Persistence Leads to Over a Pound of Gold
April 2019 by Ron Kliewer
I have figured out over the years that the winning combination is hard work, persistence, knowledge, and a little luck. This leads me to describe one of my best finds ever, a “honey hole” of placer gold, if you will.
Looking around, I could tell that this was an old hand-digging. As I walked around the perimeter of the digging I could see shovel and pick marks scratched on the clean, hard clay and bedrock.
In Chicken I had my first experience with the famous Alaska blue clay, sometimes called the blue layer. The blue layer is where the best fine gold was to be found.
Using a snuffer bottle to pick it out of the pan, he continued his panning efforts. He continued to find more yellowish stuff, but it wasn’t shiny like he thought gold should look.
He no sooner had turned around and started moving when I hollered again that I had another nice one.
Then I came to a section of recently exposed gravel that looked unworked. Water seeped out all around, making the ground beneath a sea of slick mud.
Federal and state regulatory agencies often cite mercury and methyl mercury in our waterways as a major factor for further restrictions on placer mining, and on suction gold dredge mining, in particular. However, these regulatory agencies are minimizing selenium and its neutralizing effects.
Once indicators start showing up along or below a contact I start to get excited. When I have shale, and outcroppings of diorite with iron-red, gritty soil and some clay thrown in, I really get lightheaded. I may be a mile away from the nearest diggings but that’s okay. I just found a spot that could provide some nice nugget hunting.
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