Greetings Northeast Prospectors,
I know this is a little far from Virginia, but thought "you all" might like to hear one more gold hunting story...........since my move from Rhode Island.
I had the chance recently to drive up from Robins, GA, twice now to the GPAA claim on Beech Creek, in Buchanan, GA.
Trip # 1: 24 July -- got up at 4 AM and hit the road at 4:30 AM with my son, Christian, sleeping in the seat next to me on the drive. Had no problem driving up..........got to Buchanan actually a little before sun rise. Luckily, I guess, I got lost in the fog and took a couple wrong turns looking for "Ft. Bovine" as one prospector (Steve) called it, as it's a claim on a dairy. I took his advice and went down stream, setting up down stream under a big tree that overhung the creek. My goal was to stay in the shade as much as possible........in the high 90s heat/humidity.
After setting up, I decided to dredge a section closer to the right side of the bank, as I saw numerous areas where the floating dredgers had worked the bedrock real hard in the middle of the creek. Soon I was hitting bedrock, about 1 foot down, which was a strange, decomposing type of something.......looked like soft layers of yellowish rock with LOTS of mica in it. Some areas were almost yellowish putty/mud. When swirled up it looked like boiling gold paint in the water. Steve said to be sure and dig deep into the bedrock, as it contained gold, and just go out bigger and go deeper too. He said to not just vacuum the top of the bed rockt, but to dredge it as deep as possible by digging deep. So I did, all day long........going bigger and deeper. My Keene crevice tool was great for digging it up and sucking it up. It sure made a big yellow plume in the relatively clear water down stream!
Each clean up showed some nice fine gold and a few small flakes in the black rubber mat, but no pickers or nuggets. I worked the bedrock, breaking and busting it up hour after hour. Each clean up had lots of black sand, some lead debris (bird shot/pieces) and fine gold. I found a ridge that ran out into the deep part of the creek bed and I vacuumed both sides of it real well, seeing that it acted like a riffle in the creek. That ridge was nicely productive.
The water level was fairly low, but flowing steady and mostly clear. The temp was real nice given the very hot and humid day. My son Christian tended the sluice box, helped me unplug rock jams and during clean ups. Otherwise, he hunted crayfish, water skimmers and skipped flat stones across the creek, and snacked on all the junk food I brought.
After about 9 hrs I was totally pooped out. Did a final clean up and loaded up. Man, wearing my black wet suit in that hot GA sun and carrying all my equipment and such back up to the Jeep almost killed me! I met Brian, the caretaker, when I was leaving. What a friendly person, and fun to talk to.....learned about the creek, the campground and other access points up stream to try too.
In the end I ended up with several 5 gal buckets and a big tub of great Georgia gold bearing cons to take home and dry/screen/pan out. Christian had a blast of a day too, and we treated ourselves to McDonald's on the way home........plus ice cream.
Trip # 2: 9 Aug 08. Almost a carbon copy of my first trip, except Christian wanted to stay home and play this particular Saturday with a new friend he met in the subdivision. I also left a little later, as I did not want to show up before sunrise, now that I knew the exact route to take to "Ft Bovine".
I decided to set up further down stream below the camp ground again, but this time below the beaver dam in the creek. There was a real nice gravel bar that was just begging to be dredged on the right side of the creek. I saw numerous areas where floating dredgers had worked the open water, but a I wanted to go where others hadn't before. The strange thing was the water level was actually higher then 3 weeks previous, so I barely had just enough gravel bar to put my tubs and honda engine/water pump on........and as I dredged my "schist" built up, making the gravel bar taller, as the water level kept rising throughout the day........inch by inch. Guess there had been some rains in the days previous?
I worked the gravel bar hard.......sucking up a LOT of sand, gravel and small rocks. Each clean up showed a nice amount of fine to very fine gold, but again, no pickers or small nuggets. I was impressed how evenly disbuesed the fine gold was there at Buchanan.......seemed everything had at least some gold in it.
So, with the weather cooler (just 92 degrees) and the humidity finally a bit lower, I was pretty comfortable all day in the water in my wet suit. I did numerous clean ups when the sluice box looked full of heavy cons/black sands and each time saw some fine gold on the black mat. That was VERY motivating to say the least.
Having come from the Northeast, like RI, MA, and VT, where the best I could find was very sparse glacial gold, to find native gold in good amounts was a joy to say the least. Made all the hours of effort and gas driving worth it. Dredging in MA, I never even saw a flake on my mat in numerous trips I prospected, and here in Georgia I was seeing good fine gold color at every clean up. Neat!
After a 9 hr day of dredging, clearing rock jams, tending the sluice box and cleaning up, I called it quits..........totally spent. After packing up the Jeep I headed home, with two 5 gal buckets, a smaller 3 gal bucket and a 10 gal tub full of cons. I can see that I'll have way too much to pan out anytime soon.
I plan to soon start selling my excess cons on eBay to anyone that wants to pan out some authentic Georgia cons.
Can't wait to get my Proline 2 1/2 inch highbanker/dredge back into action again. Buchanan is a nice claim, neat views and smells (of the cows and wild flowers) and good fine gold. Hope to be part of the common dig Labor Day weekend....
Heavy pans to all. Several pics posted to accompany my adventures......