2002 Arizona Prospecting Trip

After building my drywasher I just had to go to Arizona to test it out. Although there are many places in Arizona to drywash I decided on the Lake Havasu City area because I had met three desperadoes from that area on the alt.mining.recreational newsgroup. Being a greenhorn I knew I was going to need all the help I could get if I was going to find any gold. I also joined the Havasu Gold Seekers Club  to insure I had a gold producing area to try out the drywasher. Here are some photos of the trip and some hints on the steps used to insure recovery if gold is present. The commentary is geared towards the beginner but does not explain the panning and other processes in detail because of space and time constraints. If at all possible I would highly recommend making your first prospecting trip with an experienced miner to learn the ropes (even if you have to buy him lunch!). Thanks to the guys who pointed me in the right direction (Phil-az, BillBrew, Grivy, & a couple of Goldseekers club members that stopped to visit while I was out at the claims). The help was invaluable....

The Havasu Gold Seekers URL is: http://www.havasugoldseekers.com/

Copyright - Leon Rowell 2002-2009 (Not to be used without permission)

Equipment I used for drywashing included two large pans, one small pan,  1/8" screen, dustpan & whisk broom, dust mask, masons hammer, sniffer bottle, small funnel, two small specimen bottles (under dust mask), & film canisters to keep bottles in.


Larger equipment included the long handled round nose shovel, large pick, short handled round nose shovel, and panning tub made from the bottom of a plastic 55 gal. barrel. A storage container from your favorite department store would also work for a tub.


A typical view of the Havasu Gold Seekers claims. This is beautiful country and my wife spent hours just wandering around looking at the different rocks and plants.
 


Setting up the drywasher. Make sure it is close enough to reach easily when shoveling material but not so close that you don't have room to move around easily. Remember, as you work shoveling and processing material you will be working yourself further away from the drywasher.


The wife chipping material from the bank of the wash with the rock hammer so I can shovel it into the drywasher. It was close quarters here because of a tree and hard to use the big pick.


Shoveling material into the drywasher to process it. The dust masks are used not oinly to prevent discomfort from the dust but to prevent a fungal infection called "Valley Fever"


Cranking the drywasher to process the material in the hopper. It didn't take long doing this to see the benefits of adding a 12 volt motor to drive the bellows. Oh well, I needed the exercise anyway.


Pouring a small amount of the processed material or "concentrates" into the small gold pan. It will be panned down to the black sand in the tub and finished off in the larger gold pan in clean water.


Panning the concentrates down to the black sand. I started out doing this in a larger gold pan but found it much easier using the smaller one. I also found I needed more water in the tub.

The concentrates have been panned down to the black sand and it is time to move to the large pan with clean water to finish the processing. It is best to be very cautious at this point.


Finish the panning process in the large gold pan. You should end up with 1/4  teaspoon or a little more of black sand in the pan when you have it panned down. Watch for color in the pan and stop and check it if you see anything. It may be a picker.


After you are through working an area be sure and sweep it thoroughly to retrieve any gold that has settled down through the dirt and rocks. You may find more gold in the cleanup than you have in all the material you have processed.


When you have finished sweeping  the area you have worked, be sure to check it and the tailings from the drywasher with a metal detector for larger nuggets that may be present. They will not be visible when they are coated with dirt.


Also check the bank or cut where you removed material and any larger rocks that were removed by hand. If you fail to do this now one of the more experienced prospectors will do it for you after you leave and may end up with a lot more gold than you.


Well, here is the result of the drywashing. It's not a lot but "I" found it (with a little help from my friends) with the drywasher "I" built and that makes it very special.

 

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