I’ve learned about hunting gold in the N.W. Arizona Desert from friends, reading, and trial and error. I am by no means an expert, but I have fun and I find gold. The information provided here is in no way meant to serve as “god’s truth”, it’s just my observations, and what seems to work for me. The last year I have had what I consider an enlightening experience in that I have ventured far away from the familiar gold fields everyone has been working, and have been going to other more obscure areas looking for the same conditions. The payoff has been worth it. No trash to dig, no other people around, virgin ground, that has led me to virgin patches. For me prospecting is sort of a personal religious experience that is best enjoyed in peace and tranquility. It helps me clear my head and rejuvenate the spirit.
While some things may be the same in all areas with placer gold, I’ve noticed it takes me a while to settle in to a new locale. It seems when I leave my familiar surroundings, it takes me a couple of days to get the feel of a new place as all of the clues I have learned to look for, are not always present.
Never having been to Australia, I understand that there are many things that are different. This little photo essay is just an introduction to my Aussie mates as to the conditions we hunt in over here in the desert country.
An unindex friend. While swinging June 26th. 2001, I bumped into this Mojave Green Rattle Snake with my coil, quite unintentionally, I can assure you. It came right over my coil at me. After backing away and screaming like a 12 year old girl I threw my pick at it and doinked it. I would have glady walked around it and went on my way, but it didn’t give me a chance. What happen to this nonsense about rattle snakes not normally being aggressive?
Not being one normally prone to violence, I made an exception in this case. Glad I always carry an extra pair of underwear with me.
Typical gold nuggets found in NW Arizona Desert Country. The one on the left is 2.5 gram, and one on the right is 1.8 grams, found June 21, 2001, about 2 feet away from one another. This picture was taken within about 30 minutes of recovering them, before I had cleaned them up. Each was only about 2 inches down in the dirt. I was using an SD2200d and a 14 inch Coiltek Manufacturing mono.
I went back to the same location where I found the above two nuggets, this being June 26th. Using an 18 inch mono coil I found a little 1.6 gram nugget about 15 feet down the gully from the other two nuggets but it was about 10 inches down. It looks like it has done a little traveling and has been there a while. I left it in acid over night and the rust actually softened up and came off quite easily. I may put the other two back in the acid for a 24 hour bath and see if they clean up a bit better.
Mined in the 1860’s this place is rather unique. It is a gigantic quartz dome rising out of the desert floor. Apparently the thing had gold veins running through it and the miners just started mining a vein and ran tunnels chasing the gold until it ran out. This place probably still has gold all over in it, but the miners only took what they could see. I have tried to detect around the area looking for float, but it is so trashy I usually get frustrated and go somewhere else. I keep promising myself that sometime I am going to take a day and go through the tunnels with my metal detector and check the walls. I’ll just bet there are other veins that are within inches of the surface. If I got some of my Aussie mates over here, like Dave from Darwin, he’d make short work of this quartz monolith.
I have put these pictures here just because they are interesting as I have never seen a mine like this one before. The view from the top is amazing.
Hope you enjoyed this little tour, I’d be interested in seeing the ground conditions of your gold country!