After a long absence, I have been able to find a bit of time to hit the desert a couple times and pick up where I left off last spring. First off, this is what I have been up to since my last post: etsy.com/shop/donburdadesign. I have been designing and fabricating wooden jewelry (with and without stone inlay) and turning bowls and vases on the lathe. Have a look, the wife might enjoy my work!
Enough with shameless self promotion and onto my last two outings.
My first trip was to the spot where I left my half bucket last June. To my surprise, it was still there! Looks like being on top of a steep hillside was deturrent enough for anyone to dig in my previous excavations. This spot had produced a few grams in the past, so I thought I’d give it another shot. While plunging my shovel into a gulley wall, I looked down into the dirt and saw something moving.
After moving some dirt aside, I quickly recognized what it was wiggling around…a baby rattler that was awakened from hibernation by my shovel severing its body, almost completely in half! There was nothing I could do except to toss it into a neighboring sandy wash and hope it recovered.
The day was gorgeous, sunny, in the 70′s and after spending the holidays in Chicago, a welcome change of pace! I moved just
short of a yard of dirt that day that yeilded a quantity of fines so small, that I didn’t even bother to weigh it. After loading up the Samurai, I decided that it was finally time to move on from this gold-producing spot and look for another, so I hiked up the gulley one more time and after nearly 6 months, removed my half bucket from its hole and chucked it in the back of the Samurai. Time to move on! Yes, this spot had produced about 3-4 grams of gold, but an average outing was maybe 1 to 2 tenths of a gram, in exchange for moving close to a yard of dirt and about 4 hours of time, each time. Based on curent spot for gold, that’s about $3 to $4 per tenth for all that effort, which amounts to what…$1.00 per hour for the punishing hard labor on my 53 year old body!
Second outing of 2014 took me to new spot near my best gold bearing location of all time, The Big Hill. I drove the Samurai around back of the foot of the Big HIll,
past a spot wahere I found my very first gold. I set up the dry washer on the only semi-flat bit of ground near the gulley, which meant I was going to have to bucket brigade my dirt to it! Not my favorite set of circumstances, but I needed the excercise! After a 6 month hiatus, it was comforting to see the old home made drywasher and leaf blower working flawlessly! I guess maintaining the blower every couple outings has paid off! After a 5 bucket sampling, it was time to run the dirt through the dry washer, then pan out the cons.
I was please to find some color, and was encouraged to continue on in this new spot. Through the course of this outing, I moved about 30 buckets of dirt, a bit shy of an entire yard and recovered a measly 1 to 1.5 tenths of a gram. Yeah, same old, same old! But…once again, it was a beautiful day, sunny, in the 70′s in January and…I needed the excercise! After a couple washouts that yielded onlu a small amount of color, albeit, a couple small pickers in the process, I felt compelled to venture out to adjacent gulleys, just to have a look around. So I carried my pick, shovel and a couple buckets to a nearby spot that was full of black sand in a little valley of a gulley. Sounds like a perfect spot…right?
Well this just goes to prove that gold is never where it is supposed to be, in fact, it’s just further proof that gold is where you find it! This photo to the right is a shot of what I recovered from my second day of prospecting, 2014. Once again, back-breaking labor for tiny reward. Only someone with gold fever would go back for more! Guess I’ll be back!