Dancing Nugget: by Greg Gomes

 (Finding your first nugget is quite a thrill.)

Greg Gomes (a.k.a. "Nightrider") is a California miner with a wealth of knowledge and experience in placer mining. He was one of my earliest supporters here at Bedrock Dreams and over the years he has remained so. In this real-life story, Greg describes the circumstances surrounding the finding of his first gold nugget.

Just a Little Crack

Adventure! That's what it's all about. Yesterday I was 22 years old and today I'm 58. I can still pull up the memories like they were yesterday and when it comes to gold I still have the drive to look over the next hill.

My first nugget was pulled out of the Yuba River about two o'clock in the afternoon. I was sniping using a snorkel and face mask in about five feet of water when I came across a likely looking crack in the bedrock. It was just a little crack and as I went to work it became larger and more promising.

Dancing Nugget!

I surfaced and gave details of the crack to my friend Kenny. He passed the hand pump to me and wished me luck after offering me his beer. I filled my lungs with fresh mountain air, submerged, and returned to the crack. Positioning the water pump over the crack, I injected it's fury into the expanding hole.  I was met by a veil of light grey silt that quickly dissipated as the river took it downstream. 

(Nugget wedged in a bedrock crack or crevice.)

Once again I pumped a strong jet of pressure into the crack and out came a dancing nugget! It performed a little jig and then settled atop the white rock that had held it prisoner for eons. Inside I screamed as loud as I could to myself, 'Right frigging on!' 

My Prisoner Now

I snatched that nugget off its white pedestal, ripped the snorkel and face mask from my face, put that piece of yellow metal in my mouth and bit it! What Kenny then observed was a low rumble followed by a ballistic rocket being launched from the depths below him. 'Yahoooooo! F'ing A' dude! Gold!'

That first nugget is my prisoner now. I wear it proudly on a chain around my neck to this day...36 years later.

(Please visit Greg at his small-scale gold mining site, Y'Ore Placer Mine.)

(c)  Greg Gomes (for Bedrock Dreams)  2013


  1. NICE!! looks like a corn flake to me!! Still looking for it's twin....no luck so far. Gary

  2. That's not the nugget in the story Gary...Greg didn't send a photo so that's a generic shot. Best, J.R.

  3. LOL Will send a picture of nugget on chain. Was in mountains with no internet but finding some more dreams.

  4. OK Greg, I understand...that'd be great. I can switch out the top photo with it. Thanks much! J.R.


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