7 Suggestions for Finding Workable Gold Ground (Part 7)
(California's Motherlode Region. Note: Even in well-known areas like this, many workable gold locations exist for those willing to go the extra mile. J.R.)
Gold Prospecting Books
Here is the 6th tip in my post series on finding workable gold ground:
6) Go the extra mile.
Although I've mentioned this peripherally in "Bedrock Dreams," in past posts, one sure-fire way of finding yourself workable gold ground is by going the extra mile. Just what do I mean by this statement?
To put it simply (and rather bluntly) you may need to get off your lazy butt and out the door into gold-bearing areas that are more remote or that require ingenuity and/or a great deal of effort to reach or work.
An Example or Two
Let me give you an example or two. In the map of the Motherlode Region above, you can see that this gold-bearing region is truly immense in scale. Despite this fact, most small-scale miners or weekend enthusiasts tend to focus their gold recovery efforts in locations that are easily accessible, including those rivers and creeks along main highways such as historic Highway 49.
Yet even along the much-traveled Highway 49 there are stretches of major gold-bearing rivers that flow through very steep passes or canyons that require quite a hike down and then out again. Some of these stretches are real ass-busters to hike into or hump your gear down, but once you've gutted it out you'll usually find yourself surrounded by high-quality workable gold ground.
Yes, I know that most of the good gold ground in California's Motherlode is claimed up these days (as it is elsewhere), but I am trying to make a point here. If you can't find workable gold ground by pulling off the road into some turnout and walking 10 feet to the river, then maybe you need to start heading for those areas that are good at separating the men from the boys and the little girls from the women.
No Easy Spot to Reach
As a specific example, way back in the early 1980s when gold was dancing around $800.00 a troy ounce, I found myself working an undisclosed stretch of the North Yuba River south of Downieville, California. Trust me, this was no easy spot to reach.
We (my "pards" and I) had to make many trips down and back up a very steep and winding 1/2-mile trail, humping on our backs all of our camping gear, food, gasoline, dredge, spare parts, etc. Additionally, we had to pack the dredge in disassembled which only increased the overall torture for us.
Was it Worth It?
I was much younger then (as we all were!) and I was still gasping for breath and ready to keel over with heat stroke each and every time we had to make that nightmare journey. My fellow miner Steve Hagar had a tough time of it too when he and his partners worked a remote stretch of the North Fork of the American River around the same time. (You can read about Steve's experiences here: http://goldbedrockgold.blogspot.com/2009/07/making-living-at-gold-mining-steve_15.html.)
Ok, so now the question is, "Was it all worth it?" You bet!
Overall, our gold take from that particular location was exponentionally better than it would have been at some easy access, beaten-to-death spot. The same was true for Steve Hagar on the American.
In mining (like life in general) you get what you pay for whether the cost is in cash, or blood, sweat, toil, or tears. There it is...
I have more for you in this regard in a subsequent post. Until then keep smiling.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold in New England: New Hampshire (Reader Update)"
(c) J.R. 2009
Questions? E-mail me at email@example.com