Letting the Cat Out of the Bag (Part 1)
Some of you are undoubtedly asking if I've gone completely crazy. Nope. I'm still only partially so. As long as you're still kicking and viable I don't recommend you blather away about where your sweet spots are. Hell, I've even warned you in this regard. But my days of working most of my sweet spots are probably over...not because the will isn't there or I'm physically unable. It's simply the distances involved or other ramifications related to access. This latter item may prove the monkey wrench in the works to you as well, but where there's a will there's a way, right?
This little gem of a feeder stream empties into Northern California's North Yuba River just below Ramshorn Campground a bit south of Goodyear's Bar on State Highway 49 (the "Gold Rush Highway") in Sierra County. The hillsides just north of the creek and the campground were hydraulicked in days gone by. Ramshorn Creek received only moderate attention by the old timers because they were in search of much bigger game in the North Yuba itself, and rightly so. Allow me to digress here a bit and talk about feeder streams in general in this area of the Northern Motherlode. They are, to put it succinctly, hit or miss. Some (like Ramshorn Creek) are excellent providers of gold while others seem to be devoid of the yellow metal. Knowing which feeders are good producers and which are not can only be determined by one of three methods:
1) You explore, sample, or work that puppy;
2) You talk to the locals and they actually tell you the truth about where the gold is; or
3) You take at 100% face value what the historical literature says.
(View looking north toward Goodyear's Bar along Highway 49 with the N. Yuba River below. Image courtesy Leon Steber.)
Using one or more of these will eventually bring you to Jesus regarding feeder streams in the Northern Motherlode Region...one way or the other. By the way if you're looking to buy a gold claim in the area (something I've ranted and raved about in the past) you're gonna be seeing lots of feeder stream claims for sale. The write ups on these will be absolutely glowing in their descriptions of their gold potential and that leaves you with one of two choices:
1) Sign immediately on the dotted line without any field testing or checking into County records via the County Clerk's Office, or
2) Walk away without stopping to look back.
Wanna know which choice I'd make? Yep, you guessed it. Like P.T. Barnum is often and famously quoted, "There's a sucker born every minute." Oh...one more thing about those hustling claims in the Northern Motherlode. I could count the honest and forthright sellers on one hand and still miss a finger or two. So buyer beware...
(Feeder creek emptying into the N. Yuba.)
OK, I've drifted off topic to some degree but it's to your advantage that I do so. Anyhoo, back to Ramshorn. Remember those three old timers who schooled me up when I was greener than green? You should. After all, I've described or mentioned them numerous times here in Bedrock Dreams. One of these fine gentlemen (who has long since passed to that big gold ground in the sky) was the person who clued me in to Ramshorn and showed me how to work it. And Ramshorn can't be worked the "normal" way. No sir or madam. You can scoop gravel from it all day long and may not see a glimmer of color if you follow what all the prospecting books and self-proclaimed "experts" teach. Why Ramshorn is so contrary this way I can't say...I just know it is. So file that info away for future reference. Also remember that not all gold jumps into your pan through the usual techniques or methods. Now don't say I didn't warn you.
(General area of the Northern Motherlode. Once past Sierra City you start getting out of the best gold locales.)
By now some of you are saying to yourselves, "OK, OK. Enough already. If I can't get the gold out of Ramshorn the usual way, then "HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO GET IT?" Therein lies the rub, readers o' mine. I'll give up that info when I'm damn good and ready and not a moment before. You'll have to stick around if you want to see all the "i's" dotted and the "t's" crossed. But rest assured I'll give you that info and set you on a collision course with whatever entity currently holds claim to the stretch of Ramshorn I'm sending you to, which essentially starts at the campground and works its way west past two key reference points: a group of summer cabins barely visible on a bluff above the south side of the creek and an old mine tunnel adit shaped like a large, round coyote hole slightly upstream. You must find these points to gain any value from the creek but they should (and note I say should) be easy to find. However, when I returned to Ramshorn in 2010 I found the area overgrown to an extreme and many old reference points hard to find. I also found it claimed up but that's a mere fly buzzing around your head in terms of obstacles. Again, if you're persistent and patient and can strike up a deal, who knows what may transpire good reader?
When an old timer like me starts giving it up you better get your head out of your nether regions and listen closely. Something of value is about to take place...
Best to all.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org