Had a Virgil Richards Day at Eminence Quarry

Missy and I drove down to the quarry Sunday morning, hoping to find some more pretty crystals. I had received word from a  good friend down there, that there had been some blasting activity there ealier in the week, so we were on the road a little after six am. It was a bit chilly when we hit the road, high forties, and it was only forecast to reach a high of sixty two that day, with some gusty winds expected. I had hoped to get down there the previous morning but the rain forecast for that afernoon, came in a bit earlier than expected, so we waited instead. My right arm was still hurting, but it seems like I have been adjusting and getting used to the pain somewhat.

However,  I saw my doctor yesterday and he said I have tendonitis and gave me a few options on how to treat it…trying option one now, which includes alleve twice a day with some minor exercises and using my tens unit twice a day. If that doesnt help it, then he can inject cortisone in my arm and see if that takes care of it…and if that doesnt do it, then surgery is an option as well….I`m hoping we dont have to go that far. Original injury occurred over thirty years ago while I was in college and helping a state trooper buddy chip out his driveway of two inch deep ice so he could get his patrol car in and out just fine…I basically just overworked the muscle tissue of my arm that day and back then, the prescription was to rest it in a sling for ten days, easy enough back then since I didnt have a job then. Even helped me get out of a few tests, lol.  

Missy and I arrived around 8:30 am and it was still just a bit cool when we got out of the truck….didnt phase Missy at all, cause she now has her winter coat back on and am sure it felt quite nice to her. I started out with a long sleeve shirt and made it thru the day with it on, actually, mainly because that gusty wind was quite a cool breeze all day long. She bounded out of the truck and took off to check things out and I didnt see her again for about  thirty minutes. I got my boots laced up and put a light core jacket on and decided to walk around and see what I could find on the surface first.  The main obvious changes were that the cove pile had been completely removed on the west facing wall on the north end…..

01 Former Pile is Removed


…and the blasting had occurred above our heads where the north end upper bench had previously been, now the wall up above was completely even with that north end upper bench wall…..

12 Upper Bench N Side is Gone

….after walking around and not finding much along the wall…it was also obvious that there were many pockets way up high from all the glittering I could see where the sun was hitting the wall high up, but I found no pockets down below at all. I decided to walk down the wall to the east and see what I could find, checking along the base where much of the ground material had been scooped up and removed as well, since my last visit. I soon came upon a section of the wall where there were some apparent crystal formations….

03 A Series of Pockets


…so I stopped and started exploring…pretty soon I had found a few nice pockets that were chock full of beautiful crystals and druse combinations, and within minutes, I was pulling one cluster after another out of the pocket opening, each one covered with dogtooth crystals…I took a break and went to the truck to get a couple of bags full of wrapping cloths….these were way too beautiful and delicate looking to take any chances…I decided to wrap them double before setting them in the bag. After about twenty minutes, I had two bags completely full of double wrapped crystals and clusters, and after placing them into the backseat of my truck for better ride stability, I returned to the wall with another bag of cloths. I worked my way down the wall about ten feet and looked up and saw this….

04 Pocket Opened by Blast Vibration


…and closer up….

05 Pocket Closer Up


…I could see the end of a crystal sticking out slightly…after cleaning out the surrounding area carefully first, I reached inside and pulled out this large double poker chip with exposed dogtooth crystal tips….

07 Double Dogtooth Pocket Opening


…and further inside the initial pocket opening, you can see yet another pocket opening up deeper inside the wall from the first one…and let me tell you, about every cluster that I pulled out after that initial shock, consisted of alot of oohhhs and ahhhsss and  holie cows too….within five minutes I had the third bag filled and was headed to the truck for yet another two bags….an hour later I had those two bags filled and the pockets were empty. I decided to drive over to the newer blast pile area and see what could be found there.

Missy had trotted off in that direction already, so I loaded up and drove on over to that pile next. I had seen a trackhoe up on the upper bench on the south end when we drove into the quarry and it appeared that the hoe was pulling material off the upper bench and pushing it over the edge and down below…..

11 Upper Bench

….that material had formed a couple of small piles which could be climbed, so climb I did…..

08 Downstream Again


…and when I reached the top, after cutting out stairs to climb up on, I found a couple of large openings at the top…you guessed it, more pockets…..

10 Pockets At Top of Pile

….opened up from the vibrations of the blasting on the wall two hundred feet to the north, and crystals laying all over the place up there in the opening space of each pocket, and underneath the loose crystals were clusters of crystals laying all over the place, many with very pretty bright yellow calcite druse nestled all around the crystals. I was pulling several crystals out that had orange centers, some had brown centers, and some had black centers, some had frosting all over them and looked like the brown dogtooth crystals that my buddy, Virgil, had found several years earlier one day there.

The two pockets on the left seen above, were the first two I located once I reached the top of the pile, and the ones to the right were additional pockets that I found by following the bread crumbs while up there, a line of crystals going from the first pockets to four more pockets…..plus two of the pockets went deep down and one went underneath a huge rock that was sitting up there on the right side, too. I had to make four trips to the trucks to get more bags and wrapping cloths as I kept pulling crystals and clusters out of each pocket opening and kept running out of wrapping cloths, the initial pocket required at least an hour and two bags,  to clean it out !!  That brown trail you see on the right side of the rocky slope in the image below….

09 Pockets At Top of Pile


…is the trail I left, when I slid down the pile each time on my butt, like a big slide…carrying one filled bag in my left hand, and a large cluster in my right hand or on my lap…it was quite fun sliding down each time, but let me tell you it was a lot of work climbing back up each time, and cutting those steps out each step of the way….but well worth it too.

By 3:30 pm, I was wore out and decided to go up above to the upper bench to check it out…I figured it the track hoe was up there, maybe there was something worthwhile up there to be found.

13  Upper Bench

I hadnt been up there since Ian was down the first time, and once up there, I only found a few green clusters and that was all. Needless to say, I wasnt up there long and soon enough Missy and I were headed home. We stopped briefly in Summersville, on the way back to Highway 63, and I photographed the old mill building there, which has been restored….there is a nice pond behind it and with the cloudy skies, the water reflections were quite nice…

14 Summersville MIll


15 Summersville MIll

I stopped off near Raymondville, to visit a good friend, at his family`s dairy farm and finally got to see what chocolate milk cows look like. They have a large herd of Brown Swiss and Holsteins both. 

James 🙂