Four Weeks of Cabin Fever

It was four weeks of snow and ice, and extremely cold weather, before we had a break and could get back down to MFQ…the snow was so deep south of me in other areas that I couldn`t go anywhere for those four weeks…not only were the crystals under the snow and ice, so were the roads…my buddy Jim had told me that it took the highway department a week to clear the main highways due to the heavy ice under the deep snowpack. One thing I don`t like about winter driving, is ice…hard to drive on and impossible to stop on it.

Best thing to do when it gets icy, is just stay home…..I have worked way too many accidents in my nearly forty years on the fire department and seen way too many things that can happen to drivers traveling in bad weather.

I let Ray know I was going down there Sunday morning, but he was tied up that day and couldn`t get away. I comped out and came home from work early morning, intending to get about five hours of rest before driving on down. Just as I got home, I heard a loud crashing noise…a noise that I had heard a few nights before about the same time of early morning, on the railroad tracks a block behind my house, as a westbound train was coming through town. This time an eastbound train was passing through and came to a sudden stop…I got back in my truck and drove up to the Elmont Crossing to see if it had derailed, and found the train blocking the crossing. I called BNSF police dispatch, to let them know they had a problem on the tracks there, then called my buddy Linda, who dispatches nights at Sullivan Police, and let her know that all three crossings in town were blocked by the train. I then drove over to Hwy D and crossed the tracks on the bridge, and circled back to Main Street on the south side of the tracks, where I found the last six cars on the train, separated from the rest of the train by about an eight car length…I called Linda and updated her again, she said she would call BNSF and update them as well. I then drove down to the end of Hannah Street and located the Conductor walking the train to check the air hoses from car to car…I knew he was going to have a lengthy walk, so I called BNSF again and offered to give him a ride back to the end of the train, but was told that policy required him to walk the entire train to make sure no other cars in between were separated as well. I called Linda and updated her once more and then drove home and went to bed.

Five hours later, Missy and I got up and headed south…I walked out the door to find that we had received a dusting of snow, up close they looked like frozen flakes of ice…

01 Dusting of Snow


…we got on the road headed west on 44 and saw that as we reached the west side of town, it looked like a blizzard had come through, but as we approached Bourbon, five miles further west, no snow at all seemed to have fallen there…not even a dusting. As we approached Leasburg tho, I we hit another stretch of heavy snow showers…

02 Snow Showers at Leasburg


..and about every town from there to Rolla, we hit yet more snow showers…as we got to Rolla tho, it was all ice in the treetops…def looked like a winter wonderland there…

04 Ice in Treetops Rolla


05 Ice in Treetops Rolla


…and later, when I finally turned south, I saw a break in the clouds to the south…it was supposed to be around 45 degrees at MFQ that day….

06 Clouds at Rolla


…my buddy Jim had told me the night before, that the pile from the last blast was still there, not much had been removed due to the heavy snow and ice they had down there….he was right, when we arrived, we found about a third of the pile removed and the giant hydraulic jackhammer had been busting up the big boulders….

07 Third of Pile Removed


…I got out and it was a bit chilly, pulled on my boots and a blue hooded pullover,  grabbed my gloves and mattox and headed to the wall to look for pockets. Within the first thirty minutes, I located a few nice pockets full of brown and orange dogtooth crystals, small ones but nice nonetheless. I also found some weird looking calcite chunks that looked like they had either deteriorated or come from a cave….

14 Brown Dogtooths Large


…these above would have been brown dogtooth crystals, large ones at that…but didn`t quite form out all the way…the ones below were simply chunks of calcite in different forms…

15 Deteriorated Calcite Chunks


…and I also found some pockets of pretty red calcitic druse as well, some with poker chips attached to them….

08 Pretty Red Calcite Druse


09 Pretty Red Calcite Druse


10 Pretty Red Calcite Druse


…and this one has a poker chip attached below….

11 Poker Chip on Red Calcite Druse


12 Red Druse Up Closer


I also found a few pockets with some pretty chocolate brown crystals in them as well….

13 Two Chocolate Brown Poker Chips


…I`ll get some more photos of the better ones from the four full bags that I brought back…I also found and brought back about ten yard rocks that were nice as well.  here are some of the dogtooths I found that day….

17 Dogtooths Found


18 Three Dogtooths


19 Three More Dogtooths

Hope everyone has a MERRY CHRISTMAS today…..


Thanksgiving at MFQ

I received a phone call a couple of weeks ago from a good friend who told me that there had been a blast at the quarry at MFQ a few days before Thanksgiving. I had to work Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving night, but was off that weekend so I made plans to go the day after Thanksgiving. I emailed my friend Ray in St Louis and told him, and he decided to come along with me. I was able to get a good nap in and Ray met me at the house, we loaded up the truck, and headed out shortly after 8 am. After stopping for gas, we headed east and arrived about 11:30 am and osbserved the west corner of the cove wall had been blasted down…..

03 Blasted Corner

As we pulled up to the blast pile, we stopped and talked to one of the owners and his wife, for a few minutes, thanked them for allowing rockhounds to come there and rockhunt, and then we began searching to see what we could find after the blast. He told us that he had taken some of the pine cone looking crystals to his wife, occasionally, and they liked them too. 

We immediately started finding some nice crystals in various colors, that had survived the blast and the fifty foot throw to the ground as well…

02 Allowed to Work Left Side


…within minutes, I had one bag full and returned to the truck for another, as Ray climbed up on the pile in search of boulders with vugs…he found several and was able to remove some nice clusters from them…

06 Ray Works Middle of Pile


I kept walking around the perimeter of the pile and soon found this one just sitting there waiting to go home with me…

08 Cluster Found in Pile


…this of course is the cleaned up version of it…and we found a few that had a red crust on them…still haven`t figured that part out yet….

09 Double Chip Cluster


…although I can tell you that it isnt soft like clay, is hard and rough just like it looks, nothing seems to wash it off at all.  I managed to find quite a few dark grey colored crystals, even a nice set of twins like these….

10 Twin Poker Chip


…and quite a few chocolate colored crystals as well….

11 Several Crystals


…and some bigger chunks covered in chocolate brown crystals, too….

12 Large Cluster of Brown Poker Chips


14 Cluster Dark Brown Poker Chips


…Ray found a big chunk of crystals coated with that red crust and gave to me…he didn`t like that red crust at all….I don`t like it, but found it interesting since we have never seen it there before….

13 Large Cluster Covered in Red Crust


We were there til about 3 pm and then headed home, with a truckbed full of crystals…we didn`t find many pockets but were able to liberate quite a few crystals from the vugs we found.