Expanding your knowledge base.

A lot of the bedrock is down in the gullies and not so much on the hills.

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.

Professional Gold Prospectors

Living right next to the gold fields here in Arizona has its advantages. For one thing, a guy can get out into the field pretty quickly. Having several spots to detect within 20 minutes of the house is great and within an hours drive, it’s practically unlimited. If my family goes out for a hike anywhere near the house, we’re always in gold country and if I don’t have my detector with me, I can prospect with my eyes and my brain, taking notes for future forays. Heck, if I just want to see a little color, it’s not 2 miles to the richest (documented) gold strike in Arizona at Lynx Creek. I’ve spent a lot of time around this area just walking up and down the creeks and checking out what there is to see and you can learn a lot just by looking.

One thing I’ve noticed lately, say within the past year or more is the increased incidence of hunkered down individuals on the creek. These are guys who have a spot they are working hard. Now, I’m not just talking about the kind of hole a guy might visit on weekends or even every day after work. I’m talking about the kinds of holes that are under 12 or 13 hours a day of direct miner occupancy. These holes are defacto claimed and their owners are there working them and protecting them from dawn until dusk. The type of work is not light work either, it’s deep individual hand tool work where the miner is placering WAY down to bedrock and working really hard to get there. I’m aware of this one section of creek where three miners are working about a 100 ft stretch of creek and are practically creating new hand cobbled piles along the side. They work, don’t look at or talk to one another and generally don’t talk much at all. I know these guys are doing it for a living and probably not a great one but when other options are slim, it’s what they do. I don’t have any particular conclusions about it but am just saying I’m seeing a lot more of it. A natural result of a flagging economy and an elevated price of gold.

Coiltek Blitz Coils

New this week from Coiltek Manufacturing is the Blitz coil, which is part of Coiltek’s Goldstalker series.

The first coil in this series is a 14 x 9 inch elliptical mono that weighs in at 24.8 oz.

These new coils are wound with Litz wire and are the first of this kind for Coiltek.

These coils have been specifically designed to work with the Minelab GPX 5000 in the Fine Gold setting and are supposed to provide an enhanced signal on those small, at depth targets that the 5000’s have been finding. A friend of mine recently mentioned some of the nice dinks he’s been finding and surprisingly depth with the 5000 using the fine gold setting, even in uber hot ground. Who knows, maybe this coil will help further the efforts of dink hunters in the pounded patches?

SD and GP users should not expect to get any kind of unfair advantage over the regular line of Coiltek products which run a little less expensive than the Blitz line.

Check out the blurb:
Coiltek PDF

I’m looking forward to reading the field reviews from unbiased detectorists.

Retail on the new coil is $491 – Give Doc at
Doc’s Detecting
a shout or visit your local Coiltek dealer.

Got Rights?

Looks like there’s going to be a new boss in town (actually everywhere out of city limits of Wickenburg) in some popular nugget hunting areas. The Maricopa county government parks dept. has issued a Memorandum of Understanding which is intended to “initiate a formal working relationship and establish a general framework of cooperation upon which a Recreation Area Management Plan (RAMP) for the Vulture Mountain Cooperative Recreation Management Area (Vulture Mtn.-CRMA) will be developed to determine the recreational uses and needs of the area; and to identify the management actions required to reach the desired outcomes of the Parties, the public, and surrounding communities.” This is not Mining Legislation per se but a change in the administration of a large area comprising the Vulture mountains, Wickenburg and Buckhorn ranges. You’ll see when you look at the map that this change includes all of the Vultures, Rich Hill, Little San Domingo drainages AND there are a wide variety of special land designations within the proposed boundary.

Basically, it’s the establishment a FEE program and rules program that will be initiated in this vast gold bearing area.It very likely will mean closures, claims invalidation and definitely FEES and Road Closures. It looks like the entire Vulture area, LSD and Constellation Road area is designated as a “Special Cultural Resource Management Area” No word on what this means but the bottom line is that they have plans. Incidentally, all the activities that they list are already happening throughout the area, they just need to collect at this time.

How long, when, how and if is anybody’s guess. As more information becomes available, we’ll keep you updated. For now, please familiarize yourself with the MOU  and take a look at the map of the affected areas.

Please stay updated on this issue as it will take a long time and there may be opportunity to get involved at least at the public comment level. If you’ve enjoyed this area in the past, the rules are about to change, so keep up! Public comments are already open here so feel free to let us know what you think.