G.M. "DOC" Lousignont, Ph.D.
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© 2002 G.M. "DOC" Lousignont, Ph.D.
Three years ago to the month, I had a very good day for me, when I happened onto a patch. I ended the day with 3/4 ths. of an ounce total in 5 nuggets. The largest was a 1/2 ounce piece.
I was using my SD2200d and the 14 inch ** Manufacturing mono, which at the time was a relatively new addition, as I had just started importing the ** Manufacturing line.
What had originally attracted me to this site was the fact that it was obvious the "old timers" had been camped there.
A small ditch had been dug and the old miners had tossed all their cans in the ditch.
Whenever I run into these old camps I always have a look around to see exactly what they were working on. Usually they camped very close to their workings and this was no exception.
Within eyesight was a gully that showed signs of handstacking. This is where the old timers, removed rocks from the gully and handstacked them along the side so they could get down to bedrock and work the gold rich gravels. Handstacking took quite a bit of effort and when you see an entire gully that has handstacking it's a good indication that they were having some success.
There were quite a few highly mineralized rocks in this area, and I had run into a few that sounded like a small deep faint nugget.
Towards the end of a very exciting day I once again ran into one of these faint targets and started to dig. The problem was that there was a rather large deeply embedded rock that I was digging down the face of. With the large 14 inch coil, I really could not quite get a pinpoint on whether this was an actual target or it was the large rock that was mineralized and giving me the signal.
It had been a hot day, I was too tired to dig that rock out just to find out it was a hot rock. I was also in a hurry to get home and show my wife my treasures. I convinced myself that it was surly a hot rock, and filled in the hole. However, before I left, I took a large quartz boulder the size of a melon and threw it on the now covered hole. I figured sometime in the near future I would come back with a smaller coil or a probe and see if I could get a read on where the signal was actually coming from.
Well what do you know, last Wednesday, September 18, 2002, three years later, I was actually in the same general area. I had hunted all day with no success. I was using my GP Extreme with the 5 X 10 Joey coil on it. I had covered a lot of new ground just prospecting. It was getting towards the end of the day and I realized that I was only a ridge away from my old patch and remembered that old hole I swore I would check out some day.
I also remembered that old saying about. "Don't go looking for gold when you're in gold."
So I rode my quad over to the old hunting grounds. Unbelievable, the quartz rock was right where I had left it. Three years had come and gone, prospectors all over the surrounding area, and yet no one had seen fit to molest this little patch. Maybe it was the amount of trash that turned them off.
I rolled the piece of quartz off of the well settled dig hole and waved my coil over it. YEP, there was that soft faint signal still there.
I started to dig down the face of the embedded rock, however this time I was able to stick the little Joey coil in the hole. As I got deeper the target signal was louder at the bottom of the hole than it was at the top of the hole.
Now there was one of two conclusions I could draw. Either the rock had a mineralized vein at the bottom of it, or, there was something metallic under the rock. The only way I could find out was to dig that rock out.
It was one of those rocks that you just couldn't seem to find an edge on so you could pry it loose. However, after digging around it and whacking on it for about 15 minutes I finally got it loose and picked it up out of the hole and tossed it on the ground. Well, this was the test. I ran the coil over the rock to see if that was the target source. NOPE! Coil in the hole, a scream of a target! Whatever it was it had been under the rock, and the coil was now touching it or certainly in close proximity.
At this point I had a pretty good feeling that it was a nugget because it is rare to get trash deeply embedded under a rock. But you never know. I pulled a few scoops of dirt out of the hole and finally had the target out in the pile of dirt. A few scoops of dirt over the coil and there it was. A 1.1 gram nugget. A 1.1 gram nugget that I had walked away from 3 years ago. Now that was stupid! It was very flat which explains the good target signal even under the large rock.
The nugget is laying on the quartz upper left of the picture.
This 1.1 gram was uphill about 50 feet from where I had found the 1/2 ounce piece.
The first part of stupidity was walking away three years ago. The second part of stupidity was that nugget being there for three years while other prospectors probably walked by and looked at that big piece of quartz laying on that dig hole, and never checked it out. What do I have to do post a sign that says, "DIG HERE!"
Now the third part of this stupidity just goes to show you why my ability to be brain dead knows no limits.
My digital camera was back at the truck so I figured I might as well ride my quad back to the truck, pack my gear, load the quad back up and drive the truck back up the ridge and take pictures of the area and the dig hole and nugget.
So all loaded up I drive back up the ridge but I can't get within about a quarter of a mile of the dig hole so I figure I will just grab my camera and walk back to the area. Before I leave the truck I take my glasses off, and put them on the dash of the car because I can't look through the camera lens with my glasses on. Of course I can see things far away but I can't see anything close.
I take my pictures, role the piece of quartz into the hole, grab my pick and fill my hole back in and tidy up the area. I then walk the quarter of a mile back to the truck. I put my camera away, stow the pick and get ready to leave when it occurs to me, I don't have the nugget.
Where the hell is the nugget? Well, it was on the piece of quartz that I rolled into the hole and then dutifully filled in! I told you I can't see anything without my glasses. I couldn't believe it! So now I had to break out the detector, gear myself back up and walk the quarter of a mile back to recover the nugget that I had already detected three years ago, recovered once, and now was off to do it again.
Well I got the nugget, I think it was more trouble than it was worth. Here it is, before and after cleaning.
Things to be learned from this story:
1. Don't leave signals undug.
2. When you recover a nugget put it in your pocket, not back in the hole.
3. If you see a fresh dig hole with a big piece of quartz on it, you know that I got tired again.
4. If you find any equipment laying around in the desert, it's probably mine and I forgot I left it somewhere.
5. If you find me wandering around in the desert mumbling, please point me back in the direction of my truck and tell me to go home.
6. Don't be stupid!
7. Be careful out there!