Black Rock Canyon

After many months of prospecting around the Bison area wash, where to date, all my gold has been found, a new hotspot, I refer to as “Black Rock Canyon”, is discovered.  Once entering this canyon, it’s apparent I’m not the first one to discover this area, as evidence of previous digging is very clear to see.  To be honest, just about every good prospecting spot in Lake Havasu has been dug before…weather it be during the gold rush days or in the last few years.  I’m sure this applies to most every place prospectors look for gold.   This canyon is lined with black colored rock walls and has few telltale signs that gold would be present.  Telltale signs include: ”cobblestones” (smooth, river-washed grey-ish stones, ranging in size from common “skipping stones”, to cobblestones used to pave roads, to boulders, lining the hillsides), an abundance of red rock and of course, exposed bedrock.  Many prospectors I’ve encountered have stated: “the redder the better“.  This location is further proof that: “gold is where you find it“.  Ounces of gold have been found in this canyon!


In addition to finding a new area with gold, I encounter the first of a regular cast of characters who like to dig in the Bison wash area of Lake Havasu…Wade.  Wade can commonly be seen sporting a pistol at his side and like my buddy Chad, drives a Suzuki Samurai.  More about this later.   At first, seeing a pistol at his side was a bit offsetting, but it is the Wild West, right?  He entered the canyon as I was in full-swing, digging and running the dirt through my recently upgraded puffer drywasher.  Upgraded by means of rigging up a leaf blower, with a weighted fan blade, resulting in my own vibrating, powered drywasher.  No more hand powered puffing!  Wade seemed a bit upset that I had discovered an area that had produced a nice amount of gold for him and numerous others before him in the past.  Since this is BLM land and no claims are present in this spot, all anyone can do is hope no one finds their new find.  There is an unwritten desert courtesy law, where if someone leaves a spot they are currently digging and leaves behind a bucket in the hole, others are supposed to leave it alone until the bucket is removed.   After breaking the ice, he tells me he has been prospecting this area for over a decade.  I asked him if he knew Rick, the rock mine owner, and he said he had met him.   Seems like everyone who digs here has, at one time or another, ran into each other and have been acquainted.  It’s kind of fun swapping stories with other prospectors.  If you pay attention, you just might learn from their experiences!


placer gold, lake havasu

gold found in Black Rock Canyon

The Black Rock Canyon became my focus for a few weeks.  My pal Chad was also finding gold here.  The next bit illustrates the main factor that, in my opinion, motivates all prospectors.  While I opened up a hole adjacent to the area where we were all finding gold, Wade decided to jump in just a few feet from my current hole.  Upon returning the next day, I learned he pulled out a nice 3 gram nugget, literally a few feet from where I was digging!  My spot yeilded mainly flour gold, with a small picker or two.  Then, the following week, just over a rise from where we were all digging, an old-timer in his 80′s unearthed a one ounce nugget!  This goes to prove that you just never know what you might find and that it is still, after decades of extensive prospecting, possible to find nice nuggets!  This, to me, is what drives us all to work like sled dogs for what usually results in small gold finds.  If I come home with 2 or 3 tenths of a gram per outing, I feel I’ve accomplished something!  Perhaps, with time and experience, this number will increase?

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