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Lanny in AB

What you can't see just might be . . .

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Hi Lanny

You have to tell us where we can buy the book your going to publish, we reallyenjoyed your stories

 

"Doc" Parsons

 

Now Doc, that's a very nice compliment--I thank you sincerely. If I ever publish a book--I'll let you know. Until then, warmest thanks for your kind words.

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

 

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Hi Lanny,

 

Did you custom make that bag at the end?

 

Yup--PM me or email me and we can talk about it.

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

 

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Hi there,

 

Just a quick little story from this summer's prospecting adventures. (This is for you resident nugget shooters/hunters.)

 

Two semi-cheechako's (semi-greenhorns/semi-pro rookies) were visiting the claim this summer. They are both nice, budding prospectors with a knack for finding the noble metal. They were working a patch of fractured bedrock that had produced consistent flake-gold and pickers the previous summer. Both of them had spent time with me on previous trips at this spot, and they'd learned a few tricks about how to find the gold.

 

Well, semi-cheechako one really went to town cleaning off the overburden on that bedrock--the cobbles, the clay, the boulders, the gravel--he went hard at it, working a couple of feet right down to the bedrock. It was a lot of sweaty work. Let me tell you, there were some big old boulders jammed into that bedrock. After he'd removed all the bigger stuff, and when he got done scraping everything off, he ran his takin's through a little sluice, and he had a respectable catch of some nice bright-yellow flake gold, all riding company with a few chunky pickers.

 

Not long after that, semi-cheechako two came along with his detector, and he asked number one if he could detect the bedrock he'd just cleaned off. Number one said he had no problem with that, as he'd carefully cleared the cracks and crevices already. He told number two to have at 'er. So, number two ran his detector along the bedrock and got a nice signal that really screamed! You see, it was a sassy little nugget right along the surface, just hiding in plain sight, cleverly disguised in some muddy clay!

 

Well, number one really went all Trojan after that--he cleared off another four feet of bedrock, man did the dirt and rock fly! It took him a long time, and he really made sure each and every crevice was scraped extra clean--including any clay stuck on the bedrock (he's a quick study). As before, he had a nice take of gold in his sluice-box. Number two came along one more time and asked if he could detect the bedrock again. Number one, being very confident he'd gotten all of the gold this time, graciously gave his consent.

 

Budding prospector number two ran his detector over the bedrock and got a nice soft signal out of a crevice. Number one was getting nervous. Number two got out his pick and broke off some perpendicular sheets of bedrock and scanned again--the signal was much louder now. He cleaned the crevice out, portioned the dirt until only the signal remained--dropped it on the coil, splashed a little water on it to remove the clay, and there with all the attitude of the unbridled wilderness-world sat a nice, sassy, butter-yellow pumpkin-seed-sized nugget! To say that number one was not a happy camper is to use understatement on steroids (strangely enough, things went flying-- dark words were given vibrant colors--nature's gentler creatures headed for higher ground--you get the picture); but, eventually number one was a good sport about it--he had given his permission after all--so, as you can imagine, they both had some great stories to tell back in camp that night--painful though it was for number one to do so. And now--only a scant five months later--they both have a good laugh when they tell the story. I'm thinking number one may be investing in a metal detector soon, and scanning his own bedrock! :rolleyes:

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

 

Here's a shot I just found today of some of the mini-sluice concentrates of flake gold and pickers mentioned earlier in the story. If I find the other pictures, I'll post them too. (A bunch of my picture files got corrupted somehow--I genuinely hate it when that happens! If I'm lucky, I didn't erase the original disks, but it's not likely.)

 

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v709/Lannyinab/IMGP7682-1.jpg

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Hi there,

 

Just a quick little story from this summer's prospecting adventures. (This is for you resident nugget shooters/hunters.)

 

Two semi-cheechako's (semi-greenhorns/semi-pro rookies) were visiting the claim this summer. They are both nice, budding prospectors with a knack for finding the noble metal. They were working a patch of fractured bedrock that had produced consistent flake-gold and pickers the previous summer. Both of them had spent time with me on previous trips at this spot, and they'd learned a few tricks about how to find the gold.

 

Well, semi-cheechako one really went to town cleaning off the overburden on that bedrock--the cobbles, the clay, the boulders, the gravel--he went hard at it, working a couple of feet right down to the bedrock. It was a lot of sweaty work. Let me tell you, there were some big old boulders jammed into that bedrock. After he'd removed all the bigger stuff, and when he got done scraping everything off, he ran his takin's through a little sluice, and he had a respectable catch of some nice bright-yellow flake gold, all riding company with a few chunky pickers.

 

Not long after that, semi-cheechako two came along with his detector, and he asked number one if he could detect the bedrock he'd just cleaned off. Number one said he had no problem with that, as he'd carefully cleared the cracks and crevices already. He told number two to have at 'er. So, number two ran his detector along the bedrock and got a nice signal that really screamed! You see, it was a sassy little nugget right along the surface, just hiding in plain sight, cleverly disguised in some muddy clay!

 

Well, number one really went all Trojan after that--he cleared off another four feet of bedrock, man did the dirt and rock fly! It took him a long time, and he really made sure each and every crevice was scraped extra clean--including any clay stuck on the bedrock (he's a quick study). As before, he had a nice take of gold in his sluice-box. Number two came along one more time and asked if he could detect the bedrock again. Number one, being very confident he'd gotten all of the gold this time, graciously gave his consent.

 

Budding prospector number two ran his detector over the bedrock and got a nice soft signal out of a crevice. Number one was getting nervous. Number two got out his pick and broke off some perpendicular sheets of bedrock and scanned again--the signal was much louder now. He cleaned the crevice out, portioned the dirt until only the signal remained--dropped it on the coil, splashed a little water on it to remove the clay, and there with all the attitude of the unbridled wilderness-world sat a nice, sassy, butter-yellow pumpkin-seed-sized nugget! To say that number one was not a happy camper is to use understatement on steroids (strangely enough, things went flying-- dark words were given vibrant colors--nature's gentler creatures headed for higher ground--you get the picture); but, eventually number one was a good sport about it--he had given his permission after all--so, as you can imagine, they both had some great stories to tell back in camp that night--painful though it was for number one to do so. And now--only a scant five months later--they both have a good laugh when they tell the story. I'm thinking number one may be investing in a metal detector soon, and scanning his own bedrock! :rolleyes:

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

 

 

 

Great story! The world of prospecting will be at a loss if you don't put a collection of your stories together on hard copy. I can't imagine too many prospector's libraries going without it. Fun reading.

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Great story! The world of prospecting will be at a loss if you don't put a collection of your stories together on hard copy. I can't imagine too many prospector's libraries going without it. Fun reading.

 

Thanks for your gracious words, and generous compliments.

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

 

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Just thought I'd post a picture of a Northern nugget shooting expedition--the defender shotgun (also used for an indispensable role in the nugget shooting outing)is not an option, as the cougars and bear are for real, which all makes for intriguing detecting fun!(On a side note--you'll also notice the hand-stacked rocks from the shallow bedrock that was uncovered in the 1800's by the old-timers.)

 

http://www.arizonaoutback.ipbhost.com/uploads/monthly_01_2010/post-558-126353423793_thumb.jpg

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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The water in the stream where I dredge is incredibly clear. This is a shot of a nice nugget sitting exactly where I uncovered it on the bedrock during dredge season, after I'd carefully suctioned all of the overburden and silt away. I have a little underwater Pentax camera that takes stills and video, and I'll often take shots of the trout swimming around--in addition to the photos of the pickers and nuggets. Since the water is so pristine, it looks just like this picture was taken in the air, above the surface, instead of underwater! There's a couple of pickers and a flake above, and to the right of the nugget--above and to the right of the loose piece of fractured gray bedrock sitting on the black bedrock. (I'll see if I can dig up a picture of a trout or two for a later post.)

 

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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Seriously, Ray and others--everyone is too kind--thanks for all the kind words and encouragement. I promised I'd try to round up a picture of a trout so you could see how clear the water is. Well, I found one--here it is. You'll notice the lip of the bedrock shelf just off the nose of the trout and to the left, where it drops behind the angled cobble.

 

 

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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Fluke or Destiny

 

Now, this is a nugget story that’s a bit different from your average hunt. It took place in a very steep canyon with black slate bedrock running from the rim, about eighty feet above the stream level in fact, all the way down to the river proper. The pitch of the canyon walls is about sixty-five to seventy degrees. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to climb rock walls that are even forty-five degrees in pitch—it’s no easy task, what with the loose, jagged slabs, and the stray cobbles and bits of river-run from the old channel placers, but if you bump that pitch up around the 65-70 degree range, well—downright dangerous and pretty-much impossible are some descriptors that invade the brain. Moreover, I’ve often overridden my dim prospector’s brain to engage in feats of nugget shooting that never should have gotten off the ground—if you’ll just excuse the pun, why I’ll engage you in the tale.

 

Well, I found myself staring down at that glacial river far below. I’d been detecting the bench high above the black slate and had found a pouch full of square nails, bits of tin can, pieces of lead, some big bore black powder slugs with grease grooves, and some rifled balls of round black powder pistol shot; as well as, small, rusted pieces of iron wire. In addition, there were these crazy, white little round magnetic balls—some kind of natural iron I’m guessing—as they sure weren’t magnetite—but were nothing but trouble nonetheless. (I don’t use discrimination mode—I dig and visually ID it all—found a great nugget once that was supposed to be iron—it even sounded exactly like a round nail sounds, but it sure was a dandy nugget instead!)

 

So, what I hadn’t found yet in my frenzied diggings was any gold. I’d been unnerved once or twice by some loud snapping twigs and even by some heavyweight crashing through the brush of some large, Boreal forest animals, but nothing of the carnivore family had yet to preset itself—just a cow moose (dangerous and crazy in their own right) and a couple of deer. The day was hot and sunny—summer was feeling its mid-solar bloom—the rustling, conspiratorial pines and fir were gossipy neighbors whispering their secretive comments as I went about my strange, seemingly ritualistic diggings. Furthermore, in the busybody branches of those trees, a brusque brown squirrel scorched the air several times with his colorful tapestry of harsh, disapproving dialogue, all of it directed energetically toward me as he chattered his displeasure at my unwanted intrusions.

 

After his last, lengthy chastisement, I stood back and surveyed the ground once again. Stretching before me was an area the Argonauts had worked extensively in the 1800’s—thousands and thousands of them had stacked the cobbles and boulders on the bedrock in this now secluded area. Known as shallow diggin’s—there was only three to six feet of overburden covering the gold on the rock. In places, the hosting bedrock was heavily fractured, in others, it was smooth and harder than bunker concrete. I had been working an area with fractured bedrock, next to the lip of the canyon, and it's irregular composition is why it had trapped all of the trash I’ve previously mentioned. However, on closer inspection of the bordering ground, I noticed areas where the old-timers had pushed rock and debris over the canyon rim—perhaps as part of a sluicing operation. I postulated that gold might have been pushed over, or washed over during mining as well. I tried to detect down the slope, but it was impossible to maintain any footing, and the razor-edged slabs of up-thrusting slate will slice you deep in seconds. So, I decided to walk along the rim until I intersected the cut that led down to the river.

 

I made my way to the river bottom and found myself looking back up at the cliff face. I walked along until I located a patch of river-run clinging to an out-thrust of bedrock just beneath the rim’s lip, directly below where I’d been detecting. I started swinging the detector and came up with the usual suspects—a cornucopia of iron trash, along with a couple of flattened slugs—one modern with its metal jacket, the other ancient with its gray patina. I struggled to make headway up the slope, but kept slipping and sliding. I reached down once with my free hand to slow my descent as I stumbled and stared to slide, and I got a quick gash in the meaty part of my palm for my efforts.

 

Nevertheless, since I had dragged a shovel along, I cut some steps in the slump that collects where the bedrock thrusts away from the face in random areas. With these efforts, I gained some temporary purchase. I arced the detector around as far as I could to each side, got a couple of targets, worked my way over to them with the aforementioned precarious technique, but found only the head of a large square nail, and the tip of a smaller one. I’d worked my way up about a quarter of the way from the valley floor, but could not go much farther. I decided that I’d extend the detector shaft as far as I could, and reach up as high as I could—thank heavens I was using the little Joey coil on the Minelab—even then, my arm was lobbying like a union lawyer for a break!

 

Nonetheless, I persisted. At the top of the uphill swing, and I mean with the tip of the coil straight overhead, I got a scream! Of course, the first thing that goes through your mind with a screamer is iron, close to the surface, right? Well, I was tired, and I’d already collected enough iron that day to make several horseshoes, but I’m a rather stubborn sort when it comes to signals. So, I swung the detector up again and got the same screech. Then, I hacked away some new footholds and gingerly worked my way up. After all of those efforts, there was no way I wasn't going to see what that target was. At last, I finally got up to where I could stretch my arm enough to reach the signal with my plastic scoop—there was only a thin layer of crushed bedrock clinging to that slope, but when I pulled the scoop back down, the target was securely captured—the detector bore witness to that.

 

The surprising thing was that there were only several tablespoons of material in that scoop, but there was definitely a noisy little something hiding underneath it. After only a bit of shaking, quartering, tossing and sifting, I had that sassy two gram and a quarter beauty in my hand. It was flat, curved and crinkled all along one edge—just the kind of nugget that might get flipped up and over the riffles of a big sluice box, or maybe it had just been hanging out on that black bedrock slope for untold eons patiently watching the river go by. Who knows? But, what a fluke, right? Perhaps, or maybe it was destiny, fueled by stubbornness and dumb-risk. Regardless, it’s now mine, as is the tale of its discovery.

 

Here's a picture of some bedrock running down into the river:

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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Lanny ... in my college days in the early 70's I would have climbed those rock faces ... I was a member of the Norwich University Mountain and Cold Weather rescue team ... we did that stuff all the time but with ropes and pitons! But you sound like quite an adventurer and it sounds as if you are free climbing those slopes ... maybe you should try a belay off a tree or two up top and rapell over the edge if you think there might be more up there! I wouldn't venture to do that as a loner though ... I would suggest at least one other person for safety if you do something like that.

 

Be careful out there and keep the stories coming!

 

Mike F

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I’ve seen old wooden and rope scaffolding built by the Gold Rush Chinese laborers along cliff faces like that above the Snake River in Idaho, and in several places in California, and a ruin of one in the Bradshaw Mountains of Arizona. It really makes you think about how desperate people were, and the power gold has to make men do mad things! Great Story and Picture – Thanks for the post Lanny! - Terry

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Lanny ... in my college days in the early 70's I would have climbed those rock faces ... I was a member of the Norwich University Mountain and Cold Weather rescue team ... we did that stuff all the time but with ropes and pitons! But you sound like quite an adventurer and it sounds as if you are free climbing those slopes ... maybe you should try a belay off a tree or two up top and rapell over the edge if you think there might be more up there! I wouldn't venture to do that as a loner though ... I would suggest at least one other person for safety if you do something like that.

 

Be careful out there and keep the stories coming!

 

Mike F

 

Mike--I've done some training for caving, mountain climbing, and rescue work with the ropes and equipment, and I've been Spelunking and mountaineering too. I've used all the equipment before. The rock face in the photo is a spot a bit farther downstream from where I got the nugget--I'm only showing it as an exemplar--I can't give away all of my secret locations now can I--and as you can see it's vertical, and even a bit inverted. But, that's what that black bedrock looks like upstream, except for where I hunted it's steeply sloped in that 65-70 degree range--but not impossible to scrabble and hack your way up. I do know a couple of nugget hunters who took ropes and equipment to a face across the river that was inverted, and it had an out-thrust about a third of the way down, before it went inverted again. The cliff was about fifty feet high, and for whatever reason, it caught a whack of gold. They took some beautiful nuggets off of that lip with their detectors. For me, I've never taken the equipment up yet, but may in the future, and if I do, I'll have someone on belay. Your comments remind me of a story.

 

I used to be a firefighter when I was younger. I knew a firefighter from a neighboring city. He told me that they used to go and train up in the mountains in this huge gorge in the late fall and winter time when the dam above the gorge was seasonally shut off. Now, I've been to that gorge in the summer time when the water is hooting through there and as you stand and look down, to where the entire river is pinched into a trough about fifteen to twenty feet wide, well, the entire canyon walls just sit there and shake and shudder as that old river roars through there. But, like I said, they trained there after the river was shut off by the dam in the late fall and winter. Now, there's a nugget hunting story tied in here, and I'll write it later today as it's quite fascinating. But, I've got to run right now.

 

Thanks for the care and concern--I've never gone scrabbling up that bedrock chasing another nugget yet--the last find was a bit too hair-raising, but when I do, I'll be outfitted proper.

 

Thanks again, and all the best,

 

Lanny

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I’ve seen old wooden and rope scaffolding built by the Gold Rush Chinese laborers along cliff faces like that above the Snake River in Idaho, and in several places in California, and a ruin of one in the Bradshaw Mountains of Arizona. It really makes you think about how desperate people were, and the power gold has to make men do mad things! Great Story and Picture – Thanks for the post Lanny! - Terry

 

Terry--I've seen similar structures dangling down vertical canyon faces--those old-timers went to amazing lengths to get the gold, as I've done from time to time too--the gold has led me to do some mad and crazy things as well. I've got some stories kicking around about a couple of real nutty hiking experiments I've been through that make me wonder what the heck I was thinkin'! Just like the above story of that nugget find. It seems like your head is always a lot clearer the winter after one of those heated summer chases!!

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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So, back to the story about the firefighter. . . .

 

He and his buddies would head up late in the fall to train in this gorge. Well, one of the fire crew had some previous experience in gold hunting, and when they rappelled down to the bottom of the gorge, he noticed all of these exposed, fractured bedrock sheets and he got poking around, and you guessed it, there was coarse gold jammed in the cracks and crevices of that now dry gorge.

 

So, the next times they went back it was on rappelling/training/nugget hunting expeditions! They took some metal detectors, bars, hammers, chisels and went to town on the bedrock in that gorge. Now I know they found nuggets, because of the story given to me by the one member of the crew from the neighboring city. But, I don't know how much gold exactly, but it was good enough that they went back over and over again.

 

The guy I knew said they were nice nuggets, but that they were hammered flat. And, that makes perfect sense as that gorge would be a regular ball-mill. Any gold passing through there with any rocks and boulders would really get pounded and churned.

 

Now, there's another part to this story. I went and visited that site--there was evidence of the old-timers all over the area--old building sites, tin cans from the 1800's, all the old bits and pieces so typical of past mining sites. But, there's more to this story. Several years after I met the firefighter and he told me his tale, I met a retired couple that had mined for many years in an area close to the one I've described, and they told me a story of a friend of theirs that used to get nuggets from that gorge. But, he got them off the bedrock at the top!

 

He used to take a big bar and pry up the sheets of bedrock and go down two to three feet and then detect. They said he found lots of nice gold--but that it was hammered flat. Sound familiar? The way I see it that old gorge has been hammering gold for untold thousands of years and that water action has just been cutting its way down deeper and deeper. So, the gold from long ago got stranded up high, like it usually does.

 

The retired couple said they gave it a try, and that the gold was there, but that it was hard, grueling work--way too tough for them to keep at it. I went to the area they described and you could see right where that friend of theirs had worked--man he moved a lot of bedrock! The rock was in sheets, fractured every several feet, and you could see why the gold had got trapped. The area is part of a park now and there's no way I'll be digging there, but the story is quite fascinating. As for the gorge and the rappelling--who knows--maybe some day I'll make the descent and check it out--the gold's not going anywhere.

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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Great narration and awesome pics Lanny, you'd definitely make a good author! I'm sure I'll see your name amongst the prospecting publications soon...

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Thanks a bunch Lunk--I really appreciate the feedback. I've enjoyed reading your saga.

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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Dumb, dumb, and dumber!

 

A while back, when I was first learning how to hunt nuggets with the incredible 2100, I was in an area, way up north, that had some of the hottest bedrock I’ve ever come across in my life—black graphite schist. I’d tried a bunch of detectors and none of them would handle that rock—the entire goldfield was infused with it—so it wasn’t like you could find very many places to hunt where you didn’t have to deal with it.

 

Now, a couple of memories surface in connection with this hunt, and one involves a huge sheet of this bedrock that was part of the road into a claim where I found a stunningly beautiful 6 gram nugget that ran at 92% fine! It had the most character of any nugget I’ve ever found, but that’s another story, and I digress, as I usually do in one of my gold reminiscing moods.

 

This sheet of mother rock, as I’ve stated, was part of the road. I’ll back up for just a minute to give a few details about the drive into this claim. We had to take an old, unmaintained logging road to get in, and as we’d never been there before, we were following verbal directions given to us by the miners that had the lease on the claim. So, we got about half way up this canyon and that road turned downright hairy! There were lots of places where we scraped bottom and this was in a high clearance Dodge diesel 4X4. In fact, it got so bad, my partner wanted to turn around, if only he could have found a spot to do so. The road was bordered on the high side by huge pines, fir, and balsam—it was in an area with a lot of mature trees. The sunlight did its “golden rays filtering through the treetops” light show at frequent intervals and ravens and humming birds made regular appearances. However, the downside of the road was not like nature’s warm and friendly encounters at all, and we had to be alert at every turn and blind rise in the road, as we were completely unfamiliar with the risk potential of terrain and the condition of the roadbed.

 

Well, we finally got to where we could see an excavation in the distance and all at once there was a long dip in the road, and it had, what I can best describe as, a small lake nestled in it. The water extended for about thirty feet. Upon reaching it, we took the outside edge of that hole, keeping one wheel riding the rim of that steep, outside slope. We got through, but the driver’s side dipped way down into the water and it was a close thing. Regardless, we got to that excavation I’ve mentioned, which was an old open-pit placer operation where a previously large drift mine had been excavated and opened. As fate would have it, there was a caretaker there—even though this area was remote.

 

Well that caretaker, his mouth dropped open at seeing us, and he asked us how we’d managed to get in. We told him about our sketchy trip in and then he questioned us about the watery stretch on the road. We told him how we’d negotiated it, and he went on to explain how lucky we’d been. The week before, they’d driven one of those huge British Army Surplus six-wheel drives into the middle of that hole, sunk it up to the box, and had to bring in a D-8 to pull it out! We just looked at him and shook our heads, glad that somehow we’d straddled the lip and stayed upright. After a few more exchanges of greetings and updates on the news of the outside world, we got additional directions on how to reach the claim. We headed uphill again, the grade was now quite extreme, and we came to the sheet of bedrock I’ve mentioned.

 

It formed the middle of the road for about twenty-five feet. I had my partner pull over so I could detect it with the Minelab. I got square nail after square nail, all of them medium sized and down. Let me tell you, that ground was hot—I could only run the machine by flipping the switch to access just one side of the electronics. That dark hotbed was stepped up like a stairway carved from stone—it had natural traps all over it. I wasn’t very experienced in nugget hunting at the time, and I quickly came to the conclusion that this place had only trapped square nails; however, now that I reflect on it, I repeatedly wonder what I truly left behind. I only detected a fraction of that sheet, as I was in a hurry to get to the claim! Hindsight is often a cruel master of delayed recognition and missed opportunities—no one with a VLF had detected that rock—it was far too extreme and still littered with targets. I’m sure I left gold—that specific area was loaded with it, and those square nails were a sure sign it hadn’t been cleaned.

 

Not too long afterwards, we came to an excavation that someone had dug right beside the road. They’d moved some big boulders and had hit bedrock at about the eight-foot level. The bottom of the hole was filled with water and all around its perimeter was piled the muck from the bottom of the hole. I made a mental note to detect it on the way out. After a bit, we reached the claim. There were hand-stacked cobbles and boulders all over the bedrock that bordered the creek. I detected quite a bit of area and only came away with some lead meat-tin keys, some brass boot eyelets, coat fasteners, lead sealing’s from 1800’s tin cans, bits of rusted metal from a variety of source materials, some wire brush bristle bits, and of course, the ubiquitous square nails of all sizes. I finally got out of the creek proper and detected some test pits and found the gorgeous six-gram nugget I alluded to earlier, but as I expressed before, that’s another self-contained story.

 

I found another test pit that was filled with water, and for some inexplicable reason—didn’t detect the throw out piles! (When I got back to camp, the miners with the lease on the claim informed me that they’d taken a great sample of corn-kernel-sized gold from that hole!! Dumb me, dumb, dumb, dumb!) However dumb I was, on the way out, I stopped to detect the throw out material of the hole I’d spotted on the way in. The detecting started out with me getting a huge signal off a massive hot rock—one of those grey-lead wonders—it was the size of a watermelon, and was lodged under a boulder. Then the usual suspects revealed themselves, square nails, bits of tin can, and pieces of copper and iron wire. But then, I got a sweet signal right on the top of a throw out pile. It was a bright and sassy four-gram heart-shaped nugget—my Sister-in-law still has it. Her husband has promised to make it into a necklace pendant for her.

 

I stubbed around there for another hour and a half, sticking to the rim of that excavation, and I pulled out two other smaller nuggets, one just under three grams, and one just over two. They were round nuggets, very typical of the gold in that area—it’s just not hammered at all. In fact, when you’re panning in the streams you have to be very careful as the nuggets will roll right past all of the riffles in those green gold pans!!

 

On the way out, we stopped and said goodbye to the caretaker, and were very careful to stay on the high side of that pond in the road. That afternoon, we detected another spot down by a lake and had a good hunt, but that’s a story for another day.

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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Lanny ... I say again as I did on the Nuggetshooter site ... You have a gift ... USE it! Mike F.

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Lanny ... I say again as I did on the Nuggetshooter site ... You have a gift ... USE it! Mike F.

 

Thanks Mike--I really appreciate the compliments, here and there. I wrote a couple of articles for ICMJ a few years back and had them both published, but I just haven't taken the time to submit any more since I submitted those two. Maybe if I get some more time in the next couple of months I might send some more off. But, in the meantime, I still just enjoy telling the tales.

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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Here's a tale of woe and discovery!

 

Hi there,

 

Just a quick little story from this summer's prospecting adventures. Two semi-cheechako's (semi-greenhorns/semi-pro rookies) were visiting the claim this summer. They are both nice, budding prospectors with a knack for finding the noble metal. They were working a patch of fractured bedrock that had produced consistent flake-gold and pickers the previous summer. Both of them had spent time with me on previous trips at this spot, and they'd learned a few tricks about how to find the gold.

 

Well, semi-cheechako one really went to town cleaning off the overburden on that bedrock--the cobbles, the clay, the boulders, the gravel--he went hard at it, working a couple of feet right down to the bedrock. It was a lot of sweaty work. Let me tell you, there were some big old boulders jammed into that bedrock. After he'd removed all the bigger stuff, and when he got done scraping everything off, he ran his takin's through a little sluice, and he had a respectable catch of some nice bright-yellow flake gold, all riding company with a few chunky pickers.

 

Not long after that, semi-cheechako two came along with his detector, and he asked number one if he could detect the bedrock he'd just cleaned off. Number one said he had no problem with that, as he'd carefully cleared the cracks and crevices already. He told number two to have at 'er. So, number two ran his detector along the bedrock and got a nice signal that really screamed! You see, it was a sassy little nugget right along the surface, just hiding in plain sight, cleverly disguised in some muddy clay!

 

Well, number one really went all Trojan after that--he cleared off another four feet of bedrock, man did the dirt and rock fly! It took him a long time, and he really made sure each and every crevice was scraped extra clean--including any clay stuck on the bedrock (he's a quick study). As before, he had a nice take of gold in his sluice-box. Number two came along one more time and asked if he could detect the bedrock again. Number one, being very confident he'd gotten all of the gold this time, graciously gave his consent.

 

Budding prospector number two ran his detector over the bedrock and got a nice soft signal out of a crevice. Number one was getting nervous. Number two got out his pick and broke off some perpendicular sheets of bedrock and scanned again--the signal was much louder now. He cleaned the crevice out, portioned the dirt until only the signal remained--dropped it on the coil, splashed a little water on it to remove the clay, and there with all the attitude of the unbridled wilderness-world sat a nice, sassy, butter-yellow pumpkin-seed-sized nugget! To say that number one was not a happy camper is to use understatement on steroids (strangely enough, things went flying-- dark words were given vibrant colors--nature's gentler creatures headed for higher ground--you get the picture); but, eventually number one was a good sport about it--he had given his permission after all--so, as you can imagine, they both had some great stories to tell back in camp that night--painful though it was for number one to do so. And now--only a scant five months later--they both have a good laugh when they tell the story. I'm thinking number one may be investing in a metal detector soon, and scanning his own bedrock! :rolleyes:

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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To continue my previous gold tale on the topic of "Dumb, dumb, and dumber", we worked our way out of the high mountains, and back down to the lower elevations in the valley where the gold field flattened itself out. Well, to shorten things up some, we made it back down off that mountain, scraped bottom with the Dodge diesel a few more times, and even got a quick glimpse of a fat Black Bear hightailing it over a hump right close to the river.

 

Soon afterwards, when we got to the river, we threw that truck into four-wheel drive and did the river dance all the way across—the river dance where the wheels go to slipping, bouncing up, down, and then squirting sideways over those large cobbles and pieces of bigger river-run. It’s rather like being jiggled around in some giant jello-filled bowl or something—that’s the closest explanation I can come up with. Anyway, we finally got across that fast moving stream and started the uphill climb to the other side of the valley.

 

But, I’ve got to leave a little reminder right here in this story of an experience about a spot I visited just the other side of the river where there was a whack of exposed bedrock that was being reclaimed by the brush and forest. Because, you see, on a previous trip, a mining buddy of mine pulled his truck over, told me to follow along, walked up a little gulch, took out a screwdriver and went to popping coarse gold right out of a small crevice in that bedrock! But, I’m digressing again, and that little story, and what I did and didn’t do, can wait for another day.

 

So, we made the climb out of the river bottom to the roadbed on the opposite side and then slowly motored up a rough, winding logging road to check out a couple of bedrock bench claims that paralleled a little trout-filled lake. The body of water was man-made in a pinch point where the old-timer’s had dammed the creek off so they could flume the water to various downstream bench claims for sluicing. Moreover, the dam had been left intact—because it had turned out to be such a nice little fishery. We discovered that in the Great Depression, there were all kinds of squatters camped beside that little lake—you can still see the groupings of foundation pits and even some old plank-cabins. Of course, all that remains of the log cabins from the 1800’s are the indentations in the ground, yet I was too dumb to detect around them while I was there. I had my gold-only brain fired up, and it wouldn’t be denied.

 

However, we got distracted where the lake met the dam, as it had a huge rock pile just downstream of it. So, I’ll take a side route here for just a minute to tell you an intriguing little story. As I walked over to eyeball that rock pile, one of the miners who was working the adjoining claim walked out of the brush! (Their outhouse was located just inside the bush, in a little clearing.) He asked us what we were doing in the area, and we told him we were working our way up the trail beside the creek to the lake claims we were going to detect. After giving him the claim-owner’s name, he realized we were legit, and that made him right friendly. (There’s only a few dozen people that live in the entire area, and the locals find out real fast if you’re trying to snow them or not.) He asked us what kind of prospecting we were going to do, and when we said, “nugget shooting”, he gave a little chuckle. You see, he didn’t think much of metal detectors as he’d seen nugget shooter after nugget shooter get skunked, as the ground was just too hot for their machines to handle. I didn’t want to tip my hand about the super-technology I was packing, so I let him keep talking. Well, he obliged and said he wanted to tell us a little story.

 

He motioned toward the rock pile and told us it was from an old dragline operation—one from many decades ago. The former claim owners worked that dragline up the narrow canyon bottom building a huge stack of stream-run and broken bedrock at the head of the works. They’d netted a lot of coarse gold—it was a good run.

 

He told us that a few years back a fellow had come along and begged permission to climb that rock pile to look for rock specimens—if you know anything about those dragline rock piles, you’ll know some of the rarest rocks from the bottom of old stream channels can be found stacked there. (It’s rather like when I’m dredging—I see rocks that I’ve never seen on the surface before, and sometimes I’ll only ever see one of a particular kind. I think it’s got something to do with the rarity of their specific gravity, perhaps.) Anyway, he told this Rock Hound to have at ‘er. He only asked him to return and show whatever he found—the rock collector was free to keep anything he found—the only requirement was to return and show it. (I’ve run into that request numerous times myself while prospecting on someone else’s claim.)

 

So, imagine his surprise when around suppertime this fellow showed up with a nugget! The claim owner’s mouth fell wide open because that nugget was huge! Taking it from the finder, he could not believe what he was seeing, nor could he comprehend what he was hefting. The specimen was only a quarter to a third of an inch thick, but solid gold, and it covered the back of his hand from the base of the knuckles to his wrist joint!! It was sure enough flat, and that’s why it had made it through the punch-plates and screens of the dragline’s trommels and sluices. Soberly, the claim holder related what a tough day it was to follow the “you can keep whatever you find” axiom, but he kept his word. After seeing that find, the miner said he’d scoured that entire rock pile, but had never found a thing. Just dumb Rock Hound luck, I guess. Well, I’ll have to tell you the rest of this story, the part about working the lake-shore bench placers, another day.

 

All the best,

 

Lanny

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