18th Annual
Western North Carolina
Rockhound Roundup

July 18th - 25th, 2021

Photos by: Rick Jacquot, Mark Veilleux, Carol Veilleux, Tony Bradley,
Randy Fitzgerald, Kay Fitzgerald, Mike Callahan

We'll call this years roundup, 'The Big Comeback!' After having to cancel last years event due to the virus, it was great to see all our regulars and so many new friends at the camp. As always, great food and fun. Digs daily and even a special trip to Blue Valley to spread John D's ashes after two years. More on that later. We visited the best shows in the southeast, the Franklin Gem and Mineral shows. So much to share, read on!

Over the years, the roundup has evolved. While many still go to the digs, others opt to set up tables at camp and spend part of their time selling the treasures they have collected over the years. This year, I set up tables along with Luther Hunt, Bill Stine, Sharon Fassold, Michael Cheatle, Ed Wagner, Uncle Bob Turner, Dave Boring and a few others. The deals were fantastic for those who visited.

Luther has made a full recovery from his bout with cancer and he was offering $10 flats of minerals for our attendees.

Johnny Clear brought his saw again and he and Randy kept it running all week sawing geodes and agates and miscellaneous other specimens.

Chelle and mom at camp.

Bill Stine with a big selection of cool minerals.

Being the health nuts we all are, Randy and Mark decided a little arm wrestling was in order!

Michael hanging with Duane and Bob.

Chelle explains the connection between food and rocks to Tony.

Tony ain't buying it!

Luther bringing a big batch of banana pudding.

Bob, Duane and Tony getting ready for the day.

A few cool things I had for sale, much of which disappeared over the course of the week. Trinitite, star sapphires and rubies, huge ruby in matrix specimens, and of course, the hottest book for animal lovers, 'Smokey.'

Mark and Jose chillin.

On Friday, we made a special trip to Blue Valley. This is an amethyst site on the back side of Highlands, NC. It was dug extensively by John Deney in 2000 and he pulled out dozens of huge specimens that I inherited when he passed away. His daughter gave me his ashes when he died. His wish was to be spread on the mountain at Gnat Ridge where he liked to dig. The first winter, it was too cold and it never got done. Then the pandemic came and for another year, John spent time with me in my house of rocks. I decided this week it would be a good time to finalize his wishes. A great group of rockhounds traveled with me to the mountain.

Getting ready for the hike up the mountain.

The laurel bushes were thick going up the mountain, but with the help of Randy and his GPS, we finally located the #1 dig site.

John had a fine group of rockhounds present for the end of his journey. Left to right; Harley, Eliah, Randy, Michael, Chelle, Mike, Carol and Dan.

I spread most of the ashes at site #1. Then, as we wandered through the woods, I spread more over the mountainside with the remaining ashes spread down near the creek. I imagine John up there today, finding crystals and enjoying eternity. We love you, John. Always remembered.

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