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Old 02-25-2012, 06:13 PM   #1
Ought Six
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Arrow Gold fever

When I went for a week and visited my relatives in California for Xmas, I stayed at my younger sister's house. She was working much of the time, so I ended up spending a lot of time with my BIL. He got me hooked on 'Gold Rush', which airs on Discovery. I have watched every episode this season.

So recently I checked into gold prospecting equipment, the rules for recreational prospecting, and known gold areas local to me. I found that I am not exactly alone in my interest in this. Apparently, due to the new gold prospecting reality TV shows, tens if not hundreds of thousands of newbies have taken up prospecting as a hobby. Prospecting equipment is flying off the shelves. Maybe the real gold rush is selling prospecting equipment and supplies.

Anyways, the gold in Washington state is 'lode gold'; gold locked up in hard rock that must be mined as ore. The hard reality is that there are no viable commercial placer mines anywhere in the state, though there are a number of failed ones. There will be no pans full of 'color' like you see on the TV shows up in Alaska. There are a few sites around my area where you can supposedly find a little dust in river and stream gravels, but nothing amazing. The best areas are up along the central and eastern Washington/Canada border area, and even those are nothing like what you see in truly productive areas.

There are lots of rules around recreational panning, and hefty fines if you get caught violating them. There is a U.S. Forest Service publication called 'Gold and Fish' that outlines what you can and cannot do in Washington state, where you can and cannot do prospecting, what kind of prospecting does and does not require licenses, and which kind of equipment you are allowed to use for which kind of prospecting.

Once my shoulder heals from the surgery, I might just buy a couple pans, a short prybar, a little gold suction bottle to suck up flakes out of the pan, and a pair of tweezers for the little particles. It would cost very little, and it would be fun to try. The closest area to me known to have placer gold is the confluence of the North and South forks of the Tolt River. I may hike in and scout the area if we get a weekend with good weather, just to see how easily accessible it is. The Raging River, a few miles farther south, also supposedly has placer gold in its gravel bars. That is a lot more accessible. The upper reaches of the Snoqualmie River is another area not too far away.

This could be something to get up off the couch and outside, which would obviously be a good thing. Or I may try it and find that it is cold, wet, hard work, and end up with a couple gold pans gathering dust in my garage. I am sure many if not most of the newbies end up like that. Of course, others catch gold fever, and end up buying $thousands$ in equipment and spending all their time trying to strike it rich. So if I disappear this summer, I may be out wading in a stream or river with a pan full of gravel, scaring the fish and looking for color in the bottom of my pan.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:19 PM   #2
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If you can try it fairly cheap - why not? You might discover a corrolary interest while you're doing it. Never know.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:53 PM   #3
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Rock hunting is great fun! Bring sun block and lots to drink... because once you start you won't want to stop.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:02 PM   #4
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Arrow

I have a Maxpedition Typhoon gearslinger (daypack with a single diagonal strap) that has a pocket for a hydration bladder. I have a 90 ounce bladder in it. I will likely be carrying my stuff in that.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:01 PM   #5
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O6, Did you also watch the Discovery Channels season one of, "Bering Sea Gold"
Gold Dredging in Nome Ak.

Watch this people.
http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/beri...an-outs-video/

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Old 04-02-2012, 07:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny View Post
O6, Did you also watch the Discovery Channels season one of, "Bering Sea Gold"
Gold Dredging in Nome Ak.

Major shrinkage.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:25 PM   #7
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Arrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny View Post
O6, Did you also watch the Discovery Channels season one of, "Bering Sea Gold"
Gold Dredging in Nome Ak.

Watch this people.
http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/beri...an-outs-video/
I have already seen every episode.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:58 PM   #8
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Panning in Northern California:

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Old 04-03-2012, 12:05 AM   #9
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Metal detecting in Northern California:



---------- Post added at 09:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:03 PM ----------

Same gold, smelted down:



---------- Post added at 09:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:04 PM ----------

There is a lot to be said for recreational prospecting!!

Though, I've found it unlikely I'll be getting rich from it.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auburn Boy View Post
Metal detecting in Northern California:



---------- Post added at 09:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:03 PM ----------

Same gold, smelted down:



---------- Post added at 09:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:04 PM ----------

There is a lot to be said for recreational prospecting!!

Though, I've found it unlikely I'll be getting rich from it.
How long did it take you to work that up, AB? Grams?
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:44 AM   #11
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That is 0.65 troy oz..

There's a story behind that sample. I found it "all at once."

The vial was the third stage of producing that "ingot."

The reason this showed up under "metal detecting" is involved. How does one find gold dust with a metal detector? Well, not in dust form, that's for sure..,

I was metal detecting for nuggets in an old hydraulic mine. Didn't find a single target that was gold. I had finished for the morning and decided to walk back to the car along a track in the mine that was used by miners, campers, and hunters. I just happened to leave the detector on and swing it while walking back.

A foot off the road I caught a target. I kicked it out of the leaves. I thought it was an old propane tank, the two quart cookstove type. Well after looking at it a bit more, I realized it was older than that. It was a mercury flask.

It actually contained three pounds of mercury with gold amalgam in it!

Some miner in 1850 quit and never came back for his last clean up, and I was the lucky one to find it!!

After processing that ingot is the result. I was only able to process the solids out of the mercury. I believe there is still gold in the leftover mercury and it will take a lot more processing to clean it out, but I don't have the equipment or chemicals to do it.

I'd have to dissolve the entire batch and precipitate out the gold. But that would leave me with a couple gallons of toxic waste..,

I bet there's another ounce of gold in there too. After sitting in the woods for 150 years, a lot of gold actually dissolves fully into solution in mercury.






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