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.
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
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
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
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!