After another torturous summer in Lake Havasu, September 2012 offered more opportunity to wake up at sunrise and dig until around noon, when the temps still climbed into the 100′s! This season will be different because I was able to pickup a Suzuki Samurai! No more restrictions on where I was able to prospect, due to the limitations of driving a 3/4 ton GMC van. Now the Bison Wash playing field was leveled!
My first destination in the new Samurai was a new spot on a very steep incline with lots of loose gravel, crumbly, exposed bedrock, and…unbeknownst to me, camouflaged broken palo verde stumps…just jagged enough to puncture the all-terrain tire of my Samurai! Yes…that’s exactly what happened! My very first prospecting trip with the Samurai resulted in my having to make a mad dash to the place I bought its new tires and hope the punctured tire did not deflate enough to cause problems on the way. Keep in mind, at this juncture, I’m miles deep into the desert and the trails are anything but level! The dash is on! I arrived at Discount Tire with the new tire completely deflated. I was riding on the rim at this point and somewhat frazzled thinking that because I drove on a flat tire for several miles, the outcome could have been much different! One might ask: “where was your spare tire?”. It was sitting in my garage, because the newly purchased Samurai did not have a jack, so having a spare would have been useless. To this day, I’ve been rolling the dice, because I still do not have that jack!
After a few more trips to this new location, that had produced too little gold to warrant further trips, I moved on to another new spot, one that had all the signs of bearing placer gold: a basin-shaped little outcropping, exposed bedrock and plenty of cobblestones covering the hillsides surrounding it. I began to dig…and dig…and dig, until the hole was about chest deep and 6 feet in diameter.
Every couple feet I ran a few loads of dirt through the dry washer, then panned out the concentrates, all to find absolutely no gold! I still had not reached the bottom, where the bedrock was still hiding, but just could not go on any further. I was discouraged and needed to put more gold into my vial. So I decided to head back to an area that had had produced a nice amount of gold in the past, to see if I had missed some: The Big Hill. I was eager to start digging here again, first, because of my new Samurai, I no longer had to haul all my gear up the steep, jagged, 1/4 mile trail to the landing and secondly, because I felt confident there would be more gold. I was right, there was more gold! My first trip yeilded 1/2 a gram, a very good day for amateur propspectors in Lake Havasu!
The next day it rained! This means that every time it does rain (yes, it does rain in the desert from time to time), prospectors have to wait until the ground dries out. this is necessary because we dry wash dirt and when dirt is wet, it simply does not cascade down the riffle tray on the dry washer. The dry time is much longer in the winter months, because the temps only average in the 60′s. After a rain, it can take up to two weeks before one can successfully begin desert prospecting again.