Tag Archives: gully

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!

Havasu Heats Up

This time of year, our temps start touching the 100′s, which means prospecting season is coming to an end…until fall.  Today I had no work booked, so I packed up my gear and headed to my local digging spot, here in Lake Havasu, AZ, all before 7 am!  I had tested out a new spot Saturday morning that had yielded 2/10 of a gram so I headed back to that spot today.  This new spot is in a series of gullies, all having plenty of “cobblestones” scattered all over the hillsides, where bedrock is randomly exposed.

gully for placer gold prospecting

gullies in the hillsides in lake havasu, arizona

All the classic signs that make the presence of gold more likely. What also made it likely were the remnants of former tailing piles.  I had previously dug down to the bottom of an elbow of a gully and vacuumed down to the bedrock to gather my 2/10 of a gram.  I still had loads of overburden further downhill, into the inside part of an “elbow”, so I figured there might still be some gold left for me today.  After running several hoppers full of dirt and panning the concentrates, I only had a couple small specks of gold.  Not very encouraging, to say the least!  I started to look around the gullies and saw many of their origins at the top of each hillside, had plenty of the “cobblestones” present.  I looked for likely places to begin prospecting and picked a spot where the path of the gully had an elbow

on top of gulley, placer gold

on top of gulley

as well as a leveled off section, where the water, as it made its way down the gully, could slow down and allow the placer gold to be caught up in the bedrock or accumulations of gravel and / or clay.  Since my dry washer was still setup at the bottom of the gully, I lugged my pick, shovel and 3 buckets up the hill and started breaking through the clusters of crusted together cobblestones.  After filling three buckets with overburden, I lugged them back down to my dry washer and started to run the new dirt.  After panning the concentrates, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a fair amount of color.  Enough to motivate me to pack up the dry washer and its wooden stand and hike it up to the most level spot on top of the gully.  At this point, it was around noon and the temps were already around 100 degrees and I had only one full bottle of Powerade remaining!

gold in the pan

gold in the pan

I was able to process three more rounds of concentrates and ended up having nice pans, all having multiple pieces each.  The photo to the left is a typical pan from today.  Unfortunately for me, no pickers were present, but I knew I had acquired a nice new amount of gold to add to my 2013 total!  By now it was nearly 2 pm and the sun was at its peak hot-ness.  Despite wearing my new swap-meet straw hat, which did keep the sun off my face and neck, I was out of Powerade and water and I was pretty beat from all the digging and walking up and down the hillside numerous times, so I had to call it a day.  Once arriving home, I had a look at a thermometer I had hanging in my back porch, which is in the shade.  It was 103 in the shade, meaning it was obviously hotter in the direct sun, where I was digging!  I left a bucket in a hole where I was finding the gold and since it’s in a pretty difficult place to get in to, I feel confident no one will happen to discover it and exploit my progress.

After drying out the gold, it weighed in at 3/10 of a gram, which for me, based on past outings, equates to a good day.

3/10 of a gram of gold

3/10 of a gram of gold

Since the weather pattern is evolving into steady 100 degree days, I will need to wake up early to dig from this point forward and finish in the early afternoon.  Digging days are definitely numbered, so I feel kind of lucky to have found what appears to be a new, fruitful spot, near the end of the season!