Tag Archives: caliche

A New Spot

After moving on from Big Hill, I had absolutely no idea where my next gold would be found.  So I hit the Bison trail and headed east.  I looked for inlets leading into coves, where I could see exposed bedrock, covered with a layer of cobblestones.  I found an entrance to such a cove and cautiously manuvered my GMC van around hazards, until I found a suitable place to park and do some recon.  Immediately I saw a 4′ wide trench that appeared to be cut by flowing flood waters.  It ran where the slope of the hillside met the plane of the trail.  This had the trappings of a good spot, so I unloaded me gear and setup shop.  There was about 2-1/2 feet of overburden, which had little-to-no gold in it, leaving a very hard layer of  caliche, that required aggressive pick swinging to break it up.  I had learned that anything that sits on top of bedrock can carry gold.  After running this material through the drywasher, at this juncture, still a convverted hand puffer. 

drywasher, puffer
Puffer drywasher

I tend to be one who likes to run as much dirt through the hopper as I can, even if it means having some spill over the top, but with this little guy, I had to step out of a now, 3-1/2 foot hole, many times, to assist emptying the hopper.  After panning the concentrates, I ended up with about 2/10 of a gram and packed up for the day.  The results warranted a few more trips to this location and even further exploration, deeper into this canyon, even sampling steep ravines that had exposed caliche, packed with cobblestones.  I happened to run into Wade during this time, who said that many years back he had worked this area and how the only method that made this location worthwile, was to have two guys.  One to breakup the cobble-packed caliche, throw it down about 40-50 ft. to the other guy, who would smash it up further, then run it through the drywasher.