Sunday Sermonette

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Placer mining is frequently used for precious metal deposits (particularly gold) which are often found in alluvial deposits—deposits of sand and gravel in modern or ancient stream beds. 
I’m gearing up to do a little prospecting up in White Wolf Mine territory, because I don’t think that there are areas that have been adequately explored for gold. The climate (warming/cooling/whatever) changes and it brings more or less water into play in gullies and arroyos, that I can search. No, I don’t have a burro, and more’s the pity, but I’ve been researching the application process for filing a claim on government land.
Inside the Saloon (stock photo)
Historically there have been parts of Arizona like the Crown King Mine area, which has been worked very hard. There is still a ghost town at Crown King and you can still buy a steak dinner there at the Saloon. There’s also a volunteer fire department.
Mining towns grew up around proven gold strikes and populate the old West, Colorado and Arizona have very colorful pasts as does parts of California and Nevada (I’m thinking Comstock here). 
Crown King

Some people believe that all the gold to be found has been discovered. Others, feel that prospecting is a a great excuse for a hike into wild and wonderful country.

And this is my point – there are still places where there are deposits of gold that have not been exploited. 
Will I find gold? The odds are long against it, but the important part is this: Will I have fun looking for it? Therein lies the Sunday Sermonette. All is not gold that glitters and sometimes the journey is the important thing, not the end of the road (boot hill in some cases).

26 thoughts on “Sunday Sermonette

  1. The absolutely bestest and most fun, adventurous, and wildly lovely wedding I ever attended was in Crown King. The bride wore a vintage looking lace dress, white cowboy boots, and entered on a horse wherein the nuptials took place at the mayor's house with the mayor pronouncing her and her man husband and wife. Glorious steak dinners were served to all in the Saloon, and many peeps stayed overnight camping out on the floor of the saloon.

    I don't know what the road is like now, but way back then you took the life of your car in hand to traverse the rocky, pitted road to get there. Isn't it paved now? A shame if it is.

    I remind myself daily when doing puke little jobs that it's all about the journey. It clams me down.

  2. Every weekend you can see people working Clear Creek below Central City and Blackhawk. Probably having more luck than the people visiting the casinos.

  3. As young lad, I grew up on a ranch in the heart of California's gold rush country (Amador County, mid '60's). My mother and I ran it as a summer time guest ranch for a couple of years. One of the spring time activities we offered (while there was still water in the creeks) was panning for gold (eager novices provided willing labor).

    We experimented building our own sluice box and rocker. Great fun was had by all, not the least of which was the hands-on history. Bits of color were found, much to the excitement of the first timers. It was also nice to head back in for cold drinks and steaks when it all started to feel more like work than fun.

  4. I hear thar's gold in them thar jewelry stores like Kaye's or Jerrod's. Much as you want, and you don't even have to dig except for into your wallet.

  5. The road to Crown King has not been improved. You're correct that if they made a hardball road to the place it would be ruined. It's Arizona, one of the few places in the west where some of these old ghost towns and semi-ghost towns like Crown King still have residents and you can still get a t-bone cooked to order in the saloon. Those off the Interstate are more like tourist traps, but Crown King is the real deal. You need a high clearance 4×4 with a short wheel base to make it into town – or a burro.

  6. People need to do something with their time and this sort of recreation doesn't hurt anyone and maybe they make a couple hundred dollars for their trouble.

    I'm not a fan of gambling as a pastime. Take Las Vegas – the city built on the backs of losers.

  7. Fun is the name of the game.

    People all have their idea of fun. I have lots of ideas so usually have lots of fun.

  8. Exactly, you don't want to make work out of it. When the BBQ is hot and the drinks are cold, there's better thing to do than pan or dredge. It sounds as though you had a lot of fun as a young man.

  9. It's better going to a temple of greed (mall), entering a jewelry store and emptying your wallet there and at least getting a token return on your money than it is to go to Vegas and lose it on the tables.

  10. For someone looking to have fun and play around trying to find gold flakes, the entire west is almost wide open. Much of it has been explored, but there's a difference between trying to make a profit while complying with all the requirements (EPA, etc) and panning river beds for fun.

    If you recover a couple of hundred dollars worth of flakes, and every pan leaves you wanting to do another, it's like your entertainment budget paid for itself. You're not putting a price on your time and trying to make a profit.

    There's a TV series about hobby gold mining called Gold Fever on one of the outdoors networks. I've seen them go into places that have been explored for hundreds of years and come up with some gold. Virginia, North Georgia, North Carolina…

    You'll find gold.

  11. There's gold out there (in a lot of places). When a river or a river gorge has not been panned for a hundred years or so, it's worth another run at it. That's what I'm talking about. And yes, it's doing it for fun, not for profit. I can make a lot more money hanging out and taking pick-up work doing things I know how to do than I'd EVER make panning for gold. But exploring is fun.

  12. Definitely! Have fun looking when you go. Then you'll have to take up jewelry making and sell your gold for exorbitant prices! 🙂
    Be careful, good luck and God bless.

  13. I have no idea where I'd sell placer gold. Maybe jewelry making would be an interesting way to deal with it. I have to find gold first…

  14. Yes I did. Many fond memories. Re–Temples of Greed and the town of Lost Wages–It didn't take our guests long to realize more 49er's made fortunes selling shovels than did using them. While I'm on an historical roll, here is some very interesting history–

    Here is an enlargeable version of the map–,-Sacramento-

  15. What great fun learning to read the creeks and arroyos to figure out where the best hunting is.
    You can't really do that up here anymore. Between the pot growers, the mining claims taking every stretch of the creeks, and the crazies it isn't at all safe to even start to dip a pan…

  16. I've read that piece on Tulare Lake before. It's amazing how the whole face of the land changed. AND YES, I've stood at that very busy In-n-Out Burger and looked over the herds at Kettleman city that he mentions without ever suspecting (back then) that it had been the site of a vast fresh water lake.

  17. I read a good bit of it. I remember thinking throughout the whole thing "and California wonders why it is always in drought".

    Law of unintended consequences. Or just plain stupidity.

  18. Or maps to ghost mines. Nah. Then you'd might be responsible if some idiot managed to bring a mine down on said idiot's head.

  19. The Lost Dutchman's Mine has been illusive for a long time. Other people sell maps now. I'd market my maps as the legitimate ones…Naturally, my theory is that the Lost Dutchman had more than one mine.

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