I have a funny little story to tell about how naive a novice gold hunter can be. Many years ago, when I first got interested in the hunt for gold, I turned to the internet to do some gold research. I found a website that had some interesting information about desert placer gold locations where I might be able to find some of the color. One of the spots it detailed was the Little San Domingo Placer near Castle Hot Springs road. It spoke of side roads heading off into the desert where gold nuggets could be found on exposed bedrock.
Immediately, I was hooked on the idea of heading out to the spot. I visualized walking out into the desert in search of this bedrock. I pictured it on top of a little hill, exposed to the elements for centuries and I, being the first one to find the outcropping would crouch down and spec the gold nuggets with my only tools being my eyes and fingers.
I’m sure quite a few of you are laughing at this point but it gets even better. I further visualized myself walking back out of the desert with my poke full of nugs, staring out over beautiful Lake Pleasant! I remember driving out near the lake with my wife in the beginning and saying, “Yep, just out there on those hills a guy can find gold nuggets on bedrock!”
“Really?”, she said. ,
“Yeah, you can just pick ‘em up off the ground!”
Talk about total ignorance. We all suffer from a degree of it as there is always something new to learn in the search for gold but as a novice, it can be a complete handicap. Luckily, the acquisition of knowledge rarely stops at the beginning of an endeavor. Expanding the knowledge base is a never ending process in the search for gold nuggets. We research deeper, learn GPS, find friends, read maps, search archives, take notes, learn to use a gold pan and other equipment, read the gold prospecting forums and never stop learning. I eventually figured out the Castle Hot Springs is a loop road and while there is plenty of fine gold around Lake Pleasant, it’s just not a nugget hunting area, at least not in the same way as around Morristown, AZ. With the help of maps, research tools and especially good friends and a never ending desire to expand my knowledge, I was able to find the San Domingo and that first gold nugget. Once, I even found one on bedrock just baking in the sun. I did have a metal detector when I found it though, and had learned a lot about gold indicators and how to read ground.
Look for more tips on how to read placer gold ground soon. It’s important to learn about gold indicators because the vast majority of gold out there is not just sitting out in the open, exposed to the elements and waiting for some idiot to come along and pick it up with little or no knowledge or effort.