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Very first trip metal detecting for gold nuggets

ctf_error_coinsctf_error_coins Posts: 15,267 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 18, 2017 1:02PM in Metal Detecting

So I picked up this new hobby ... gold prospecting, gold mining on my own claim (club claim), and now metal detecting for gold nuggets. I live close to many gold producing areas of the southwest US. I chose the desert areas as my research says that is where the placer gold is. My very first try, I found gold in a recirculating sluice box. Switched to a dry wash plant and found more bigger gold. Bought a Fisher Gold Bug 2 to look for gold nuggets a week ago.

I watched many utube videos on how to use this machine. I went out on my own to learn the machine myself. Really easy to do as I set all the adjustments to where the utubers said to. It did not take long to learn the ground balance feature. So off I searched an obvious trashy area and found trash. Check my dry wash diggings in the trashy area and found trash.

I knew about trash and had planned to go to an area way off the road, where I knew there would be a lot less trash. As I worked my way in, near the mouth of the canyon I tried an area and found a couple of lead pellets and a BB so I stopped that area and went farther up the canyon. This deepest part of this whole canyon has been cleaned by hand to bedrock over the last 400 years. Any gold there now would be recent flood gold and not original deposits. I did find decent gold dry washing for flood gold on a two year old flash flood dry riverbed. I went to my dry washing site up the valley where I found gold two weeks earlier. I check my digging and found my own trash, that is wires that had come off my wire brush which I used to clean bedrock ( Note to self .... get a high end nylon brush)

I think I spent 4 to 6 hours on my first run up the canyon, My first (real] dig was into highly mineralized ground that gave off a strong signal that disappeared as I broke up the ground. Hmm ... ok, Still trying to figure out this machine. I start finding and identifying hot rocks, Ok, I can deal with them. I then try the area on the other side of the dry riverbed from my dry washings and find a target. not expecting much and learning how to deal with separating out the target, dropping back it the dirt once, refinding it, and then Bingo a small gold nugget, on my first time out, how cool. Ok, time to search for more ... I quickly find 3 more small nuggets all in the same area. Wow! how cool is this, super easy. Getting kinda hot, have 4 nuggets so I walk out back to the truck for ice cold refreshment and shade.

After a brief break, I go back up the canyon for about 3 to 4 more hours. Very hard work and getting tired and I only find one more small nugget in the exact same area as before. No nuggets, just hot rocks everywhere else. So I get 5 small gold nuggets for one whole day of hard work. How is that on par with your guys finds???

I decide to camp right next to a dry wash spot where I found a little gold a few weeks earlier as I wanted to detect the pit. No gold found, just very hot rocks. I wake up and dry wash all morning ( one half of a day) and find a little gold. I then compare the results and see that I NEED to got back to metal detecting. I break camp and drive back to the mouth of the canyon I was at the day before. I spend the next 4 hours (half day) searching the canyon hard. I proceed to find 4 or so horseshoe nails from burros probably 150 plus years old. I then find quite a few BBs. I search the same area as the day before. I search for flood gold and find aluminum foil a few times. I find no more gold so the 5 nuggets is for a day and a half of searching. So way harder work then I first thought, but still more productive then dry washing so far. Plus these are the 5 biggest nuggets that I have found so far.

Then drive home and half way home the rear end of my truck starts to destroy itself results in one scary jerking drive home (At first I thought it was from extremely strong winds) and I limp home.

Conclusion: The Fisher Gold Bug 2 sure finds small gold nuggets and easily ground balances in highly mineralized ground. I can hardly wait wait to find a big nugget. Maybe I need to find a different area? !

Bad cell phone photos, I will take better photos when I set up my pro gear.

Five gold nuggets, horseshoe nails from burros 150 plus years old, a BB, and very hot rocks ....


  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is great... nice nuggets.... I have two I found in AZ when I lived there... I used to go several places...but just north of Phoenix proper, there are claim areas... usually marked... I have roamed the area since someone was obviously pulling some gold (large holes etc.)... that is where I found my nuggets... If I recall correctly.. one is 7 grams, the other 6 grams.... Keep going, you will hit some good ones... try doing some research too.. that usually will lead to some good finds. You might not want to go into the Superstitions though... people go missing there... and not from getting lost. Cheers, RickO

  • ctf_error_coinsctf_error_coins Posts: 15,267 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 19, 2017 7:49AM

    Ricko, I did not know the history of the Superstitions, Spent the last half hour reading about the history of the area. Sounds fascinating, perhaps I should plan a trip.

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 24,350 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Awesome results and you can find big nuggets in an area that has small ones. Did you search up the canyon walls any? Finding gold is WORK, no matter how you do it. If it were easy everyone would be out there. Keep plugging along and if you can find those smalls just think how a big one will sound!


    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]
  • ctf_error_coinsctf_error_coins Posts: 15,267 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 20, 2017 7:46AM

    Thank you, and yes it is a lot of work. I did try up higher on the canyon walls, but is mostly all hard rock. Just found lead. I found the nuggets in soil. Do you often find nugget up high in the rock of the canyon walls?

    I googled earthed the area when I got home, I could clearly see that I was in a very good area. In fact, I now plan to dry wash that area down to bedrock next fall.

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 24,350 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Canyon walls can have gold. Searching for gold on the walls is called sniping or crevising (sp?). Do a you tube for such and here's one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK0YAcfuXK8
    Look for "benches" well above the current water line.

    Here's a story that was told to me by Mr. Nelson back in the early 1960's. Mr. Nelson was retired and owned what is now the Bliss Mansion across from the Governor's mansion in Carson City. His days of mining were over and I met him in an odd way. I would take a path home from the High School everyday that went in front of the Gov's house. I would see Mr. Nelson sitting on the veranda (covered porch) and would occasionally wave a hello from across the street. He'd wave back.
    One day I waved, he waved and I just stopped right there and walked across Mountain Street to actually "meet" Mr. Nelson. We introduced ourselves and hit it off instantly although our ages were separated by 60 years. We talked all sorts of things and I found out he was a lifetime prospector. Made a living looking for gold. I told him I knew where some nuggets were not far from where we were right there on his front porch. I tried to explain how to get there (above Washoe Valley on the Sierra side) and he interrupted me to tell ME where I was talking about. He told ME of the creek and what it was like and the valley it ran through....he'd been there and here I thought it was my nugget patch! But, this is a story for another day.....sorry to digress!
    So, while trading stories he told me that he was down in central Nevada when the news came of a nice placer strike up on the Salmon River in Idaho. He was not then working a claim and decided to head up there and check it out. Loaded the car and up he went. Got there one afternoon, parked the car along side the road, and walked over to the rim of the canyon and looked down upon thralls of men that looked like ants crawling all over the canyon floor. He was late, too late, as every inch of ground was covered by a man, a tent, or a marker. Sitting there, eating a bit of bread and drinking a bit of wine he contemplated what to do and where to go.
    As the lunch he brought was last swallowed, he decided that doing anything was better than camping there on the rim and he got up to leave. Just as he did the sun was illuminating the far side of the canyon, just right, and a light bulb went off in his head. There on the other side of the canyon was a "bench the length of a football field" some 500 feet above the bottom and some 200 feet below the rim. He said it looked like a road but he could tell it was not a man made feature. Here was a "bench" and there was not a soul on it! Now, he thought, how to get there and not be discovered! Pulling out his AAA road map he made his plans.
    Crossing the river some 30 miles up stream went easy, negotiating his way to the rim above the bench proved quite a challenge. Having worked his way to within 5 miles by road he found what he thought was a ranch that bordered the canyon. Calling on the ranch house he got permission to cross the ranch on foot! Now for the preparation.
    Much thought went into what he would need when he got there and what he could carry on his back. Food, bedding, tools, etc etc. Off to dreamland to wait for sunup to get the start.
    He was able to finally, after much searching, to locate the "bench" below his feet some 200' down a nice vertical cliff face! Now, just sitting there looking at and trying to figure out how to proceed without breaking his neck he saw that those below on the bottom were starting to stir and wake. He had to move and move fast or risk that someone below might spot him and see what he's up to. He said that for the next hour plus, he made no progress down off the rim. It would have to be by rope or not at all and at night or risk being seen.
    Back to the car, back to a town, purchase the rope and back to the edge to await nightfall. He had figured a good route down and a good spot to secure the rope....so now it just wait.
    Darkness came and the miners below began to disappear into their tents....It was time. Securing the rope and negotiating to the edge and then tossing the rope as hard as possible off the side and then began one of the most fun adventures he ever had, said Mr. Nelson.
    Going down onto the ledge was a lot quicker than anticipated and also a lot easier thanks to a sliver of moon and bright starlight. Once on the ledge he took stock of where he was, where he could sleep and how he might be able to work the bench without ever being noticed. It was plan, plan and plan some more. He'd decided that the only way to work the bench was at night! And the only way that could be done is under the cover of a blanket and flashlights. For the next month, Mr. Nelson said that he worked the bench on hand and knees with a flashlight and his bare hands all while under a big heavy woolen army blanket. He said he was like a little mole moving the dirt by trowel bit by bit.
    At the end of search, covering the entire bench, he assessed what he found. He had collect a few ounces shy of 800. That amounted to a grubstake for the next twenty years!
    So, that is Mr. Nelson's bench story. I personally believe it. I've changed the name of the river so that someday I might just find his bench and crawl all over it with my pin pointer! Cannot imaging what he didn't find. He said that there was just a few inches of soil on top of the bedrock.
    I have very little but memories of our talks and will cherish them forever. He did give me one item which I have posted here. He said that it had belonged to a partner of his that was killed in an accident many years before. It's inscribed with his partners name and now mine. So, when you look up on the walls of a canyon keep your eyes peeled for benches.

    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]
  • ctf_error_coinsctf_error_coins Posts: 15,267 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bob, what an awesome story. I would love to hear all of your gold mining knowledge. That book looks really cool and must be packed with great information.

    Next time I am out there, I will go up into the cliffs and look for crevices that hold dirt. Thank you very much for all your information. I look forward to learning more form you.

    No more desert trips this season, but my family is going to a gold mine in the Sierras near Sutter Mill for a whole week of searching for gold. Everything I have done in the last few months was to prepare for that trip and learn as much as I can about gold prospecting so that I would be up to speed by the time I get there. Once I get there, I plan on studying the geology. I am already studying Google Earth.

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 24,350 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Summer heat drives most out of the desert, and that's a good thing. Don't want people killed by the heat that's for sure. Been to Sutter's Mill and played tourist for a day, enjoyed it immensely.

    Be well and think like a gold nugget that wants to hide forever!


    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]
  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ErrorsOnCoins...The Superstitions are great, but be careful... those 'lost' individuals are often believed to have been killed by prospectors for encroaching on their claims.... not to mention the dangers inherent in wild territory.
    Bob.... great story ... and crevicing is a great way to find nuggets... on canyon walls and in rock stream beds.
    Darn...starting to get gold fever again... and no gold country here in the Catskills. Cheers, RickO

  • ctf_error_coinsctf_error_coins Posts: 15,267 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I just gave an hour presentation on gold mining, prospecting, gold metal detecting, and the history of the area of my claim for my sons 4th grade class who are learning about the California Gold Rush this week.

    I brought in Gold, pyrite, a high banker sluice box, a dry wash plant, fisher gold bug 2, and photos.

    Went off really well, and I ended with putting a vile of gold in a bag of dirt and then panning it to show the the kids how to pan for gold. This went over so well, I left the pan, basin with water, and a small amount of gold for the kids in his class to play with.

    I had a great time and the questions I got were fun to answer.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ErrorsOnCoins ...That is just great...bet it was enjoyed by everyone. I know, for me, when panning, it is still a thrill to see some 'color' when down to the black sand..... Cheers, RickO

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