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In Memory of a dear friend.....

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The Nugget Hunter #1

by Richard Delahanty

Gold is where you find it! How many times have you heard that old cliche? As with all old saws, there is a lot of truth to it. As with all old saws, there is also a catch to it. You can't find gold if there is no gold in the area that you are hunting in. All things being equal, the number one factor that will determine the success or failure of your quest for that elusive yellow metal is placing yourself in an area where gold has been found before. But didn't the old-timers get it all you ask? Not by a long shot! It has been estimated that only about 5% of the available gold has been found which leaves 95% for you and me to find with today's super-sensitive gold detectors. Seems like pretty good odds doesn't it? So, now what?

There are two ways to go about picking an area to prospect. The first is to find someone who already has hunted the area and stick to him like glue. You will not only learn a lot about the place but, if you're a novice at nugget shooting, you will also pick up valuable hunting techniques as well. The second method is to seek out all the "How To" and "Where To Go" books, magazine articles and maps pertaining to the area that you are interested in. The way I go about it is to zero in on a general location and then try to get topo maps of the area. The topos are quite helpful as many of them show the locaton of mines and placer diggings. These are the locations that I'll seek out when I arrive and then go from there. I've used a combination of these two methods over the years and they have worked well for me. On the subject of topo maps, there is a site on the web where you can obtain topos of any area in the U.S. and download them for free, which is great news when you consider that a new topo now runs $8.00 a pop. The site is at www.topozone.com.

You have done your homework well and picked a promising area to prospect. Now what? You are now on the ground standing beside your vehicle and you are looking at all that vast, wide open space and think, "Good grief, where do I start?" If you have chosen a good spot, there may be some old placer diggings in sight and there isn't a better place to begin. Look for drywasher tailings piles and start going over them with your coil. You just may get lucky as some very nice nuggets have been found on old tailings piles. Drywasher tailings generally show up as two piles of material, one pile will consist of coarser material from 1/2" or 3/4" on up. This is the header pile which came off the screen of the drywasher. The other pile a couple of feet away is the tailings pile of finer material which has been vibrated over the riffles of the drywasher. Gold can be, and sometimes is, found in either or both piles so check them carefully.

If there are no obvious diggings around, you will then have to go by guess and by gosh. Pick a likely looking gully or larger wash and just start walking and swinging. The adage, ' Gold is where you find it', truly applies now. A nice nugget can be lurking just about anywhere. Check behind obstructions in the bottom of the wash, along the bottom edges, the banks themselves or up on the lip of the wash. When you run out of wash, try the next one over or walk some nearby ridges and saddles. There is just no way of telling where that first nugget is going to show up. Or the second one and so on.

If there is a "secret" to finding gold, this is it: Go where gold has been known to be found and get out and walk and swing your detector. The more time and effort you put into it the better your chances will be. The beautiful yellow stuff is out there and you can certainly get your share!

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Bill did you know Mr. Delahanty personally ???

Years ago when I was considering moving to Az. I read some of his writings and contacted him, I had wondered if he had any relations in my hometown, I had grown up with a Delahanty family as friends. But he told me he hadn't know of any relatives in my area.

I have a bunch of printed material I believe he wrote that I have put away somewhere. If I'm not mistaken he had some pretty good gold caches.

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Yep Truer words were never spoken, you don't have to be a Rocket scientist to find gold, but you do have to learn a few things and Richard has laid them out nicely..........Geo

post-63-0-59259700-1292364390_thumb.jpg

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Bill, thank you for the reminder of Richard.

It was good of you to post.

RDIndio was his handle on the forums, I still remember seeing it the first time.

Something made me take notice but it wasn't until a couple of years later that I

knew why.

By then I had read his writings and followed his posts.

I had learned from friends that he would camp out in the Dale

for weeks at a time, spending his days, mostly by himself,

walking and working the draws and hillsides.

When a group of us finally chanced to meet him at a spot we now call RD's camp,

you could easily tell how much he loved that place,

it showed on his face as he was describing one of his finds out there

in the trackless and weird part of the Dale where most of us, for various reasons, rarely go.

Although he did not suffer fools easily, that also included himself when he didn't

live up to his own rather exacting standards. But he was patient and kind with those

who loved and respected the vastness of the desert and mountain country where he roamed.

His advice for beginners was insightful and spoken with the ring of authenticity that

few of us possess in this day and age.

You, John B., Joeforthegold, Mick and I, all members of this forum,

spent a couple of days with him only a few months before his passing.

After a long days hunt we all sat together in the blackness of the high-desert night

warmed by the campfire, telling stories and eating well.

(If you have not heard his true story of his discovery of "Area 51", and it's subsequent loss,

you have missed to one of the classic, archtypical modern-day gold stories ever told).

A few of us remember hoping it might be the beginning of a long association with RD

when in fact it was really an ending.

It is easy to assume the good times spent with friends and acquaintances will always be available

but in reality those experiences are numbered.

It has become increasingly important to mark those times and to honor them.

Especially when they involve unique personalities like RDIndio.

Men like him and the good times they are a part of, may not come our way again.

Flak

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Bill did you know Mr. Delahanty personally ???

Years ago when I was considering moving to Az. I read some of his writings and contacted him, I had wondered if he had any relations in my hometown, I had grown up with a Delahanty family as friends. But he told me he hadn't know of any relatives in my area.

I have a bunch of printed material I believe he wrote that I have put away somewhere. If I'm not mistaken he had some pretty good gold caches.

Yes Frank I knew RD well and hunted with him on many occasions here in AZ and CA. I have some more of his writings he gave me for my site and in my usual slowness with all the work I am having trouble finding the time to add them to the articles section.

Well said Flak... I miss him and would like to plan a trip to that spot this spring to say goodbye proper if you are up to it.

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I miss him and would like to plan a trip to that spot this spring to say goodbye proper if you are up to it.

That is a great idea, I would love to help in any way I can.

Flak

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I only met RD one time, right after I got my first detector. A hell of a guy! He really helped me understand detecting when I first started out. I still have the test nugget he gave me and think of him when ever I throw it down.

Bunk

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Everyone who came in contact with RD, never walked away without learning something. I met RD while drywashing a small wash that had flattened out coming down a hill. RD was working the ridge line and came down to visit. We spent an hour talking about the Dale and our love for the place. After RD passed, Denny and I went out to his camp site to pay our last respects. The energy and emotions felt that day were heavy. It was as if RD was there with us. I'll never forget that day. We lost a truly wonderful prospector.

Bob

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Wow, Gary...That is the ultimate RD photo...Exactly the way I remember him, enjoying the desert ... A heck of a guy and good friend ... I enjoyed prospecting with him, and Potholes Bob, out around RH and beyond the Octave ... Thanks for posting it... Cheers, Unc

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:( RIP as we are all greatly diminished by the loss of any good mining men or women :(

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Thank you Bill...a great reminder and or primer to us all.

Flak, you are one fine writer...and always have a lesson in your missives...thank you.

fred

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RIP RD, although I never got to meet you.

I've read a few of his writings here and there and wish I'd had the fortune several of you had in getting to meet the man and learn something from him.

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Bill nice remembrence for a great guy,

Flak i love that pic of him sitting on my talegate, That was a great day.A lot of gold came from that area behind him,

I just got back from there {the Dale},It was wind less and nice the whole time, the whole 6 days, that is almost unherd of, Guess he gave us some good luck out there,Thanks RD

We miss you.

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Hi all I had the pleasure of beepin a few times with RD and PH at rich hill---he was a genuine down to earth guy---Mike C...:ph34r2:

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