The Gold Nugget

Vol. 7, No. 4
Gold Prospectors of the Rockies
April 2002

Join Us on the Third Wednesday!

Lloyd G. Clements Community Center
1580 Yarrow St., Lakewood, Colorado
(One block west of Wadsworth, one block north of Colfax)

7:00 PM (Board Meeting at 6:00 PM)
Information: (303) 932-1076   <>

President's Article
by Rick Miska

      Hi all!
      I wrote a short note for this month's newsletter. We still need a few volunteers for the Spring Show in the Rockies. Please do your part and volunteer for a shift. All the information for that is in that note. More information on the show can be found at:
      I also contacted The Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA). They are giving us a free booth at their show in return for help setting up and taking down. We will need volunteers also to man the booth. Please e-mail or call me if you can help. I will have more information for everybody at the meeting. Information on the GPAA Goldshow can be found at:
      Hope to see EVERYBODY at the meeting, Rick

The VP's Corner
by Gary Hawley

      Greetings to all "Gold Prospectors of the Rockies."
      We covered a lot of ground at the meeting last month and the list of things to do continues to grow. We need volunteers to help the club in several areas so now is the time to step up and become an active member. I would appreciate having four members call Ada Kiem and offer to take care of the snack table for one of the following months: May, July, August, or September.
      If you have had an exciting, dangerous or extraordinary gold prospecting trip, or had a good or bad experience with a piece of equipment, or intended to go prospecting but got married instead, write a few paragraphs about it and send it to our Editor, Carl Sauerland.
      We have again been invited to do a panning demonstration for the "Spring Show in the Rockies" on April 19-21. Rick Miska is handling the details on this one and he needs volunteers to help with the demo. We had a great time with this show last year and it is a real credit to our club to be invited back again.
      The Jefferson County Open Space situation on Clear Creek is still in the works. Wayne Hale and I made a trip through the canyon the first part of this month to attempt to locate areas where we could hold a prospecting seminar for Open Space personnel. We specifically were looking for good parking areas and easy access to the creek. All members will be invited to this seminar when a date and location is determined.
      If you are ready for a weekend of prospecting, you might plan to join the Gold Prospectors of Colorado club in Colorado Springs for their yearly "Let's Go Gold Panning" outing the weekend of May 3, 4, and 5 at the Woody #1 Claim in Wellsville off Highway 50 between Caňon City and Salida. I will have more information and maps at the meeting.
      Until next time, may the nuggets you find be worth the effort you put into finding them.

Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
by Frank Fannon

      The meeting was opened with the Pledge Of Allegiance. President Gary Hawley related a story about a cache of silver dollars previously owned by Ted Binion. They were found in Arizona. At present, they are being sold individually at a handsome profit.
      Gary then proceeded to discuss the meeting he and about a dozen other members attended with the Jeffco Open Space people. The discussion centered on the acquisition of virtually all of the property surrounding Clear Creek in Jefferson County. They are still working on gaining an understanding of what weekend prospecting is all about as well as the historical significance of the prospectors. Gary will be setting up a demonstration for the Open Space people so they can see that we are not going to destroy the property during the execution of our hobby. There was quite a bit of lively discussion by the membership. There were maps showing the area now included in the Jeffco Open Space. Gary will act as our spokesman with the county. More news to come!
      Rick Miska donated a set of Family Radio Service (FRS) radios for a drawing. The Board will determine a specific channel to be used as 'our club channel', for when people go out in the field. These small radios are easy to transport and could come in handy in the event of an emergency.
      A guest speaker, Craig Abbot, from the Pikes Peak Adventure League (PPAL) in Colorado Springs discussed a detector hunt. It is scheduled for May 18 & 19 at Walks Camp Park near Limon, Colorado. He also provided a number of free entries into their drawing for rare coins. If you are interested, they also have a web site at
      Volunteers are needed to handle panning demos at the Spring Show in the Rockies, just as we did last year. It will be at the Holiday Inn-Denver North and the Best Western-Central on April 19, 20, and 21.
      Jerry Jones spoke about doing a flea market immediately before the meeting next month. He arranged for the use of part of the parking lot. He will insert a large ad in the next newsletter.
      PLEASE REMEMBER: At the beginning of the meeting as well as at the end of the break, be prompt and, SILENCE IS GOLDEN.

Find of the Month/Year
by Doug Taylor

      The March "Find of the Month/Year Contest" enjoyed a good turn-out. March entries were all gold!

      Randy Solomon brought in 1/4-ounce of nuggets he found in LaCienega, Mexico, and Quartzite and Greaterville, Arizona. Ada Keim had a .4 gram nugget she found in Staton , Arizona. Both Randy and Ada used metal detectors to find their treasures. Jerry Jones turned in gold he dredged out of Clear Creek. After the votes were cast, Larry Boyes was the winner with a 1/3-oz of gold recovered from the American River in California. Larry used a mask and snorkel along with tweezers and a suction tube to snipe the gold out of the cracks in the bottom of the river. In case you did not get a chance to see this gold, it was beautiful, large nuggets unlike the small pieces we see from around here. Thanks to all the club members who participated in the Find of the Month/Year program.

A Rocky Mountain Canary
From Tales, Trails and Tommyknockers - Stories from Colorado's Past by Myriam Friggens

      The Rocky Mountain Canary was not a songbird - it didn't sound like one, nor did it look like a songbird.
      "Rocky Mountain Canary" is what the old miners jokingly called their shaggy little burros because of the loud and unmusical "hee-haw" noise they made.
      The burros were necessary in the early mining days. They carried all the food, supplies, and equipment to the far away mining camps. They hauled the mine timbers and, before ore cars could roll, they had to haul the rails.
      A very famous burro lived in the Fairplay-Alma area in South Park. He was called "Prunes" because of his dark, rough coat that was about the color of that dried fruit. He was owned by a prospector named Rupe Sherwood.
      When Rupe was out panning for gold, he would harness Prunes to a pick and use the pick like a plow. Prunes would pull the pick back and forth, loosening the soil and rocks, then drag a sled full of dirt down to a stream where Rupe could wash out the gold.
      Rupe preferred placer mining along the stream bed. He didn't like working in the mines. But, when he wasn't lucky enough to find his own gold, he and Prunes would have to work at hardrock mining for somebody else. That was how Prunes became so famous. At one time or another, Prunes worked all the mines in the Fairplay-Alma district.
      Rupe and Prunes were partners for almost fifty years. Rupe never did get rich, but he found enough gold to retire in comfort. During the icy winters he would rent out his Fairplay cabin and move to Denver. The townspeople would look after Prunes, feeding him hay, biscuits, and pancakes. When Rupe returned in May, Prunes would "hee-haw" a hearty welcome.
      On Rupe's eightieth birthday his friends held a big party. Prunes celebrated with a bag of oats. But he had difficulty eating because he no longer had any teeth. That winter, after Rupe returned to Denver, a blinding blizzard struck Fairplay. Prunes sought shelter in an old shed. The wind blew the door shut, trapping him inside. When the children found him he was week and ill. The mothers fed him stacks of pancakes and he managed to hang on until Rupe returned in the spring. But the 63-year-old burro was barely alive. The townspeople decided that the kindest thing to do was to put Prunes out of his misery. Sorrowfully, Rupe agreed.
      The people of Fairplay and Alma missed Prunes terribly. They collected money to build a monument to their faithful friend. When it was finished, they moved his bones to a nearby grave. A ceremony was held and Rupe read a poem he had written titled "Prunes and Me."
      With his old pal gone, life was empty for Rupe. A year later, he was seriously ill. Before dying, Rupe asked to have his body cremated and the ashes buried beside his burro. Rupe's wish was granted.
      Today, you can see the monument to Prunes on a street in Fairplay. On the stone slab it reads: "Prunes. A burro. 1867-1930. Fairplay Alma All mines in this district." Here the remains of Rupe and Prunes appear to rest peacefully. But, who knows? These lifelong partners may now be out tramping the heavenly hills together, still prospecting for gold.

Call for 2002 Miner's Poetry Jamboree

      Poets arise from your lethargy! Take pen, pencil, or keyboard to the task of composing your composition in the Fourth Annual Miner's Poetry Jamboree.
      The winner will be crowned "2002 Miner's Poet Laureate" and will be invited to recite his or her verse at the 15th Annual National Mining Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, Second, third and fourth place winners will receive handsome framed certificates. A panel of Leadville peers will jury the entries.


Entrants may submit as many as two (2) original unpublished poems about mining culture and traditions. They should not exceed sixty (60) lines each. All entries must be typed or neatly handwritten and submitted on letter-sized paper, to be postmarked not later than May 15,2002.

All contestants retain ownership of their work, but the The National mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHF&M) reserves the right to use any entry for promotional purposes.

Send compositions to:

Poetry Contest
The National mining Hall of Fame and Museum
PO Box 981
Leadville. CO 80461-0981

Spring Show in the Rockies

      The Spring Show in the Rockies is only a week or so away. Here is the current list of people and the shifts they signed up for. Where you see lines, we still need volunteers. Please call or e-mail me, if you can take one of the empty slots. If you have any questions or concerns that cannot wait for the meeting, please contact me. Thanks, Rick

Food Volunteers Needed

      Snack table volunteers for April meeting was Walter and Elizabeth Schlomer. Thanks to Terry Weatherly and Allen Mershon for the great food at the March meeting. We still need a volunteer for May's meeting. Please contact me to volunteer. Remember your donations pay for the food on the snack table.
      Ada Keim

Member Classifieds
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Commercial Advertising

The Gold Nugget 

is an official publication of the Gold Prospectors of the Rockies, a Denver-based, Colorado nonprofit organization established in 1995 for the enjoyment of gold prospecting and metal detecting. Club meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month, 7:00 PM, at the Lloyd G. Clements Community Center, 1580 Yarrow Street, Lakewood, Colorado (1 block west of Wadsworth, 1 block north of Colfax). Individual or family membership fees are $30.00 for the first year, $25.00 for each subsequent year. Non-commercial business-card-sized classified text ads for members are free of charge. Commercial display ads must be detecting, prospecting, or treasure related and are available to anyone at a modest charge: 1/8 page (approximately 2"h x 3.5"w business card size) - $6.00 per month. 1/4 page (approximately 4"h x 3.5"w) - $12.00 per month. 1/2 page (approximately 4"h x 7"w or 8.5"h x 3.5"w) - $24.00 per month. Full page (approximately 8.5"h x 7"w) - $48.00 per month. The Gold Nugget  is open to and gladly accepts submission of information and articles. All article submissions must be received by the editor no later than the first Wednesday of the month for inclusion in the next month's issue. The GPR must receive any required payments for commercial ads prior to their inclusion. Include publication information on articles clipped from other publications. The Editor reserves the right to edit all submissions. Bulletin editors may print any article from this newsletter with credit given to the newsletter and the author. Contact: The Gold Nugget  Editor, The Gold Prospectors of the Rockies, PO Box 621988, Littleton, CO 80162-1988. E-mail: The Gold Nugget Editor.