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From the diary of the Mad Prospector
Man time can get away from a feller and you turn around to find years have passed before you get around to “getting right back” to a potential gold bearing spot and 9 years sure can change the look of the landscape. So I was driving about 3 miles back to the fork in the road where I took the wrong turn to get headed in the right direction. The area was slowly becoming more familiar as we drove, but allot had changed. The roads were very overgrown and somehow my memory was playing some tricks on me. Now back on track Joyce and I were only a few miles from Gurly Gulch.
As I said allot has changed and now DJ my 4 legged hunting partner is gone and I am with my new hunting partner Joyce who is human and one of the best things to ever happen to me. It was her idea that we get back out here to look for more nuggets as well as the source of the “bat cloud” from the mountain side. She was also aware of the legend I am about to tell you about and having been born and raised in Yuma this was a common tale and also sought after by her father. Strange two people can meet and find such an odd thing in common along with everything else and we figured it may be something more than chance so here we were deep in the Arizona desert chasing a rainbow and swarm of bats.
The story goes like this, and is what after locating Trevor’s placer claims and seeing the bats rang a bell in my head, plus realizing this was likely the same area my interest was aroused….
The Lost Vampire Bat Mine is a long, long, way from tropical Yucatan, where vampire bat makes its home. Places like Chichen Itza and Tizimin and eastward, at the Bahia Chetumal on the coast of Quintana Roo.The Lost Vampire is in the stark Baboquivari range of Arizona’s Pima County, west of the Altar Valley and marking the eastern boundryof the Papago Indian Reservation. To Anglo ears, the place-names–Gu Oidak, Ali Ak Chin and Chukut Kuk– are more Asiatic than Mexican or Indian.
The bats in this lost mine story were Mexican brown bats, that hid by day in abandoned adobe buildings, old churches, caves and old mine shafts. These little bats would rather eat bugs than suck blood.
Edward Nelson, cheif of the U.S. Biological Survey, wrote in the National Geographic Magizine of may, 1918, that ” at Tucson, I once saw them, a short time before dark, issuing from a small window in the gable of a church numbers that in the half-light they gave the appearance of smoke pouring out of the opening. At the town of Patzcuaro, near the southern end of the Mexican tableland, I saw two rooms of an old adobe house occupied by as many of them as could possibly hang from the rough ceiling. They are plentiful in caves and may be heard frequently by day shuffling uneasily about and squeaking shrilly at one another.”
The hills and deserts of the Lost Vampire story have a long hostory of mining. There is a tradition and a folklore of Spanish mines in the Cerro Colorado. There is an abandoned mine near Three Peaks in the Baboquivaris. In the hills around Arivaca – a scant dozen miles from the Baboquivari range – are a dozen mines: the Albatros, the San Luis, the Brouse, theLas Guijas, the Amando, the Liberty, the Charles, the Black Princess, the Cerro Colorado, the Ajax, the Colorado Clark and the Edwards.Mabye there is one more, a gold mine that was hidden from the white man by an old Papago Indian.
The old Indian had gold nuggets to trade at Aravica and at the Tucson fiesta long after the placer mines in the Altar Valley and the Aravica hills had played out in the late 1800s. The source of his nuggets was a mystery for years, but in an uncharacteristic episode of talking openly with a white man told the storekeeper at Aravica about it.
Years before, the Indian confided, he had wounded a deer and had pursued it into the foothills of the east slopes of the Baboquivaris. At sunset he sat down to rest, on a long ridge running northward to a high peak. Suddenly there was a great outpouring of bats, hundreds of them, from an opening in the mountainside. He looked, and found the small mouth of a cave that had been widened, he found upon entering, into a timbered mine. There were buckskin bags of gold nuggets and coarse gold, mine tools, a small shrine to the Lady of Guadalupe and several bars of gold.
The bats and the hovering spirits of the long dead Spaniards made the old Indian very uneasy. But as he fled, he stooped to pick up one buckskin bag. This he hid in an olla in his hut.
The Arivica storekeeper was confident he could find the mine. He knew which arroyo to follow and which peak to climb. Then all he had to do was wait for the bats to fly from the mine at sunset. He found a man to mind his store and, three days later prepared to ride out to for the bat cave gold. He had loaded his gear onto a pack mule and was saddling his horse when the old Indian approached “I was afraid,” the old Indian said, “After I told a white man of the gold. So I waited until all of the bats came back to the cave. I then closed the cave with dirt and rocks. The bats will die and they will no longer signal, at sunset, where the mine is. No white man will ever see it.”
So what if those bats did not die? What if those bats found another exit from the old mine, an air shaft perhaps the old Indian did not know about?
Well we were out there to have a look for that shaft or cave to tell us if we were indeed on the track of an actual lost stash of gold. Yeah I know what you are thinking, but we both sort of had this feeling and if we didn’t do this it would always haunt us. Sometimes you just need to drop everything and go for it and Joyce and I had already done it once when we met and fell in love and it is just right to this day so the hunt for this mine seemed the right thing to do.
Once we got to my old camp spot we set up and got busy cooking dinner since we got in after dark and missed the chance to see the bats exit for the night, but there were Brown Bats fluttering around our camp as one often sees at night in the desert chasing insects. It was a beautiful night and the moon would be full in a couple days making for a bright night in the desert. Sitting by the fire that night we talked about how we would go about looking for this lost stash of gold and actually decided to put it off and metal detect for nuggets the next day instead and wait to try to spot the bats in the evening as they emerged to feed for the night.
It was up with the sun for some oatmeal and coffee then back to the area I last hunted to see what I missed with my older detector. It didn’t take long before Joyce found a nugget and a nice one at that weighing in at near a quarter ounce. By noon we had found just over an ounce total and were living the dream. We returned to camp and got ready to wait out the bats and have a bite to eat quite worn out from a full days hunt.
Just as before right at dusk there they were coming out of the side of the mountain near a huge dead Ironwood tree. Looked like right from under that old tree from where we were sitting and we made plans to make the hike to that old tree in the morning. Piece of cake finding this spot since we could clearly see the bats exit near the tree and there would surely be a cave there. Would this indeed be the old Indians lost mine with the nuggets and bars of gold inside?
Morning could not come quick enough for us and we were off hiking at first light and reached the area we saw the bats come from within an hour of hard climbing. No cave, hole, void, nothing, but a huge old Ironwood tree rotted and partially hollowed out standing partially burried up the trunk by a rock slide that must have been the reason it died. Man some wood carver would love this pile of prime steel hard ironwood. We searched the area quite well then worked out around the old tree and found nothing! Discouraged and baffled we worked our way back to camp, rested and went back to detect for the afternoon.
Sitting in camp that evening right on time those damn bats came out by that old tree again in a cloud. How was this even possible? Then going over the area we had explored in my mind I began to wonder about the fact that this Ironwood tree was buried well past the trunk and was very old and had been dead for a very long time. Ironwood will last dang near forever in the desert not rotting or eaten by insects like other wood. Could it be that the bats were coming from the hollow trunk of that tree? Could it be that tree was in the opening to that shaft allowing the bats to enter and exit? We would check this tomorrow unlikely as it seems….
Turns out that is exactly the case and once we got back up to that spot and looked closer it was obvious that there was an opening into the ground one could look into through the hollow trunk of that old tree and we could see a timber in the void indicating a mile shaft. Well let me tell you it was allot of hard work to get enough material moved to safely enter that old mine and the shaft went down about 10 feet and cut into the mountain. We decided I would wait outside with a long rope tied to Joyce as her smaller frame allowed for easier entry into the old shaft.
In she went with a flashlight despite her fear of bats and all was quiet… For a little too long…. Joyce, I yelled then out she came shaking and grinning ear to ear holding a small Spanish style gold bar. There is more she said, allot more…. There indeed was.
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This blog is a test to try recreate problems BedRock Bob is having while working on his posts.
I’m using the following:
Microsoft Office Word 2007
Text Body 1:
This section represents text and any included image links. The image is a screen shot of PhotoBucket’s Library/Albums (Items A & B below) page. Mouse over the thumbnail image and a little ‘gear’ (Item 1) appears in the upper right corner of the image. When you mouse over the gear this opens the dialog box seen below containing the options share, copy, etc. Click on the ‘Get Links’ (Item 2) option. This opens the PhotoBucket’s ‘Share the photo’ page (Figure 2).
Figure 1. - PhotoBucket’s Library / Album page.
Figure 2. - PhotoBucket’s ‘Share the photo’ page.
Select the type of link you want to use, HTML (for BLOGS) or IMG (for FORUMS), then click on that link and the link will momentarily disappear and the word ‘Copied’ will appear on a yellow background (Figure 3.) and then the URL will reappear.
Figure 3. - Result of URL copy.
Sample of HTML link as it appears in your Word doc as an image
This HTML thumb link is to an interesting wire 'Sculpture' find. It’s actually the snapped loop of a steel cable.
Sample of IMG link as it appears in your Word doc as an image.
This IMG thumb link is to an interesting little stone I found. This weird face is only one of several profiles it contains. The others are another face, a bird, and a ‘turtle’,
Be sure to check the Enable HTML box
Another option is:
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Frank, SGTFDA, and I get out in the fields together a good bit. I'd call what we do scouting more than prospecting. That's because you're expected to work at finding locatable minerals when prospecting, and rarely do we find any. This story is about one of those scouting trips.
We were in the Bulldog Wash area northeast of Apache Junction, AZ, near Superstition Mountain. Frank had gotten the gate code and we were looking for somewhere closer to find some gold... or anything else we found interesting. By interesting, I don't know if what happened qualifies. We did find a desert tortoise in the road, though. We picked him up, took a couple pics and then set him off in the weeds to make sure he was safe and on his merry way.
So, Frank and I are trundling along in his old Toyota pickup and stopping here, poking there, and all-together just having a fun afternoon. We're about 7 miles in and way off the route we had intended to take. Now, that doesn't mean we were lost. Can't be lost if you don't care where you are. The day was simply passing by under the four wheels and we were being treated to some of Arizona's scenic beauty. We hadn't a care in the world. Well, except that the truck had been acting a little funny, so Frank has been stopping every so often to adjust the carb. But no matter what he did, it kept repeating the same issue. Figured out what was really wrong a little down the road.
As we were coming up a decently steep hill, I noticed that the truck's engine seemed to be racing rather high and Frank was either not at all concerned or was doing it on purpose. I've tried to tell him that the rule of off road is "As slow as possible, as fast as necessary" and I like to think he's listened. Except the engine, and truck, were going way too fast for this hill. My kidneys were hitting my knees. My head was hitting the roof. I was concerned the truck may just fall apart on us. So I casually mention to Frank to come off the gas. Him being hard of hearing, he neither heard me, nor did he hear the racing engine. So I yelled at him. His response... "what?"
We're now about to crest the hill and the engine would be bouncing off the rev limiter, if it had one. We can't see where the trail goes over the hill. Could be straight, could be a turn, could be a cliff. We just don't know. It's about this time that Frank comes around to realize that even though he has his foot off the gas pedal, the engine isn't responding.
Frank finally realizes that the engine is doing its own thing and not listening to his right foot. So he shut the engine off just before we reached the top. Good thing, too... the trail takes a hard right turn atop a tall, steep ride down for a few hundred feet.
We're safe and out of the truck now, looking for what could be wrong here. Turns out the throttle cable housing had come out of its crimped end at the carburetor and stuck the engine at wide open throttle. A little redneck ingenuity and we had it ready to go.
Fired up the truck and continued up the hill. Right as we get to the top, it did it again. This time it dang near sent us off the edge. In addition to the runaway truck, coming down the hill were a couple UTVs loaded with some folks who had obviously not heard that drinking and driving is bad. If the truck didn't roll us off the cliff, these guys were going to try and just run us down. Pleasantries were exchanged and they were on their way. Frank fiddled with the throttle cable and the decision was made to head out of this predicament before something worse happened.
To this point, we'd spent, easily, four hours getting to where we were.
We're coming down the hill now and the dang truck did it again.
Fixed it and continued on.
We're on flat ground and it stuck again.
Fixed it... again.
Finally, we got tired of "fixing" it, and Frank just used the clutch to manage the speed to be just below way too damned fast. We exited the Bulldog Wash not long thereafter.
What had taken us 3-4 hours to get into took us all of 25 minutes to get out of.
Just another misadventure for the Dingbat Prospectors.
Last week fed ex stopped by the shop with a box for me, aahh yes my Sandy has arrived!! Come to poppa my lil’ friend!! In the previous weeks leading up to this purchase I was pondering how little time I have to hone my detecting skills, between home and work there just wasn’t any time left for detecting, meanwhile reading in the forums about Terry in New York just killing it up there with his beach detector.
Now I don’t know how he ended up stuck up in NY but being from Arizona that’s just got to be brutal. What I do know is that Terry knows lemonade!! At first you could tell his spirit was a bit down, he wasn’t even on the forums for a while…then he started squeezing the lemons, got himself a Tesoro Sandshark and started working the beaches, with a good degree of success I might add, then his normal posts came rolling in to the forums accompanied by some photo’s and some youtube video’s, yep… ol’ Terry was back!!
That got me to thinking …I got started in this hobby of metal detecting back in and around 94-95 with beach detecting, and now I’ve kind of put it to the side and focused on gold prospecting, maybe Terry’s on to something !! Maybe it’s time to get back to my roots. So there it was..sitting in front of me like the winning lottery ticket at the local SPMA door prize giveaway, my own Sandshark all wrapped up in bubble-wrap and waiting to be put together and put through its paces.
I considered several models before settling on this one, nothing was based on price, it was just based on what was being said on the forums about the particular models I was considering, one high end model had folks talking about cheap dials that would break off and they were ending up replacing them with aftermarket dials (forget that!!) but there was one detector that everyone was happy with (Including Terry) and that was the Sandshark. Most of the detectors I currently own will work at the beach but they are of an aging fleet…the newest being at least ten years old, so I wanted something current and made specifically for what I’m going to use it for.
The Internet…when used to your advantage can be the greatest tool of them all for finding treasure!
So now the game plan is to put this detector together and hit the beach this weekend and practice, practice, practice, needless to say 5 am is a bit too much for me so I opted for an afternoon run to a beach in Coronado,Ca…near the historic "Hotel Del Coronado".
I took my 12 yr old daughter for company and to see if she would have enough attention span to work the Bounty Hunter I bought her a year ago, its hard to buy a kids style detector because they typically have a hard time swinging anything heavy and when you get a light kids version like this Bounty Hunter they typically don’t go very deep, and if a kid isn’t pulling coins out every two feet well…you all know what happens their attention span fly’s out the door.
Anyway when we arrived at the first beach we unpacked and found that the clouds and overcast had kept the beach fairly vacant which is perfect for us we… or I should say (I) worked about a hundred yards with nothing but bottle caps…not good because my daughter gets her lack of attention span from ME!! So we left for another beach just down the road.
The next beach we hit was called “The Silver Strand” State Beach and it usually charges 10 bucks to get in during the summer months and stops charging after Labor Day so I thought I was in good shape but when I arrived low and behold there was indeed a park ranger at the booth wanting ten bucks from ol’ Bucket. I told her I thought they quit charging after Labor Day and she said they charge year round now…no problem I thought to myself, I’ll just flash her my credentials (a Bucket&Boomer T-shirt) have my daughter giver her the sad eye’s and we’ll be on our way for free!! Anyway..so after getting the boot from what I would consider a very unwavering park ranger, we were parked across the road in a residential area…(for free I might add) and making our way to the beach, when we got there we fired up our detectors and got to work, now being the first time I’ve ever used this detector I’m not about to slap on some hip waders and get waist deep in the hoopla (Pacific Ocean) I wanted to figure some things out first, and let me tell you that the learning curve for this particular beach detector…as is with most Tesoro’s is very short!
In no time I was yerking up bottle caps 10 inches down (yes I did say “Yerking” its Cali talk for “digging up”) so I new I was on the right track, I worked the storm break of piled sand and in one three foot area between me and my daughter we pulled up 34 pennies in our sand scoops, one of them being a 1927 Wheat Cent or wheatie! At one point we were scooping pennies three at a time from their sandy graves…a bonified cache!! (OK maybe that’s going a bit too far), and as the pennies thinned out so did my kids attention span so I was left to myself to work the rest of the storm break while she chased birds up and down the beach. As I headed south down the break I hit a nickel then a dime…at this point I’d swear I was "Loaming" as the denominations were getting bigger then I ran into a Heineken bottle cap , and another and another so I figured there should be roughly six of these screwing me up, if I can gather all six I should be clear of these false treasures, well at around ten of em I was impressed with this guys drinking skills and knew I had a twelve pack to contend with, once I found that 12th and final cap I was happy now I could focus on this area…sure enough..no more bottle caps and shortly thereafter I pulled up a couple dimes, a quarter and a very thin and fake gold ring!
The afternoon had by now, given way to the evening and it was getting dark and time to call it a day, but I was very happy with the way that this metal detector handled the beach, it was very stable, very easy to use, fairly light and best of all very reasonably priced, as a matter of fact…I would actually call it a steal!! I plan on…in the coming months regularly using this beach detector and posting on its successes. Terry motivated me to get back to the beach and now its my turn to pass it on!! So get out there all you taters at home and make your own……LEMONADE !!!!!!!