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a little story for you all

Guest bedrock bob

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Guest bedrock bob

I hope you enjoy a little tale. It is all true, because the truth is much more fantastic than any lie that could be imagined...

A dear frend of mine, who is by trade a hardrock miner and prospector, came by my house one evening. He was carrying a tupperware bowl in his hand. He banged on the door and when I opened it he seemed shaken up, a little disoriented. He set the bowl on the kitchen table and this story spilled out…

He was working the surface along an established vein with a hammer and chisel, panning samples. There were several old hardrock mines in the area on a latticework of gold bearing veins, and his idea was that there were small pockets of free milling gold in between these mines on the main vein and in the smaller veins that criss cross the area. He would often break out nice rough crystalline pieces of gold from this material, and the ore would always pan well, but getting it out of the ground and breaking it up was a big job. To select a five gallon bucket of the thin vein and crush it would take most of the day, and one pan full of material would make 20 gallons of water look like thick red chile paste. Still, he could produce as much gold each day as I could on the average with a drywasher a half mile down the canyon… About 2 Dwt. per day with an occasional nugget. He had been working like this for many months, at least three or four days a week, traveling back home for a day or two and then coming back for more.

He set out one morning with a hammer, a chisel, and a five gallon bucket. He walked not 100 yards from where he was camped and decided to hit that vein right in the dead bottom of a big arroyo. Right in the watercourse, the last spot a hardrock miner would ever think about starting a hole. As a matter of fact, he decided to hit a spot on that vein that I myself had swept and vacuumed and creviced for placer several years prior! He took not more than three swings at a dark, powdery quartz / hematite gossan and sunk a chisel down the side of a “one pound pocket”. Just that easy. He said “It came right out of the ground and it looked like a grapefruit”.

He peeled the top off of the tupperware and there it sat. Dirty red oxidized lumps of hematite and fine little quartz crystals held together by massive crytalline gold. Just like in the Audubon Field guide to Rocks and Minerals ony heavier. The thing was crumbled into about 11 pieces. It was obviously a huge find, but it was really dirty and you could hardly see any gold at all. The only color was poking out of the hematite in places and where he had pulled the pieces apart to get them in the tupperware. A nice bubble bath in boiling hydrochloric acid revealed something that words can’t describe. Seventeen ounces of it. The shapes and structure of the gold was overwhelming.

We were headed back before the sun came up with my metal detectors. We literally sprinted from the truck to the spot and I had begun ground balancing the detector as I came to a sliding stop. There was a hole about a foot long along a six inch wide vein and it was gouged out about two feet deep to a cone shaped bottom. About two cubic feet of red hematite and quartz lay broken up next to the hole in a pile. As I swung the coil over the pile it just zipped and zapped and zinged. I spent the next fifteen minutes picking out ½ ounce of coarse hardrock gold out of the pile and scooping up all the material for the rocker box. Within the next ten hours the hole was a lot bigger and we had run out of signals. We had five or six buckets of ore reduced to walnut size or smaller, 3 ¾ ounces of coarse gold found with the detector, and a kink in our backs. The wall rock was as hard as cement, the vein pinched out about four feet down and it looked like all the easy diggin had been done.

All told, within the first four days, we had recovered almost 25 ounces of gold. There was more gold taken out of this hole but from here on out the story is more like work and less like a find. What you see in the photo is about two ounces (including a little rock) plus a few specimens that were just to pretty to crush. The larger nugget was a gift from my buddy, the smaller nuggets are what I pulled out of the first tailings pile with scratched up old Whites Goldmaster II.

The rest is gone. What a shame.

Bedrock Bob




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Great story and beautiful gold, Bob...Congratulations to you both...Thanks for sharing...Cheers, Unc

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Love hearing this kinda story I have a vein i'm waiting to work on that I found while dredging definetly micro gold in some of the oxidized quartz and not a lot of it but there just might be a pocket , waiting for the creek to completely dry up then jack hammer time.

Great story and some beautiful gold finds, memorable i'm sure lucky to have a friend like him the share that with you .

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:icon_mrgreen: GREAT story and FANTASTIC specimens and the fun has just begun?? :woohoo: It IS amazing how 110 can not be a bother when they paystreak/patch is hit :WOW: TONS A AU 2 U 2-John

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