After many months had passed, I thought I’d visit Rick and pick his brain a bit more. He informed me there was a place that had produced around 1/4 ounce for him and his crew and it was fairly close. Since the only vehicle I had to make the trips to the desert was my 1975 GMC 3/4 ton van, anything nearby was a blessing! Upon arriving to the “Swimming “Pool” basin, I saw where Rick and his boys had dug previously, but there was a lot of ground that was not dug. I located what I though would be the bottom of the bowl-shaped basin and began to dig. After diggin out a couple feet of overburden, I thought it best to start drywashing some of the dirt. Very little gold was present all the way down to a thick layer of dense, crumbly, pink clay, which unfortunately, was about 4.5 feet down! At this point I had drywashed over a ton of dirt and had very little gold to show for it. I expanded the hole outward, with hopes of finding something more significant, but nothing had changed. By now, it was getting dark and I had to pack up and head home. I reviewed in my head what I had dug this day and what was remaining…a layer of crumbly pink clay. Very recently I learned that after digging all the way down, some areas did not go right to bedrock. Some areas had a layer of clay or caliche sitting on top of the bedrock. If it does exist, there is a chance gold was trapped in it, not making it down to the bedrock. I had a feeling there might be gold trapped in this pink clay, so next trip to the desert, I jumped in my now 5 ft. deep hole and began to chip away at the pink clay. I had recently garage-rigged my leaf blower-vac to fit onto an old 6 gallon shop vac and created a functional dirt vac! This is extremelyuseful when chipping away at clay or crevaces in bedrock, where gold can somethimes get trapped. After filling a few cannisters of vacuumed crumbly pink clay, I ran it all through my drywasher, then brought it to my washout station. Eureka! There was nice, chunky gold in the pink clay!
I was bringing home nearly half a gram each outing here, so I continued to expand the hole. Eventually, it became the size of a small swimming pool, thus the name that became the norm for this location. The photo is from the “Swimming Pool” area, but was not the original. this hole was dug next to the swimming pool I dug and its contents were dumped into the giant hole I dug. After all was said and done, I had found about 4 grams of gold here. During one of the several trips here, I tried to park my van in a different location, one closer to where I was digging. I did this to avoid making three trips back and forth, to get my gear in place. I was able to find a new spot to park the van, but it was questionable I would be able to get it out after a day of digging. I proceded to go about my business and after having a good day of digging, my worst fear was realized…the van was stuck in loose sand and I was alone in a remote location in the desert! Fortunately, my buddy Chad happened to cruise by after he was done digging for the day and had a tow strap. However, he only had his Samurai to provide the pull! Remember, I had a 3/4 ton van, stuck deep in loose sand. All of a sudden, Wade happend to see what was going on and came in to investigate. They both hooked up to the tow strap and with a lot of effort, including me digging a ditch arouond the van in an effort to make a path for it, finally un-stuck my van! This trench is still there today! By this time it was almosrt dark and time to head home for the day. On the drive home, I was wishing I had a Samurai, so this would not happen again!
Once I arrived home from that ordeal, I emptied my little vial of gold from the day and let it dry. Once it dried, I started to have a sort through it and look what I had…a tiny heart-shaped nugget! this is the only one I have ever found…so far. Who knows, it could end up in a piece of custom made jewelry someday? I made a handful more trips to the Swimming Pool and even dug areas around it, finding another half gram of gold, but this was a lot of digging (isn’t it always?) for the amount of gold actually found and I decided to abandon this site and move back to the “Big Hill”.