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San Miguel River, CO


cochetopa

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Hi,

Last year, I retired and moved to Montrose, CO, which is a great place to live. This January, I bought a Minelab Eureka Gold VLF detector and joined the local club of enthusiasts, the Uncompahgre Treasure Club. The club has a placer claim on the San Miguel River, downstream from Telluride. This claim was once a commercial hydraulic operation, but closed in the 1980s and extensive reclamation work was done to the property. The Feds have warned the club, “Don’t disturb anything near the area where the canyon side hydraulic cut is situated,” so the obvious, first choice place to go detecting is off limits.

Two of my fellow club members wanted to try panning for gold on the claim, and I had sights on a flat piece of gravel bar at the downstream end of the property on which to use my Minelab. The three of us drove to the claim last Friday, 7/27.

What once may have been an exposed gravel bar is now covered by an unknown depth of silt, thick meadow grass and fibrous weeds that are two feet tall, and 30 years of tree growth. So much for beepin’ there. Next, I tried detecting up a game trail hoping to find a hanging bench of river gravel in a small and very steep side canyon. I gave up after fighting my way through more vegetation and locating no river material, only decomposing sandstone from the 300+ million year old canyon walls that were laid down when Colorado was submerged beneath an inland sea. I detected only two rifle bullets from this effort.

Geology note: the only gold values on the claim come from erosion up river at Telluride’s famous lodes. Most of the alluvial gold was left upstream in moraine after a glacier had reamed out Telluride valley. That deposit was mined in the 1800s at a location now known as Placerville.

I rejoined my panning buddies who had found zip. The remainder of my day was spent detecting along the river’s edge near my friends where I located and dug up the usual assorted trash: brook trout-size fish hooks and split shot sinkers, wire, pop tops and can lids. However, I did snag a badly corroded, copper-clad penny, which made me King of the Hill for our day’s reward. Throughout the day, I used both 20 and 60 KHz frequencies on the Minelab Eureka.

I’ve attached a few photographs from the outing. Try to ignore the reddish hue in the images. I relinquished my privileges to use the family’s better quality, hand-held electronic gadgets because of my history of losing them, e.g. a cell phone in town here possibly at a car wash, and another cell phone out east of Weaver Mountain in the AZ desert. My new camera is a Vivitar model ShutterPuke 7022, which affords crappy color fidelity that I bought at Wal-Mart for $39. I’ve attempted to adjust the pictures’ color using an imitation Photoshop application before posting here.

The late day San Juan Mountains thunder showers held off until after we packed up and left for home, so it was a pretty good trip in spite of no gold.

Sincerely,

Cochetopa/Jim

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Hey Jim ,

it wasn't a loss at all. Just being in nature is a real blessing ... anything you would have found is just a bonus. Just hang in there , your treasures will come. The journey is always better than the destination. And your pics turned out just fine... enjoyed them a lot.

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