the bottom of that pile….

02 Found Poker Chips Rolling Down

…so I knew they had to be rolling down from a pocket up above somewhere…so I started digging to the left side of my pocket on Monday, and sure enough, within about ten minutes, I located a pocket of chips and dolomite druse….

03 Found Pocket

…not knowing how big this pocket would be, compared to the pocket I found there in the same bank back in the late fall last year…and knowing I had only a few hours to dig there…I didnt waste any time getting the pocket opened up to see what all was inside….

04 Poker Chips in Matrix

…when I was there early December last fall, Ashley and I had found a few pockets of the dolomite druse on the bluff at a higher level up…but back then, there was a dirt bank sloping up to the higher level and this time there was no sloping dirt bank up the bluff at all. In fact, as I stood there and looked on down the bluff where that pocket had been located in December, I was a good ten to twelve feet below it and probably thirty feet to the right of it, good evidence that these pockets can be found anywhere in this bluff wall. That pocket in December, also took a few hours to clean out and filled four of my bags and probable four of Ashley`s bags, too.

I decided to expand this opening so I could reach in and pull out crystals without too much trouble, and the first big piece I removed in so doing, was this one….

05 Bigger Piece Found

…a nice chunk laced with pockets of dolomite druse, that resembles chalcopyrite when held in the sunlight, it just glitters and speckles…and this chunk had two nice poker chips perched on one corner of it. The next one I chipped out, was even bigger and had a double poker chip of a chocolate brown color, nestled in a patch of dolomite crystals, on one end of it….

06 Single Chip on Chunk

…and seen closer up here….

07 Chips on Dolomite Druse

…and then I reached into the now expanded pocket and began pulling loose crystals out of it…the first one I pulled out loose was this gray colored poker chip on matrix….

08 Gray Chip on Matrix

…followed by this nice little round dark gray colored poker chip, the center of which was almost black in color….

09 Dark Colored Chip in Matrix

…I had to do some more expanding and pretty soon, I came up to the back of the pocket, which was the bluff wall, and the pocket turned to the right and then went down into the rock more, but there was evidence that there were more gray colored poker chips in matrix as well….

10 Chips in Matrix Pocket

…I was just going to have to chip them out of the matrix to free them.

I began hearing some bird noise and I turned around to see buzzards circling above the big wall…and then they all landed in this lone tree at the top of the wall….

11 Buzzards Hanging Around

…thinking there were more buzzards down here than at the secret spot…last time I was there, I saw three circling and sitting on the top of the bluff wall there.

I went back to chipping out the matrix pieces and this was the next one that came off in my hands…

13 Chunk of Chips in Matrix

…and then I pulled a few more loose ones out with color like this….

12 Dark Poker Chip in Matrix

…by this time, I had two bags full of poker chips and two full of dolomite druse. I pulled one more chunk out of the pocket….

14 Chunk of Chips

…before the pocket seemed to drop into the ground below…I didnt have the energy to follow it so I concentrated on another pocket opening that I had found earlier. After removing a few big chunks, this is what I saw….

15 Smaller Pocket Found

…and up close, this is what it looked like….

16 Smaller Pocket Found

…and turned out to be mainly a smaller pocket that ended too soon, of dolomite druse…there were one or two pieces with small poker chips on them, but that was all…so now I had yet another bag full of druse.

I moved up the bank a little higher and discovered even more pockets of druse along the underside of a ledge of rock….

17 Pockets Under Ridge of Rock

…by this time though, I was out of time and decided to head back so I could get a good nap in before heading to work. I got my nap in and unloaded the crystals and then shot this beautiful sunset before heading to supper…..

19 Sunset Deepens


22 FSCB Sunset

21 FSCB Sunset




Another Dogtooth Pocket Found

After returning from the Eureka Fluorite Mine on Sunday, June 3rd, I had a hankering to get back down to the secret spot and see if I could find some more poker chip pockets, so Missy and I waited til 3 pm Wednesday afternoon and then headed down for a few hours of exploration. We arrived about 5 pm and I walked over to the last pocket I had located, next to the waterhole and started scratching around closer to the pile of rocks nearby. Something just called to me and sure enough, within a few minutes, I found something worth exploring further….

01 Started Here Again


02 Found Pocket


…I had no sooner started digging down when it appeared that I was in the right place at the right time….

03 Hole Opens Up

…first thing I pulled out are these two druse plates….always a good sign of a pocket nearby….

04 Two Druse Plates At First

…not that I needed any guidance in that respect, with previously dug pockets only mere inches away from me….I dug down some more and started finding crystals and plates….

05 Pocket Opens Up

…and pretty soon after, yet another hole opens up….my day is becoming more interesting by the minute…..

06 Another Hole Opens Up

…and pretty soon plates and crystals were popping up all over the place…

07 Crystals and Plates

…but before I could get really excited….yet another pocket opened up just about eight inches away….

08 Two Separate Pockets

…so I started working it as well….

09 Hole Expands

…and it started producing crystals and plates too….

10 Crystal Pile Expands

…pretty soon a top plate was exposed and clearly there was a pocket underneath it…so I decided to explore more there….

11 Top Plate

….pretty soon the pockets were joined together and expanding even more….

12 Pocket Keeps Expanding

…and pretty soon yet another hole opened up on me…..

13 Another Hole Found

…and this pocket opened up with a seam of calcite apparent…..

14 Pocket Expands Seam of Calcite

…and after working this hole a while, it lead me to the side and to yet another shallow pocket of crystals….

17 Another Pocket of Crystals

…or at least, what I thought was going to be a shallow pocket….as it turned out, it was a deep pocket initially and had to be chipped into to access it….

19 Sounded Hollow Got the Chisel Out

…I grabbed my four pound hammer and chisel and dug in, and opened up a nice opening pretty quickly…..

20 Chiseled Into Another Pocket

….a couple of really pretty druse plates popped out first…..

21 Druse Plates Found

…and this nice pocket opened up behind the druse plates….

22 Shallow Pocket Found

…I reached in and the first thing I pulled out was this beautiful poker chip combo….

23 Combo Pulled From Pocket


24 Combo Pulled

…and behind it was this nice pocket full of poker chip crystals seen inside…..

25 Crystals Inside Pocket

…and the pocket widened out a bit…..

26 Pocket Goes Wider

…and pretty soon it was apparent that I had a lot of potential for pockets to open up all over the small space I was working in….

27 Pockets All Over

…however, I was running out of energy and light, so I decided after bagging up this pile of crystals, to go upstairs and see if I could find some more druse plates before my sunlight ran out….

28 Pile of Crystals

…so I grabbed a couple of extra bags and my mattox and headed across to the claybed road going up to the druse plates area….

29 Hollow Sounding Spot Here

…as I got to another waterhole area, that had dried up from the droughty heat in the past couple of weeks, I noticed some tall weeds that appeared to have deep roots going into a rocky dome area…I stopped to check it and it sounded hollow, so I returned to my truck to get my hammer and chisel. I returned to the hollow sounding dome and started chiseling my way in….

30 Started Excavating Here

…pretty soon I had found a hole that led to a deeper hole and possible pocket…I reached down inside the deeper hole and pulled out some poker chip crystals….

31 Deep Pocket Hole was obvious, after reaching deep down, it was going to take a lot more energy to excavate my way into this pocket from the hole, so I decided to see if I could find a back way in from the top with my hammer and chisel….

32 Looking For Back Entrance

…pretty soon I had found a soft spot and started digging down….

33 Back Door Found


34 Back Door Opens Up

…and looking inside, I spotted what appeared to be a poker chip crystal underneath….

35 Opening Up More

…and pulled out to be what was no ordinary poker chip crystal….

36 Dogtooth Found

…I decided after exploring a little further and coming up with nothing more, to leave it for yet another trip. Missy and I packed up and left as the sun was setting most beautifully…..

37 Left At Sunset

…and got better on the way home….

38 Sunset Deepens


40 Down The Road


BE Clement Museum Annual Rock Show and Dig 2012

Missy and I loaded up the truck and headed south to Marion, Kentucky last Friday, June 1st, for the Clement Mineral Museum`s 2012 Rock Show and Dig Weekend. I had been planning this trip for sometime, talked with my good rockhunting friends Steven and April Gibbs from Memphis, who were also planning to go there, and talked with Tina, who runs the museum, earlier in the week. Tina told me they were in need of some pretty pieces of soda straw and bubble druse quartz for their silent auction, so I loaded up some and took to them. I never have a problem donating to a worthy cause, and the Clement Museum Staff do provide great locations and opportunities for rockhounds everywhere, for a very low fee, something that is becoming harder and harder to find these days.

Since Illinois I-57 is loaded down with road construction, I decided to stay in Missouri and headed south to Sikeston. Little did I know that Missouri has loaded up I-55 with road construction zones as well…which wouldnt be so bad, except you have these long five and ten mile stretches of cones and one lane, limited to 45 mph, and nothing going on except in one or two spots. Give me a break, there is no reason to make motorists drive that slow through long stretches of inactivity…geez….if only our Highway Department could enforce the rules for contractors on these projects and keep traffic moving between work stoppages…..seems to be a rampant problem everywhere these days.

Enough of my soapbox for the day….as we approached Sikeston, from as far away as Cape even, we started seeing huge, high clouds of smoke and I began to wonder what was on fire…I stopped in Charleston to fill my gas tank at the Caseys Store, gas there was 3.29 a gallon, and a resident there told me the fires were wheat farmers burning their fields off after harvesting the wheat crops….here is one of the clouds of heavy smoke as I was headed south toward the Twin Bridges near Cairo….

02 Fires SE Missouri

I crossed the Mississippi River on the first of two beautiful steel structure bridges shortly after….

59 From The Missouri Side

…this bridge in particular was repaired in the past year after a barge struck one of its support pillars last year and damaged its structural integrity. I crossed over it and then crossed the second of the twin bridges, this one spanning the Ohio River and into Kentucky,  a few hundred feet after crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois.

About 90 minutes later I was pulling into the Clement Museum in Marion and with help from the staff members there, I unloaded the druse for the silent auction and then registered for the dig the next two days. While talking to Tina, I volunteered to start the pump at the Eureka Mine and Bill Frazer said that would greatly free him up to take care of other things. I headed down to Kuttawa to get checked into my hotel room at the Days Inn, and then after cleaning up, walked over to the Oasis Southwest Grill for a good steak dinner. Steaks arent the only thing they cook well, they have good surf and turf combo plates too and great bbq as well, having invested in a smoker a couple of years ago. Several of us rockhounds have been eating there the past few years and there is a good atmosphere inside as well…it gets a little noisy inside on Friday and Saturday nights, but the food is sure worth it.

After supper, Missy and I headed down to Lake Barkley and after walking around a bit waiting for the sun to settle for the night, I snapped this sunset photo at the edge of the water….

03 Sunset Friday Night

We got up bright and early the next morning…I spotted Steven and April`s truck in the parking lot as we headed north to the Eureka Mine….this was the sunrise that greeted us as we left the hotel….

03A Sunrise Saturday

 After stopping off at Miss Netta`s Donut Shop in Eddyville and picking up half a dozen donuts for the day, we drove on over to the mine…as we were driving down the hill approaching the creek bridge, we came upon a very large Bull at the side of the road…anyone who has been down that mine road can imagine this well…a two thousand pound curly brown haired bull standing on the side, leaving me just a little bit of extra space to veer around him and give him all the space he wanted. I rolled down the window and said, ” hey there buddy, you look a little lost to me “…. he just gave me a look and I decided to keep on driving…..didnt figure he needed any help from me….and drove on over to the mine….

04 Eureka Mine Sat Morning

I got the pump going quickly and it started pumping fast.

   I then called Bill Frazer and told him about the bull in the roadway and he said he would come out and see if we could get him back in the fenced field somewhere before folks started arriving at the mine, wouldnt want that to be the welcome wagon for them. While waiting for Bill to arrive, Missy and I took a look around at the dirt piles that Wayne Crider moved around with the backhoe to get things ready for the rockhounds…

06 PIt at Eureka Mine


05 Tailing Piles Turned Over

…while walking around, I nearly stepped on a beautiful plate that was covered with crystal cubes on both sides. I saw alot of potential cubes in the overturned area and figured there would be alot of happy diggers today. I also removed a couple of bags of crystals from years past and dumped them on the ground near my truck for kids to go through as a sure thing. Some kids burn out early and give up easily…course there are some adults that do that as well, so I always try to bring some extras along for them just in case. Hate for anyone to go home empty handed.

Missy and I walked down to the creek bridge…..

08 Waiting On Bill Frazer

…and looking up the road, I no longer saw the bull, so I figured he must have walked up that hill to an opening….

09 Mine Road

…so we walked up to the base of the hill to see if we could spot him at all and waited for Bill to arrive….

10 Mine Road

….Bill arrived and we couldnt find the bull so he decided to look for him up above after placing a few parking signs for the diggers. He later told me he found the bull had wandered down the field up by the old garage building at the top of the hill by the mine road turn to the gate….Missy and I walked back to the pit and waited for the miners to start showing up. We didnt have to wait long, Rex was the first to arrive, having pre-registered with Bill ahead of time….

12A Miner Rex Hard At It

…he is from Albuquerque, New Mexico and no stranger to fluorite mining…we talked for a bit and I showed him a few areas and he settled into one quite nicely…here partially hidden behind this sprig working on the bench area.  By 9 am, there were several miners hard at work in and around the pit itself….

11 By 9 AM Miners Hard At Work

…including Chris and his dad David, from Connecticutt, who settled into the bench area working the pockets right beside Rex….

12 Miners In Pit Area

..and these guys worked the north side of the pit across from them for much of the day….

13A  Pit Miners Hard At It

..while even more decided to try to find the goodies in the overturned dirt piles….

15 Searching Overturned Tailings

and luckily, with the help of some much needed rain earlier in the week, the digging was much easier to do than it would be had it turned off hot and muggy instead…the weather over the weekend was near perfect for digging long hours…alot of kids and families showed up to dig as well….I spent most of the morning helping others find a good place to dig in and even helped spot a few crystals for some of the newbies…and when the kids couldnt find anything good, I had them check out a pile of crystals I had placed on the ground near my truck for them to look through….and I worked the pump all day long too…

16 Digging In

…but by mid afternoon, only the more serious diggers were left working on site….

17 By 2 PM Most are Gone

Steven and April made it out to the mine about 10:30 am and April`s mom was with them again this trip, she decided to see what she could find up in the loose dirt tailings, while Steven and April came over to the pit where I was at and we decided to dig down to the vein like we did last year. We were a bit higher up on the bank this time and so Steve had to dig down a little deeper to find it…about four feet down in fact and then widened it so at least one of us could get down into it.

18 Steve Dug This Hole for Us

I jumped down into it first and began pulling crystals and clusters out right and left…I was standing on what I thought was the vein, and was pulling some clusters and crystals out from under it…after a bit, Steve was able to get the shovel under it and pry it up and then we found out it wasnt the vein, it was simply a boulder with big crystals on the underside of it…eventually I was able to lift it up and lift it up to Steve who pulled it on out of the hole and set it nearby…it is now resting comfortably in my mom`s rock garden. Once it was removed, we started pulling clusters and crystals from the bottom clay layer about ten inches above the bottom of the hole as well as from the floor of the hole, and this worked out well for us too. As soon as I get some cleaned up, I`ll post them on here.

In the meantime, Chris was taking that bench he was working on, back about three feet slowly but surely…by mid day it was moved back about two feet….

19 Chris Works The Bench Back

…and he was finding some really nice pockets throughout the bench….

20 Pocket in Bench

…that contained some beautiful purple cubes and sphalerite….

21 Bench Pocket

…he was having a lot of difficulty early on, getting into the pockets due to someone having used a rock saw and hammer drill on a prior dig there….some people will tell you that power equipment like that makes it easier for others to follow but in all truthfulness, it makes it much more difficult for the next person or group to access the pockets.  One of those things that sounds good, but in all actuality, its not really a good thing, helps one at the time but wont help anyone who follows later. Chris did find a few chisels wedged into drill holes that those folks werent able to get back out as well….guess that would be Karma…what goes around, comes around….

22 Chisels Lost By Last Group

The hosts for the Eureka Mine, Phil and Shirley, were found both days working the dirt pile at the south end of the Eureka Mine and were very helpful again as well…..

23 Phil and Shirley Dig in Bank

…Phil showed me some white, almost crystal clear fluorite that he found down in central Kentucky at some older fluorite mines near the Kentucky River that were quite pretty. Like me, they make several trips to the Eureka Mine for the public digs and are great to sit and visit with as well. They found some nice material in the south side dig pile too.

By 4 pm, most of us were tired enough to come to our senses and stop digging for the day…I decided to drive back up to the museum and check in with the crew up there regarding the pump on Sunday morning and talked to Bill Frazer who gave me the go ahead to start the pump again Sunday. As I was driving back to the hotel, I passed the new fire station and saw that their trucks were inside this time so it was obvious they had dedicated it finally and moved in….

24 New Marion FD Station

…what I wasnt aware of though, was the fact that they had a ladder truck in their fleet…having seen the old firestation, not much more than a small shed, I didnt figure they had anything like that….takes a pretty good sized building and bay area to house a custom made fire truck like that…ladder trucks are pretty good sized trucks and lengthy too….

25 Marion FD Ladder Truck

..I stopped and took a few photos and then beat feet back to the hotel as I had told Steve and April I would meet them at the steakhouse for dinner by 6 pm. As it was, I was able to return in time and we had a great dinner at the Oasis SW Grill.  A word of warning if you go there…watch out for their addictive hot rolls…just sayin…

Missy and I slept in a little later Sunday morning and still made it to the Eureka Mine at 7 am….

26 Entrance to Mine Road

…and we no sooner crossed the creek bridge and turned left to start up to the mine when a big gobbler ran from the mine`s south side and turned to run up the mine road toward the Mary Belle Mine…it happened so fast, I couldnt get the lens on it quick enough to snap a photo.

I started the pump up again…the water level didnt seem as high this time…….

27 Eureka Mine Sunday Morning

…and it pumped down pretty quickly…..I also found about ten gallons of water in the hole April and I had pulled clusters out of the day before, so I had to lay down and let my five gallon bucket fill and then get up and raise the bucket out of the hole and turn around to dump it…I decided to wash off the muddy bench and ledges with it and kill two birds with one stone.

The diggers started showing up about 8 am this time, led off by Chris and his dad David, and Chris started pounding those pockets out once again.  Steve and April were going to check out the rock show again, so I did a little exploratory digging down on the saddle where Rex had stopped digging the day before. By the time they arrived about mid morning, I had pulled a few more clusters out of the side pockets that Rex had found on Saturday and let April take over and work it. Steve decided to work across the water pond from us and dig out the side vein going to the right, and April`s mom can be seen up the bank behind Steve….

43 Chris Keeps Popping Them Out

Well it didnt take Chris long to get going Sunday morning…he started popping more pockets out right and left and was finding alot of fluorite with sphalerite and greenockite as seen here in his basket of goodies…


30 More Greenockite

I was tracking his progress since I was working alongside him this morning….and he found some fantastic pockets along the edge of the bench he was still working on….here is one of the pockets up close that he found….

29 Pocket Chris Located in Bench

…but let me tell you, the attention quickly shifted Saturday mid morning to his dad David, who was continuing to work the corner next to him, especially when David hit a pocket of calcite dogtooth crystals on some plates. Here is the first small plate that he found up behind this huge boulder that required both him and Chris to muscle out of the way….

33 David With Plate of Dogtooths

…..a small plate of half inch high orange dogtooth crystals that were absolutely beautiful to see, here up closer….

31 Plate of Dogtooth Crystals


32 Plate Dogtooth Crystals David Found

…I pulled my cellphone out and called Bill Frazer, and told him about it and he said he would return to check it out….here is the area that David was working in and found the pocket of calcite in…

34 Area David Was Working

….well a few minutes went by and David found yet another plate of calcite crystals…these looked like little orbs of calcite melted down on a bigger plate……seen here close up…..

39 Second Plate of Calcite by David


41 Calcite Crystals Up Close

…and a few minutes later, David started digging back further and it was starting to look like he was tunneling in now…

44 Dzvid Starts Tunneling In

…and he found yet another small plate of calcite crystals….

42 Third Plate David Found

…by this time, Bill Frazer had returned and came down to see the specimens himself…and after careful study of them, he stated what I was thinking the entire time….he had never seen anything like them and nothing like them had ever been found there….but very pretty looking.

And in the meantime, Chris started tapping out a few more big plates from pockets that he was finding in the bench….

46 Chris Taps Out Another Pocket he is tapping out a big chunk from the pocket below….

45 David Finds Another Pocket

…and he reached down and pulled a small cluster out of that pocket down there, it was about to fall out into the water hole and then he would have had to put on scuba gear to find it….

47 Chris Pulls Small One out of Pocket

…and here it is up close….

48 Chris Pulls This Small Cluster From Pocket

…so after setting this one down, he grabbed his small pry bar and started gently tugging this chunk out….

49 Chris Prys Plate Out

…and then carefully picked it up once loose….

50 Using Brute Force

…and turns with it in his hands and a big smile on his face…..

52 Happy Chris

…and up close, showing heavy sphalerite and cubes above a wise seam of calcite….

53 Pocket Piece Removed


54 Pocket Piece Cubes

…and here are a few more chunks with pockets of cubes in them…the one on the right is the one he let me take home because he didnt have room left in their truck for it…due to the many geodes from northeast Missouri….

55 Pocket Chunks

…the one I took home has four pockets of fluorite cubes, one pocket of galena cubes and fluorite cubes, and there is greenockite all the way across it….

35 Greenockite Covers This Chunk


36 Cubes of Fluorite and Galena

…and here is a pocket on one side of the other chunks that he took home with him….very pretty deep purple cubes inside it….

37 Pocket in Side of Rock

A few more kids showed up at the Eureka Mine on Sunday and I was able to provide them with some nice crystals to take home, left over from the day before. I was even able to provide some crystals to the parents as well. This was the first time I didnt have to take any of the give away crystals back home with me as well.

I had been planning to leave Sunday about noon and head home by way of Eminence, but received a call from my mom who was checking radar for me…the forecast the night before was for storms in the Eminence area on Sunday. I decided I really didnt want to drive over there if it was going to be 85 and storming, so I stayed til about 3 pm and then headed home. Steve and April headed to the rock show to shop a little more before heading to their home in Memphis. I stopped by the museum to change clothes and say goodbyes to all my friends there, and then headed home. I was one tired puppy and Missy was the only one refreshed, having sat in the ac for the past few hours.  Luckily I had a few Arizona Green Tea cans with me for the trip home…they are about the only thing that keeps me awake and worked well….I crossed back over the bridges near Cairo and crossed back into Missouri….

56 Welcome Back to Missouri

…an amazing bridge with amazing structural steel support….

58 Amazing Bridge

…and as I rolled west by Six Flags over Mid America, I spotted these neat looking sunbeams….

60 Sunbeams On Way Home

…and then later saw this beautiful sunset as I was getting ready to eat supper….

61 Sunset Sunday Night












Eminence on Memorial Day

I drove home from work and picked up Missy and then headed south to Eminence, to meet up with Docia, Floyd, Mike, and Chrissy at the quarry there to rock hunt on my day off. I usually go through Rolla and Salem on Highways 72 and 19 to get there, but 19 can be very curvy the last 25 miles and so after checking mapquest at work the night before, I opted to go down through Steelville, Cherryville, Viburnum, and then south on KK, TT, a short stretch of 72, and then B Highway to 106 and then west about 20 miles to Eminence. It turned out to be twenty miles closer this way and the roads were alot less curvy as well. We arrived around 9:30 am and found everyone busily digging into the small bluff on the south side of the quarry.

01 Floyd and Docia Digging

…the appearance of this bluff had really changed from when I was there last in December with Ashley, a rockhunting friend in Rolla, when we found the neat pockets of dolomite druse covering poker chip crystals in matrix…so I had to look things over and decide where to start digging in. I opted to start down near the end and see if I could climb up to about the level Ashley and I had been when we found those pockets back then….

03 Later Chrissy Moved to Right of Me

…I started down on the right side end of the bluff and worked my way up to the midway point and dug in after finding some small crystals in matrix near the bottom, thinking maybe they had rolled down from a pocket up above. Chrissy found some crystals loose in the dirt over to the right below me and she settled in to dig where you see the umbrella in the photo above. There was a lot of loose dirt covering the bluff and pockets so I had to rake that off and then dig in when I found the pockets….

05 Druse Pockets Throughout


…there were pockets all over the place under that loose fill dirt and most were full of dolomite crystals in different colors….

06 Killer Druse

We withstood the heat, temps got up to somewhere in the 90`s and it was very hot out there folks…cant remember how hot but we were digging hard and heavy, pulling out goodies galore for a few hours at least….I finally took a break around 11 am…Floyd and Docia took off somewhere in there to return home and put some baby back ribs on for Mike and Chrissy…I was invited too but had told my parents I would be home to eat with them later…Chrissy was finding alot of material over to my right and Mike was still prying around on pockets to my left….I decided to  go up to the upper bench and see what I could find up there…

07 Went to Upper Bench Last

I got up there and walked into the main collecting area, and was looking down to see what was there…and looked up and to my right for a second and spotted this KILLER piece….

Killer Piece From Upper Bench 2

…just sitting there on the ground below the bluff…man I couldnt believe my luck !!!  its a beautiful chocolate brown blending into green and honey yellow poker chip, and its actually like two large poker chips merged into one large one….I went over and picked it up and then started looking around and spotted several smaller poker chip crystals all over in the same colors….I looked up and spotted a pocket of them about ten feet up on the wall and about twenty feet higher, was a twin to this large one, still attached to the wall, and believe me, it was gonna stay there !!!

I also spotted this chunk of calcite that was weirdly shaped, reminded me of the many large chunks of weird shaped calcite that Virgil and his friend Floyd found when they were visiting last year from Tulsa…..

More Weird Pieces of Calcite

…and here are a few matrix pieces I found up there not far from the pocket in the wall of the chocolate colored poker chips….

Nice Poker Chips on Matrix

11 Green Chip on Matrix

10 Chocolate Chips on Matrix


09 Chip on Matrix

and here is a selection of the dolomite crystals that I found and cleaned up later….

08 Killer Druse Cleaned Up

…I filled four bags full of goodies up there, this time I didnt find any wall pockets full of poker chips, just more dolomite crystals and since I already had five bags full of them from down below, I didnt feel like collecting even more. I took the bags and two large poker chips back to the truck and rejoined Mike and Chrissy, who by that time, were wrapping up specimens they planned to take back home with them. I showed them the killer piece of chocolate colored poker chip I found up above and Mike showed me a nice cluster of poker chips he cobbed down from a boulder Chrissy had uncovered. I was feeling light headed and while leaning on the bed of my truck, I grabbed two bottles of water and drank them down, waited a few minutes and then headed for the ac in the truck, and headed home after bidding them further safe adventures and a safe trip home.



Memorial Day Weekend Visit from…

As usual, I was going to have to work Memorial Day Weekend this year in dispatch…not sure who makes up the calendar every year, but it never seems to fall on my weekend off. Docia had emailed to let me know that Mike and Chrissy Streeter, and Opal, were driving over to Oklahoma and planned to stop and visit with us a couple of days over the weekend. I was able to move my work schedule around and take advantage of some comp time to do some collecting with them, and Floyd was home as well. It was slated to be a very hot weekend though, weather wise, so I allotted some extra recoup time as well. High temps and over exertion work against me all the time, specially when I get around good pockets of poker chips.

I comped out of work early Sunday morning and was able to get a few hours rest before Missy and I drove down to the secret spot. For some reason I thought it started getting light about 6:30 am, but as it turned out, it was light around 5:30 am. We got on the road a little earlier and driving down through the Huzzah valley I snapped this sunrise photo….

00 Sunrise Near Huzzah

…we arrived to a beautiful cool morning and the light clouds in the sky indicated a nice day ahead with temps in the mid eighties….a perfect day to collect and dig for crystals….

00A I`m Early

Docia, Floyd, Mike, Chrissy, and Opal, werent due to arrive til about 8 am, so I had a couple of hours to expand the waterhole pocket and see if I could find another way into the hollow dome of rock before they got there. I started by draining the big waterhole again and then bailed water from the pocket too….

04 Bailed Out My Water Pocket

…looking into the bottom of the hole, I could see more crystals around the edge and the top side in the photo above…I hadnt noticed those a few days before, probably because my light was fading fast when I worked it then….

05 Found Crystals in Bottom

…so I started working the pocket to the top side and to the right side and started pulling crystal after crystal out of the muck…I pulled this beautiful combo plate out soon after….

07 Pulled This Plate Out

…I tried to work back toward where I was sitting as well, having found alot of calcite potential, and a few crystals in the loose muck under my feet, but the water from the waterhole started trying to rush in and I couldnt dam it up fast enough, so I mainly concentrated on expanding the original pocket as much as I could.

08 Sidewall Worked More

At 8 o`clock sharp, Docia and Floyd came driving down the hillside, followed by Mike, Chrissy, and Opal, and pretty soon Missy had a companion to visit with as well….

11 Streeters Arrive

…within a few minutes, they all split up and went in different directions, Chrissy and Docia exploring pockets along the walls, Mike started checking out some of our older pockets in the floor….

12 Mike Working A Pocket

…and Floyd went up above to look for druse plates….

11 Floyd Searching For Druse Plates

…after a couple of hours went by, it started heating up, for those of us out in the sun, and I looked over and saw that Mike and Chrissy came prepared, bringing their beach umbrella with them….

13 Mike Wrapping Goodies

…the heat really took its toll on Opal and Missy though…they got to where they wanted to stand in the waterholes and stay there. Floyd and the gals found some great plates of druse soda straws up on the hill, filling several bags full of them, Docia showed me a few that were rainbow colored even. Mike found some new pockets in the old pockets we had worked earlier in the year there….

15 Mike Works Pocket

and liberated this beautiful poker chip twin in one of the pockets, it even had dogtooth points in each chip….

14 Dogtooth Twins Mike Found the meantime, I was wearing down after digging out several areas looking for more pockets…I hadnt found any and the effort combined with the heat was wearing me down fast, plus I still had to get a nap in and return to work that evening again….I was just about to wrap it up when I found a pocket in the top of the dome of rock near my truck….

16 Found Another Small Pocket

…I looked down and could see crystals inside, so I retrieved my four pound hammer and chisels from the truck and started hammering with what strength I had left, which was very little by now, and liberated a few crystals and plates, including this dusty twin and a few singles…

18 Twin and Few Crystals Found


…one of the first things I pulled out was a crystal with a small wasp nest attached to it, and I no sooner set it down in the gravel than a wasp came crawling out of the hole looking for his nest I guess…since I`m highly allergic to their stings, I wasted no time in picking up the hammer and smushing him….figured he might be a bit upset with me robbing him of his homeSoon afterward, I picked up and wrapped up and then packed up and headed home to get some rest before work that evening.  We made plans to meet up at Eminence Quarry the next morning, on Memorial Day, my day off.

Here are photos of the twin crystal and the nice combo plate all cleaned up.

19 Twin Cleaned Up

20 Plate Pulled Out Cleaned Up













Waterhole Pocket End of May

Well I am now officially four stories behind…thats what I get for traveling so much I guess, going to have to take off more time to catch up after I return I guess.

I decided to return to the secret spot and see if I could find more of the dogtooth crystals, so I drove down one evening mid week and took a look around.  After examining the pocket more closely, I was only able to pull a few more out and decided to leave the embedded ones for Docia to chip out, cause she is better at chipping those little crystals out than I am. I scratched around the surface on either side of the pocket to see if I could locate a back way in, but had no luck. I also attempted to drain the waterhole above the pocket since it seemed to drain well into the second and third waterhole, so I expanded the little trench to do so…felt like a kid again, playing in the water….

02A  Trenched Water Below

…I found a few small pockets down below the dogtooth pocket but nothing to write home about……

03A   Found Few Small Pockets Below

….I felt the big waterhole calling to me so I went up to explore it further and after scratching around and finding potential calcite, I decided to do some tamping around a bit on the dome rock…. it sounded hollow so I decided to dig and explore as much as I could…

04 Lots of Potential

…and so I dug in and pretty soon the bottom dropped out and this hole appeared….

06A   Hole Appears

I decided if this wound up being a pocket, I sure didnt want to flood it, so I backed off and dammed off the waterhole so it wouldnt flood it…..

07A  Backed Off and Dammed off Water

…after I got that done, I started working on exploring the hole more…

08A   Deeper Sounding Hole Appears

…and let me tell you, everytime something fell down into that hole, it sounded deep, could hear water below and the rocks were splashing so I figured it must be a deep pocket of something, which didnt surprise me since the dome of rock to my left side sounded hollow. I started removing some thick plates of druse and pretty soon had the pocket expanded to this….

09A   Hole Expanded to Water Pit

…I pulled about six plates out as I was expanding the pocket and several poker chip crystals from the bottom…all too soon, the sun started setting on me, and Missy and I decided to wrap up what I had collected and head home….

10 Sun Starts to Set