Walking on Gold

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray
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Many years ago I was watching a show on television about gold prospecting. One of the people on that show said that most people are walking around on gold and don’t even realize it. That got me to thinking about our property and the two springs that run all year long. Those springs run harder in the springtime than the rest of the year and we believe they come from deep in the mountain. What leads us to think that is when we had our well drilled the well driller was a geologist and told us there had been several studies done on our mountain and there was an aquifer that ran the length of the mountain.

As can be observed from the photo the water is currently running pretty strong. Getting back to my pondering over our springs and possible gold emanating with the heavy flow of water I thought maybe I was ‘walking on gold’ and had never gaven it a previous thought. One of my hobbies is prospecting for gold so I took one of my sluice boxes and set it up near where the spring came up from the ground. That was during the year when the spring was running slower. I was surprised when I cleaned the sluice box out and there were a couple little pieces of gold and some flour gold in the box. Since then each year I wait until the spring is running hard and set my sluice box where the spring runs through it.

Over the years I have picked up a small amounts of gold each year and it sure beats the back breaking work of digging and panning for it. I usually determine when it is time to set up the sluice box (see photo) by going down to where the water runs into the ditch along the road and then carries further down the mountain. I take a few sample pans and when I get 10-15 small pieces of flour gold I know it is time to set up the sluice box. When the spring is running hard it brings that flour gold from deep under ground and washes it right on down the stream or better yet into my sluice box.

Flour gold is appropriately named because it is very fine like flour and more abundant than the more course gold. Gold is very heavy and so I like to set my sluice close to the source where it could be forcibly washed out of the ground and through my sluice box. Some years I find a little and some years not so good. That fellow on that gold show who said most people are walking over gold and never know it sure knew what he was talking about. Now I don’t even have to leave home to prospect for gold. With two springs coming forth from the ground usually one or the other will be productive. I will never accumulate enough to make it worth while but it sure is fun to be able to get a little now and then without having to work hard to get it. Of course some years I don’t seem to be able to get any and whether my timing is off or whether none is being washed up out of the ground I’m not sure. It is hard to fathom what is really going on under the ground or how far away or where that gold actually comes from.

Just getting a little now and then is fun and while most is just flour gold, sometimes I have little pieces I can pick out. No nuggets but I think of how nice that would be to actually find one in the sluice sometime. I have also noted that the gold I do get has a slight orange tint to it but when cleaned up it is restores to its natural yellow color. We must have some iron ore or other metal in the ground that tints it light orange. Our water does not have any taste that would suggest iron or other metal but it could be coming from deep within the mountain or from a long way. Our drinking water is pure and totally clear and gives no hint of what is under ground so the gold must be coming from deeper than our well. We also see quite a bit of black sand that is usually associated or found with gold. I have taken test pans from further along the mountain and there is no black sand or gold present in those locations. I did one test about a mile along the mountain from where our house is located and found two pieces that I could easily pick out of the pan with my fingers that were not tinged orange. One was shaped like a boot and the other was just a little non descriptive piece. That tells me it is not located everywhere along the mountain but only in certain places.

I have found that most people are just like that gent said – walking over gold and don’t know it. Had I not heard that I would never have considered any rare metal on our property. I have taken several sample pans throughout our community and have found flour gold in many of the places I tested. That man was sure right that we are walking around on gold and don’t even know it. It is spread out fairly well and to obtain enough to amount to anything would take several lifetimes at the rate I manage to get it however it is there if you look hard enough. As for me I’m just happy to find an occasional piece to two and being able to do it the easy way makes it even more rewarding. I suspect many of us are walking on gold and never give it a moments consideration.

For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and their type of lifestyle go to Bruce and Carol’s website.

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