A Few days in the Pines: a Great Trip, Great Gold, Beautiful Weather

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This last Thursday I left for a few days of prospecting and camping. It was my first for 2007. Normally by June, I’d have already done several placer prospecting trips, but for the first half of this year I decided to devote my time to hard rock prospecting. Those hard rock trips were fun, but they were really about getting work done, claim stakes placed in the ground, and samples taken. This trip was focused on really having fun. Yah, I wanted to find some nuggets, but I also wanted to just relax and have some fun.

The weather in the Sierra Nevada high country was just perfect – mid 80s in the day, high 40s at night. Sunny, but at the placer area there is loads of shade. I didn’t push as hard as I could have while prospecting, I spent some time sitting in my chair, and soaking in the beauty and forest sounds. This is high country with pines, streams, deer and plenty of SHADE.

During 2006, I had not found as many nuggets at this location as I had expected, so last fall I had sat down and made some plans for things I wanted to try when prospecting for nuggets in 2007. I stuck to my plan and it worked well. One thing was to try a smaller coil and the sensitive setting, and I picked up several smaller nuggets in areas I had already found gold, several within only about 6 feet of those previous nuggets. I also found several new spots where I had not found nuggets previously, but these were near spots where I had found nuggets in the past - so I was pushing out the boundaries of that patch. I got in a half day prospecting on Thursday and Sunday and a whole day on Friday and Saturday. For the final tally, I got 9 nuggets with a total weight of 13 dwt, or almost 2/3 of an ounce. The largest one was 3.6 dwt. Nothing record breaking, but that’s good gold, and I was darned pleased to find it, and put it in my collection.

Believe it or not, these nugggets have had a good bath and have been throughly scrubbed with a tooth brush to get them clean as possible without acids! The nuggets from this location come out of the ground looking like an old rusty chunk of iron. Many have to be closely examined to be sure they are gold when they are dirty. My daughter was with me and I showed them to her before cleaning - she is used to the gold out of my dredge and that gold is clean and river rolled. This stuff looked to her like little clods of dirt and rust. I have thought about using oxalic acid to remove some of the rust coating, but I am hesitant to do that and have just used a tooth brush to date.

OH, I almost forgot to mention the BAD News.....

I found this spot in 2005, although the old timers worked it more than 100 years ago. I have wandered over many acres here and I've seen only a handful of dig holes - less than a dozen. All were shallow and looked very old - more than 5 years I'd say. With one exception, they were in the worst and most trashy locations. I guessed an inexperienced operator with a VLF who did not return. So I was happy to have this place all to myself in secret, and I've been getting some nice gold.

I had not seen any new digs other than my own, but this weekend changed that. About 2 feet from the spot where I dug my last nugget in October before winter set in, there was a foot deep crater. In this location, most of the deep targets are gold (unless the ground has been disturbed or piled up). About 50 feet away was a 2 foot deep shaft. That one was dug into a pile of dirt and the target is still in the hole - 99% chance for that one is a big chunk of iron trash like a tin can. The target booms at the bottom of the hole. So now I have company, and he's an idiot who leaves deep holes open to boot.

Just a personal comment: if you are too lazy to fill in your holes, especially the deep ones, please get out of this hobby / sport. Deep holes have to be filled in - its an abolute must.

So now its a race to see who can recover the gold first. Me or the open hole stranger. I'll keep an eye out for his crater hole calling cards.


I thought I’d share some pictures of the area.

No. 1 Detecting in the forest.

No. 2 The small hole to the right of the coil had just yielded a small 1/2 dwt nugget

No. 3 The Gold!




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Howdy Chris (and George.... a Special Howdy... may you find lots of gold

this season... !!! )

Chris... Great post... By covering all of your digholes and leaving no evidence of your

success in searching, you will find the gold and put it in your poke and no one will be wiser.

This is true for both nuggetshooting as well as drywashing.

Today, silence is especially GOLDen... more than ever... I thought it was crazy back in

the early 1980's when gold bumped up; but there are many more out now thinking they

are sitting on the "motherlode."

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George: its a beautiful area, and I'll be back up there soon.

Jim: I fill in my holes, but I dont try to respread out the pine needles and twigs, so you can still see where I was digging for year afterward until the trees drop new needles back on top - thats a difference with desert digging where a good rain makes it hard to see where a guys has been digging.


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Hello Chris,

Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Sure looks like some beautiful nugget hunting country up there! ;) I really miss California's weather and gold, Grubstake kind of spoiled Leaverite and I. :D

I bet that area hold some good potential for your next visit. Keep us all updated if you would.

P.S. Leaverite and I went out today and scored 14 nuggets. Glenn took his new GPX-4000 out and scored 8 crystalline gold nuggets in a new area today. Haven't seen the nuggets yet, but sounds like he close to the source.

Take care,

Rob Allison

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I'm on vacation enjoying some family time right now, but I'll be up there again soon. I've cleaned out the trash from a good sized area with the small coil, so now its time to bring in a big diameter coil as this place has deep overburden, in most places many feet deep (the gold is all through the overburden, not just on the bedrock). The gold is good sized - over 2 dwt for the average nugget, so hopefully there will be some bigger stuff down deep......

I will post on the results when I get back from my next trip up there, good or bad.


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Chris.... keep up the good work... find lot'sa gold... the desert is now getting

too hot for me. However, going out for a couple of hours at daylight can be

okay. The worst is the week-day morning commuter traffic going over Cajon

pass. It seems that everyone is out driving... and at 80 plus MPH.

My best to All... and have a safe 4th of July

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