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Lanny in AB

Dig, dig--miss, miss--Booyah!

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Sounds like a great day and I too have places to hunt where I share the gold with the claim owner....

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2 hours ago, Nugget Shooter said:

Sounds like a great day and I too have places to hunt where I share the gold with the claim owner....

Great to hear from you Bill. One day I hope to join you at your annual outing, looks like a lot of fun!

All the best,

Lanny

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That makes for an almost automatic offer of a comeback at a later date. Maybe he will have you come back and detect again after processing a bit more of the bedrock material. in any event good hunting and a great gesture toward the claim owner.

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On 11/26/2019 at 8:16 AM, Mike Furness said:

That makes for an almost automatic offer of a comeback at a later date. Maybe he will have you come back and detect again after processing a bit more of the bedrock material. in any event good hunting and a great gesture toward the claim owner.

Thanks Mike for your comments, and I hope you're somewhere warm and enjoying a relaxing time.

All the best,

Lanny

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Warning! Annual prospecting poetry!!

 

The Ballad of Shifty Eye and Curly Sue:

A handsome thing, named Shifty Eye,
Just never worked, nor would he try.
Yet he was always flush with dough.
Well, this set folks to wonder so

Just where that Shifty got his cash.
Was Shifty doin’ something brash?
Like robbin’ sluices in the dark?
At night the dogs would often bark . . .

Some clean-ups seemed a little thin.
Was this that Shifty’s sure-fire win?
So, guards was set at every claim
To see if this were Shifty’s aim.

In spite of this, they never found
If Shifty had been sniffin’ ‘round
That sluiced up gold of Montanny,
Fer Shifty, he was right canny.

All dressed in black on darkest night,
He’d rob a sluice and do it right.
He never took the total take,
As that would be a huge mistake.

A bit from here, a pinch from there,
He’d do his shopping everywhere!
Yes, equal opportunity
Described his actions perfectly.

He wasn’t dumb, nor was he thick
His brain was rather quick and slick
It helped him tune his robber’s game,
That is, till trouble one night came.

T’was New Year’s Eve, when he got caught,
Plumb lucky that he wasn’t shot.
A doe-eyed gal named Curly Sue
Drew down on Shifty, froze him true.

But Sue was lookin’ for some fun,
‘Cause shootin’ someone with a gun
Creates a sort of end to things,
And Sue was thinkin’ wedding things!


She’d loved that Shifty from the start;
The love got rooted in her heart
When first she’d spied him on the street.
Since then, Sue’d thought him mighty sweet.

She yelled fer Pa up in their shack
A ten-gauge shotgun he did pack!
“Now look-ee here” her pa declared,
“A sluice box robber, mighty scared.”

A miner’s court was called right quick
With Shifty lookin’ mighty sick.
They had that Shifty dead to rights
Fer robbin’ sluices all those nights.

A necktie party soon would be
The thing to stop his robbery.
But Sue declared, she loved the sot
The miner’s court devised a plot . . .

A shotgun wedding was the plan,
They all agreed, down to a man,
To hold a spree that New Year’s Eve.
(They had no will fer Sue to grieve.)

A priest was brung—some duds was found.
The miners gathered all around
While Shifty married up with Sue,
On New Year’s Eve of ’62.

A handsome thing named Shifty Eye
Learned how to work and even try.
And Curly Sue was sure happy
She’d found a way to wed Shifty.

Happy New Year, and all the best,

Lanny

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Warning! Annual Prospecting Poetry.

The New Year’s Shift

Now Blackjack Bill rode the outlaw trail
But he somehow dodged the marshal’s jail.

He’d rustle cows when his poke was slim,
Then rob a stage if the mood hit him.

He tried his hand at the minin’ game
Then dreamt up ways to improve his claim!

He’d salt it hard, and he’d salt it good.
Just to fleece big shots because he could.

But Blackjack Bill wasn’t rotten through
Deep down inside were his good points too.

With lines right clear in his brain defined,
They formed a gulf from his outlaw mind.

Now women folks was a point in case,
He’d see no harm nor cause disgrace.

Well, killin’ folks was a big no, no.
Would he rob the poor? That weren’t a go.

The rotten rich and the proud were game,
And anyone else of haughty fame.

***********************************

In the minin’ camp one winter’s day,
A gang of scum cast their lot to stay.

Some deeds were done in the dark of night
And the camp soon knew an awful plight.

A widowed gal who had lost her man
Got her nest egg stole from her coffee can!

A peg-legged man with a humble store
Had the windows smashed on his new front door.

The camp’s new church, with its copper spire
Was set ablaze by an arson’s fire.

Two guards was shot, at the mine payroll,
That gang of trash took a fearsome toll.

They roughshod rode every night and day;
The marshal shot when he made his play.

So, Blackjack Bill of the outlaw breed
Renounced his past with a brand-new deed.

The shiny star which the marshal’d wore,
Was pinned on Bill ‘cause he was sore!

With Blackjack chose he could pick a crew,
At the mines he’d find the right type too.

His posse new was the perfect thing
To rout that gang, and to make them swing.

On New Year’s Eve, with his worthy men
He cleaned them out at their bandit den.

Well, Blackjack’s shift was a thing to stay
And it stayed with him to his dyin’ day.

All the best,

Lanny

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Happy New Year Lanny!

 

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15 hours ago, Mike Furness said:

Happy New Year Lanny!

 

Happy New Year!

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Discouraged at not finding a nugget?

I've been doing some reflecting lately on the topic of finding that first nugget.

I've read many posts on this forum over the years of people that buy a nugget machine, but then they're quickly discouraged after a few trips to the gold fields, and then they get discouraged and either sell their machines or let them die a slow death in a dark, claustrophobic space somewhere.

I keenly remember how many targets I dug before I ever found my first nugget.

I started off chasing gold nuggets with a Garret Scorpion Gold Stinger way back when, and I actually got some good signals on a river bank way up north one day, but all I recovered were square nails. Now, the reason I bring this up is that the next year, I went back to the same spot, but Mother Nature had torn up that bank and exposed nuggets and square nails a plenty!

If I'd have stuck with the Stinger, I'd have likely found the nuggets among the square nails from the 1800's, but I simply got discouraged with digging so many square nails. However, now that I reflect back on that river bank, many things make a lot of sense today that made no sense then.

For instance, the square nails were there because they were heavies that were being drawn out of the current by a big suction eddy, the bedrock on that bank being shallow underneath the river run. The abundance of nails should have been my first clue that I should have slowed down and investigated throughly, but I didn't do so as I was a green rookie. Nevertheless, the next year when I returned, I was running a sluice and running the bank material through it, and that's when I hit the nuggets (along with lots of square nails). In fact, that bedrock was such a good trap, I actually found nuggets by eyeballing them as I cleared off the overburden!

However, I've wandered from my original topic, and I'll now address it by telling about all of the junk I dug before I ever found a nugget with my detector. That second year, as mentioned above, I went back to the gold country with a shiny new Minelab SD 2100. (The previous year, my prospecting buddy had found nuggets with his Minelab 1700 while all I found was trash. I actually put the trash I found in 4-litre ice cream pails, so I had a record of what I was recovering.)

In the pails I've mentioned, I had bits of copper wire, spent rifle and pistol cartridges (which always sound sweet), musket balls of various calibers (which also sound sweet), pistol rounds of various calibers (lead sure makes a sweet sound!), bits of blasting caps, many ends of square nails, lots of intact square nails of various sizes, lead sealing portions from tinned food, lead keys from meat tins, bits of rusted tin cans, steel wire of various gauges, lids from small tinned goods, bottle caps going back to the birth of bottled goods, bits of harmonica reeds, gears and parts of old watches, shotgun bb's and cartridge ends of various calibers and sizes, wire mesh bits, boot tacks (steel and non-ferrous), bits of aluminum, chunks of copper sheeting, as well as other junk I can't recall right now. The point is, I kept on digging and collecting because there was no discrimination on the SD 2100, so I dug everything, but with detectors that had discrimination (my buddy had the Gold Bug, the Minelab 1700, a friend had a Whites with discrimination), they would not handle the extreme mineralization where the best gold was. Therefore, I had to slug it out with the 2100 day after day.

The buckets kept filling up, but no nuggets . . . .

That is, until one day, when I'd been detecting a spot with lots of hand-mining test holes from the 1930's, my fortunes changed. As the spot was littered with round nails, I'd been digging a lot of them that day, plus I was recovering lots of bits of rusted tin from cans as well as bits of wire and screen. Nevertheless, on the rim of a test pit, I hit signals all the way around the top and sides of the excavation. I recovered round nail, round nail, round nail, round nail, but then something heavy hit my palm that was just under the moss. It didn't feel like a nail at all. It was my first nugget and a multi-pennyweight/multi-gram beauty. I still have it and will likely always have it for sentimental reasons as it represented when the dam broke, so to speak.

For after that find, on the same trip, I recovered a slew of multi-pennyweight/multi-gram nuggets. It was like there was some kind of invisible barrier that I'd finally breached, and the nuggets have kept on coming ever since.

So, to those of you that are discouraged, that are thinking of hanging up or banishing your detector after a few outings, you have the right to do so, but there seems to be an up-front price to pay for nugget hunting, one that can't be substituted with any other option.

On a related note, my son has found many nuggets, but right now he's been tuning his brain for finding coins and rings, and he's doing very well. I gave him a detector and told him to put in at least 200 hours to learn his detector, and he's done so, and is now finding silver and gold rings. For any of you that hunt rings, you know how challenging that can be, but the reason he really knows his detector is because he's invested the time, along with good techniques, to go find the kind of targets he wants to keep. Does he still find trash? Yes, lots. Do I still find trash, of course, all kinds.

The message I'm broadcasting is to go put in the time, to use proper techniques, to go to the places where gold has been found, and eventually you'll get your coil over a nugget.

Point in case, I have a nephew that's chased the gold for a few years with a detector I gave him. He's found a lot of trash, but he'd never found a nugget, that is, until last winter down in Arizona. He finally got his coil over a beauty. He's off to Arizona again to try his luck this winter, and I'm betting he'll get his coil over some gold again . . . .

All the best,

Lanny

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Lanny, thanks for coming back and writing about your past experiences from when you got started detecting along with your frustrations and what you learned. I'm sure there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then. 

I've read all of your posts in this thread and many others which I appreciate, learn from and enjoyed! 

Your knowledge and writing skills are very informative and entertaining! 

Thanks again.... 

Aaron 

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2 hours ago, AaronBazor said:

Lanny, thanks for coming back and writing about your past experiences from when you got started detecting along with your frustrations and what you learned. I'm sure there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then. 

I've read all of your posts in this thread and many others which I appreciate, learn from and enjoyed! 

Your knowledge and writing skills are very informative and entertaining! 

Thanks again.... 

Aaron 

Aaron, many thanks for leaving such a nice complimentary note! Truly appreciated.

There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, but there's always more to learn; that's the challenge of chasing the gold--it's something I'll always enjoy sparring with.

All the best,

Lanny

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Now, for a few things I've learned about working bedrock.

When checking bedrock, always look very closely at the surface. Clear all of the material off of it first. Moreover, any clay, and associated material, that is sticking close to the bedrock, carefully save it, so you can pan it out. This means that you'll need some sniping instruments to clean out all the visible cracks and crevices as well.

Go to a wholesale supply store, a place that sells lots of various hardware/automotive items, to get some things. Several screwdrivers of various sizes is a place to start. Take a slot screwdriver, place it in a vice then bend a couple of inches of the end into an "L". This will make the screwdriver into a little digging/scraping tool, very handy for cleaning out crevices. You might buy an awl as well to use for probing. Also, if you can find them, you can buy dental-type instruments--they come in all kinds of hook and scraping conformations, making them excellent for working narrow crevices, and they're made of stainless steel, making them robust and not prone to rust.

As well, buy several sizes of wire brushes, from the small, almost toothbrush sized ones to the larger ones that you'd scrape a wall for painting preparation. You'll need a variety of chisel sizes as well to break open crevices: the good gold goes down deep, and even if the crevice is narrow, it wasn't always that way. I've taken nice nuggets out of crevices that were far too narrow at the top to let in the nuggets they held.

This opens up all kinds of theories as to how the nuggets got there, but regardless, they are there, so it's irrelevant how they got there. Bust open those crevices until you're sure you're at the bottom, and rip up the bedrock bottom--a note on this later.

A note on chisels: you can buy ones that have a protective shield on them so you don't smash you hands and fingers. To run the chisels, you'll need a small sledge. Buy a fibreglass handled one as they're much tougher than the wooden ones, and the water doesn't affect them. As well, paint your sniping tools fluorescent orange--trust me, you'll leave things laying around and it's much easier to spot them later.

You'll need a variety of brushes, from stiff bristles to softer ones as well. Also, you'll need something to sweep your sniping concentrates into. Those little plastic shovels that kids take to the beach work well for tight places, and plastic dust pans work great in larger areas. A plastic gardening/planting scoop works wonders too. It's also a good idea to have to have a steel one as well; they're a lot tougher for digging.

Stainless steel spoons of various sizes are handy for digging and for collecting, and sometimes a tough, small plastic spoon will work in a pinch.


An important point, that I'll now address, is that after you've cleared all the visible cracks and crevices, and cleared and or washed the bedrock down, take a very close look at the bedrock to see if you can notice any subtle differences (colour, texture, folding, etc.). Also, watch out for a purple stain with any adhering clay as for whatever the reason, this purple colour sometimes indicates hidden crevices and gold.

To elaborate a bit on the bedrock's subtle differences, the reason for this is that sometimes, eons ago, the stream was running little bits of material the exact same colour as the bedrock. This material, in combination with binding minerals, formed a matrix that cemented in cracks and crevices, and often, gold was already trapped in those crevices. The cemented material makes the crevices virtually invisible, but if you look very closely, and if you chip away at any suspicious looking spots, you may discover a hidden, once invisible crevice. Furthermore, any cemented material should be carefully crushed and panned as I've found a lot of nice gold this way.

Now, the best way to find these obscure crevices is with a detector if the nuggets are big enough. I've found many a sassy nugget completely hidden in camouflaged crevices. Moreover, the matrix is as strong as the host bedrock, and the bedrock will break off with the matrix while chiseling the nuggets out. Always work well to the sides, and above or below the target signal, so you don't damage the nugget as you chisel it out.

This is where it's critical that you have the right detector for the temperature of the bedrock--by temperature I mean that a cool temperature would be a low mineralized bedrock that a VLF would run smoothly on; and by hot I mean bedrock that only a premium pulse or GPZ type machine will operate on. If your current detector just screams and gives up on hot bedrock, go borrow or buy one that will run on that bad bedrock just to be sure you're not missing gold. Moreover, if any of you have further tips on sniping, I'd love to hear them as well. I know there's always more I need to learn.

All the best,

Lanny in AB

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Checking old hand-stacks of rock and old bedrock workings

I ran into a guy from the Yukon a few years ago while I was up in north-central British Columbia, and he was running a big placer operation in the Yukon. He told me that they always pushed off the piles of hand stacked rocks from the old-timers and then they carefully checked the bedrock underneath with detectors for gold. Not only were there nuggets the old-timers had missed, there were sometimes virgin strips of ground that he said were incredibly rich. He explained it this way: in the rush to mine the bedrock, the old-timers had stacked their rock piles over virgin ground, and then got too busy, or rushed on to new diggings, etc., and they never got back to the virgin dirt they'd buried in the first place.

I know of a nugget shooter that found an incredibly rich patch under such a pile of rocks. He took out hundreds of small nuggets, and some nice fat ones too, and the strip was only about three feet wide at its widest point!

This makes me think of tales some old-timers up north told me of how mining companies were in a hurry to get to the bedrock, and to quickly get the chunky gold, kind of like skimming thick cream off of milk and not really caring about the milk underneath, and that some of those companies were very sloppy in their recovery. As well, there were always other rushes going on that lured them away to "better" ground.

There are countless piles of hand-stacked rocks where I'm working, and I've winched rocks off before and found good gold. In fact, in the area I'm referring to, for years nugget shooters have been winching the boulders off the bedrock, and they've recovered a lot of nice nuggets as the detectors can see what the old-timers could not possibly visualize in that bedrock. 

All the best,

Lanny

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Another tip, High up bedrock.

I was out one day digging a whole bunch of old boot tacks from long since disintegrated miner's boots! The little nails were all over the place, including down in crevices, well rusted or (for the non-ferrous) green with patina. I was also finding the little tips from old square nails, so I knew there were still targets to be found.

I found a few pieces of lead, from spent bullets, a steel button from an 1800's miner's shirt, a couple of pieces of wire, and many, many square nails, as well as a few more modern nails from the 1930's.

After digging a palm full of nails, I went down to a spot on the river that has always intrigued me, but one I've been handcuffed from detecting. The old-timers washed lots of gravel over this notch in the cliff: it's an area of high slate cliffs, where the slate has been sluffing off eons. I've always looked up at those cliffs and thought, that with all the jagged protruding edges, some gold must have been trapped, especially with all the sluice runs sent over the edge, including the virgin material that had eroded over the cliff before the miners started their workings.

Anyway, I've never been able to find anything but small flakes trapped in that jagged bedrock, and these discoveries were made by panning. However, I decided to walk along the base of that cliff to detect it.

Well, I hit all kinds of square nails, and spent bullets (I found a nice old 44 caliber slug too, and a big bore rifle slug with grease grooves), as well as bits of copper and brass wire. Being somewhat frustrated, I decided to cut some footholds up the slump at the base of the cliff, enabling me to reach higher up the cliff with my detector.

Almost instantly, I got a signal. I pinpointed it easily, cut some more steps with my pick so I could get up to the signal, and then I trapped it in the scoop. The target was the rusted tip of a square nail.

I rested the coil as I stepped back down and the coil swept through an arc over a new spot and gave a crisp signal. I stayed put on the cliffside and scanned the spot again. Of course, my brain was saying, "It's another piece of trash."

I reached up gingerly with my super-magnet to see if a nail would jump out, but none did. I say I reached up gingerly because the whole area of dirt holding the signal would have gone scurrying down the cliff, and you know what a nightmare it is to try to find a target after that happens.

No metal jumped to the super magnet, but the target could easily be copper, or a sliver of lead, or another non-ferrous boot tack!

I carefully inserted the tip of my scoop where the coil had pinpointed the signal. I saw a golden flash as the dirt poured into the scoop! 


I worked my way back down the slump to a level spot, scanned the scoop, and there was a nice crisp, mellow growl. I sifted the material onto the coil and heard a whap!, then a scream from the coil. I gently moved the particles around and there grinning up at me was a sassy nugget.

I now have lots of new area to search, difficult though it will be.

All the best,

Lanny

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More Nuggets In The Bedrock Tips

One Saturday, June 14th, I got ready to head to the hills to try to find some gold. I grabbed my pulse machine, and I picked up my partner. We drove the four hours to get to the gold fields. The day was incredibly beautiful.

We cached our equipment in the outfitters tent we always set up for the season and went out with the detectors to find some gold. The week before, I'd finally found a nugget on the slate cliffs.

My buddy headed off to stomp some ground he'd been saving, and I went to a gully that had always intrigued me, but one that had consistently skunked me. The old-timers had done a massive amount of hand mining in this area, with stacks of rocks piled all over, and it's shallow to bedrock in quite a few places. There's massive old pines, and lots of guts, shallow little washes, with cast up boulders everywhere.

Well, what I'd noticed on previous trips, was that someone had moved a lot of hand-stacks from places that were shallow to bedrock, lots of them. So, they must have moved them for a reason. However, I'd tried detecting those places with my Minelab pulse machine, and I'd never found anything but little steel and brass boot tacks, as well as the ubiquitous square nails from the 1800's gold rush.

I started detecting along the exposed bedrock, generously uncovered by someone else. All at once, I got a whisper amplified by my enhancer. So, I kept scrubbing that coil over that faint bump in the threshold signal with the coil right tight on the bedrock. (To elaborate, the friable Slate bedrock is in up-faulted sheets, the tips broken in fractured finger-like projections.) 

With my pick, I worried out any loose bits of rock and soil, scanned again, and there was a sweet, mellow signal. With no soil or gravel to work, I started to pry out pieces of the bedrock but scanned after removing each piece. Having now exposed a  small space in the bedrock, the tip of my small sniping coil fit it nicely, and the signal was coming right through one of those sheets of bedrock, the piece perpendicular to the surface.

I kept carefully breaking the rock and scanning, and I noticed that the signal was moving, not getting any louder, but moving deeper. The target still had that soft, sweet sound, no harsh-edged tone. So, I removed a chunk of that sheet and the signal remained stationary, no drop. I looked and I saw a golden glow, a nice, flat nugget. I called my buddy over to see the nugget, and then I was ready to move to an adjacent spot, but my wiser buddy suggested that I scan the hole again--Duh! Sometimes I forget the basics, so I scanned again, and I got another signal! I retrieved another flat nugget, one lodged tightly between two sheets of bedrock, about an inch from where the other nugget was.

Then I really went to work on that little area--about two foot square--but no more signals. But, the bedrock sloped away downhill, and I noticed two inches of small, gravelly overburden and clay covering it. I scanned it, but no signal. However, and this is important, I took my pick and cleaned off all the dirt, every bit, then scanned it again, another sweet whisper.

I broke the sheets of bedrock, but the nuggets dropped quickly every time the bedrock was disturbed. Nevertheless, I got two more nice, flat nuggets that way, and one of them was bent on the end, as it was lodged in a perpendicular crack. So, I took out four nice small nuggets from a section of bedrock about ten feet long, a minor patch. I scraped around in the bedrock farther down the gulch, but got skunked.

I went back to the Outfitters tent to get some grub, geared up again and went to another spot that's always looked good, a place also cleared by someone eager to get to the bedrock. I used the same slow, "scrubbing the bedrock" technique, but got blanked.

It was getting dark, and I went up over a big sheet of bedrock that had a lot of slump on it, a spot loaded with square nails. I got a sharp signal, moved the dirt and a square nail flew to the super-magnet. Remembering my buddy's counsel, I scanned the spot again. Once again, that same soft, sweet tone I'd found earlier.

Only this time, the bedrock was different, solid, no leaves or sheets, just solid, hard stuff. I worked hard with my pick, went down a couple of inches, and out popped a nice, flat, nugget. By this time, I was beginning to think that maybe this was my day, and I'd better scan the spot again. Perhaps there was something lucky or sound in that technique. I did, and there was another signal, but I could not break the rock anymore with my pick.

So, I headed back to the tent for a masonry chisel and my small sledge, and a flashlight because it was dark! My buddy came back with me, and he made the bedrock chips fly. Every time he chipped out a chunk, I'd scan again, and the signal got louder. Yet, down four inches, the signal moved. Up on the side of the hole, in some bits and broken chunks of rock, the signal rang sharp and clear. Nestled in it was a little beauty with a pot belly and a very flat end.

I rattled the gold around in my gold bottle, six sassy nuggets in one day! It seems when the gold finally comes, it does so with a rush.


Update: I went back later to that solid bedrock with the Falcon MD 20 and got a couple more grams of gold from those cracks!

All the best,


Lanny

Edited by Lanny in AB
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Just thought I'd post this: Move Those Rocks!

One of the greatest mistakes I see made in gold country by eager rookies, is the mistake of not wanting to move the rocks--the ones in the channel, or the ones high-and-dry out of the present channel. I'll see people pecking around the rocks, dipping the tip of their shovels between the rocks to get as much material as they can, but not using the elbow grease necessary to move those rocks!

Especially the rocks stacked on bedrock--the ones thrown up there by higher, faster moving water long since gone. Sure, there's often clay, and maybe roots, and other crap jammed in there, and it's most certainly tough digging, but that's the dance you need to step to in order to find the good stuff.

I you dig around in the sand and the loose stuff, you'll most often get a little fine gold, and those specks can be pretty, but the better stuff needs some serious moving of nastier material.

The bigger rocks travel with, and drop out with the nicer gold. Generally, so do the darker rocks (at least up here)--for some reason, many of the heavier rocks are darker. I know the old timers used to look for darker, stained, heavy rocks. Also, don't be afraid to get to the very bottom of any cracks or crevices you uncover. Trust me, the gold loves to get down there as far as it can--so you should too. Also, watch what's coming out of the crevice--there should be lots of little packed stones and often some clay too. Wash it all very carefully--break up any bits of clay--mush them around on the bottom of your pan until they dissolve. I've found some very nice gold trapped in clay jammed in crevices!

So, don't be afraid to move those rocks, and be exhaustive in your efforts to clean out the cracks and crevices. Remember that specific gravity should be your guide--most of the time the nicer gold travels with the beefier rocks, and the pieces of steel, and the lead fishing weights. . .

All the best,

Lanny

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3 hours ago, Lanny in AB said:

Just thought I'd post this: Move Those Rocks!

One of the greatest mistakes I see made in gold country by eager rookies, is the mistake of not wanting to move the rocks--the ones in the channel, or the ones high-and-dry out of the present channel. I'll see people pecking around the rocks, dipping the tip of their shovels between the rocks to get as much material as they can, but not using the elbow grease necessary to move those rocks!

Especially the rocks stacked on bedrock--the ones thrown up there by higher, faster moving water long since gone. Sure, there's often clay, and maybe roots, and other crap jammed in there, and it's most certainly tough digging, but that's the dance you need to step to in order to find the good stuff.

I you dig around in the sand and the loose stuff, you'll most often get a little fine gold, and those specks can be pretty, but the better stuff needs some serious moving of nastier material.

The bigger rocks travel with, and drop out with the nicer gold. Generally, so do the darker rocks (at least up here)--for some reason, many of the heavier rocks are darker. I know the old timers used to look for darker, stained, heavy rocks. Also, don't be afraid to get to the very bottom of any cracks or crevices you uncover. Trust me, the gold loves to get down there as far as it can--so you should too. Also, watch what's coming out of the crevice--there should be lots of little packed stones and often some clay too. Wash it all very carefully--break up any bits of clay--mush them around on the bottom of your pan until they dissolve. I've found some very nice gold trapped in clay jammed in crevices!

So, don't be afraid to move those rocks, and be exhaustive in your efforts to clean out the cracks and crevices. Remember that specific gravity should be your guide--most of the time the nicer gold travels with the beefier rocks, and the pieces of steel, and the lead fishing weights. . .

All the best,

Lanny

Good ideas Lanny,.............Ya mean doing something like this:????  The boulders where too big for me to pick up, so I just undermined them, detected and then either rolled them or slid them into a spot where I had already detected.  I put that large rock under that large boulder in the third photo, and then undermined it and detected under it,......the boulder has sense moved down into the hole due to rains and creak flow.  Was it worth it?????,............"YEP!!!"        Gary

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Yes! That's what I'm talking about.

Nicely done, and all the best,

Lanny

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Lost Drift-Mine Cache

Quite a few summers back, I heard a fascinating story, one set in a mountainous, heavily wooded area with pines, firs, balsams, birches, and aspens. The forest floor is covered in undergrowth, dark canyons abound in the wilderness area, but somehow a tiny human population clings to civilization.

The only way to get to the goldfields is by logging road, always dangerous, often terrifying. Wildlife abound in the cool climate: deer, moose, elk, wolverine, fisher or martin, cougar, grizzly and black bear. And for humans, the far northern latitude ensures ice on the fire bucket in the outfitters tent even on summer mornings.

In that vast northland, rushing streams of icy water race from the mountains into deep glacial lakes, while slower streams are choked with alders. Dark, alpine peaks loom in every direction, their lower reaches covered in deep deposits of boulder clay (thick masses of clay and rock dropped by glaciers), ones that cover ancient streambeds rich in coarse placer.

These thick deposits of boulder clay roof the dark world of the solitary drift miner, for to follow the gold, the miner must find a bedrock outcrop, then tunnel beneath the clay by hand while drifting along the bedrock contours. Constant shoring of the mine is essential (with hand-cut timbers and lagging) to prevent cave-ins.

It is brutal, backbreaking work, as the tunnel height is kept as low to save on materials and labour. As well, boulders are a battle, with the drift-miner detouring over, around, or under the blockages. In addition, when rich ground is hit the miner “rooms out” a large area with parallel tunnels, backfilling as the work progresses. The work is lonely, with long, tedious days, but as the work is done underground, a constant temperature above freezing allows winter-long work, during the long, dark winters. In the spring, when the freshets (spring runoff) start, the pay pile is sluiced with the coarse gold placed in either a poke, or a tobacco can, or in coffee cans when the take is heavy.

Thus some setting and the context for the tale that follows:

Late one chilly evening, as we sat around a warm campfire, the local placer miners told of how several years previous, a reclusive member of their tiny community failed to appear at the log-built community store and post office for his weekly visit.

In the tiny community settlement, every resident rendezvous on the same day, mail day. The miners, loggers, and trappers take time to socialize and to catch up on the news. Clearly, in such a remote area, anytime someone breaks a routine, the locals head out to see what’s wrong.

Sadly, the searchers found the miner dead in his cold cabin. On his table was a nice tub of rich gold concentrates. Coarse it was too. Everything in the cabin was peaceful and in order. No foul play, the miner had passed quietly away in his sleep, off to the big nugget mine in the sky.

The mystery is that as a dedicated drift-miner, he had been mining full-time for decades in a great spot. Yes, decades. His diggings were located on great gold-producing ground. Everyone knew it was so as he always paid for his supplies at the community store in nuggety gold. (They still take gold as payment even today; there’s a set of scales on the store counter.)

However, as is the case in that tiny community, many live alone, just as the dead miner did. So, the local recluses exist without the companionship of spouse or family. They seem to thrive in the solitude.

On a side note, some of the more colorful, mysterious characters there won't allow you to take their photograph (under any circumstances!), which hints of being on the run. In fact, certain ones are. Some have been hiding out since the Vietnam war, unaware that a pardon has been granted.

On a different note, there is no local bank for gold deposits. The nearest bank is four to six hours away, the time depending on the uncertain road conditions. Moreover, heading to the city suits only those that WANT to get out; some never take the opportunity, preferring solitude and isolation.

To return to the story, the deceased miner was working a rich, ancient tertiary channel that resided with stubborn determination under a steep cliff of boulder clay. He had spent endless summers and winters of unimaginable effort tunneling along the bedrock, doggedly staying with the ever-fickle gold. It is understood that the miner's golden challenge is a riddle that forever taunts to be solved, a quest to find the solution to a mystery left eons ago by a coy Mother Nature. Regardless of Mother Nature’s efforts, the miner had solved the riddle; he was one of the masters.

For those of you that have seen old placer drift mines, you are familiar with how the tunnel's low height forces the miner to work in a perpetual, stooped condition. Thus, the reason why so many of the Old-timer's walked permanently hunched over. Clearly, the drift miner's work was backbreaking, formidable, and uncertain, but in the miner’s mind, there was always hope.

On a related note, I have gazed into those still dripping, cold, damp tunnels while trying to imagine only a pick and shovel to excavate the stubborn ancient river channel, filled with endless cobbles, stubborn cemented material, and mammoth, defiant boulders. Moreover, the constant fear of cave-ins must have been an endless strain.

I must confess that I was too dumb to realize that people still mined using such old methods. I assumed they had vanished decades earlier. Nonetheless, other determined miners still use this method of hand-mining, just as the dead miner from the small community did.

As the deceased miner had no family that anyone in the community was aware of, the locals declared a treasure hunt to try to locate the cache.

They found nothing.

As I pass through this long winter, somewhere deep in that primeval northern forest there resides a rich treasure, one once claimed from Mother Nature, yet now silently reclaimed, trusted to her timeless care yet again.

All the best,

Lanny

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Thanks Lanny another great story, hope all is well with you and family. 

ht  :thumbsupanim

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1 hour ago, hardtimehermit said:

Thanks Lanny another great story, hope all is well with you and family. 

ht  :thumbsupanim

Yes, thanks, doing great.

I appreciate your comment.

All the best,

Lanny

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A Lonesome Nugget Tale

Flashback to the the summer of '99, and I was swinging the SD2100 up in Northern British Columbia. We four-wheeled up an incredibly bad road to get to the site. The road was so bad that one of the other mining operations had dropped a big four-wheeled military surplus truck into one hole, and the unit sunk down far past the axles. After fetching a Cat, they finally got it out.

So, this was the same road we had to negotiate, with the same hole, and we moved very carefully around the edges of it, as well as around other nasty water traps until we finally made it to a small creek in the high, northern mountains where the road turned into a rough trail. Being muddy and slick, the truck started to slip off the road, and we had to stop, walking was the only way forward


I got set up, made a lot of noise to alert the Grizzlies in those thick pines that we were in the area, and then I set off to do some detecting. It was a sunny day which meant the bugs were bad, but there were butterflies, songbirds and beautiful, iridescent humming birds at work on the alpine blossoms. High overhead, thin white clouds drifted on the mountain currents.

Bordering the side of the trail, there was a long stretch of exposed bedrock that the Old-timers had cleaned off in the 1800's; however, as I detected, all I found were various sizes of square nails, bits of old tin cans, and tiny pieces of wire.

A bit later, I spotted the remains of an old cabin farther up the trail. I scouted around it and tried some detecting, but there was so much trash under the moss beside the building that I gave up after a short while. I marched over to the creek and was confronted with piles of Old-timer hand-stacks, ones left where they'd worked the creek bed. However, all I found was the regular trash plus bits of lead from tin can solder.


I worked my way back down the trail to where the truck was parked. My buddy was slugging it out in the brush while swinging his 2100, and he was in a serious war with the bugs, and the bugs were winning! In retreat, he came blitzing back to the truck for bug dope, and off he went in a different direction.

So, that left me standing alone by the truck. I'd already detected all of the exposed bedrock I could find, but I'd noticed a curious spot earlier back up the trail where someone had dug a test hole and piled a big mound of muck beside the road.


Since I had nothing else to do, and since my buddy was eagerly donating to the Northern Bug Blood Bank, I wandered down to the test hole. I detected all around the bottom of the hole and only found a few bits of tin, and two square nails. On the sides of the hole I found more nails, but these were round nails, so obviously this was an area that was worked in the 30's. To elaborate, there were more miners active in this particular goldfield in the 30's than there were in the 1800's gold strike.

At the far end of the test hole, there was a large boulder. I scanned it, and the whole thing was a hot rock! I'm no geologist, so I have no idea what kind of rock it was, but the 2100 constantly sounded off on it no matter how I configured it. However, just to the side of it was a little dike of dirt, one pushed up from the test hole. I climbed up on top and started to detect it. The ground was very slippery, and the next thing I knew, it had caved off and down I rocketed into the muck and water in the bottom of the test hole. (Zero points for grace.)

After that slippery adventure, I was ready to head back to the truck. I was muddy, wet, and tired. It had been a long unrewarding day, yet that far north there's still daylight at eleven p.m., so my stubborn streak kicked in, and I decided I'd claw my way back up to detect the top of that wall of dirt once more. And that's the thing, the material was dirt--no river run in it, just a bunch of black clay and goo (in retrospect, the black should have tipped me off that it came from deep down near bedrock). I walked along more carefully this time, came to the break in the dirt I'd made when I slipped off, and I gingerly slid the coil across the gap. Almost instantly I got a nice sweet signal. This one was nice and smooth, no harsh iron growl.

I worked my way across the breach and set up shop. I passed the coil over the signal again, approaching from a different direction. Still a nice smooth sound and very clear. It sounded like it had to be shallow. I dug down with my plastic scoop and scanned again. The hole was silent, but the scoop had a nice rich sound when I scanned it. I processed the dirt in the scoop, and then dumped the remaining bit in my hand and passed it under the coil. The signal was definitely in my hand. I dropped the dirt onto the coil and, thwack! The object hit the coil. All I could see was that black dirt. I moved the lumps around and one of them squealed when I moved it. I picked it up and rubbed off the dirt. The golden glow confirmed its identity. It was a nice, sassy five-gram nugget.


I detected around the rest of the dirt, but no more luck. When my buddy came out of the bush and saw my nugget, he gave the detected the spot as well, but no luck.

My lonesome nugget was the only one that came to play that day.


All the best,

Lanny

Edited by Lanny in AB
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Detecting For Nuggets The Hard Way

Armed with my detector one balmy, late-summer weekend, I set off to find a nugget or two.

As a nugget shooter, I sometimes stupidly fail to appreciate the difficulties associated with hunting nuggets or the low level of compensation that might be the reward.

So, I set off to work a spot where a tiny creek intersected a famous, gold-producing river.

The Oldtimers had worked the area heavily; their hand-stacks of cobbles and boulders lay piled on a bench of highly fractured, black slate bedrock. However, I realized that moving all of those boulders would require far too much work. Therefore, I chose to hike instead along the river banks to detect the low-water levels of exposed bedrock.

Square nails, blasting caps, a coin, lead fishing weights, .17 cal. lead pellets, pieces of disfigured iron junk were my only rewards. However, during my excursion I noticed two rookies panning across the river. Staggering and stumbling among the cobbles and boulders beside the stream, they entered the stream and flailed the water to a white foam in their steel pans. (Carefully concentrating heavy material, specific gravity? What’s that?) Regardless, it appeared they found no gold, as nothing was put in a bottle. (At the time, I wondered if they had even put dirt and rocks in their pans, giving them a better chance at finding the gold—just kidding. Regardless, their technique was awful, almost exactly like mine when I first started out.)

Forgetting about the rookies, I looked up the bank and stared with no eagerness at the washtub-sized boulders and melon-sized cobbles stacked on the bedrock above. I knew the hard work ahead to detect any gold missed by those Oldtimers, ones who often worked swiftly, and sometimes sloppily, before sprinting off to the next gold rush farther north.

Using a massive steel pry bar, buckets of elbow grease, and convoluted body positions any contortionist would avoid, I finally uncovered the bedrock after sending the rocks into the river.

This was accomplished while simultaneously terrifying the aforementioned rookies across the stream. (Maybe chucking all of those cobbles in every direction, while generating colorful, explosive expressions had an impact?) Those rookies were somewhat shaken as well by the thunder produced by those rolling boulders, and the fountains of water generated as everything plunged into the twenty feet of fast flowing water that separated us.

To calm the rookies’ fears, I stopped tossing and rolling rocks, and detected the bedrock instead. Nine targets were quickly identified. All turned out to be tiny bits of rusted tin can . . ..

Quite demoralized, I sat down to think up a new strategy. Meanwhile, across the river, the rookies abandoned their pans, and they now attacked the bedrock on their side of the river. Cobbles filled the air, and boulders were rolled into the river—colorful expressions filled the air. Afterward, they scooped newly uncovered material into their pans, then foamed the water yet again, but still, they captured no gold. (At least, I don’t think they found any gold, because they kept throwing everything from their pans back into the river! However, perhaps they were members of that new, environmentally conscious breed of "catch and release" panners.)

Knowing I wasn’t getting anywhere, I abandoned my diggings, waved a quick goodbye to the rookies across the river and fled the scene.

As nuggets prefer clever hiding spots, I had a giant brainwave to drive a short distance to a veritable abyss. At its bottom were a series of exposed bedrock outcroppings. Being not so foolish as to hunt such easy pickings of bare bedrock at the bottom (although the next day, a wiser nugget shooter took an eight gram nugget out of said bedrock outcrops, #@$!*!), I chose instead bedrock covered with cobbles and boulders.

After a leisurely two hours of hot sweat and ragged pain, the area was cleared to hunt. After numerous passes with the detector, a tiny whisper emerged as the coil gently scrubbed the sharp, steeply angled slate bedrock. After chipping and chiseling, the signal was slightly louder. Next, I turned the mono coil on its side and pinpointed the signal. Working with hammer and chisel around the signal, I popped out a quarter-gram nugget. (Well, back then pride [whose slave I sometimes am] demanded I call it a nugget! I mean, after all of that work, what else could I call it?)

With a calm, yet horrifying recognition, my dim brain was forced to admit that never, with the exception of a near-death trip down some slick boulder clay, had I ever worked so hard for far, far less than minimum wage!

Nevertheless, to lift my spirits and put me in a playful mood, I now had to plan how to pack sixty pounds of equipment up a mostly vertical, scree covered slope . . ..

All the best,

Lanny

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Invisible Gold in Plain Sight

In the past, I’ve talked about finding difficult gold: gold that is wedged deep in crevices; gold that is cemented in a matrix the exact color of the bedrock, hiding any cracks or crevices that were once there; also, I’ve commented on gold that is held fast in naturally occurring cement, looking like innocent concrete.

Therefore, the focus of today’s story is on some hidden gold I chased while nugget shooting in the far northern gold fields, a place where thick forests blanket the mountain slopes, where wildlife is plentiful, where apex predators like grizzlies and cougars still rule the kingdom. As well, eagles and ospreys haul thrashing trout and grayling from crystalline lakes, and moose, elk or black bear can be seen lazily crossing open, green spaces.

One cool morning, I crawled out of my outfitters tent to a clear, blue sky; the rain from the previous day had left a crisp freshness in the air, the scent of pine and fir sharp. Grabbing my things, I headed off up the canyon to a place I had permission to hunt.

I was off to detect the exit ramp of a deep placer pit/cut where the miners had removed a lot of overburden to get down to the ancient channel beneath. However, I wouldn’t be detecting in the pit itself as the face was a wet, unstable wall that kept sluffing sections of itself into the pit below. Clearly, water seepage was a serious problem at this location and likely had been for the 1870’s old-timers that had worked the area back then.

The placer cut itself sliced through the remains of at least seven ancient stream-beds, all crisscrossed one on top of the other at an ancient junction. The deposits were the result of long-dead glacial streams, left where two mountain canyons met. To clarify, these canyons were special. The high, black slate rims had protected the gold in those channels from being scoured out and carried away by what the locals called “robber glaciers”.

There was evidence everywhere of the workings from the 1800's where the overlapping channels were probed by vertical shafts, then horizontal tunnels probed onward until the gold ran out. Then, deeper shafts were dug, more channels explored, and so on, with the work heading all the way to bedrock.

The modern diggings were where they were because the miners had discovered a roomed-out section of bedrock on their claim, one worked by hand in the 1800’s. This is why they opened a cut and extended the area of that room. (After all, who tunnels and clears a large section of bedrock with pick and shovel unless the gold is good?) Moreover, the original room was excavated on what turned out to be a large, continuing shelf of bedrock. But, as the modern miners worked off to one side of the original room, the shelf ended (perhaps a fault), with the channel material dropping into a deep sump filled with large boulders. Furthermore, the exposed wall of that sump is what I’ve already described above.

So, there I was detecting the top of the exit ramp to avoid being crushed by a collapsing wall. As for the detecting conditions, the bedrock was red-hot electronically. So, I used a PI detector, with a double-D coil, but back then it was only sensitive to nuggets of one gram or larger. While swinging the coil, I was getting lots of chatter from the ground. But, between the pops and snaps, I heard the faint cresting sounds of possible goodness in the threshold.

Hitting a broad, repeatable signal, I scraped off the overburden of gumbo that covered the black and purplish bedrock, the bedrock itself laced with quartz stringers. Yet, however hard I looked, I couldn’t see a crack or fissure in any of it. I went back to scrubbing that severe bedrock with the DD and was rewarded with a strong series of sharper tones that rose above the background chatter.

Tracking the electronic path indicated by the coil, the targets trended diagonally across the ramp, and then continued downward with the dip of the bedrock. It dawned on me I was likely following invisible crevices, ones once connected with the long-gone bedrock of the drowned placer cut. Therefore, knowing that the detector wouldn't lie, I got out my crevicing tools and carefully chipped the signals from the bedrock, exposing the hidden crevices. However, unlike an earlier find at another location, this material was not solidly concreted. It was more of a crumbly composition; nevertheless, its colour imitated the bedrock material perfectly by hiding those long-lost crevices.

Next, I drug the material upslope from one of the diagonal cracks into a plastic scoop. I passed the scoop under the coil and got a cracking tone. I shook the scoop, settled the heavies, and sorted the material in the scoop.

There were five nuggets in the scoop. None were over a gram and a half. But later on, I found two more hidden crevices using the detector, catching more of those small, sassy nuggets of gold.

Personal confession, after catching nuggets, nothing lights me up like the rumble of chunks of gold as I roll them around in my gold bottle. I really don't know why, but I really get a kick out of that sound.

But, at this point in my story, you can brand me just plain dumb, as the mistake I’m about to reveal is one I've made before. It seems I always get preoccupied with the nuggets and then forget to check the surrounding material from the crevices. (A bit slow sometimes, I guess.) Anyway, my partner, bless his soul, did not forget the importance of that surrounding material. He gathered it all in a pan and took the works to the creek (under some murky premise that other, smaller gold will often travel with nuggets).

Man did my eyes pop when I saw how many smaller bits of good grams of gold there were in that pan!

I learned that day the value of having a detector that could find gold hidden in plain sight as well as the value of listening to my detecting buddy.

All the best,

Lanny

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Small Bedrock Bonanza

I was on a prospecting walkabout one midsummer day. The sky, a perfect cobalt blue was accompanied by the deep warmth of a blazing sun. Happy to get a break from several days of either cold drizzle or pounding rain, I checked out some old workings near a creek almost strangled by thick stands of Alder, deep green ranks of horse-tails, clumps of butter-cups, and tall meadow grasses.

The heat from the sun made it humid by the little creek, with no breeze to lift it. However, this combination made things perfect for an attack by a living wall of black flies, mosquitoes, and no-seeums. The air was so thick with them that I was forced to breathe through my nose and keep my mouth closed or I got a mouthful of flying protein! So, I whipped out my can of nuclear grade Deet and gave myself a solid spray. That done, the flies backed off and spun angrily about four inches out.

With enough bug paste in my mouth to last a lifetime, I cut up the creek bank into the much cooler darkness of a stand of hundred-year-old pine, the floor carpeted with freshly dewed ferns. I wound along through the timber, then turned parallel to the creek, heading about thirty feet upslope. At this elevation, there was a gentle breeze blowing that sent the bugs back to the creek.

The signs of old 1800’s workings were everywhere, with more modern excavations from the 1930’s. Exploring the old diggings, I found some exposed bedrock. It appeared that a small operation had stripped off about ten feet of yellowish boulder clay (stubborn clay and boulders dumped by glaciers) to expose an old channel tight on bedrock, one that cut back under the steeply rising boulder clay.

The cut was about twenty feet wide and about sixty feet long. It ended where the shoulder of the mountain thrust through at a place where the old channel took a sharp turn to dive back under about fifty feet of boulder clay. Clearly, it was far too much overburden for a small 1930’s operation to work.

I headed back to the exposed bedrock, dropped my pack, and pulled out my sniping tools and my gold pan.

I scraped around for any low spots that still held accumulations of original channel, containing small tightly packed river stones and dark-gray clay. I found some spots, cleaned them out, then headed to the creek to pan: almost no black sand, and no gold. I went back up to the workings and sat on a flat boulder. I took a long look at the topography. I noticed a spot where the bedrock rose sharply from the exposed sheet, then levelled off as it ran back under the boulder clay. I also noticed the bedrock located there was covered with two feet or so of clay slump.

Personally, I'd rather not dig if there's good exposed bedrock to work, but as the bedrock was unproductive, I surrendered and took my shovel and cleared a spot about four feet square. The bedrock here was all uneven, with lots of irregular little pockets. I cleaned a few out but got no satisfying results. Ready to leave, I hesitated, then dug under the boulder clay where the bedrock started to dip beneath it. I was surprised to see a cumulative drop of about a foot, but then it leveled off again. However, what interested me most was the composition of the material between the boulder clay and the bedrock in the pocket I’d uncovered. It was a gray colored sand atop a packed clay and rock mixture that contained small pebbles. That material really lit me up! In that area, it’s the kind of stuff anyone hopes to find. It's a sure sign of virgin ground.

What I had opened up to find the pocket was the bottom edge of the face, the portion exposed in the 1930’s. As a result, I was working intact ancient channel, possible placer countless years in the waiting. The series of irregular holes I'd cleaned right before hitting the drop-off were encouraging. However, this was a bigger pocket, about a foot across, a great looking trap. Pumped now, I cleared several pans of material to bedrock, then lugged them to the creek. No gold! What was going on here? Everything was so perfect. I pulled out some lunch and took time to reflect.

After eating, I went back to examine the hole. The air had dried the moisture from the bedrock, and I was staring at some reddish bedrock, not black-colored slate like the other bedrock behind me. Regardless, that was not what caught my attention. The bottom of the hole was laced with what looked like a network of blood vessels, twisting purple veins sharply contrasted against the red rock. Never before had I seen such a geological result. Nevertheless, I took a screwdriver and scraped at the veins. Shockingly, they were nowhere near as hard as the rock. In fact, they were more like a purple clay, and I soon discerned they were sealing cracks in the bedrock! On fire, I dug and scraped and soon had about a tablespoon of material.

I hurriedly took it to the creek and sunk the pan. The bugs were back, but I didn't care. The blood I’d donate to get a look at something so interesting was insignificant. As I mashed the material under the water against the bottom of the pan, the water turned an ugly purple color. The panning water had been crystal clear, but I couldn't see the bottom of my green pan. I sunk the pan flat in the creek and continued to let the creek carry off the discolored water. The water was now clear, and in the crease were very dark, heavily stained BB-sized stones. This was something new. I tipped the pan back to pick out some of the stones and saw the yellow flash of sassy gold emerge. There among the black BB’s were three chunky pickers, no fine gold whatsoever.

I flew back to the hole. I gouged as far as I could into the cracks, but very little material remained. I took out an awl and probed the crevices and was rewarded with a soft resistance at the junction of two veins. I pushed harder and the awl dropped three inches. I twisted the probe in the opening, and it spun in an ever-widening circle. Having found a bedrock pocket that was fed by those gold-bearing crevices, I worked with a chisel and opened a hole to get the bent handle of a spoon inside. In this manner, I gouged around and drug out about three tablespoons of wet, purplish clay packed mixed with sand, and small stones. With no material left in the hole, I don't think my feet ever touched the ground on the way back to the creek.

I got the same result as earlier, a cloud of heavily dyed material from ancient, oxidized sediments. The stones were slightly larger than BB's when I could finally see them in the crease, but this time the gold poked through nicely! A clutch of pickers in the quarter to half gram range, and every piece was rugged with character.

I never found any more gold at that place as the bedrock dipped again, stopping me from chasing it under the boulder clay. But I did walk away with over ten grams of beautiful gold from my small, bedrock bonanza.

All the best,

Lanny

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