Friday, November 15, 2013

Good Things (and Gold) Don't Come Easy

 (Don't expect gold like this in easily accessible locations.)

The core of this post is a direct follow on to my last post on the importance of research to your mining endeavors. So bear with me because there is value to be had here and lessons to be learned.

"Golden" Possibilities

One of the most beneficial aspects of good research is the opportunity to identify and even pinpoint long-forgotten gold locations. Needless to say, many of these locations are of the remote or less accessible variety, which is as it should be.


There are hundreds if not thousands of these sorts of clues to be had if you know where to look for them. A very good source can be found in the diaries and personal accounts of the old-time gold prospectors and miners. You may think you already know everything there is to know about your favorite gold area or district, but I'd hazard a guess you really don't. All it takes is one page, one paragraph, or even one sentence from an old timer's writings to put you onto the gold...and I mean good gold, not your run-of-the-mill doggie doo.

Again, if you're an apt researcher and a good sleuth you'll find that the "golden" possibilities you pin down are not the easiest locations to reach. Now this isn't true in every instance, but it is true in most. Remember the old saying, "Good things don't come easy?" You can apply it to virtually every aspect of gold prospecting and mining, including this particular point.

Humping the Boonies

At the risk at raising the ire of some I'm going to overgeneralize here and say that most people are lazy. Beyond that, they're creatures of habit who don't like stepping out of their comfort zones. This holds true in gold mining just as it does in the world at large, with the main difference being that the lazy asses get weeded out in mining somewhere along the way. Ditto for those who refuse to step beyond what they're comfortable with.

If you do use careful research to find that bypassed or forgotten gold location, you'll also find that the odds of you driving right up to it and unloading your gear on the spot are going to be pretty much slim-to-none. These sorts of spots are not like the ones you're used to at your mom and pop gold prospecting club gatherings on the weekends. Most of these researched locations will take planning and lots of humping the boonies to reach. You'll have to pack your gear in and out on your back (or your burro's back if you have one!).

High Risks

My old mining pard who hit the "big one" to the tune of well over $150,000 had to do exactly this. The forgotten and little-worked gold location he found after months and months of painstaking research was so remote he had to use pack horses to carry his gear in. The mountainous area he worked was rife with potentially dangerous critters as well, including mountain lions and bears (Bigfoot too?!). A fickle Mother Nature was no help either when she, on a whim, decided to turn bright sunny days into potentially hypothermic rain, hail, or snowstorms.


 (Going it alone in remote locations has its ups and downs.)

Now, this gentleman did all this on his own...solo...no help, no buddying up. And no, I wasn't along for the ride or even invited for that matter...we'd had a falling out of sorts prior to that point. To make this long story short I don't recommend any of you ever try an approach like this. I say this knowing full well a few of you consider yourselves "mountain men" a la Jeremiah Johnson and it may very well be you are that indeed. Still, my view is that the risks are too high and even six figures worth of folding green won't do you a bit of good if you're in a location like that sick, injured, or dead. Always buddy up...always.

Get In and Out Quick

Thus far I've painted a picture of the extreme end of finding a remote, under worked, or bypassed gold spot, but there are some locations that can be researched and located with minimal hassle as well. Understand, however, these "easy-to-get-to" spots are the exception rather than the rule so don't get your research hopes running too high in this regard. Still, be open to the possibilities.

One miner I knew did his own brand of local research and found some very nice unworked gold ground in one of the most beaten-to-death areas of California's Northern Motherlode region less than half a mile from State Highway 49, the "Gold Rush" Highway. He got in and out of there quick, worked his ass off, and cashed in big time. Once the word leaked out (luckily for him, after the fact) every Tom, Dick, and Harriet in the area who could swing a pick or wield a shovel was frenziedly turning over that bit of ground like stray dogs searching for buried bones.

Yep, good gold is still out there. Do your research, stay in shape, and who knows? You may be the guy or gal laughing all the way to the bank...

(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2013

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com

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