By Hepplewhite Explorations
We head out most weekends for a little adventure whether it be prospecting, detecting, offroading or ???
Video attached sharing some of our experiences. Thanks and looking forward to seeing some of you in the field!!!!
Will also post some cool photos later, from our last trip, found some cool old sluice boxes etc and equipment on the rivers edge.
Dennis and I took a quick trip down to Baja MX for some detecting. No problems crossing the border at Algodones and no hassles at the military checkpoints. Day 1 is really just a travel day. A lot of Baja Highway 5 is still under construction from San Felipe south. The road got washed out from a storm 2 years ago and the repairs are slow going. Day 2 we got a good start taking my Rokon and Dennis's Yamaha Fat Tire bike about 3 miles up some tricky technical ground of gravel and calcrete bedrock. From there it's another 1.5 mile hike to some of the old placer workings. These placers have been worked off and on for over 100 years so all the easy stuff has been drywashed and detected. I concentrated on 100 yards of old black schist bedrock. The nuggets originally worked down into small cracks and got filled up and over by years of weathering. All of these nuggets had to be chipped out of the bedrock no more than 3 inches deep. The bedrock is tricky because it has varying levels of mineralization and hot zones that hide the target signals. I found that by running max Sensitivity and low threshold with the Patch Locate feature I could pick out faint whispers from the background of hot ground. I picked up probably 10 or 12 nuggets the first day.
Day 3 was a lost day. I got halfway up the wash when my back tire went flat. Normally, we carry everything to fix flats, but this one had "chingered" the valve stem. I had to disconnect the rear chain drive and limp it back to camp on the front drive. I did a fair amount of walking and pushing through the steep rocky areas. Back at camp I pulled the wheel and drove 70 miles back to San Felipe for repairs. 20 minutes work and $10.00 got it going again. My day was lost so I drank beer and had an early dinner.
Day 4 I intended to explore a zone about 5 miles from the end of the trail for the Rokon. I had gotten close last year and although I didn't find any gold, there was a fair amount of old iron trash. I thought that I just hadn't walked quite far enough to find some virgin ground. My ideas were dampened a bit on the way up. I discovered that my newly repaired rear tire couldn't handle the low tire pressure and kept breaking the bead. We used the Mexican method of setting the bead by pouring some gas inside the tire and hitting it with a match. Whooomph, bead set, but I still had to run 20lbs of air pressure to keep the bead from breaking down again. I normally run about 4lbs of air in the Rokon tires since there are no shock absorbers as we know them. That much tire pressure was making the ride hard as a rock and I hit a rough patch that bounced me high and hard enough that I came unhorsed, landing my ribs on the handlebar. Ouch is an understatement. I've got a bruise the size of a softball over 3 of my left ribs. I gutted it out and still explored the new zone for no joy. I found 4 small ones on my way back in the bedrock I had worked the day before. Swinging that pick to break open the bedrock was a new experience with those banged up ribs.
Day 5 was the travel day home. You just never know how long the wait line at the border crossing will be. Sometimes as much as 2 hrs, this time about 45 minutes.
It's always a good trip when you can walk away from it. Minor injuries and break downs are all part of the journey. I'll be ready to do it all again in a week or 2, when these ribs quit hurting.
Let me start of by saying I heard about and saw some pictures of hugh silver and gold found in Arizona. If I find a link or the discoverer wants to post up his pictures I'll let you know. This find is not about that. This find is about a couple of good weather days in Arizona near Wickenburg if you follow on the map. I went there because of Bill Southern's outing that was very well attended. He'll have some pictures on his forum which I'll try to link here.
Minelab America was there giving away something to everyone who attended and they also had a raffle which benefited AMRA to the tune of $2700! This was near the second day and where the nuggets were found.
This first picture is a panorama of the area where I went the first morning. It is near a GPAA claim was a nice specimen was found last month.
As you can see the desert is not really dead. It has many living plants and animals. The fallen cactus is a saguaro. You normally only see it standing with its green skin but inside it is an engineering masterpiece. It is made of many rods that give it strength.
The next set of pictures is of the cactus that makes cowboys strong and forget about pain. These are the jumping cactus that get you over and over again.
I finally dug a hole but it was hot ground.
If you enlarge these pictures you will see in the picture some wild burros. There were about 10 with a couple of black ones.
The next day we stopped by an old mine on the way to a different claim.
Chet got us near and then we went off a less travelled road and we had to turn around. This is him coming out.
I didn't take my phone detecting this time because it lost power trying to find a signal. This was the claim where Chet found a nice 2 g nugget and I found the .25 g nugget.
These were my pictures on the way out at the end of the day and before my 6 hour drive back to Santa Monica.
I took a couple of bad picture of the nugget this morning with the phone. It makes me want to get a better one ... nugget and phone that is!
Steve has started a topic on the GPZ 19 coil and last Thursday I was using that coil in Gold Basin. Many of us have been to Gold Basin and we roughly know the conditions with gullies, benches, mountains and hills. Little of it is 'flat' but some of the benches are large and open. Some of the ground has been extensively worked with dry washers in the past and present.
My area for the day was on a slope in a well known claim and I wanted to find a deep nugget. I've heard that they are there so I have the right equipment. As luck would have it about 100 ft from where I parked I got a faint signal. It was repeatable so I know I had to dig it. The area was up on a higher slope of a larger gully and had not been worked with equipment. I scraped and scratched and could still hear the signal. Time to dig.
The signal got louder. I changed settings from normal to difficult and could still hear it ... maybe not a hot rock but it could be ?? I'm down now over a foot which exceeds most of my 19" holes so far and I can hear it getting louder so I go to the SUV and get my pin pointer, GB Pro and camera. Still too deep for the pointer and the GB Pro. Lu comes over with the 2300 and can't hear it either. Dig, dig more down next to a big rock ... is it the rock?
GB Pro now jumps around on the numbers 42, 75, 15 ... I'm getting close. Lu says it is a hot rock. I dig and dig with my long handle pick and finally it is out of the hole. I scoop and scoop looking for color and then ... TRASH.
It is an old, long 22 shell casing that has been damaged. Deep trash ... HOW? Never that deep before. Why?
It is my theory that the shell fell into a squirrel hole. It was not a surface target that fell into the dug hole. I'll never know but it was one of my deepest digs with the 19 (18" or so). It would have been great if it was a nugget that deep and it is one of the reasons I will continue to use the 19. I don't think I could hear that trash with the 14. (Writing this perhaps I should have taken the time to try.)
After my learning and disappointment it was time to fill my hole.
I wish it was a gold story.
Here it is nearing the end of January and no one has come up with a "Year In Review" post or an introspective list of new years resolutions. Well, It's a dirty job but someone has to do it. So I guess it's up to me but be warned- I am the worst choice among us for the job. The reason being is I am a forward looking man. When I look to the upcoming prospecting season, I see warm days, deep blue skies, puffy white clouds, gentle breezes, and hours of mindless wondering interrupted only by the occasional unearthing of numerous nuggets. Big ones at that.
When I look at the year in review I see batteries left on the charger, broken pick handles, flat tires, excessive heat, frozen toes and fingers, flies and mosquitoes and Sourdough Scott pilfering my Snikers bars.
But what may be of interest is my last years detecting log. I have kept detecting logs for several years showing the date, location, nugget count, gross weight and notes on any thing that may be useful later on. Last year I used the GPZ exclusively except for a little training for some folks with GPZs and using a 6" coil on the 5000 to clean up some rich bed rock found with the 7000. The interesting part being my nugget count is up by the hundreds and the gross weight is slightly down. Not sure what to think of it.
Oops! I nearly forgot the New Years Resolutions. I don't need any. The ones from last year are still in new and unused condition.
By Guest Jennifer
Hi all.... well after spending an uneventful time on the top of Rye Patch, I made my way to Gold Basin to see that area. After mentioning to Doc (Doc's Detecting) that I was in the area and asking him if he had any suggestions for areas to check out, he not only suggested some great areas, he drove here at 3am the next day and we met at 5:30 on Gold Basin and had an AWESOME day detecting.. it was finally a chance to meet one of the first people I started chatting with on the forums years ago upon joining........ I was on my 2300 (that I purchased from Doc earlier this year) and he was on his 7000. Well by the end of the day, he'd hit a bit (one of which he let me dig and keep as it was too deep for my 2300 till he'd removed a bit of the overburden), I'd hit a bit (of trash) but the company and the scenery were better than any nugget I'd have hoped to find....
Doc and I parted ways that afternoon and after realizing that evening that I'd left my snake chaps in his truck and they were now back in Vegas, we made plans to meet up on Sat to get them... I figured the 2 hour drive was better than the 2 week wait for the postal service and the chance of getting bit in the bush out alone..... plans changed that evening and I decided to just have him send them to me UPS and I'd risk one day in the rattle fields..... I'm glad I did.....
I went out to an area several miles from where Doc took me (out of respect for his areas), I then drove around scoping out other areas (not on club claims) and didn't find much, upon starting the trip back into Meadview, I was about to jump onto the main dirt road back to the highway and something tapped me on the shoulder and said (in Doc's own voice)... that spot looks real interesting...... and I turned around and went back..... After putting on what seemed like a full on leather-fest of gear, harnesses, pick holders, speakers, amps, Glock .40 etc etc etc.... (loaded for bear with no snake chaps, smart Jennifer), I proceeded to start up a nice little gully... not a dig hole in sight and BAAAAAAM.... (LESS THAN 20' UP THE WASH) woooooo yea baby.... the sound we love to hear.... suuuuuwweeeeeeeet... dig dig dig.... woooooowwwwwaaawwwwwoooowwaaaaaa..dig dig dig..... sweat curse dig.... BOING!!!!!!! Taddaaaaaaaaaaaa...... plop, into the mouth it went ....
This entire gully (actually it's a series of parallel gullies) were dig hole free, this slug (and it felt like a Northern California slug) would have been found with a tin can on a string, it was down about a foot, was found with a GPX5000 and a Nugget Finder Advantage 14" elliptical.... it was getting late so I only dug the one, I'm saving the rest of the gullies for when my Sensei (Doc) can take a day off and come back and work the area with me, me on my 5k and him on his 7k.
Doc, thank you for being a true advocate for our hobby, you didn't have to take a day off to show me the area, let alone drive 2 hours each way to do so..... men like you make me proud to be part of this community.....
It's nothing special for a lot of people, but for me.... every nugget has a story (as most of you have heard of my long winded nugget stories in the past) and for me, this was not only my first Gold Basin nugget, it was my first American nugget (most of my work has been done in Australia and Canada).
Almost 1/4 ounce, 7 grams..... and as I type this email, it's enjoying a nice warm bubble (acid) bath to make it even puuuuuuurdier.... (about $332.00 on today's spot price, a bit closer to getting that GPZ)......... I wonder if my 5000 would stop talking to me if he realized he was the maker of his own demise? I feel like an IT Manager asking an IT professional to train the new guy from Bangladore who only speaks Punjabi, who's going to get his job once training's complete. :)
Doc, thanks again... I had a great day with you and wouldn't have found this memory without your help.... come back and help me finish what I started.