A Different Spin on Finding Gold (Part 3)

 (Nuggets, gold ore, old silver coinage, and artifacts...whatever works for ya!)

In this post I'll be laying out some suggestions for you in terms of where to look and what to do when it comes to finding gold without using (for the most part, anyway) traditional small-scale mining methods or approaches. So hang in there brothers and sisters...you just might learn a trick or two.

Back in the day the old timers never felt completely safe or secure holding onto large amounts of recovered gold or gold specie for obvious reasons...theft or even murder were often lurking about. Nor were they always able to sell their gold right away, a fact that exacerbated the previous premise. Many hidden pokes or caches went unrecovered in the old days since sickness, violence, or mining accidents ensured that their rightful owners would never retrieve them. Here are a few spots where the old timers hid their gold pokes and stashes in the old days, as well as other suggested locations to contemplate:
  •  Under large, flat rocks usually placed within visual range of their domicile (cabin, tent, lean-to, etc.). Keeping a close eye on your "goods" as opposed to hiding or burying them at a distance was the preferred caching method used by the old timers.
  • At the base of distinctively shaped or very large trees, also strategically located where the old timers could keep visual tabs on their goods.
(This tree might need closer examination from a potential cache standpoint.)
  • In hollowed out sections of old mining tools or where the wood meets the iron part. Cavities such as these weren't frequently used in the old days because of how easily a tool could be carried off. Still, small stashes of placer gold like this have been found in gear as well as in hollowed out cavities in old wagon wheels.
  • Beneath large rocks or small boulders that were hollowed out on their bottom side. The poke was placed in the recess and the rock or boulder was then rolled back into place with the stash underneath. 
  • Inside false bottoms or specially constructed cavities of mining gear or equipment. Not too many miners or treasure hunters know about this technique, but more old timers used it than you might think. Metallic and/or wooden headers or hopper boxes often contained the ongoing take from mining, safely tucked away in hidden recesses or false cavities. This kept the recovered gold away from the prying eyes of robbers or other n'er-do-wells who often stole existing pokes or whatever gold might be visible in the riffles of a sluice box or dry washer.
  • Behind a chimney stone or under the hearth stones of an old cabin. These hiding places are well-documented in both mining and treasure-hunting circles and a number of pokes have been recovered from them. 
 (Old miners' cabins at Golden, New Mexico. Two large placer gold strikes happened near here in the 1820s and 1830s)
  • Stuffed inside the hollow metal legs of bedsteads or bed frames. If you ever come across an old brass or iron bedstead when you're out and about, see if the tops of the posts are removable and then check inside. Many a poke or a stack of gold coins were hidden like this by the old timers.
  • On top of old roof beams or hidden inside cavities in those beams. Old-timer mining cabins were often crude affairs with very low ceilings and the beams and recesses above them were often used as temporary cache points for pokes. Never pass up an old cabin, even it has collapsed on top of itself into a pile of rubble.  Put on a pair of gloves and start sorting through the detritus. More than one cache has been found this way.
  • Underneath old outhouses or buried in a latrine pit or trench. Most of you have probably heard of these locations being used as cache locations for gold/silver coins or gold pokes. It's pretty obvious as to why many old timers favored these locations as stash points.
 (Old "desert rat" outhouse.)
  • Inside shallow wells or cisterns or under the base of an old water hand pump. Many a stash has been recovered in these sorts of locations.
Anyhoo, I could go on and on like this but I won't. The reason is simply because by now your mind should already be racing ahead, racking off your own likely gold "deposition" points far removed from the streams, mine adits, or dry washes you normally inhabit. One thing I learned a long time ago in this regard is to ask the following question. "If I was an old timer and I wanted to hide my poke, where would I hide it?" It's very similar to the other question I constantly ask myself when I try and read a new stream or wash. "Now where are the likely gold deposition points here?" See what I'm getting at? I'm sure you do because to find what a miner may have stashed you have to think like a miner, right? One thing to bear in mind in all this, however, is that wood and metal degrade over time. That could work for you or against you in terms of finding an old timer's poke stash.

I'll have one more post on this topic and then we'll move along to other things. In the meantime, be safe and keep smiling.

(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016

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


  1. OK Jim, now you've got me fired up and ready to go.....too bad the snow won't let me for about three more months!


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