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Gold hunting near Gateway, Colorado


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Hi,

1.) It is pretty much common knowledge that there is no BIG gold for beeping in Colorado.

2.) Two years ago, I retired and moved here (Colorado). That’s the last move I am making, except for feet first into a mortuary in the mighty far distant future.

3.) Thanks for people like Jim Straight, Chris Ralph, Ray Mills and others, I have read a lot about epithermal deposits, residual placers, “pocket hunting”, etc.

4.) As a result, while gold hunting in Colorado my battle plan is to focus on the #3 items.

Last week, I enjoyed just such a day trip.

Colorado spent 300+ million years of its history beneath oceans, seas and lakes accumulating thousands of feet of sediment. That material remains as sandstone rock all around where I live. However, there are places where the igneous and metamorphic basement rock beneath is visible. One of those locations is on the north end of the Uncompahgre Plateau. I went there to investigate that unconformity contact between sedimentary and metamorphic, where I know others before me have found shallow mineralization.

I started at the floor of Unaweep Canyon near Gateway, Colorado. I hiked up into canyon land terrain where the plateau erodes downward from higher elevation. There you can see the color difference between gray-blue igneous and metamorphic material and orange-red sandstone. The blue-gray layers were where I wanted to beep with my ML Eureka VLF.

I detected only hot rock on this trip, but found the geology changes fascinating as I gained elevation hiking up canyon ridges. I walked through igneous and metamorphic layers: quartzite, mica schist, schist with embedded quartz lenses, iron stained quartz, cryptocrystalline green quartz and breccia. (I am strictly an amateur geologist.)

One of my problems was navigation in the canyon lands maze of arroyos. Early on, I took a bad turn and followed the wrong drainage, which caused me to miss my intended target for beeping. I reached the elevation I had wanted, but one ridgeline away from where I hoped to be. At that time, I was out of energy, and out of water, and the canyon between me and the next ridge over was way too deep, and the sun was beastly hot, and my feet hurt from new hiking boots, so I turned back for home. I might return next autumn when the weather is cooler, and if Google Earth plus my El Cheapo GPS can help me lay out a route to follow up the correct, snake-like canyon segments to my intended location.

Regards,

-C

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Wow!
What beautiful country.

Just hiking in it would be a thrill :)
Dont know if this will help..

Colorado

A few important Colorado placers of the residual type are found on slopes and hillsides in the immediate vicinity of gold veins. However, placers in Colorado are generally confined to narrow canyons below lode gold mining areas within the Rocky Mountains in a belt which extends northeast across the western part of the State. Almost every gold district has had some placer production. Many of the streams emerging from the Front Range, the headwaters of the South Platte River, and the Arkansas River and its tributaries as far upstream as California Gulch contain placer gold. Historically, placers were mined first and led to development of Colorado's rich lode deposits.

more good info here...

http://www.lornet.com/prospector/articles/coloradogoldhighlights.htm

Tom

Edited by TomH
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Hi, TomH,

Thanks for the headsup about the Colorado Mineral Belt. I have kind of given up there because its been exploited for the past 150 years and it’s hard to do much prospecting within the Belt without trespassing on patented mining claims. On the other hand, since retiring here I’ve noted numerous outlier locations where excitement was once generated by the minerals present, but they were shallow and soon exhausted. The outlier locations never made headlines like deposits within the Belt. These outliers ring to me like how Jim Straight has noted the attributes for epithermal deposits.

Going after these... on the downside it’s a big long shot, but on the upside I don’t worry about trespassing on existing locations, I have no competition where I go, and the scenery is always gorgeous. As readers can tell from my Gateway, CO, write up, even if I find no gold, just working on understanding the geology and its implications thrills me. :D

Thanks, again, for your helpful data on the Colorado Mineral Belt.

Best,

-C/Jim

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Hi, TomH,

Thanks for the headsup about the Colorado Mineral Belt. I have kind of given up there because its been exploited for the past 150 years and it’s hard to do much prospecting within the Belt without trespassing on patented mining claims. On the other hand, since retiring here I’ve noted numerous outlier locations where excitement was once generated by the minerals present, but they were shallow and soon exhausted. The outlier locations never made headlines like deposits within the Belt. These outliers ring to me like how Jim Straight has noted the attributes for epithermal deposits.

Going after these... on the downside it’s a big long shot, but on the upside I don’t worry about trespassing on existing locations, I have no competition where I go, and the scenery is always gorgeous. As readers can tell from my Gateway, CO, write up, even if I find no gold, just working on understanding the geology and its implications thrills me. :D

Thanks, again, for your helpful data on the Colorado Mineral Belt.

Best,

-C/Jim

Jim:

Good luck to you...

Hit those outlying areas.........

I was fortunate enough to get into one of them when dad and I started and got some really nice gold out if it. Still aint done with it yet......

It is a area many have over looked and driven over. :)

Remember...your using a metal detector (POWER)!!! and if your persitant and using it to the best of your abilities.....your going to find gold where the old timers missed.

Hope you find a lot.

Tom H.

Edited by TomH
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