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Author Topic: Chasing the gold with Lanny  (Read 5986 times)

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Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #90 on: June 13, 2019, 11:29:45 AM »
(NOTICE: No gold found on this outing. Read on only if you enjoy the adventure.)

Deep Canyon Ghost Camp

We’d heard rumours, but we’d never followed up on the information . . .

We were told to head down the logging road until we saw a large area off to the left side that had a designated winter pull-out for vehicle parking. After we’d found the spot, we were supposed to check the forest behind the pull-out for an old trail, and by following the trail, it would lead us down the mountain into a steep canyon where the Old Timers had taken out lots of chunky gold, and all of their work was done by hand as the gold was shallow to bedrock; shallow diggings, the Old Timer’s bread, butter, and cream. Furthermore, there was supposed to be an old cabin where a highly successful miner had been found dead. His body was discovered during the deep winter snows, and only located weeks after he’d died, but his cache had never been found. So, it seemed like a good spot to investigate.

We grabbed a couple of detectors, some bear spray, a flare gun with bear bangers, some sniping tools, a couple of pans, and off we went.

Not far into the trees we found an old cabin, but it wasn’t quite old enough for the stories we’d been told, but it did have some cool items in it; however, there were no other structures, and we’d been told there were “cabins”.

We carried on, picking up the thread of the trail, but we got crossed by some deadfall. Working our way through, we were soon on our way downslope. In short order, the steep trail dropped in pitch even more, and the surrounding forest was extremely quiet, which was unexpected.

We were in an area of dense growth, but no buildings were visible anywhere. As we rounded a bend in the trail, we saw a collapsed roof, and under the roof, the drooping remains of a log structure. Off to the right at about a 45-degree angle, there was a building that had obviously been a workshop at one time, as lots of cast off materials and machinery parts surrounded it.

In front of us, right off the trail to our left, was an old root cellar, and someone had been digging behind it, throwing out all of the old cans and bottles. To our immediate right was a building and part of the roof was beginning to collapse. What was interesting is that under an intact portion, there were still many cords of cut firewood.

As the steepness of the descent increased, we came upon a large, long log building, one that had been re-roofed in more modern times. To elaborate a bit, the cuts of the logs where they were fitted at the ends had been beautifully done by some master builder in the past. Those logs were securely locked; it was built to weather any kind of severe force. To the left of the long building, there was a house, the roof over the porch collapsing, and when we went inside for a peek, someone had done a lot of work to cover the rooms in every ceiling with tin, and that was curious.

After poking around the surrounding buildings for a while, and after snapping some pictures, we worked our way along the edge of the cliffs to get down to the creek.

One of the first things we noticed was a hand-stacked rock wall on the opposite side, one expertly crafted on the bedrock of the creek to rise up to then intersect the cliff face. Someone went to a lot of work to stabilize that spot.

Visible above the rock wall and the cliff were countless hand-stacks of cobbles, evidence of the gold rush where the miners were working the shallow diggings to get to the easy placer. (Later on, we met a modern-day miner, and he told us there were lots of nuggets recovered in the two to three-ounce range!) As the canyon was so steep, and due to the shallow deposits, it had never been worked by mechanized mining.

My son fired up his detector and set off to see what he could find.

While he was hunting for targets, I set up to provide over-watch: we were after all in the land of the grizzly and the black, as well as the territory of the cougar.

As luck would have it, there were no encounters with apex predators, and it was a beautiful afternoon with the forest lit by golden shafts of soft sunlight that filtered down from high overhead. However, the normal symphony of mountain songbirds was absent, as were any signs of hummingbirds or butterflies, all my normal companions while chasing placer. In addition, no mountain flowers were present, reflecting the scanty soil conditions of the canyon.

As I kept watch, I moved around and noticed that every place there was any kind of a gut or a draw the miners had tossed out the cobbles to reach the bedrock bottom. In fact, I couldn’t find one place where they hadn’t excavated any likely-looking spot. Furthermore, as I looped above the area where my son was working, I came across numerous trash pits with all kinds of interesting old cans and containers, rusted evidence of either former food or fuel needs.

My son called me down to the creek where he’d isolated a target underwater, but it turned out to be a small part of an old square nail, which for whatever reason always sounds off like a good find on the pulse machine. He kept digging the rest of the afternoon and recovered countless trash targets: square nail tips and sections; intact square nails of various sizes; bits of can-slaw; a chunk of punch-plate; various pieces of wire of differing compositions; as well as chunks of lead, etc.

What he didn’t find was any gold, but that’s the way it goes in the nugget hunting game; buckets of trash get dug before the gold gets found. In retrospect, I don’t even know how many buckets of trash I dug before I found my first nugget, and I think that’s what kills most beginning nugget shooters. They give up after the first palm-full of trash or sooner. Nugget hunting requires serious dedication and patience, but when that first sassy nugget is finally in the palm, there’s nothing like it, nothing.

We gathered up our gear, took a few more pictures of the cabins and buildings on our way out, and then hit the switchbacks as we slogged our way up out of that silent canyon.

We will go back, but with a different focus this time. We’ll move some hand-stacks from some likely looking spots to give the underlying, undetected bedrock a sniff. I mean, two to three-ounce nuggets? Something had to have been missed in a crack somewhere . . .

All the best,

Lanny

Offline mcbain

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #91 on: June 13, 2019, 08:14:03 PM »
Hi.Lanny Great story.We all know the fishing stories.I would be concentrating on any thing over a gram.Soundfs more like one of Walter Browns tall tails,Like finding Slumachs mine and the walnut sized nuggets just laying around for the taking.Funny thing ,How all that gold just dissapeared <-dont~know-> <-dont~know-> <-dont~know->.Luck Mcbain.
I started out with nothing Istill have most of it.

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #92 on: June 17, 2019, 10:36:14 PM »
Hi.Lanny Great story.We all know the fishing stories.I would be concentrating on any thing over a gram.Soundfs more like one of Walter Browns tall tails,Like finding Slumachs mine and the walnut sized nuggets just laying around for the taking.Funny thing ,How all that gold just dissapeared <-dont~know-> <-dont~know-> <-dont~know->.Luck Mcbain.

Yes, I always take the stories with either a grain or a pound of salt, depending on the teller. On a side note, I did drop in on some miners just down the valley a bit that recovered a two-ounce nugget, so it is possible .  . .

I know that whatever I do, it will require a lot of work as I'll have to move a lot of hand-stacked cobble to get a peek at the bedrock to see if it's the right kind for holding trapped gold, and then I'll hunt the margins to see what the old-timer's missed, could be interesting.

All the best, and thanks for your comments,

Lanny

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #93 on: August 27, 2019, 08:43:29 AM »
A big end of summer hello to everyone.

Sad to say, but I've been tied up with family items all summer long (not that family is a bad thing, a great thing actually), but it's kept me from chasing the gold. However, now that the cooler weather will soon be on its way, and now that the stream levels are dropping lower, there should be some sassy gold exposed on some sweet bedrock that will need a new home, and I'm more than willing to adopt it!

The large placer outfit I've been working with for the past few years got off the gold, then ran into some serious mining challenges due to Mother Nature, so maybe they'll stay in the area, and maybe they won't, but I sure had a great time working virgin bedrock with my detectors over the years that they were around, nothing better than hunting ancient channel bedrock with a detector for fun.

Glad to see so many posts on the forum recently, and I'll be hitting the goldfields this week, at last . . .

All the best,

Lanny

Offline sunshine

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #94 on: August 27, 2019, 08:51:45 AM »
Hope you adopt some nuggets in need of a new home soon.  Good luck out there.
See my YouTube channel for fun amateur video:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnz8kX6AZOeZbRt0F9XqVJA

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #95 on: August 27, 2019, 08:57:29 AM »
Sunshine, great to hear from you as always, and I do hope to get deeply involved in the golden adoption cause.

On a different note, as I've been cruising the forum posts of late, I've noticed that some people like to lurk and learn a few things and don't comment on the forum as they have no real experience with chasing the gold (live too far away from good gold, etc., etc.), so I'm going to post an article I wrote a long time ago that I wrote for any rookies that were new to learning how to work bedrock, as sniping bedrock is about the easiest way to find some gold that has size vs. panning buckets of material that may or may not hold any gold.

All the best,

Lanny

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #96 on: August 27, 2019, 09:15:09 AM »
To The Rookies:

Now, for a few things I've learned about working bedrock.

When checking bedrock, always look very closely at the surface. This means that you have to clear ALL of the material off of it first. Moreover, any clay, and associated material, that is sticking close to the bedrock, carefully save it, so you can pan it out. This means that you'll need some sniping tools to clean out all the VISIBLE cracks and crevices as well.

Go to a wholesale supply store or a good hardware store, a place that sells lots of various hardware/automotive items, to get some things. Several screwdrivers of various sizes is one place to start. Take a slot screwdriver and put it in a vice and bend a couple of inches of the end into an "L". This will make the screwdriver into a little digging/scraping tool: very handy for cleaning out crevices. You might buy an awl as well so you can poke down in cracks to work material out. Also, if you're in the right type of  automotive/industrial supply store, you can buy dental-like instruments--they come in all kinds of hook and scraping conformations--excellent for getting into very narrow crevices, and they're made of stainless steel so they won't rust, and they're quite tough too.

In addition, it helps to buy several sizes of wire brushes, from the small, almost toothbrush sized ones to the larger ones that you'd scrape a wall or fence down to get it ready to paint. You'll need a variety of chisel sizes as well to break open crevices--the good gold goes down deep, and even if the crevice is narrow, it likely wasn't always that way. I've taken nice nuggets out of crevices that, in their current configuration, were far too narrow at the top to let in the size of gold nuggets they held.

This crevice and crack mystery opens up all kinds of theories as to how the nuggets got there, but the key point here to remember is that they ARE there, and who cares how or why they got there. Bust open those crevices until you're sure you're at the bottom, and then really rip up the bottom until you're in solid bedrock--a note on this later.

You can buy tiny little chisels at hobby/automotive stores. You'll need a variety of sizes. You might want to have a few larger chisels as well, and you can buy ones that have a protective shield on them so you don't smash you hands and fingers (been there, done that). So, you'll also need a small sledge--buy a fibreglass handled one--they're much tougher than the wooden handled ones, and the water doesn't affect them (no wood to swell). As well, paint all of your sniping tools fluorescent orange--trust me, you'll leave things lying around, especially when you find some good gold and get a little excited, and it's much easier to spot those tools later when you come back to reality.

You'll need a variety of brushes, from stiff bristles to softer ones as well. Also, you'll need something to sweep your sniping concentrates into. Those little plastic shovels that kids take to the beach work well for tight places, and plastic dust pans work great in larger spaces. A plastic gardening/planting scoop works wonders too. It's also a good idea to have to have a steel one as well--a lot tougher for digging.

Stainless steel spoons of various sizes are handy for digging and for collecting material worked from crevices, and sometimes a tough, small plastic spoon can get you into an otherwise inaccessible spot.

An important point, one I alluded to earlier, and this has to do with the bedrock itself, is that after you've cleared all the visible cracks and crevices, and cleared/washed the bedrock, take a very close look at the bedrock to see if you can notice any subtle differences. Also, watch out for a purple stain with any adhering clay--for whatever the reason, this purple colour sometimes indicates hidden crevices and gold.

Moreover, watching for subtle differences in the bedrock is critical. The reason for this is that sometimes, eons ago, the stream was running little bits of material the exact same colour as the bedrock. This material, in combination with binding minerals, formed a matrix that cemented in cracks and crevices, and often, gold was already trapped in those crevices. Why bother to look for this? The cemented material makes the crevices virtually invisible, but if you look very closely, and if you chip away at any suspicious looking spots, you may discover a hidden crevice that hold some nice goodies. Furthermore, any cemented material from cracks and crevices should be carefully crushed and panned. I've found a lot of nice gold this way.

Now, the best way to find these obscure crevices is with a dedicated gold detector, that is, if the nuggets are big enough. I've found many a sassy nugget completely hidden in a totally invisible crevice--one cemented so tightly, and invisibly, that I could not tell with my eye that it was there. In other words, mother nature did a perfect job of hiding that ancient crevice. Not only that, but the matrix is as strong as the host bedrock, and the bedrock will break off with the matrix as you chisel the nuggets out. Always work well to the sides, above or below, the target signal, so you don't damage the nugget as you chisel it out.

This is where it's critical that you have the right detector for the temperature of the bedrock--by temperature I mean that a cool temperature would be a low mineralized portion of bedrock that a VLF would run smoothly on; and by hot (or red hot) I mean bedrock that only a premium Pulse or later generation combinations machine (like the Minelab GPZ) will operate on. If your detector just screams and gives up, go borrow rent or buy one that will run on that bad bedrock as there may be some pretty little nuggets trapped in those invisible crevices.

If you find yourself on a sheet of old, dry bedrock, and you don't have a clue where the cracks are, take along a sledge hammer and smack the surface in various places and watch for little dust plumes as they emerge from the cracks and crevices you couldn't see at a glance.

Moreover, if any of you have further tips on sniping, I'd love to hear them as well. I know there's always more I need to and would love to learn.

All the best,

Lanny

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #97 on: August 27, 2019, 02:22:07 PM »
More for the Rookies

Snooping Around Rock Piles and Old Diggin's

I ran into a guy from the Yukon two years ago that was running a big placer operation up there. He told me that they always pushed off the piles of hand stacked rocks and checked out the bedrock underneath. Not only were there nuggets the old-timers had missed, there were sometimes virgin strips of ground that he said were incredibly rich, as in the rush to mine the bedrock, the old-timers had stacked their rocks on pieces of ground and then got too busy, or who knows why, and never got back to the virgin dirt they'd buried in the first place.

I know of a nugget shooter where I currently hunt that found an incredibly rich patch the old-timers missed, one located in a narrow strip of ground. He took out hundreds of small nuggets, and some nice fat ones too, and the strip was only about three feet at its widest point!

This makes me think of tales old-timers up in north-central British Columbia told me about how mining companies were in a hurry to get to the bedrock, and to quickly get the gold--kind of like skimming thick cream off of milk and not wanting the underlying milk--and that some of those companies were very sloppy in their recovery. As well, there were always other rushes going on that lured the placer miners away to "better" diggin's on shallow bedrock.

There are countless piles of hand-stacked rocks where I'm working, and I'm going to closely investigate some of them for sure this summer. In fact, for years nugget shooters have been winching the boulders off the bedrock, and they've recovered a lot of nice nuggets.

There's one thing I'd like to highlight here: the old-timers DEFINITELY did not get all the gold. I've seen too many rookie prospectors give up in proven gold country when they see all the stacks of rocks, and all the old workings because they figure the old-timers  somehow were perfect in their recovery techniques--they weren't! Plus, some of them were lazy, some were disillusioned, some were just sloppy, some were homesick, some were physically sick, some were starving, some were panicked by possible attacks from hostile parties, and none of them had the technology we have today to find gold within the bedrock. (I think this post paints a bit of the picture as to why they absolutely did not get all of the gold, and trust me, there's still gold there to be found where the old-timers worked so hard.)

All the best,

Lanny

Offline Xplore

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #98 on: August 27, 2019, 07:34:58 PM »
Great stories and wisdom - thanks for sharing Lanny!
North Vancouver, BC

Offline mcbain

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #99 on: August 27, 2019, 09:03:22 PM »
Hi.Lanny very great tales and very true.I see folks making the same mistakes today.Example when I am workin a trench or hole I always set aside the first material from the hole.Once i am happy with the hole all my waste goes back in the hole.I am talking Hibanking. of course but it applys to every thing.As I dig further away al the waste goes back in the hole. that was already dug.No rocks or classified mater sitting on top of undug ground.I see so many folks  trough out the waste on top of virgin ground and walk away.Drives me nuts becuase now I got to remove all that waste.I try too get folks to toss the waste un what has already been dug but most just do not get it.Luck Mcbain.
I started out with nothing Istill have most of it.

 


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