Tag Archives: Paydirt

looking for the source

In the last post I explained that while our new spot ended up having spectacular gold, but we soon learned that we were only getting material brought down by small springs over the top of a bedrock cliff.

For the last few weeks we’ve been working on finding the source of that gold on the ridge up above.  In the National Forest, we’re not allowed to simply blaze new trails whenever we feel like it.  We have to work our way through the forest, with as little damage as possible, dig test holes, then go back and apply for permits to build more trail.  Sounds simple enough? Its not. The forest is thick here, so thick you cant even really see what lies ahead of you until you get right up on it.

But we have been trying.  We spent part of a day stuck on a tree where the excavator slid sideways and pinned the tree between the track and blade.  We couldn’t cut the tree, we had to winch the excavator off by hand.

With the wash plant sitting idle, we have been digging holes, getting bucket samples, fill the hole in, and rinse-repeat.  Tedious and frustrating.  The crew’s morale has been low.  We even spent part of a day sneaking into our old dig site and running some of that dirt, just so we could remember what gold looks like.

 

 

I’m sure you are wondering, if there is still gold there, why are we spending time digging test holes?  It’s because we are almost out of paydirt in that spot, we need to identify a new dig site if we are going to continue mining, and we only have one summer to do it.  We can’t do both.

What makes matters worse is just digging a bucket sample isn’t enough.  We’re digging into ancient river benches, just because you dig one hole, doesn’t mean you’ve found the correct spot in the river channel.  You could be digging in the wrong side of a curve, or where the water was too fast to collect gold, or miss the channel completely by a few feet.

We’ve found a spot that we do have access to where the gravel looks good.  Its 100 feet away from the hot spot identified on the magnetometer survey, but we thought it was worth running a few yards through the trommel to see what happens when we get into the bench.  The returns so far have been disappointing, but seem to be improving as we get further into the formation.  Summer is waning, the kid will have to go back to school soon, but all we can do is keep trying.  Gold is where you find it after all.

To Everything..

To everything there is a season.

img_0738-2

We’ve been forced to admit that we’ve reached the end of this mining season.  The cold has caught up with us, and while we can work through numb fingers and toes, the equipment can’t handle the freeze.

flat tire

Our decision was helped by the event of getting two flat tires on the dump truck in as many days, we seem to be spending more time repairing equipment than running it.  We got a very short run, but managed to get just a little more gold out of the ground before it froze.

img_0777-2

Unlike other mining operations, we have to clear everything out when we’re done for the season.  This year we decided to use water to dig out the trommel instead of our backs, and it worked pretty well.  I don’t know why we didn’t consider it before.

img_0743-2

Hoses rolled up, camp broken down, and now its time for the long parade of trips to bring the bigger stuff home for the winter.

Its hard for me this time of year, though at this point I’m almost too exhausted to be sad.  I won’t deny that I look forward to long showers, warm wood stoves, and catching up on all the movies I haven’t seen.  Also, I get to dream about new digsite we hope to explore next year.  It doesn’t look like much, but if the results of our magnetometer survey and bulk testing are any indication, this might mean our next season could be the best yet.  We’ve got a lot of planning to do.

700

 

We gave it everything we had this year, then we reached down and found more to give.

Thanks for following along with us.

end of season party

Back in the Saddle

IMG_1600

Things are heating up, and I don’t just mean the weather!  After the last week or so’s dismal returns, a little deductive reasoning and a little luck have put us back on the trail of the gold.

The color is getting better everyday, and we are elated.  Never know how long it will hold out, but I guess that’s why they call it prospecting right?

For now, I’ll enjoy the wins.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a few test pans, it’s starting to look good.

IMG_1622

goldinpan

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, we’re getting this stuff bagged up for you guys so you can try some of it for yourselves.  That’s all for now, I’ll update more later.

baggingdirt

Looking for the paystreak

Backhoe has been repaired, we’re back in action again.  At the digsite we ran into some nasty, sticky, black material.  We ran it through the trommel and we’re disappointed with the gold returns, so we’re back searching for the streak we were on at the end of last season.

nasty black stuff

nasty black stuff

 

 

 

Its frustrating to dig a little, pan it out, dig some more, pan it out, but its part of mining I guess.

We have been running into these silver metallic nuggets, not sure what to make of them, I’m thinking of having them tested to make sure its not something valuable.

IMG_1578

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, so that’s depressing, how about some good news?  I’ve been searching for a company willing to do a magnetometer survey for us, and I think I have finally hit paydirt!  We’ve decided that we could spend a lifetime digging holes in this place and never find the big strike.  It’s time to be a little more scientific.  I’ll keep you posted, its pretty exciting.

In the meantime, back to digging holes…

 

 

 

Its almost done…

Leaves are starting to turn yellow, and there’s termination dust on the mountains.  We are trying to use up the last of the season while the gold is so good, we are getting better returns than we have ever gotten.  One day has yielded what two or three days of running normally give us.  No more big nuggets but we are hopeful that guy has a big brother still hanging out in there!  We are hopeful for a change in the weather, but we probably have a week left in the season.  Oh well the gold will be there in the spring.

In the meantime we are stockpiling this stuff up for you guys!