After this weeknd’s exhbiting of my wood jewelry and turned bowls and vases , I was anxious to make it back out to the Bison area for some prospecting. I decided to go back to the very first place I found gold, over 3 years ago…the base of the “Big Hill”. This is an area beneath a well dug and vacuumed red rock hillside, one where it is nothing but exposed bedrock all the way down. When it flattens out at the base of the hill, there are many little twisting and turning tributaries from this hill and 3 or 4 others. Lots of red clay in the little “creek beds” too. My first two trips of this season were to this area, but despite those trips being less than average (only a tenth of a gram or less!), I thought this time I’d try applying more out-of-the-box thinking.
Through time, where these multiple hillside gullies have washed down, mounds of dirt have been created in the middle, in a sort of catch-basin style, before the “creek bed” made any abrubt turns. I figured this mounded area would be a good place to start. There was no immediate evidence that anyone in recent years had dug there and luckily, there was only about 6″ of overburden to clear before I started to get to the clay layer on top of the bedrock. I cut a space about 6′ x 8′ and about 18″ deep. I figure I moved about 2/3 of a yard before hit bedrock, then emptied the riffle try of its concentrates, and headed to my wash-up station. This is comprised of a 5 gallon bucket that carried my water that functions as my seat and a plastic tub. I usually turn on the Samurai’s stereo at this time, to give me music to pan to. It was yet another unseasonably warm day this Havasu winter (sunny and in the 70′s), albeit, a bit windy, but when I recall how much my Chicago-area friends have been bitchin’ this winter, I was more able to enjoy the day, as I panned the black sand, hoping for some yellow.
The first cleanout did reveal some micro-fine specks. Although it was encouraging my out-of-the-box process did yield some gold, it was not enough to contiue on in that spot, nor did it warrant setting up the vac. Onto the next spot in this area.
The next spot was where the rocky hillside made it’s first turn into the flattened out “creek bed” area, right on the inside of the turn and up the wall or “bench” as I’ve heard it been called, where any potential trapped gold could have settled. This spot and my 3rd cut on the inside of turn down the creek a bit, yielded only about a dozen or so micro specs. By this time, I must have moved close to a yard of dirt and rocks and yielded a disappointing less thana tenth of a gram of gold! Since my digging time has been extremely limited this season, I am not in good digging shape, thus leaving me quite sore and out of energy after about 3 hours of digging. That combined with the piss-poor results, and the sun starting to set, it was an easy decision to pack it up.
I decided to do some off-roading a bit to checkout old spots, especially atop the Big Hill. There was no evidence of anyone extending any of my previouis spots there, conversely, many of the areas showed signs of filling in after heavy rains that happened many months ago. Since I was already up to this high spot on the trail, I figured I’d take the trail on the ridge line for the first time ever, to see how it was. Once on the high ridge trail, there is no turning back, because it is barely wide enough for my little Samurai and filled with treaturous dip and turns. This became more evident as I ventured forward and came to the first rise where I couold not see what lied beyond it! This is usually pretty scary, because beyond the peak couold go straight ahead or make an abrupt turn, one where if you did’t see it, could land you at the bottom of the valley below, 100 plus feet down, in a crumpled mess! I made it through this pass, which did end up going straight ahead, then down to an abrubt right, substantially banked turn, where my right wheels straddled the crumbling edge, where if miscalculated, would result in another 100+ foot tumble. I had to continue on, without hesitation, because momentum is your friend in these banked turns, high atop a crumbling mountainside! I finally made it off this trail, that ended up on the main trail to the main digging areas, just in front of the entrance to my old “Swimming Pool” spot and almost had to check my shorts, but after all that, I can say I did it and will never do it again! Nothing like a bit of adventure!
Because I ended up where I did, I thought I’d get out and hike around this old familiar area to look for my next prospecting spot. I saw my old, numerous giant holes and snowbird Tom’s old spots and it looked like noone else had touched them. After all, these areas have been dug extensively! I then came upon a couple areas in close proximity to these spots where noone had dug since I’ve been prospecting. I now have my next destinations ready for digging.