Justin Comes to Visit

Back in July, my good friend Justin emailed me to see if he could come visit with me and asked if I would take him rockhunting here in Missouri. I met Justin a few years ago on one of my annual trips to the Hot Springs area of Arkansas…one of my quartz crystal excursions in the fall time, and we quickly hit it off and became good friends. I met him in the parking lot that evening shortly after I arrived at the condo I stayed at on Lake Hamilton. I brought him some flats of Missouri crystals and minerals and told him back then to come visit with me and I would take him rockhunting up here…so he was finally taking me up on the offer. Justin is a neat guy, very mature acting for his young age…he works in what some of us would consider a stressful job…hospice care…a very vital and caring field these days and one that is much appreciated as well by many….so I highly respect him even more for choosing such a field to work in. He drove up a few weeks ago on a Friday and arrived early evening…he checked out my collection inside the house that evening since it got dark soon after his arrival, and then the next day checked out my rock gardens during the daylight. I have heard many refer to my interior collection, like ” walking thru a museum ” but Justin thought the outside gardens were like a museum as well, although they could prob use some weeding and its been way too hot for that this summer.

We decided to drive down to MFQ the next morning, getting up and headed out by 7 am, stopping off at the donut shop so I could get one of my favorite donuts, the unfilled white icing long john with nuts sprinkled on top, and a chocolate milk. Soon after, Onyx, Justin, and I were heading for the quarry. They had done some blasting there a few weeks before and I told him that maybe they would have that pile cleaned up to where we could check the lower wall for dogtooth pockets, as we had found several in that wall there years prior. As we started down into the valley, we noticed some heavy fog and I told Justin that we might have some fog at the quarry as well, and sure enough we did have just a little bit of it when we arrived soon after, stopping off briefly to get some water for Onyx that I forgot to bring….here you see Justin halfway up the pile finding some nice calcites…


…he had his boots on when we arrived, so he took off and started walking and searching for crystals before grabbing a bag or anything to put them in….he was too excited to even grab his gloves or tools…as you can see, he made do with his shirt tail when he started finding them up there…..like a kid in a candy store believe me…..







…and as you can see from the photos above, the blast pile was hugely still there, little had been worked to remove it…stretching back to the west much as it was the last time I was there. Soon I had my boots on and grabbed my gloves, tools and a bag and headed up into the base of the pile…and soon I was finding alot of dogtooth crystals, or what I would refer to as wanna be dogtooth crystals, five to ten inches long and a beautiful nestle chocolate brown color to them…many were upside down in what appeared as pockets blasted down from the wall intact and held in place by dirt, much,and rock around them. It appeared they had been uncovered by the machinery recently, because they sure were not to be found or seen when I was there last…Justin was hollering every few minutes about finding something here and there, showing me some of his finds…..


…..and finally made his way back to the bottom with his shirt full of crystals…


…one thing was for sure, we sure had a beautiful day to collect there….gorgeous sky and nice weather, and it was warm just without the humidity if I recall correctly…but we did eventually warm up….


…I pointed out the coved wall and told Justin that when MAGS was there in April, the quarry personnel had cleaned off the upper ledges and hundreds of dogtooth crystals landed down below on the floor and in the smaller piles near the coved wall….so he migrated over there to see what he could find…


…and actually did pretty good this time as well, eventually having to use his hat this time since he shed his now dirty shirt for the heat….I had forgotten to tell him about the short cleft wall we had pulled down with prybars when the Tyler Club was there with me, mainly to make it safer, but we also found pockets behind it and Justin was able to find several under the rocks in that area, many that made him happy. 🙂  

Here are some of my finds that morning just doing some surface collecting mainly….1718






That cluster up above was one that I just found sitting in the pile and picked up…has a little damage to it but very nice spray looks like…I don`t have it cleaned up yet or would post a photo of it, but will eventually….


…I also found a few small orange dogtooth crystals too, here and there….


Justin had so much good luck on the right side of the coved wall, that he went back over there and looked some more, and found even more good stuff, this time using his hands and arms to hold them…


…then we moved back over to the big pile to look for more dogtooths…by the time we finished I had four bags full of them and I know Justin had more than I did, he was ecstatic over them too. 🙂  Pretty soon he was back up near the top of the pile looking for more….


…by this time, it was approaching 1 pm and we wanted to go to Rocky Falls and cool down a bit, then go see my buddy Dave so I could show Justin the pretty minerals and crystals that come out of the Viburnum Trend Doe Run owned mines, so we did a little high grading….or I should say Justin did….






…and then we headed over to Rocky Falls for a bit of a cool down…found a church group there…we hiked up to the top for the bigger view….






..and then we drove over to see my friend Dave, where Justin learned even more about lead minerals from the Viburnum Trend in Missouri. all in all a great day.

The next day we drove down to the druse spot…..we didn`t get an early start, slept in a bit as we were wore out from the day before. I had told Justin all about this location, assured him he would have no problem finding some nice stuff to take home, depending on what colors he liked in druse quartz…I think he was a bit skeptical of me…but within about five minutes of arriving, all that skepticism went right out the window. Onyx and I were up on the hill above him and we could hear him talking about it…sometimes to me…sometimes to Onyx…and sometimes I think, to himself…I even captured it on video…

…just click on download file and let it load up, then click on it and it will open and play full screen for you. Took Justin a while, but he finally made it about halfway up the hill to where Onyx and I were hunting….




…he was like a kid in a candy store and fun to watch…I don`t believe I have ever seen one person so enthusiastic about finding druse quartz, at this location especially !! I also don`t believe I have ever seen anyone load up as much druse quartz to take home with him from this location…he was starting to worry about having enough room in his car for it all by the time we got done.  In the meantime, I was finding some nice stuff up the hill and to the south a little ways from him…


…next thing you know, Justin is halfway up the hill toward us, as Onyx and I are starting to move to the south to search the erosion ditches on the hillside…


…and then I found a smokey druse pocket….


….at the same time,  Justin made it to the top of the hill and then checked out a freshly dug out area, where he also found some nice smokey plates and a ton of other nice stuff including some bubbles that he was searching for. A couple of hours later and we were fairly exhausted…Justin had a few buckets full plus his backpack, and I had a couple of bags full of wrapped pieces.  We drove up to the local store nearby, and took a snack and water break. 

From there we drove to the SS Quarry to see if we could find some poker chips or dogtooth crystals…while we were searching for pockets, Onyx decided to go wading and swimming….

01-onxy-goes-wading0403bJustin got his hard hat on and took off up to check out the old pockets at the base of the west wall and started exploring…due to his size, he was able to squeeze into some of the smaller pockets and pull some crystals that remained in them, out of them….






…I looked down at my feet and was surprised to see golden rod growing in the floor of the quarry….see it in the fields all the time, never expected to see it growing out of the rocks….



By this time, I was quickly running out of energy, having spent most of it at the druse spot and using up much of the rest of it trying to find Justin a dogtooth pocket so he could take home some beauties….it`s great to receive minerals and crystals as gifts but everyone likes to find them on their own even more, the thrill of pulling them out of a pocket is just much more exhillarating. I wasn`t able to find anything substantial, so Justin decided to try the wall on the north side, which is more vuggy and has produced many of the huge pockets I have found in the past. He walked over and came in from the top, taking my advice on how to reach the bottom, watching for plates of druse quartz that are often found over there…he did….



…and after about an hour over there, he finally had a shirt full of crystals and was ready to leave as well….


I`m not sure, but I think I was more worn out than he was…but a good meal at Missouri Hick really helped us both out and restored us just a little bit and the hot tub finished it up later on. After sleeping in again on Monday morning, Justin took some time to pack his car from the front seat to the trunk and then set off for home at noon, arriving about eight hours later safe and sound.  It was great seeing him and rockhunting with him once again. See ya again in November Justin !!