What better way to ring in the new year than going nugget shooting in the sunny desert southwest. 😎 In my wanderings through an area heavily worked by the old-time placer miners, I spied an old raked and drywashed nugget patch on a hillside that sloped down to a gravel bench deposit high above the dry creek bed. Back in the VLF gold detector era, the surface rocks were raked away in order to get the detector coil right on the ground, to make up for their limited depth capabilities. Detecting these types of environments with the newer PI and ZVT tech can reveal deeper nuggets that were beyond the reach of VLF detector operators. Slow and methodical coverage of the old patch with the GPZ 7000 yielded two small nuggets for the poke today.
I was able to get out for several hours to an old patch that has been hammered to death, is near power lines and has seen lots of shooting with lead, bullet jackets and fired casings everywhere. Found with the 7000 in Bogene mode. I was concerned about depth in this mode, but one of the pistol cartridge cases was a solid 24" down in sandy soil and was a delicate but obvious signal. My first pieces with the 7000! Total weight of 1.1 grams:
It is simply amazing to me how sensitive the 7000 is to tiny lead BBs and bullet shards:
Condor took my brother and I out for a hunt in what was a new area for us two to detect and let me tell you it was some of the toughest walking I have done in quite awhile , it did put the hurt on myself and Steve my brother not so much but he is part mountain goat anyway. The good part was everyone found some gold Steve got one, i got one and my brother a couple pieces the gold seems to be very spotty in this area and very thin with a quartz matrix also stained with what seems to be manganese . Here are the pieces my brother and I found.All gold was found using GPZ 7000s.
First of all, I just wanted to publicly say thank you to Steve and the rest of the members on this site. Although this is my first post, I have been using the wealth of information gathered from everyone here for a while now.
It's that time of year up here in Alaska where the days are dark and the memory of summer seems like a distant past. To cure my deep seated winter time blues and my sense for adventure, I decided to check out a spot I have been wanting to try for a while now, but let the myriad of summertime activities get in the way. But perhaps the real underlying driving force for this trip was my new highbanker waiting patiently in the garage to process dirt. Whatever the REAL reason, I looked at the forecast and saw a balmy 26 degrees forecasted and knew it was time to shine.
So I drove North of Anchorage with my back country cross country skis (say that ten times fast) in tow, looking forward to a day out in the back country. I have found that if my main objective is to get out and enjoy the outdoors with a side chance of pay dirt, I am rarely if ever disappointed. And this day was no different. I arrived and strapped on the skis and my touring sled and set off into the snow.
I quickly found out that hauling equipment by skis should be an Olympic event. The powder was easily three feet deep and probably pushing on four, making me earn every "stride". In reality, the snow was so deep and the sled so heavy that my skis weren't gliding at all, but being used more like elongated snowshoes, trudging through the snow. But the temperature was warm and snacks aplenty, so I trotted along the creek ahead encountering open water in places and crossing precarious snow bridges at times in order to make my way along. Just around the moment where I realized that I may be in for more of a workout than I intended, I had arrived.
Located a few miles downstream was a section of the creek forced into a ninety degree bend by an outcrop of ancient gold bearing glacial till. During the summer months this "creek" (creek only in name) produces too swift of a current to properly explore this bend. But thanks to mother nature, winter freeze up reduces this section to a little more than a shin deep trickle.
(The section of glacial till forcing the creek into a perfect ninety degree bend. The creek erodes alongside this till and prevents any debris from accumulating at the base.)
(The creek encountering the glacial till and being turned at a sharp ninety degree angle, causing a major drop in water velocity.)
As I considered this to be more of an exploratory trip on skis I had left my waders at home, preventing me from properly getting out in the channel. What I settled for instead was balancing myself on the edge of the ice as close as possible (not recommended) and shoveling a few scoops of dirt from the pool formed at the base of the till and into my bucket from the area that I could reach. Realizing that I had all that skiing back left to do, with darkness quickly advancing, I hurriedly filled half a bucket from mostly surface gravels and raced the darkness back to my car.
Now for the fun! With dirt in hand and back home in the comforts of a heated garage, I was ready to test out my new 6 inch highbanker. Now let me preface this with some information. This highbanker is not meant to be loaded into a vehicle and dropped off at your spot of choosing. This highbanker is made to tear down and fit inside your pack and hiked into your spot of choosing. Weighing in at only six pounds, this highbanker fits a niche group for those wanting to pack out their operation on foot. And let me tell you what, I am extremely excited to do just that this summer with this bad boy. Made by Gold Rat Engineering out of Australia, this highbanker tears down to nuts and bolts and runs off of a 2,000 GPH electric bilge pump. Coupled with a lithium ion battery (less weight), you can have this set up packed out in the backcountry at 10lbs.
While I realize that using an ultra lightweight 6 inch backpack highbanker out of your garage is like using a Ferarri to drive to the corner store, that's exactly what occurred. Running the half bucket that I brought back, the highbanker took it in stride and I soon found myself wishing that I had brought more back (the soreness in my quads reminded me otherwise). I panned out the concentrates from the lower mat (which can be detached and not brought into the field, making it even smaller and lighter) and found it LOADED with black sand. But not a single speck of gold.
(The highbanker uses a matting called the Dream Mat)
Feeling a little disheartened I ran the top mat, not expecting much after the lower mat didn't produce. Again, LOADED with black sand. And as I panned it back, gold!
Now I realize it's not much (it was only half a bucket and ten minutes of digging in all fairness) but what I was really impressed with was the capture rate of the highbanker and the fines of the gold it was able to capture. Some of this stuff was the definition of fly poop. And for it to capture all of that in the top mat without any getting to the lower, I'll take it. So overall, I am extremely happy with this new highbanker and look forward to using it this summer out in the backcountry of Alaska. I am happy with the quick results of the spot I tested out. With a little more effort I believe it will produce some decent results. Once it hits 33 degrees I am taking the highbanker out there to really run some dirt. (Although a suction dredge would be the best tool for this location). But the biggest takeaway was being able to shake the wintertime blues, enjoy the outdoors, and remind myself that springtime prospecting isn't as far off as it sometime feels.
Once again I want to thank this community for the knowledge and expertise you all have shared and hope that my short trip report reminds everyone that better panning days are ahead (looking at you 2021).
Happy New Years,
These are from CA, found several years ago on an isolated high bench. There were nuggets everywhere, despite having been detected by others who didn't know their machines or were swinging too fast. My detecting partner found 3 with his GP Extreme. Found with a GPX 4000 and 17" elliptical NF coil. The nuggets are 4.8 grams total, the speci is 5.6 grams: