Druse and Poker Chips Mid October

After a couple of weeks of hard rain and thunderstorms, I decided to return to the new druse spot and see if anything nice had been washed out of the clay, and boy am I glad I did.I also wondered if we would find any color on the trees remaining, and as we drove into Steelville, we saw a few beautiful maple trees in full bloom….

01 Main Street Foliage Steelville


Missy and I arrived to find alot more erosion, this area one night alone had about four to six inches of rain in just a few hours and you could tell the water had done some serious carving in the clay when I walked up on it. Luckily it wasnt too muddy when we arrived, but I tried to give Missy some instructions on staying out of the mud pit while we were there…apparently those instructions fell on deaf dog ears, let me tell you, cause within about twenty minutes she ran up to me pretty much covered in sloppy red clay mud from her stomach down…I was not a happy camper and she sensed it…dogs are pretty smart sometimes…they realize you arent happy any longer and they walk away and leave you alone…luckily for both of us, she came up with a great idea and went somewhere nearby and found a clean water source and cleaned up before she returned to my presence. I wont elaborate on my thoughts while she was gone, but I can safely say I failed to bring an extra towel for the back seat and I was not very happy with the situation. I soon got busy picking up beautiful pieces of bubble druse all over the place, filling three bags within the first thirty minutes….this is what the site looked like when we arrived...


03 New Druse Area Found


04 West Side of New Area


05 North Side of New Area

…and here are a few photos of what all I found that morning there…picking up some pieces in the heavily eroded areas of the photo above up on that hillside…my first trip walking over to it and very impressed with what I saw and found there…the following photos show the druse all cleaned up and lots of bubbles…

Chunk of Bubbles


Chunk of Bubbles 2


Chunk of Bubbles 3


Chunk of Bubbles 4


Chunk of Bubbly Druse


Chunk of Bubbly Druse 3


Druse Found


Druse Found 3


Druse Found 4


Druse Found 5


Druse Found 6


More Druse Found and BIG Druse

…the last photo above, shows a very large druse chunk that I found on the first trip there…weighs about one hundred fifty pounds, took me a few trips to get it to the truck, covered on three sides by bubbles….I stayed for a few hours, filling up six bags full of druse, uncovered those nice chunks above that were covered in bubbles and carried them to the truck and wrapped them up, before heading home and stopping off at the secret spot on the way……I was very happy with what I found at the druse spot, and only covered about a third of the ground there this trip.

On the way to the secret spot to expand the new pocket, we came up on this beautiful tree that was past peak, and leaves were falling off it in the gentle breeze….

06 Pretty Tree On Way

…within twenty minutes of arriving, I had the area around the pocket cleared back to the rock wall behind it and started bailing water….

10 Cleared Back to Wall

..eventually I cleared the area around that big rock on the right side as well, but didnt find any soft spots that would indicate another entrance to this pocket and didnt pursue it any further…I might do that the next time I`m up there since I`ll have more energy then. I took a break after cleaning it off and retrieved my hammer and chisel as well as another bag….

11 Bailing and Expanding

…after bailing it down, its obvious to me that this pocket goes under the big wall in front of me there, and I`m not going to be able to pursue it any further. My best bet will be to either look to either side for more openings, which will require a lot of cleaning of piles of rock gravel, or simply going and finding another pocket and starting all over. Within the first few minutes after bailing it down, I was able to liberate a few pretty combos…

07 Goodies Pulled From Pocket


08 Druse Combo Pulled From Pocket


09 Second Druse Combo From Pocket

…and the next photo shows the crystals at the edges of the expanded pocket…

12 Crystals Under Surface

..what you don`t see is that I was able to liberate a few small twins and triples and small clusters of crystals from the bottom of the pocket on three sides, mainly the big base in the foreground here. I`m thinking I`ll prob dig the original pockets back out when I return and see if they lead anywhere on either side and back behind me, and then maybe look for more pockets.






Return to the New Pocket in October

I had the weekend off once again, after returning from my trip to Colorado and decided since I didnt get to do any rockhunting out there, I would head back down to the secret spot and see if I could expand that new pocket some more. It seemed to be deep and going in about three different directions, and I wanted to see if I could open it up some more and see what it might hold. Missy and I loaded up and took off down there about mid morning, cause this time it was a bit cool and I wanted to give it a chance to warm up a bit before I arrived. I walked in and started digging with the mini mattox after clearing off some of the loose gravel mixture surrounding the existing pocket….within minutes I had worked up a pretty good sweat and took my jacket off and went to get my bailing bucket and some more tools and bags…..

01 Expanding Pocket by Wall

 …the pocket was full of water and it was obvious at some point today, I was going to have to bail some water…but I decided to clear more surrounding gravel and rock and see if I could find more pocket openings instead…

02 Gonna Have to Bail It

…and it didnt take me long to find a soft spot once I had some area cleared back toward that back wall….

04 Another Pocket Found

…so I began lightly scraping down with the mattox and pretty soon, I had signs of another pocket beneath me opening up….

05 Another Pocket Expansion

…and pretty soon, this pocket really started to open up….

06 Crystals From New Pocket

…and you can see the growing pile of crystals from this new pocket above and close up below….

08 Pile of Crystals Growing

I took a water break and then cleared some more rock and gravel away and decided to do some serious digging in the new pockets on top of the week old pocket….

09 Expansion on Top of Expansion

…and closer up…

10 Just Keeps Getting Bigger

…you see that somewhat round piece that my chisel is pointing toward up above ?  I took that out and it turned out to be a nice chunk of druse hanging upside down with some poker chips attached…but first I`m going to show you that top pocket closer up…

11 Top Pocket Opens Up

…as well as a close up of some of the crystals lurking under the surface water in the bottom pocket….

12 Crystals Under Surface

…and here is the growing pile of crystals and plates…

14 Crystals and Plates

…and the floor of the week old pocket is laced with crystals as well…

15 Floor of Pocket Laced with Crystals

…and in the mouth of the pocket as well….I was reaching in and pulling as many out as I could…a bit hesitant at first, remembering what Docia told me when she said she couldnt make it today…and wishing me lucky reaching into the cold pocket water. What was really funny was that the water in that pocket turned out to be fairly warm, not in the least bit cool at all, and I was pulling several crystals out, and many were firmly attached to the walls and floor of the deep pocket too…this one seemed to be at least ten inches deep, I was often in up to my elbows…

17 Crystals In Mouth of Pocket

…I turned my attention to the week old pocket and while pulling some of the crystals from the bottom of it, I ran across yet another small pocket off the floor of it…

18 Another Small Pocket

…and closer up you can see crystals lurking inside it as well…

19 Crystals All Over

…I followed this one til it deadended into a wall and then decided to stop here and return in a couple of weeks and see how much further I could go in the wall direction. I covered up the other end with some flat rocks to keep any stray stuff out…..

20 Covered Expansion

…I was curious to find out how deep this pocket was going to turn out and whether I would be able to widen it and bail it down to find some clusters to chip out…guess we would find out the next time I was down…here are the ones I wrapped up to take home…some nice druse plates of gray and some pretty ones with poker chips attached, I also pulled out several single and twin crystals….

21 Wrapping These Up to Take Home

I found a pretty sunset on the way back home…first in downtown Steelville….

25 Downtown Steelville Sunset

and here in the Meramac River Valley just over the hill from Steelville along Highway 19….

26 Steelville Valley Sunset

and here setting over the Meramac River and the reflections in the water….

27 Meramac River Sunset


28 Meramac River Sunset

…and at Cuba when I hit 44 for the last leg of the trip home.

29 Cuba Sunset


Blue Hole Expansion and Hematite…

I decided to go back to the secret spot to see if I could dig a few more blue poker chip crystal clusters out so I could take a few to Ian, my geologist friend in Colorado, as I was planning to drive out there the following week, taking my Mom and Dad out there for their 50th anniversary to see the fall colors and ride the steam train at Durango…they have never been to Colorado in the fall and the last time we rode the train was 45 years ago..when I was a wee little guy.

Docia met me there, she wanted to go up on top and see if she could dig out some more of the rainbow colored druse plates, so we met there and discovered some more rock had been removed recently….

02 Taking Advantage and Looking

…so I decided to look at the floor level and see if I could find any pockets along the newly scraped and dug area, and within moments, found a slight depression and started scratching…

05 Slight Depression Here


..and began finding calcite chunks and crystals right away….

06 Little Scratching Produces Crystals


07 Crystals and Chunks

 ..and just a little under the surface, I made a discovery I have never found here before…poker chip crystals with a hematite mixture…and some pyrite or chacopyrite mixed in as well…I have def never seen pyrite or chalcopyrite there at all.

08 Hematite and Poker Chips

coming from this pocket here…as you can see there is a little bluff area here too….

09 Hematite Pocket Here

..standard signs of a pocket nearby….but this one contained poker chips and hematite matrix meshed together…def a new one for me. as you can see, I also removed some orangey poker chip crystals too…

10 Hematite & Crystal Pocket

…after cleaning out this shallow pocket that deadended real quickly, I decided to go back over and see if the blue poker chip hole could be expanded. Docia was coming down from the top with two bags full of druse plates…she decided to take a break and see what she could find down below. I moved some rock around in the shaded area and fairly soon found another pocket opening up about a foot from the blue hole…

11 Blue Holes Expanded

…I called Docia over and turned one of the pockets over to her while I worked the new one…within minutes, we both began pulling crystals out of the pockets…here is the one I was working….

12 Another Blue Hole Found

…and here is one of the smaller clusters I pulled out of the new pocket…apologize for the blurriness…

13 Blue Chip Cluster

Docia and I worked those pockets for at least an hour and then she decided to go back up above and see if she could find more druse plates…..I wrapped up what I found in the blue hole and then returned to the same area and scratched around a bit more…and within a few minutes, the bottom dropped out and a hole appeared…

14 Hole Opens Up

…I opened it up a bit more and some rocks fell down in the hole and the splash sounded very deep….

15 Hole Opens Up

…and I opened it up a bit more and reached my hand down into about ten inches of cool water to retrieve a few crystals and plates with crystals….

16 Initial Pocket Hole

…and here is a closer up photo of the crystals…

17 Some Plates Druse and Chips

…I spent a few extra minutes expanding the pocket to one side and pulled a few more crystals out…before running out of steam for the day….at least I had some more nice crystals to take to Emmie and Ian though….

19 Pocket Expands





September…Catching Up…

Sorry everyone…I took the latter part of September off to drive my parents out to Colorado so they could see some beautiful fall color and ride the steam train at Durango, as part of their 50th anniversary. They no longer like to make the long drives and after everything they have done for me, I volunteered to do the driving for them. I had taken the last weekend off at work, back in January when we pick our shifts to work, and thought then that I would attend the gem and mineral show in Joplin again….it wasnt held last year due to the catastrophic tornado that ravaged the entire city. My mom and I were talking over dinner one evening and she remarked to me that she and dad would love to travel out to Colorado and see some beautiful fall color and once again ride the train at Durango…it has been 45 years since we rode it…and I only remember bits and pieces of it…but they couldnt handle drives any longer than five hours. I told Mom I had taken that weekend off, giving me a week off, and would love to take them out there instead, so we started planning it out back in August. If interested, you can check out that story and the photos at my other blog site,  http://jwjphotoblog.com

I went rockhunting two times before the Colorado trip and even took a couple of care packages out there with me, one for my second cousin Emmie, who is an aspiring geologist in Denver and just started first grade this year….and one for my geologist buddy Ian Merkel, who is in the Evergreen area and works for the Henderson Mine Company. I took them some Missouri druse, poker chip crystals and clusters, some Arkansas quartz, and some western Kentucky fluorite.

So on this Sunday, I decided to go back to the secret spot and check out an area in the pile that I had a sneaking suspicion that there might be a pocket lurking nearby…I had crisscrossed this particular area a few times and seen some sign, plus there was a huge boulder there that had crystals on it…everything just seemed to add up and I just needed to do some physical researching to see if it truly would add up.

Missy and I took off early that morning to avoid the heat….arriving about sunrise….and what a pretty sunrise it was….

01 Sunrise Above Huzzah

…and a few minutes later, as we were climbing up a hill from a valley floor, we spotted several very pretty deer in a field to the left of the road…I pulled over to photograph them in the early morning light….they stood still for one shot and then….

02 Deer in Field by Huzzah

…their flags came up and off they fled toward the woods and I mean…FAST….

03 Deer Spooked and Flee

..we headed on down the road and arrived soon after…I checked the sloped area I had found the massive chunk of poker chip crystals, and discovered another slide had occurred while I wasnt there and the chunk was apparently buried…

04 Sloped Pocket


05 Nothing More Found

..I didnt have the energy required to clean it off to look for more, so I opted to go over to the pile and look at another area that I figured had a pocket as well…another area I had criss crossed several times and always found crystals nearby…mainly at the base of a large boulder covered on one side with crystals.

06 Pile With Big Boulder

and the next photo shows a few of the crystals that I picked up out of the surrounding rocks and dirt after digging down around the base of the boulder above….

07 Few Crystals and Clusters Found

…giving further confirmation that there could potentially be more nice stuff below or around it…so on I dug, in behind the boulder as well as I could. I tried to be as careful as possible with a lot of bigger rocks up above me and this pocket….it could slide down and bury the work I had done so far anytime….

08 Pocket Opens Base of Boulder

….and as soon as I started digging in behind the boulder, this pocket luckily opened up pretty quickly…I was able to pull enough small crystals out to give me hope there was more in there, prob just further back which meant more careful digging. I began removing some of the bigger rocks above and around it, creating a couple of diversionary slide directions for it to go if it decided to…and as the pocket opened up more from above, more crystals started showing up inside….

09 Looking Inside

…as it opened up, a few chunks of matrix with crystals attached, fell out of the back of the pocket….

10 Opening Up Pocket


11 Large Crystal Found

Well I kept on digging and this pocket started to go deeper, down and further back…I was pulling out small crystals so that was motivating me to keep on digging….

12 Pocket Goes Deeper

…and pretty soon there was calcite signs everywhere inside the pocket…on the walls and ceiling area and floor of it…

13 More Signs Found

…and within minutes, another pretty pocket opened up….

14 Another Pocket Opens Up

…and since it was so pretty looking, I decided I didnt want to damage it, so I began clearing rocks from above and around the pocket, so I didnt have another controlled, or worse, uncontrolled slide….at any rate, I managed to clear out the pocket and clear out the surrounding area….

15 Cleared Off and Around

 …and as soon as I began digging around the cleared edges, I stumbled upon yet another pretty pocket….

16 Yet Another Pocket Found

and this one started producing some bigger chunks of crystals…I was beginning to think this would be a lot more fun if all the rock hanging up above wasn`t….

17 New Pocket Expands

…and this is one of the druse plates that came out of this pocket as well…

18 Druse Plate Uncovered

…and here is a pile of crystals that came out of these pockets….

19 Crystals Found So Far

 …and then the inevitable occurred….only this one was a controlled slide…I did it to clear it off and hopefully get into more pockets, however….

20 Cave In

…I didn`t plan for the really big one that came down…and it was so heavy I couldnt even move more than one end of it at a time…so that is where I stopped for the day.