Tag Archives: havasu

Man, It’s Hot!

It’s consistently in the 100-teens in Lake Havasu and there’s no escaping it.  Night time lows are in the upper 80′s, low 90′s, so waking up at the crack of dawn and getting to the dig site by 6:00 am has little-to-no advantage.

placer gold, fine gold with pickers

4/10 of a gram and 112 degrees!

So it figures that on what just might be my last prospecting trip of the season, due to extreme heat,  I have a very good outing…for me.  I ended the 4+ hour gold digging adventure with 4/10 of a gram!  Lots of fines and 6 little pickers!   One tenth of a  gram an hour certainly works for me!  With monsoon season just around the corner, bringing with it high humidity (60% humidity is  high for Arizona, especially when  it’s in the 100-teens), it will be tough to make it back into the desert to continue on with a fruitful new placer gold spot, that has, to date, yielded over 3 grams!  I am certainly gold bug bitten, but I hate to admit that the common sense bug will probably prevail.  We’ll see how long the extreme temps can keep me away from a nice gold producing spot.  I’m also very curious to see if leaving behind my bucket with a big rock on top deters others from digging in my well-excavated gully.  I hope desert prospecting courtesy works!  To date, I have surpassed my 2012 totals and I still have 6 months left until the end of the year.  This is shaping up to be my best year yet!  I suppose this is evidence that experience is the best teacher!  I’m sure I have made close to 100, if not slightly more, gold prospecting trips since I began in late 2010.

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!