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Author Topic: Chasing the gold with Lanny  (Read 4178 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

 


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