Tag Archives: gold

4 for a Tenth!

Although the Lake Havasu weather has continued to be unseasonably warm (70′s – 80′s), the gold has been hiding!  As the title suggests, the last four outings to the local Bison area, has yielded a measly 1/10 of a gram!  During those 4 outings I must have moved over 3 yards of dirt for what comes out to be about $4.00 for my efforts!  After all is said and done, I got out of the house and did some serious exercising, which I really needed!  Because of the gorgeous sunny days, I’m starting to get a bit of tan on my face too!

Today began with some metal detecting in an area significantly outside the gold-bearing 1 mile radius in the Bison wash area.  On previous tips, I had noticed an old claim marker and the telltale cobblestones, exposed bedrock and scattered quartz on the hillside, all prompting this prospecting effort.  After just minutes, 12 guage buckshot shells were blasting off on the other side of a ridge, so I knew I was safe, but definitely shortened my detecting efforts!  After digging up several bullet fragments, it was time to head back to my most bountiful location in Bison, The Big Hill.

gold prospecting in lake havasu

Samurai parked on Big Hill

Since I had the metal detector with me, I figured I’d go over my previous tailings from the last couple trips at the base of Big Hill, to see if I missed anything.  After all, my buddy Chad found his biggest picker to date by doing this.  By the way, he found a 3 gram nugget in his tailings by swiping my Goldbug2 over his tailings.  I did not have very good luck, as all I found was more ammunition!  I put the Samurai in 4WD and headed up the steep, jagged trail to my most fruitful digging spot from the past.  I unloaded, setup my drywasher on one of my old giant tailings piles and began digging and digging and digging.  All-in-all, I dug 4 different locations, totalling 30 5 gallon buckets, and found flour gold in 2 of them.  Today’s efforts netted me only half a tenth, combined with that same amount, still in the vial, from my last 3 subpar outings, to account for today’s monumental cleanup 1/10 of a gram!   Once again, it was a beautiful, sunny, upper 70′s day and I got some great excersise!  Beats the hell out of the day my Chicago area friends witnessed today!

I’m Back!

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.

severed baby rattler

severed baby rattler

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

fine gold

typical return

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,

Samurai in new spot for gold prospecting

Samurai in new spot

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.

gold in the pan

color in the pan

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?

gold from day 2, 2014

gold from day 2, 2014

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! ;)

New pickers!

Still very warm (98 degrees) in the desert, so yesterday I got off to another early start to my new location that has so far, produced 7/10 of a gram in 3 trips.  Instead of hauling my gear up to the gullies origin, where the source quartz veins are exposed, I decided to carry on digging in the very bottom gully that had about a foot of flood overburden on it.  I could see where it narrowed into an impasse, right before it dumped out into a wash tributary.  There was only about 6 feet left to dig before that point, so I had at it.  During my first wash-out, I looked in the distance to see another Samurai that looked exactly like mine.  Even had black custom tubular bumpers!  The guy and his little chihuahua came over for a visit and it turns out he was just getting into desert prospecting.  He said he was from UT and he had some experience with dredging the rivers there, but still had not picked up a dry washer for proper desert prospecting.  As I panned out my concentrates, a few specks of gold appeared.  The next pan revealed the same.  I could see in his eyes that the gold bug was about to bite him.

He followed me into where I was dry washing and continued to watch.  After a couple hopper loads, he had had enough of the desert blowing off my riffle tray and into his face and took off, stating how he just had to buy a dry washer!  I believed him!  Had he stuck around, he would have seen the results of my second washout, which included two new pickers,

pickers in the pan!

pickers in the pan!

one of which must have weighed 1/10 of a gram!  If he hadn’t already been driven to buy a dry washer, this surely would have pushed him over the top!  I shoveled out & panned a few more hopper’s full of gully pay-dirt, all producing some flour gold, then proceeded to vacuum out the remains down to bedrock.  I even vacuumed up the sides of the gullies, because I knew much of the gold had fallen from the source quartz vein above.  Logically, I thought, some gold should have been trapped along the way down, right?  If it did, it must have been dug up in years past, because not a single speck of gold was there!  Since I had exhausted the pay dirt in the bottom of this gully and it was now past noon and 98 degrees, with one bottle of Powerade remaining, I decided to haul my gear back up near the source quartz veins, to continue digging down to where I just was.  This leaves nearly 25 yards of gully to excavate, but I was hopeful to add to my gold take for the day, before I had to leave.

My last trip up there had yeilded 2/10 of a gram, but I discovered an interesting clue relating to where the gold was most likely to be found.  This gully has about a foot of overburden lying on top of it, plenty of cobblestones AND…the source quartz vein was only about 20 yards from where I was digging.  Pretty good odds!  I had dug along the side walls, thinking that before water flow had carved this gully, it must have scattered placer gold somewhere along the way.  However, the only side wall that had any gold in it was where it made an elbow.  So I started to dig in the gully, down to the caliche and through to the bedrock.  I dug up 4 rounds of of pay dirt, creating 4 riffle trays full of concentrate, then closed up shop for the day.  It was already too hot and I was almost out of hydration

3-10-13 gold prospecting outing

new pickers!

.  This last round from up in the gully did produce more gold.  Albeit, only flour gold, but it topped off the day’s totals nicely, ultimately amounting to 3/10 of a gram, which, by my standards, was a nice day, even nicer, because I had a few new pickers, including one very nicer picker, to add to my collection!  To date, this new spot has yielded another gram to add to my total, which is now 21 grams, as you can see by the nifty bar graph, off in the right margin.  I left my bucket in the gully and hope the new guy with a matching Samurai, doesn’t end up exploiting my new find!

Prospecting Can Be Hazardous!

Now that mobility is not an issue in the desert, I have been able to get to places I would not have access to previously.  Broadening my horizons also broadened what I might encounter as well.  Recreational shooting is big in the Lake Havasu desert and I am now witnessing this firsthand.  On a normal day in the desert, a prospector hears shooting all around him more often than not and usually it is not a big issue.  You do get used to the sound of guns going off, even the big “thud” of someone shooting an exploding target.  But…when I hear the sound of a ricochet, seemingly echoing off a nearby canyon wall, I stop what I’m doing and take notice.  This has happened more than once.  To investigate this requires a tactical approach, so I don’t walk into the line of fire!  Believe it or not, more often than not, once I get the shooter’s attention and have a chat with them, rather than move to another part of the desert, sparing me from potential disaster, they just re-focus their target’s location, so there is allegedly no chance of any more ricochet action near where I am digging!  Damn obstinate kids!  Adults are the ones who have moved out of harm’s way, it’s been the younger kids who have refused to move!

Speaking of harm’s way:  I have seen bleeched out coyote skulls, mysterious mounds of dirt with a Mexican blanket in close proximity, near old, historic prospected areas,

femur bone

femur bone

a femur bone of what I can only hope was classic prospector’s burro, various clothing remnants and burned out vehicles.  None of these posed a threat to me, but when the weather is warm, bees are out in force, seeking hydration and that can always be found very near to where I am panning.  I carry a 5 gallon bucket of water with me and a plastic bin to pour it into, which makes panning possible.  If bees are out and about, it’s only a matter of time until one finds my bin filled with water, then only a matter of minutes until the news spreads to their friends.  This has happend so many times, I’ve lost count.  They never get aggressive and I’ve never been stung and, almost as a consolation, they emit a fragrant, sweet smell!  However, rather than tempt fate, I began to carry a spray bottle of insecticide with me. 

bees in the desert

thirsty bees

A couple squirts to the rim of the plastic bin and in the direction of any incoming bees, does the trick.  I’ve seen my share of scorpions, a tarantula and even a rattlesnake coiled up an a bush next to a hole I was digging, but have never had an incident.  On the other hand, there have been a few instances where desert critters have been in harm’s way.  For example,  it’s very common to see numerous little holes (about the size of a quarter or smaller), dug by one critter or another and sometimes these holes go undetected.  There have been a couple occasions where I have just missed severing a poor little lizard in two, because I was digging in a spot where they were covertly hanging out.  This once happened to a cute little gecko and despite them being able to shed their tail to avert being eaten, I was happy to have spotted him in time! 

western banded gecko

western banded gecko

In addition to lots of back-breaking digging and usually coming home with only tenths of a gram of gold, desert prospecting has its share of inherent hazards.   ALWAYS carry a charged cellphone!

A New Season Has Arrived!

new suzuki samurai

new suzuki samurai

After another torturous summer in Lake Havasu, September 2012 offered more opportunity to wake up at sunrise and dig until around noon, when the temps still climbed into the 100′s!  This season will be different because I was able to pickup a Suzuki Samurai!  No more restrictions on where I was able to prospect, due to the limitations of driving a 3/4 ton GMC van.  Now the Bison Wash playing field was leveled! 

My first destination in the new Samurai was a new spot on a very steep incline with lots of loose gravel, crumbly, exposed bedrock, and…unbeknownst to me, camouflaged broken palo verde stumps…just jagged enough to puncture the all-terrain tire of my Samurai!  Yes…that’s exactly what happened!  My very first prospecting trip with the Samurai resulted in my having to make a mad dash to the place I bought its new tires and hope the punctured tire did not deflate enough to cause problems on the way.  Keep in mind, at this juncture, I’m miles deep into the desert and the trails are anything but level!  The dash is on!  I arrived at Discount Tire with the new tire completely deflated.  I was riding on the rim at this point and somewhat frazzled thinking that because I drove on a flat tire for several miles, the outcome could have been much different!  One might ask: “where was your spare tire?”.  It was sitting in my garage, because the newly purchased Samurai did not have a jack, so having a spare would have been useless.  To this day, I’ve been rolling the dice, because I still do not have that jack!

After a few more trips to this new location, that had produced too little gold to warrant further trips, I moved on to another new spot, one that had all the signs of bearing placer gold:  a basin-shaped little outcropping, exposed bedrock and plenty of cobblestones covering the hillsides surrounding it.  I began to dig…and dig…and dig, until the hole was about chest deep and 6 feet in diameter. 

placer gold, prospecting, lake havasu city, az

prospecting a new big hole

Every couple feet I ran a few loads of dirt through the dry washer, then panned out the concentrates, all to find absolutely no gold!  I still had not reached the bottom, where the bedrock was still hiding, but just could not go on any further.  I was discouraged and needed to put more gold into my vial.  So I decided to head back to an area that had had produced a nice amount of gold in the past, to see if I had missed some:  The Big Hill.  I was eager to start digging here again, first, because of my new Samurai, I no longer had to haul all my gear up the steep, jagged, 1/4 mile trail to the landing and secondly, because I felt confident there would be more gold.  I was right, there was more gold!  My first trip yeilded 1/2 a gram, a very good day for amateur propspectors in Lake Havasu!

placer gold prospecting, lake havasu, az

view from the big hill

The next day it rained!  This means that every time it does rain (yes, it does rain in the desert from time to time), prospectors have to wait until the ground dries out.  this is necessary because we dry wash dirt and when dirt is wet, it simply does not cascade down the riffle tray on the dry washer.  The dry time is much longer in the winter months, because the temps only average in the 60′s.  After a rain, it can take up to two weeks before one can successfully begin desert prospecting again.

Season #1 Draws to a Close. Time to Sell.

Since my dad’s visit in April, 2012, I had several more outings and found a few nice new pickers and a decent amount of fines. They came from locations previously visited, like The Big Hill, Black Rock Canyon and the Swimming Pool. Many new areas were explored and none of them turned out to be mainstays, like the one’s just referenced. That shows just how difficult it is to find good, reliable spots to dig in Lake Havasu’s Bison area washes. The snowbirds (retired winter visitors to Havasu) had already headed home and the weather pattern was changing.

Warm weather is becoming the norm, not the exception this time of year (April / May) and that means a steady dose of 100+ degree temps is just around the corner. Time to take stock of season one gold totals and decide what to keep and what to sell. I decided that I’d keep my pickers and sell my “fines”. I later discovered this to be pretty normal among amateur prospectors. Now I needed to find a place to buy my fines. I polled the online gold prospecting community at Treasurenet and the consensus was to package it up and send it to Midwest Refineries in Michigan. I first spoke with a guy there who informed me they had been in the biz for over 60 years. That made me feel more comfortable about a scenario in which I had to trust someone and not have the opportunity to take my gold and walk out the door if I did not like their assessment. I was also happy to learn they pay 95% of spot. This means 95% of current market value, based on their assessment of the gold’s purity. I had 7.5 grams of fines

7.5 grams of lake havasu gold

7.5 grams of gold to sell

to sell and asked local longtime prospector, Rick, his estimation regarding Lake Havasu’s gold purity.  He told me that I could expect somewhere around 85% to 90%. When speaking to the guy at Midwest Refineries, he explained they have a minimum quantity before they would assay gold and it was 3 ounces! He explained that in cases like mine, they melt down the gold into a button shape, then x-ray it, to reveal impurities, then, and this is the part I did not like, guesstimate what they believe the purity to be. Because of what Rick told me, I was prepared to hear something in the 80% – 90% range, so when the refinery guy’s report came back to be only 72%, I was not happy! That, combined with the current price of gold at the lowest it’s been for over a year, $1533.00 per troy ounce, I ended up with a check for just under $250.00! Not nearly what I was expecting! So…what I ended up with was only 67% of spot! All this effort and only $250.00 to show for it, well…that plus my retained pickers and a season’s worth of prospecting knowledge under my belt. That’s amateur prospecting for you! Sometimes you get lucky, most of the time you come home with a couple tenths of a gram and a sore body!

Dad Digs It!

small gold nugget

nice picker

My dad, who, like the rest of my family, lives in suburban Chicago, called and informed me he and his wife would be driving out west to visit select locations, including Lake Havasu for Easter.  I asked him if they would be interested in joining me on a prospecting trip and they said they would.  I had recently discovered a new location in the Bison area that had already produced a nice picker and some flour gold, so I was confident I would at least be able to show him some color.  At this juncture, I was still driving the 3/4 ton van and they had a PT Cruiser.  Luckily, this location was relatively easy to access with any vehicle and just as easy to setup all the gear and…was only about 12 – 14″ to the bedrock!  I showed him where I was digging and explained how to run the dirt through the dry washer.  I had previously started a new dig hole that needed vacuuming, so dad took a shovel and started to dig a new one.

dad digging for gold

dad digging for gold

  After emptying a few riffle trays of concentrate, I showed dad how to pan them.  During all this, his wife Barb didn’t seem too enthused about participating, so she wandered off to do some rock-hounding.  For those of you who haven’t visited the desert, it’s very easy to become a bit intrigued with all that lies on the desert floor!  Because of the vast expanse, unobstructed by a landscape full of trees and shrubs, like the Midwest, so much more can be seen with the naked eye.  After many years here, I have personally collected my share of cool rocks and minerals.  Among my collection are loads of little garnets, pyrite, several “desert roses” (in our location, they are comprised of once molton quartz, frozen in time), many different shades of quartz, and even meteorites!  The list goes on.  After a couple hours of digging, dry washing and panning, we had indeed found some gold,unfortunately no more than a tenth of a gram.  If I were going solo, I would have continued on until sunset, but I could see it was time to head home.  This illustrates how gold prospecting can be fun for the whole family!

Time To Upgrade

After using my rigged puffer dry washer to be a blower-powerd dry washer, I knew the tiny surface area of the hopper would eventually be limiting.  That time had come.  It is now February, 2012 and I began to explore the possibilities of upgrading my dirt processing equipment.  Because I was financially challenged (still am!), I knew buying a new Keene or Gold Buddy was way out of my budget, so I began to look at alternative ways of ending up with a blower-powered dry washer that would’nt cost me an arm and a leg.  I recalled an old acquaintance of mine had picked up an old classifier from a garage sale and never used it, so I gave old Doug a call.  He said I could come by and pick it up, for free!  Now that I had the hopper part of the dry washer figured out, I had to somehow create the important part of it, the riffle tray and box. 

home made drywasher

home made drywasher

I also had to figure out how to make a weighted fan to create the vibration necessary to make material travel freely down the riffle tray.  I purchased some sheets of 3/8″ wood and some 1/2″ x 1/2″ square dowel material to add strength to the corners.  I designed it on paper then fabricated a box with a hole in the floor, that was cut from an old real estate sign I gathered from a foreclosure trashout (a former business of mine).  This hole was to house the fitting for my 3″ RV waste hose, that will connect to the Toro leaf blower / vac, that would provide the airflow necessary to spin the weighted fan mounted on top of this hole, slightly off-center, to catch more of the airflow and account for greater rpm’s.  Next I had to fabricate a fan that would rotate on bearings I used from an old pair of rollerblades.  This setup worked fine until the frequency of the bearings becoming seized up from all the dust blowing into them from the drywashing process was too great  I had to break down and buy a Gold Buddy’s replacement fan.  This came complete with allegedly sealed bearings, but even this professionally fabricated fan required bearing servicing almost every 6 outings.  Sealed bearings, my a**!  One more fun fact…the material used to line the floor, underneath the riffle tray was old screenprinting fabric from a local screenprinting acquaintance of mine.  Ironically, I owned a screenprint company for 13 years!  This new setup allowed me to also fabricate a blower / vac powered vacuum. 

leaf blower powered gold vacuum

leaf blower powered gold vacuum

This came from an old 6 gallon shop vac combined with the leaf blower / vac mounted into it.  This is extremely useful for desert prospecting, because of all the cracks and crevices present, once you get down to bedrock.  These areas can only produce gold if you have the means to vacuum it out and now I did!

 Now that I had a more proper dry washer, I was able to process more material that I dug and / or vacuumed from the desert, which would mean more gold.  This did end up being the case, as the average amount of gold I brought home increased.  Granted, I still had to find gold-producing spots and I’m still only finding tenths of a gram per trip, but it beats what I was taking home!

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.

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?