Tag Archives: picker

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!

Return to “Big Hill”.

After abandoning the “Swimming Pool”, rather than begin prospecting for a new spot, I decided to go back to an area that had produced a decent amount of gold, the “Big Hill”.  This is the spot that required me to carry all my gear on a hand truck, up a steep, 1/4 mile rocky trail, to a landing, that always left me gasping for air!  Why all this work?  Because I might find that elusive nugget!

 

During my second washout of the drywasher’s concentrates, I found a nice picker!

gold nugget

Big Hill picker

You can see there was also a few little specks of “flour gold” present in this pan.  Believe it or not, this is reward enough for all the digging I did, all in a little wash, on a 60 degree incline.  As if all this digging was not enough, I encountered this gnarly desert-dwelling spider.  Being from the Chicago area, even after 13+ years living in Arizona, I am still fascinated with indigenous critters.  So much so, that I still have to pull out the camera and snap off a few pics each time I encounter something new.  You never know what you’ll see in the desert, or…in your own backyard, for that matter.  You will notice that the spider is on a shop vac hose that was used to vacuum up cracks and crevices in the exposed bedrock along the walls of the Big Hill. 

desert spider

Cool desert spider

These results warranted another few visits to the Big Hill.  Visits that all produced gold.  There were many many more unexplored areas at Bison and it was time to roll the dice and have a look around.  Note:  on average, during the season (months where the temps are not in the 100′s, which is essentially, Sept. – May), I get to the desert a couple times per week.  In the beginning, there might be more than one trip where I found absolutely nothing.  As time moved forward, I was able to inventory numerous spots that had produced gold and as a result, became “fallback” areas.  These are valuable, because even though you had left because of lack of production, there is a real chance gold could be found just a few feet from where you were digging.  On to a new spot!