Armadillo Day at MFQ

As usual, I am behind again on my posts and so am taking the time to catch up today. I worked on editing images all afternoon and then had to rest my eyes for a bit before taking up the task of putting the story together with the photos. In the past six weeks, I have been busy with some family matters , work issues, and yardwork while we had rain. I have also traveled a bit to do some rock collecting, and except for one day a few weeks ago, I didn`t find much of anything worth writing home about, until yesterday…when I had a great day of rock hunting and collecting. Today was rest up, recover, and catch up day, and so I did.

Friday afternoon, Missy and I drove down to Arcadia, Missouri, to check out an older collection of Doe Run minerals, that a resident there wanted to sell. I had been in contact with the guy for a few weeks, trying to work in a time when I could get down there and he would be available to show me his collection. He told me that he had about eighty pieces in his collection, and I had seen a few photos of the collection and liked what I had seen, so I was a bit excited as I arrived there. Once inside however, it was a different story…for one thing, I only saw maybe thirty pieces in the display case and they were covered in dust and very dirty, even cobwebs were strung out all over the minerals on the shelves, making it very hard to see exactly what was even in his collection. He had a few pieces with chalcopyrite, but they had oxidized so badly, I couldn`t see any color at all, even what little pyrite I saw was dull colored. He had inherited his collection from his grandfather who worked in a couple of the Doe Run mines, and I quickly found out the value he placed on it was sentimental value alone, which no one can afford. As it was, after making the drive down there, I did purchase a few of his pieces, but that was all…..I was quite disappointed and almost felt as if I had wasted my time.

Missy and I got up early Saturday morning and drove down to MFQ, after I received a call Tuesday night at work from my buddy Jim, who told me that there was some new activity there earlier that day, near the coved wall. I was looking forward to seeing what could be found, as that wall has produced alot of pretty crystals in the past couple of years. Usually it starts getting light about 5:30 am, but each time I glanced to the east, all I saw were a low line of dark blue clouds as we traveled down the road. Only as I got close, did the sun finally make a beautiful appearance, in the form of a large fireball from the clouds…if you look close, you`ll notice the crescent moon just above the sun as well…..

00B Sunrise 3

00A Sunrise 2

…then a few minutes later, there were sunbeams as well….

00D Sunrise 5


We arrived shortly after, and after gearing up, I started walking around the base of the new pile, which was smaller than I had anticipated, but I had to stop and remember that this happened Tuesday morning and staff had been working the pile since then…

02 New Blast Tuesday Left Side Cove


I had actually let a few of my rockhunting buddies know about it as well,  and a couple of them had considered making the drive up there as well. After walking around the new pile for about the first hour, I texted them and told them not to waste their time because in that hour, I only located one single crystal and no wall pockets either. I`m not saying there were no crystals there…it`s likely there were, but they were prob buried underneath all the rubble, too. It was starting to look like a bust for me, which would be the first time since I have never had a bad day of collecting down there yet. I took a water bottle break and then drove over to the prior pile…which they had used to create a ramp up……

01 New Lower Bench


….to the benched top of it….04 Lower Bench Wall

I had been up on that bench a few weeks back and found just a few pockets with some nice calcite druse and poker chips mixed in, some of them had some nice dogtooth crystals as well…. on a Saturday,  and then the next day I drove down to a location that a good friend of mine had told me about last year…I refer to it as the new secret spot….a location that has proven to be a very good place to find some great clusters of crystals, especially dogtooth crystals…on that particular day a few weeks ago, I def found something worth writing home about, but have chosen not to until recently when I told a few close friends about it. Suffice to say, I had a field day that day and brought home several canvas bags full of wrapped goodies, clusters, singles, twins, triples, all bright orange dogtooth crystals, from micro size to beachball sized, many of each. It`s been a few weeks and I am still cleaning many of them. I`ll post some photos of them when I get them cleaned up…I had a few of them cleaned up and on display when some new rock collecting friends showed up last week for a visit, and they were pretty impressed with them as well.

I decided not to climb up the bench ramp again this time, and walked around the base to see if I could spot any crystals that had rolled down the walls, that might indicate a pocket nearby. Within a few minutes, I spotted a couple of boulders embedded in the sloped wall, and it appeared that someone had found some druse in a pocket under the left boulder. I did some exploring and suddenly discovered some poker chips under the boulder on the right side….

03 Armadillo Pocket


…I dug down and around the bottom of that boulder and tried to dig out the right side, but the upper slope material kept sliding down and getting in the way, so I moved to the left of it and pulled bigger rocks and loose stuff away to find a large opening between the two boulders, which opened up into a large void between the two large boulders…

04 Armadillo Pocket

…it appeared to me that someone may have dug under the boulder on the right, but didn`t follow up…. in my estimation, since I soon began pulling out some beautiful plates…here is the opening between the boulders…

12 Armadillo Pocket

….I went back to the truck and brought back my flashlight and when I shined the light down into that pocket, I saw very shiny calcite druse all over the ceiling and walls and lots of pieces and plates with the same druse all over them, including some with poker chips attached to them….here are a few that I was able to reach as soon as I spotted them with the light….

06 Goodies Found So Far07 Calcite Druse with Chips

08 Calcite Druse with Chips

11 Calcite Druse with Chips


…I then stuck my camera down into the cavern and snapped a couple of photos to show you what the interior of it looked like…the photos you are about to see do not do it justice….

13 Armadillo Pocket Inside

…that big one at the bottom that you see in the photo, I had to pull it out thru that opening so that I could pull out some more plates that were located behind it…by this time I had removed more of the loose dirt and rock underneath me so that I could more easily, reach into that cavern and grab more plates…soon my arms were all scratched up and I felt more like an armadillo, digging my way in between those boulders…which by the way, were firmly entrenched and embedded into that sloped wall, deeply entrenched and attached to the wall behind it…the void appeared to be about six feet long and four feet wide and every bit of thirty inches high. The big piece you see above, was very pretty on the side facing away from me, covered in calcite druse with a big poker chip attached to one corner of it. Here are some more of the goodies I pulled out once it was clear of the void…

09 Calcite Druse with Chips

10 Calcite Druse with Chips

…one of the prettiest plates I pulled out was sitting right in front of the big one that was blocking me, plate sized and a few inches thick with calcite druse in three colors and poker chips embedded in it….

16 Spectacular Plate

…a few of these plates even had dogtooth crystals on them…the following image shows about half of my haul from this pocket alone…

15 Tailgate Covered

…after two hours on this pocket, I was ready for another bottle of cold water and I decided to wrap everything up and load it in the truck bed, and then evaluate to see how tired I was….the temps were climbing by now and the little shade I had by the boulders was just about gone and I had cleaned out the pocket quite well. After wrapping them all up, I had three bags completely full and then wrapped up ten large ones as well, basketball sized.  I decided that I had a little more energy left and moved further east along the wall, looking for more potential for pockets…and soon found an area that I had once found several pockets, some filled with druse, but beautiful druse and sometimes when I find those druse pockets, I find poker chips attached to the druse as well….yesterday, I found two more pockets of the druse with poker chips attached…I had to do a bit more burrowing in like an armadillo again, but managed to do so safely again and filled two more bags with goodies, before finally wearing out…the temps had to be near 95 now and the humidity was getting bad as well. Jim and his wife stopped by to chat for a minute, they too were tired of the heat and headed to the river to sit and soak in it. Missy had been inside my truck in the ac for the past hour and I soon joined her.

 I drove to the top of the parking lot and called a friend of mine, who is a mineral dealer nearby, he specializes in Viburnum Trend minerals, and I asked him if he had any new material. He said he did and I decided to drive up to his place and take a look. Boy, am I glad that I did drive up there because he had some gorgeous green and yellow calcite crystals attached to the blackest rock I have ever seen, many of the crystals were double terminated and some even skeletal looking, some with phantoms inside them, spectacular and breathtaking at the same time…they had come from the Fletcher Mine and since I didn`t have anything in my collection from the Fletcher Mine, I purchased a few from him….

Green & Yellow Calcite on Blk Rock 4

Green & Yellow Calcite on Blk Rock 2

Large Chunk of Blk With Calcites 2

Large Chunk of Blk With Calcites 4

Large Chunk of Blk With Calcites 5

…and this next one features a single calcite crystal attached to a chunk of dolomite covered by a quartz druse and some galena cubes spread out in the quartz….

Single Crystal on Quartz Druse 2

Single Crystal on Quartz Druse

…and this gorgeous piece of chalcopyrite that has multiple colors and is covered by a fine dusting of quartz as well…

Chalcopyrite Dusted With Quartz

Chalcopyrite Dusted With Quartz Back Side

…he had several of each one…most of my chalcopyrite has large chunks of it on the matrix, but this stuff was more like a dusting of smaller particles of color and covered with a dusting of quartz as well, just spectacular pieces, bit and small. I brought home a few boxes of material from him and so yesterday was a great day of hunting and collecting for me. I can`t wait to add these to my new display cases, but for now that gorgeous chalcopyrite piece is sitting here next to my computer for me to visually enjoy for a few days. 🙂

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