What I Accomplished in 2016 on $250 a month & $1,600 in Grubstake Money!
by Lost Adams
About 80 lbs gear
In January, I was looking for a way to finance my 2016 Treasure Hunting and Gold Prospecting Year! I was planning out where and what I could afford to do and go until winter drove me out of the mountains again.
I had many options as I usually keep 10-20 ongoing projects in the works. These depend on the amount of research I have done on them and are ready to be turned into a field expedition.
I have two types of field expeditions I use. The first is to just go to the area to locate any and all places and road access to the sites. This is what I call a RECON Mission. I am looking for permanent free camping places with potable water sources and at least adequate washing water. I can get by on 7 gallons of cooking and drinking water a week, but need at least 10 gal of washing water for dishes and body. If I can get a camp by a creek I can pack water in 5 gal. buckets.
I had a person contact me about partnering up on Treasure Hunting and Gold Prospecting and we seemed to hit it off well, even after our initial face to face meeting. Afterward, I lined up a schedule of prospects to look at and we had agreed to do them in order of priority. I waited and then waited and then had to make a decision to break off the partnership due to the differences in priorities.
So, on to the next 4 - 5 partnerships, I went through them and had to terminate them due to lack of REAL interest because they wanted ME to take them along and teach them AND pay for the entire trip. Most people Do Not have any idea how to work and L
live in the mountains or deserts. They think they need TOO Much STUFF. NOT!
So I had decided to make the May Recon trip to NE Washington State to a place I had taken out 2 dwt. of course gold flakes in 1997. Just north of Northport in Sheep Creek there had been pounds of gold taken out in the early days and this was also near to where the Lost Dukavador Silver Vein was located.
I always try to have two or more prospects near each other on any one expedition in case one doesn't work out for whatever reason.
I got permission from a patented mine owner to stay on his land and that solved my 2-week forest service camping restriction. When mining and prospecting on a valid claim there is NO restriction, but it is a hassle to TEACH the local authorities that it is true under the 1872 Mining Laws.
The Recon trip went well and I decided to return in a couple of months, when the water was lower, to mine for a month or two.
When I returned at the end of July, I moved in and made my camp and began to layout possible trails into my chosen area. I had planned on digging out a spring that was about 500 feet from my camp and piping the water in with a 1/2” poly pipe line. You run the water into a 30-50 gal plastic barrel and then have all the water you need.
I started to brush out a trail down an old logging skid road into my chosen mining area. After 3days of this, I decided that it was going to take me 3 weeks to get my trail made and my mining gear packed in.
I decided to move camp upriver and work a gravel bar instead. I didn't have to worry about water as I would be in the creek each day and wouldn't have to pack much water up the bank as I was bathing all day in the creek.
I had been working at this new location for 3 days when two guys showed up with a 3” dredge and asked if they could move in below me. I welcomed them and we made friends. Later, when I helped this guy out, I learned how much easier it is to use the lower 1/3 rd. of a plastic 30-50 gal barrel to screen the gravel into rather than into a 5 gal bucket. It takes 30-40 seconds to use the barrel method as opposed to the bucket taking 2-3 minutes. Plus the 1/2” screen is in the barrel and NOT perched on top of the tippy bucket.
I was in camp about 2 weeks when an 80-year old miner showed up and we found that we had known each other in the late '90s. Well, we had a LOT of catching up to do and after he had shown me where ALL the places to get down over the 40' to 80' cliff/bank into the creek were, I finally let him go about 5:30 pm. He invited me to supper the next evening at 5:00 pm in his motor home.
That one day with Mel was worth hundreds of prospecting days on my own. I thanked him for his friendship and hospitality when they left for home at the end of the week.
He had also told me of a place down the creek, 1/2” mile, that he had heard a couple of Alaska miners trying to figure out how not to lose 1-2 oz. of gold nuggets when they screened their material to run in their sluice. He was dredging with his 3” upstream when he left early due to engine problems. The miners were 15' into the side of the bank with a cut and 12' at the face. He heard them as they didn't notice him listening. They left not too long after that to go back to Alaska. He went back the next year and found the face had all sloughed in and he didn't want to dig it out by himself due to the danger of a slide.
I didn't get but $10.00 dollars of gold. So some would say that the trip was a BUST and not worth it. But I look at it as learning where the gold is not and WHY. There isn't enough water movement in the creek to move the gravel in the spring flood. So, all the gold that was taken out wasn't being replenished each year. This, I proved to myself by Not recovering anything in the little crevice I had taken 2 dwt. out of 20 years before. I also know where the gold is in this creek and why it is still there. No one had mined it out of there. The harder it is to get to, the less people get there before you!
Now I know where and what to take to get the gold there. It will be a LOT of hard work but will be worth it!
Sincerely, Bill “Lost Adams”
Stan’s response: Wow Bill! What a fantastic and inspirational story you have shared with us here. The thing I love is that you tell it as it is. Gold prospecting and mining is no easy proposition. It is hard work. It takes experience and tenacity to be successful at it. I think you have both…