California -- Randy's Annual Gold Prospecting Trip -- September 2016

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California -- Randy's Annual Gold Prospecting Trip -- September 2016

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:10 am

Hey Gold Adventurers.....

Time for yet another BIG Trip Report on my annual Kalifornia family reunion & gold prospecting trip.  Was in Kalifornia between 8 thru 17 September.  Spent about 4 1/2 days out lookin' for gold.

8 Sep 16 -- Thursday:  Up at 4 AM, off to Colorado Springs at 5 AM and took off at 8:30 AM.  One stop in Salt Lake City and into San Francisco about 12:15PM.  I went real light this year with just 1 bag, figuring I'd use most of my sister's stash of stockpiled gold prospecting equipment there in her & Jerry's garage.  However, I did take my new Gold Bug Pro metal detector.............wanted to see IF I could find even a small nugget with it.

At Susie & Jerry's I loaded up the Escalade with all manner of prospecting equipment, beer, camping stuff and pillows/food needed for our 4 days in a rental house in Grass Valley.

9 Sep 16 -- Friday:  We left San Fran about 9 AM, picked up my twin sister Judy on the way in Vacaville and got to the rental house about 1:30PM, after a lunch stop and grocery buying stop.  This place is a nicer log home, with a hot tub, private back yard and a small creek down the hill.  Yes -- we panned around some and I metal detected around too.  Some black sand, no gold.  My detector found lots of junk.

My cousin Linda and her daughter Shalyn arrived from Redding area about 7:30PM and we were all set to go detecting & prospecting the next day.

10 Sep 16 -- Saturday:  Had a great breakfast, packed a lunch and headed over to a good friend's place in Nevada City.  Jim had told us that part of his property was mined back during the Gold Rush of 1847 on...  So, after some twists & turns we arrived, met Sheri his wife, his dogs, his old horse Rocky, their pet buck deer and chatted on the veranda.  We then headed down the road to the small creek and Meyer's Ravine area of days of old.  Lots of brush, blackberries & poison oak around.  Jim helped dig "dirt" out of the creek to pan and I fired up my Gold Bug Pro detector.  I worked my way up the small creek, thru lots of snags, brush and eventually found 6 to 8 old rusty square nails.  Dang it, no nuggets.  Back at the lower section of the small creek they had been panning up some specks & small flakes of gold.  I could see mercury on some of the gold.  Definitely old time miner's using "quicksilver" back in the day.  

Here's me and my Gold Bug Pro detector and Grumpy Cat tank top............ready to hunt for nuggets and me and my sister Susie:

Here's Linda and her daughter Shalyn panning up some gold:

Here's Upriver Jim diggin' and panning out some "dirt" from the creek:

Here's the total gold panned up at Jim's place that day:

We retired back to Jim's place and chipped and dipped and hatched a plan to grill chicken, a steak and a big beef roast.  I did the grilling, the girls boiled sweet corn ears and made salads, etc.  We had a great dinner, fun talk and headed back to the rental house about 8:30PM.  Thanks Jim & Sheri!!!  Maybe in 2017 we can meet you two back at your "cabin" on the SF Yuba?  What a place...........right on the river.

11 Sep 16 -- Sunday:  Well, not having much gold luck at Jim's in Nevada City area, we elected to go over to Mineral Bar on the NF American River................our favorite prospecting spot.  Had a bit of a late go, made lunches and wound our way over.......via a bunch of interconnecting blacktop & dirt didn't arrive until about 10:45 AM.  By then it was sunny, already hot.  The deer flies welcomed us as we walked down the river on the trail to get about 1/2 mile downriver.  We'd worked this area in the past, did well.  I fired up my Gold Bug Pro detector and went off chasing nuggets.  Everyone else started crevicing & sample panning around.  The day was HOT by noon.  Ended up at 94F.  That may not sound hot, but in the direct felt like 194F.

Well, after discovering a LOT of junk............bullets, fishing sinkers, lures, square nails, rusty wire, etc., I gave up about 12:30PM and rejoined the group.  We had a quick lunch and I proceeded to help crevice a section of bedrock wall that had been good to us in the past.  Sadly, Linda & Shalyn had to then depart, had to drive all the way back to Redding.  Great you two could join us for almost 2 days!!!

Jerry, Susie, Judy & me creviced around until about 3 PM and packed back to parking and went home to our rental.  We got some O.K. flakes & fines, but no bonanza.  That hot tub was the bomb, after a long, hot day on the river!  After dinner, an early bed for all of us.

12 Sep 16 -- Monday:  O.K.  We needed to get a bit more serious...  Back to crevicing & bedrock busting.  On the walk out yesterday I spied a huge old bedrock boulder that had lots of old moss on it.  Looked like most folks, me included, had simply walked past it year after year, lookin' for better diggins.  Arriving there about 9:30AM I proceeded to beat back the brush, grape vines, get on top and crevice/brush up a pail of "dirt".  Judy & Susie both reported "good color!"............more gold in each pan than probably all day yesterday.  O.K.  That's good to hear!  So, I dedicated the day to simply scratching, banging, scraping and dong whatever to get as much old time material off that big rock as possible.

The NF American River where we decided to crevice & bedrock bust for the day:

Here's Jerry working the big bar on some bedrock:

Susie carrying down a bucket of "dirt" to pan:

We had a nice lunch in the shade.  Thankfully, this day was a good 10 degrees cooler than on Sunday.  

Jerry busted some bedrock with the big bar, helped me carry pails and work that big old rock.  

Me working up on top of my big boulder:

A few pics of that gold bearing boulder.  Ha.

Getting up to the back side of that big boulder:

Jerry doing some bedrock busting again, with a very cool old time miner's gravel/rock bucket in the background:

Judy panning for gold:


A couple pics of the beautiful NF American River:

By about 3 PM we were toast.  We all were pretty darn happy with seeing gold.......even small specks & flakes in about every single pan.  

Back to the rental and the hot tub and dinner.  We watched for the 2nd time this trip, Paint Your Wagon......a 1969 comedy/musical on the Kalifornia Gold Rush.............just love Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin & Jean Seberg:

13 Sep 16 -- Tuesday:  Well, it was checkout time at the rental, and Jerry, Susie & Judy let me get an "early go" and pack out and meet my gold prospecting buddy Spencer back at Mineral Bar.  He was there on Monday.  I'd plan to meet Spencer, prospect most all day today, then camp with him and do a 1/2 day on Wednesday, then pack out, depart to visit and spend time with my Mom & Dad for 2/1 2 days.

Got to Mineral Bar about 8:30AM in the big white Escalade with all my stuff.  Spencer was there camping, up and about.  After breakfast we hiked back down river about 3/8th of a mile to a exposed bedrock area we'd worked on 2 years before.  Fun to bedrock, crevice and pan in the shade, in the cool air.  However, by 10 AM the sun was up and man..................did it start to scorch us.  My first pans showed decent fines and flakes and even a few smaller pickers here and there.  

The bedrock I started working on that morning:

Here's Spencer gettin' ready to work the bedrock too:

My first productive crevice and little picker for the day:

Me up on the bedrock wall crevicing:

About 10:30AM I was looking for a new spot, out of that burning sun, so I waded my way up river...  

Looking up river to my new spot, on the left, out of sight:

I came to a small cut into the bedrock and looked the place over.  Some folks in the recent past had done some decent diggin' in the bedrock here.  I proceeded to climb up higher, into the old time mossy covered area and after breaking back some poison oak, creviced up about 1/2  a pail of material.  I carried that pail back downriver to where Spencer & I were currently working.  When I panned that material I couldn't believe my eyes...........a small nugget, a .22 LR bullet and 2 to 3 bigger flakes!  Woo-hoo!

That nugget ended up weighing .78 grams.  Super nice for an area that's been hit hard, worked mercilessly over the years.

Needless to say, we both moved our ops up to that spot.  Here's that big, long crevice I worked up the hillside:

I banged, scraped, pitched rocks and washed that whole crevice until about 3 PM.  By then, I'd gotten some more nice pickers/flakes and fines.  I was whipped!  One my best days ever at Mineral Bar.

Me snuffering up some more flakes & fines and a view down river:

A view up the river from my high perch:

A view of me up on my high perch, crevicing up above the polished bedrock:

My gold for 1 day working that big crevice:

Spencer did his part too................banged & chiseled and scraped and panned up flakes & fines too.  Way to go Spencer!  Any day with flakes vs. Merced River dust is a blessing...

Made one short video:

Back at camp we grilled rib eye steaks, fought off a bunch of yellow jackets and went to bed early...  We were pooped out.

14 Sep 16 -- Wednesday:  Up at O'Dark coffee.............breakfast burritos...  Spencer & I were ready for another great day downriver.  Once the sun was up enough, we hiked downriver to that same spot, picked up where we left off...  I took my Gold Bug Pro detector with me this morning.....hoping to go back to that drainage/crevice..............maybe locate another nugget.  Sadly, after climbing up higher and higher.........braving more poison nuggets.  Lots of old lead bullets, but no more gold.  I detected rusted wire, junk.  

A few pics of my final spot bedrock busting & crevicing:

I got a little more flakes/fines, but not much.  Guess every day can't be a gold nugget day:

Spencer was getting a little gold in each of his pans too.

By noon I'd moved back down to where we started, was crevicing & bedrock busting in the sun/heat.  I called it quits about noon.  I left Spencer to keep working that area, get more gold.   I drove out of Mineral Bar at 12 noon for my parents home.  Had a great few days again prospecting Kalifornia.  Can't wait to do it again!

Here's Spencer's gold take for the trip.... A very nice .43 grams of flakes & fines:

Here's the total gold take:

One .78 gram nugget.
A total of 1.14 grams of nice small pickers, flakes & fines.  Grand total was 1.92 grams of gold.   Thanks again everyone for letting me again keep our "group" recovered gold!!!   Wink

I made one short video this day as well:

Hope you get out on a Gold Adventure of your own soon!

Randy  C-17A      Smile

Last edited by Admin on Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:10 am; edited 5 times in total

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Re: California -- Randy's Annual Gold Prospecting Trip -- September 2016

Post by russau on Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:51 pm

Why cant St. Louis Misery look like that?? Thanks for the pictures Randy! Now I really know how much cabin fever has got me! bounce bounce


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Re: California -- Randy's Annual Gold Prospecting Trip -- September 2016

Post by Chief05 on Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:54 am


Great trip report, thanks for sharing. Wish we had some bed rock like that on the Arkansas River here, would bring a new meaning to hard fun and give us something to do when the river is low. Nice color, made a quick trip to the River while hunting last week, river was running to low, it's back into it's deep channel and no place to set a sluice. Checked out where you guys had dredged last week, you guys definitely moved a little rock and had a little hard fun.......



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Re: California -- Randy's Annual Gold Prospecting Trip -- September 2016

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:24 am


Ha. You mean Misery doesn't look like the Kalifornia Mother Lode country? Time to move then! Wink


Thanks for looking...

The gold I found this year was bigger, chunkier.....even a number of small pickers......just less total weight/amount than in years past. Probably because I had less time on the river. Can't wait for 2017!

So, the Ark is low? Yep. Looks like about 200 CFS at the Granite Gauge. Always tough sluicing with it that low. Matt's back up at Cache Creek today.

I am working around the house with Sweet Dee TDY. Finally made some interior trim boards, stained them and installed them to finish off the bathroom remodeling project. Mowed and weed whipped and blew the grass/leaves, raked the driveway too. The place looks way better. Cleaned the inside of the house yesterday. Will replace a bunch of rotted deck boards today and get ready to restain the deck soon. Dee gets home late Sunday night.

Maybe we can go out prospecting last week of the month? I have a home inspection Monday & a trip out Thursday.

Randy C-17A Smile

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Re: California -- Randy's Annual Gold Prospecting Trip -- September 2016

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:20 am

Hey Everyone...

I just updated the Trip Report above with 4 more pics that Spencer sent his final gold take number from crevicing & bedrock busting.

Take a look. Wink

Heavy pans to all!

Randy C-17A Smile

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Re: California -- Randy's Annual Gold Prospecting Trip -- September 2016

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