Well I was a week puttering around with planning the exact route in and getting things all logged into my GPS and the excitement was building...a virgin placer to detectors??
Just 2 months prior I was talking to a tenant at the RV park and looking at some very rough gold nuggets all were above 1 dwt and the largest was over an ounce. His health was failing and was wanting to tell someone about his secret spot. Now I didn't know the old boy all that well and why he picked me to tell is a mystery. Perhaps it was because I would listen to his mining stories when nobody else would.
Now lot of folk that knew old Cap would tell ya he was full of bull shit and made up all of his miners stories. The old boy learned mining from his dad and did it all his life and I would say he knew a bit more than folks give him credit for. This was the first and last time I would see any of his gold. Cap died just two weeks after giving me the information.
Now old Cap thought there was a 1,000,000 mine just waiting for him in this area and who really knows, there just may be. He is likely looking down wondering how he missed it.
Nope, this isn't going to be a lost mine story or anything like that. He simply handed me a map and we then spent the better part of 3 hours telling stories and going over land marks etc. The best part was the placer/hardrock deposit was within an hour of my home, well as the crow flies anyway. Cap had mined this area for all his life and knew it like the back of his hand.
The first half of the trip in was on graded (occasionally) dirt roads and finding the trail in was no problem with the GPS locations for all turns logged in as way points. There were no recent tracks up the narrow wash and I was worried about it getting to narrow for my truck, but after 3/4 mile it widened and the trail left the wash and headed into the desert just like it was supposed to. Still there was no evidence of the road being used for quite some time.
Now the going was getting a bit rougher and I was having to stop and cut trees and brush from the road to pass and in two spots I had to fill wash-outs that were to deep for even 4 WD. Well so much for sneaking in, looked like a road crew came through. Now the road/trail drops back into the wash and out onto a large flat area, I will have to camp here and walk the rest of the way. This was the area cap called jeep flat due to an old Willy's Jeep wrapped around an old ironwood tree in the wash.
Well I set up camp, gave the dog water, got the detector ready, and headed for the little drainage and hillside marked on the map. It was right where it was supposed to be old workings and all so I fired up the detector and started in the wash below a small hill dotted with small digs. After about two hours of digging trash I finally pulled a small nugget out of a dry wash pile.
I continued working the wash finding more trash but no nuggets so I decided to work for a bit on the hillside for possible float. Immeadiatly I got a loud signal and kicking the top layer of soil away I checked again and the target was gone. I ran my pick head with magnet around in the dirt expecting a nail or trash of some sort to stick to it, but as I moved the pick I saw yellow! I then simply reached down and picked up a 4 dwt nugget!
Now I was excited and spent the rest of the afternoon hunting the area. I gave up around dark without another nugget in my pouch. Well I talked it over with my dog as we ate our supper and decided to start at the base of the little hill and grid my way to the area the old timers did some hardrock work.
After breakfast the next morning I began detecting at the base of the hill and working my way up. I dug some trash, but no nuggets and then I got a very faint signal in my hole from yesterday. Digging for the target I noticed that this was a depression in the bedrock and filled with quartz rubble. Now every time I checked the hole the signal got louder and there were many targets!??!
I then began recovering nugget, after nugget, after nugget....Now I knew what I had come across was a "pocket" of gold. As time passed and the gold erodded from the vein it simply stayed in the depression making it richer and richer as the lighter material and some gold worked it's way down the hill. The rotten quartz breaking up a tad bit faster than the surrounding material allowing for the depression to continuously catch gold for who knows how long?!
Now as I looked around me on the hill at the many small shallow digs I realized that the old timers were pocket hunting here also and that explained the way the hill had been worked and why none of the holes into the bedrock were no more that 9 or 10 foot deep. I wonder how much gold Cap and his Daddy took out of those hills? There are several other areas where you can see this type of work was done throughout these mountains. I made several more trips to the area and found only a few more nuggets.
I surly will go back into the area again one of these days, but the trip in is VERY ROUGH and I don't even know if the roads are still pasable. Sometimes following a lead like this can really pay off, other times it was just a good story....or was it?? I didn't get rich from that little pocket, but I took home a nice handful of gold and there may be more there.
Oh, I forgot to mention that he gave me a large box of maps and papers to go through. I wonder what goodies await me in these spots when I can find the time to have a look. Sorry about no dates, GPS #s, type detector etc. but I am telling a story not marking a trail (grin)
Good luck and Good Hunting...Bill southern