The Gold Nugget

Vol. 7, No. 9
Gold Prospectors of the Rockies
September 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   <>

Panning Demonstrations News Item
by Ken Barker

      The Gold Prospectors of the Rockies were invited by Barbara Thielmann of the Central City Visitor Center to put on our gold panning demonstrations over the Labor Day 2002 weekend.
      On Saturday, which was the antique fire truck display, with the help of Wayne and Diane McCarroll, Sue Clover, and Hank Innerfeld, we had a very good time. We had 200 or so beginning gold panners show up and learn how to pan for gold. Barbara provided the group with coupons for the Hyatt and we all had dinner at their buffet.
      On Sunday, which was the chile cook off, with the help of Wayne and Diane McCarroll, James Doll, and Doug Taylor, we again had a great day. the chile was very good. We were again provided with buffet coupons, this time for Harvey's.
      The Visitor Center in Central City will be setting their schedule for events in October for 2003 and they plan to ask us to participate in a number of them. We are also being asked to help in setting up and giving demonstrations to the use of a "long tom" with the help of some of the old-time miners who used them. I think this would be a lot of fun to learn about and then to actually use one.
      I would like to thank all of the great club members for their help with the panning demonstrations. You folks are the ones who make this all happen. Without you, it would not get done.
      Thanks very much!

Alaska History, Did You Know?
Information gleaned from my recent trip to Alaska - Part 3 of 3
by Carl Sauerland

      The next gold rush in Alaska was to Nome. Prospectors discovered gold on Anvil Creek in 1896. With the discovery of gold on Nome Beach, thousands of men and women began prospecting the coastal sands in spite of the constant danger from storms coming in from the Bering Sea. But each storm that came would uncover more gold so more gold rushers wanted to journey to the Nome Beaches. In 1899, claim jumpers, in reality outlaw miners, sought to drive out many of the original miners. Tensions were high in Nome because fighting was the order of the day.
      By 1900, even though the gold rushers were mining over $2,000,000 a year, many were leaving Nome just to stay alive. Into this confused situation stepped district judge Arthur H. Noyes and his friend Alexander McKenzie. the conflicting mining claims provided Noyes with the opportunity to appoint McKenzie receiver and operator of the disputed sites. The two men defied a court order to make restitution of all properties. Finally, in 1901, Noyes was removed from the office, bringing an end to this audacious scheme.
      Mining activity then spread throughout the Seward Peninsula but the next major gold discoveries were made deep in the interior at Tanana Valley, in 1902. Nearby, the town of Fairbanks grew to become the largest center of population on the territory. As the first major town to be found away from the coast, Fairbanks had an enormous impact on the development of the Alaskan interior.
      In 1904, industrialized mining came to Alaska in the form of dredge mining. Dredges were able to scoop out bedrock gavel and wash it down automatically. Steam or hot water were driven into the ground to defrost the earth and hydraulic hoses washed away the overlay of soil covering the bedrock. The first large dredge to be used in mining operations was in Nome.
      The 20th century had come to Alaska and the great gold rushes of North America were over.

Vice President's Corner
by Gary Hawley

      Greetings to all "Gold Prospectors of the Rockies."
      The summer is winding down, kids are going back to school, and believe it or not, I have seen birds flocking together already. That usually means that colder weather is on the way and the birds are getting ready to fly south. I hope everyone has had the opportunity to go prospecting this summer. If not, time is getting short so get out there and have some fun.
      I do not have any new information about prospecting in Clear Creek Canyon. As was mentioned in July's newsletter, we do have permission to prospect on Clear Creek, within the canyon, from Tunnel #1 to the intersection with Highway 119. if anyone has been contacted by Jefferson County Open Space officers while prospecting in that area, please let me know.
      Panning demonstrations coordinator Ken Barker has been busy with a number of panning demos recently. If you can spare some time to assist with this worthwhile activity, contact Ken and volunteer.
      Please pardon the shortness of my article this month. Time just got away from me, vacation time came and went, and besides, there is a flock of birds in my backyard . . . and going south is sounding real good . . . and I wonder if . . .
      Until next time, may the nuggets you find be worth the effort you put into finding them.

This Month's Q&A
by Gary Hawley

      I hope you are all having as much fun answering the questions as I am putting them together. The previous question was: November 24, 1914, in the Cripple Creek Mining District, miners found a hollow rounded nodule of rock lined with gold crystals. What did they cll the hollow nodule and what was the name of the mine it was found in?
      The noduled was called a "vug" and it was found in the Cresson Mine. The find deserves elaboration. "It was found on the 12th level of the mine. It was 40 feet high, 20 feet long, and 15 feet wide. The walls were covered with siylvanite and calaverite crystals containing flakes of pure oxidized gold the size of a thumbnail." "Hand-picked miners literally scraped the ore from the walls. In just four weeks, the vug produced $1,200,000 worth of gold when it was selling for $20.67 per ounce."
      Here's another easy one for the September meeting: Cornwall, England, was considered the home of the finest hard rock miners in the world. Many of these miners were attracted to the mines of Colorado. What did these Cornish men become known as and, for an extra drawing ticket, what were the Cornish women called?
      See you at the meeting.

Rookies Trip to Cripple Creek
by Rookie Nora and Bill Dorn

      Our trip to Cripple Creek entailed much more than one-armed bandits. First stop was that of checking in at the Hospitality House, which was the old Teller Hospital. In the course of remodeling, the walls were graced with beautiful old-fashioned wallpaper along with carpets almost too prety to walk on, while hospital rooms had been set aside for lodging. Our room was called Intensive Card. Good accommodations.
      We went to the Molly Kathleen Mine the very first day so yours truly wouldn't have time to get cold feet ofer the 1,000-foot descent to the lower level. People were packed in like sardines but claustrophobia dissolved afte about fifteen secconds . . . then survival kicked in!
      Our guide, a former underground rock miner, brought it all alive by demonstrating the use fo air drills used to cut down the dust, showed how the air-operated engine worked, how to spot veins of gold, how to brace the sides of the tunnels against cave-ins, etc. It was really interesting to see the different sequences used to set off dynamite. The crowd asked some good questions. Themine was well worth visiting.
      Getting the senior discount book at Bronco Billy's provided us with 49-cent breakfasts (the works) and a T-bone steak dinner for approxomately $3.79. The meals made that daily purple fun book worth its weight in gold.
      You must make the trip up to the American Eagles Overlook on the Rangeview Road just outside of Victor six miles from Cripple Creek. Bill and I both thought it was one of the highlights of the trip. On the way up you pass Stratton's Independence Mine worth 11 million dollars in the days of old. The real treat is the view from the top of the huge CC&V Mining Operations. Unbelievable! You must see this modern-day gold mine, if you haven't already. The rock is hauled from them, taken to the crushing facility, then to the leaching area, and then they use a recovery solution using drip irrigation pipes to separate the gold from the rock. You take it from there. Such huge equipment. Their payroll is 17 million a year. A good tax base for the area.
      Victor is the boyhood place of broadcaster Lowell Thomas, writer of some 50 books.
      Sixteen miles the other direction from Cripple Creek is Florissant. We came to find out that Colorado used to be the home to giant redwoods. These giant petrified redwood stumps showed it the way it used to be.
      There are many graves in a small cemetary on Mt. Piscah, some dating back to the Spanish American War. One monument was surrounded with white quartz stones. The inscription about "Teddy" has an outstanding verse--my heart is still in my throat.
      The Cripple Creek Minin Museum is full of old mining paraphenalia galore. Next is the Narrow Gauge Railroad with the train going within two miles of Victor. We saw many glory holes along the way and Ghost Canyon. It all started with Bob Womack selling the first claim for $500.00 when he was drunk. Seven years before he died, he was honored as Grand Marshall at a Cripple Creek celebration for the founding of the town.
      Must not forget the Spoilers and the Melodrama. Frosting on the cake.
      Our second lodging was called Colorado Alpenglow. It was half of a double in a residential area. Exceptional. Quiet, clean, large, and well supplied with everything from a complete kitchen, washer, dryer, towels, TV, iron, and even a hair dryer. We left it as clean as we found it. The folks in the other half called it a condo. Hope guests will continue to take care of it.
      Well, anyway, there is a lot more to be said about Cripple Creek. Most of it is in books you can read about the area. So, before signing off, here is a question for our friendly quiz master, VP Gary Hawley, who puts all those nerve-racking questions in the newsletter (Carl Sauerland said he would put Gary's food donation in the kitty if he could answer this one!):
      What is the one thing that Cripple Creek had in its early mining days that no other mining town in the world posessed?

Bucket Classifier
by Ken Barker

      If you are going to classify your material before sluicing it, you might as well do it wet. Using one of those Keene bucket-top classifiers is slow and inefficient. If the material is damp, it will stick to the rocks that you throw out and you might be losing some gold. The only real down side to this method is you have to carry heavy buckets to and from the sluice box. I have been using this one for several years and it ain't pretty but it works great.
      To make one, cut the bottom off a five-gallon bucket about an inch or two below where it sits on a bucket it is nesting in. Use the bottom of the bucket as a form to bend the screen (I used half-inch mesh). You will need ot cut some wedges out of the screen to avoid folding as you bend it. When cutting the wedges, leave some stubs on the screen so you can use long-pnose pliers to bend the stubs around adjacent parts of the screen to sort of "sew" it together. When it looks about right, attach the screen to the top part of the bucket with flat-head screws or pop rivets so there won't be any screw heads protruding on the outside. The bottom of the screen should be about seven inches from the bottom of a bucket in which it will be nesting. That's it!
      To use this thing most efficiently, you will need two buckets. Fill both buckets about three fourths full of waster and carry them to where you are digging (I told you there is a down side). Put the classifier in one bucket and falmost fill it up from the other bucket, then start shoveling. I can usually put three heaping shovels in and then give the classifier a few quick twists, a few up and down bounces, and a couple more twists. When you dump the classifier, the rocks will be squeaky clean. You can repeat the process two more times for a total of nine shovels depending on the material you are working. The bucket will be about two thirds full of calssified material. Put the classifier in the other bucket and pour in whatever water is left in the loaded bucket. Take the loaded bucket to the sluice and run the stuff through. Refill the bucket about three fourths full of water and repeat the whole process. You will soon learn how much water to carry back to keep going.

Well, Ken, ya done stole my thunder.
      Seems as though I have been "bucket panning" for ten years or so. Except, I make the bucket with the holes in it just a little differently. I use a 2 1/2- or 3-gallon bucket. This fits totally inside the 5-gallon bucket. I cut the bottom out, leaving about 1/4 inch of the bottom edge. Using 1/4-inch aluminum punch plate and a band saw with a fine-toothed metal blade, I cut a circle from the aluminum that fits snugly inside the bottom of the bucket. I rivet the plate in place and then put a bead of caulking around the edge where the plate meets the side. This prevents gold from falling into the holes next to the sides, which you could lose when you dump the larger stones out. Everything else seems to be about the same. Sometimes I spend the day just bucket panning. I can process about 10 two-thirds-full 5-gallon buckets in about 5 or 6 hours and drink two or three beers lemonades. If I remember, I'll bring a "show and tell" to the September meeting.
      Carl Sauerland

Wash Your Gravel
by Eric Teot

      This tip applies mostly to clay-rich bench material when you're running it through a sluice. Dredges, trommels, hi-bankers, even rockers, pre-wash the gravel before it reaches the sluice. When you're panning, the initial stirrring and shaking pre-washes the gravel before it is panned out.
      Gravel bar material has been, in effect, pre-washed by the stream and can be shoveled directly into a sluice. But the typical hobby sluice box simply isn't long enough to completely wash the gravels and break up the clay found in most bench material. Large lumps of clay and gravel covered with clay will roll right out of the sluice, along with the gold that is stuck in the clay.
      Before you run your material through the sluice, wash it well enough to clean it off the gravel and break up the lumps of clay. I usually do this by dumping about a quarter of a bucket of material into a half bucket of water (don't dump the water into a half bucket of gravel!). Then I stir the gravelwith a metal rod or by hand if I'm wearing an elbow-length insulated rubber glove. The sand and gravel in the water do a good job of breaking up the clay and washing the clay off the rocks. I wash all but the biggest rocks off in the water. If there is a lot of clay stuck to a very large rock, I use a stiff brush to clean the rock off. When the rocks in the water are free of clay, chances are the clay lumps are broken up, too.
      At this point, you may wish to screen the material down to about half an inch before running it through our sluice. Even a short sluice works well on washed gravels. Note that I don't screen the material before washing it. Unless the material is perfectly dry, a lot of clay will remain on the rocks or stay in lumps that are too big to fall through the screen. Also, even if the clay is dry enough to be successfully broken up in the screen, it still needs to be washed. Dry clay will float right through the sluice and even small pieces can carry gold out the end of the sluice.

This article is from the Prospectors of Colorado newsletter.

Using a Metal Detector to find Gold
by Reg Sniff

      The same general design is used in a gold machine as in a coin-hunting instrument. What is different are the specific component changes to increase sensitivity and coil design. The primary purpose for enhancing features on a gold machine is to increase the detector's capability of finding extremely small nuggets of a couple of grains or less. Do these same features also mean a gold detector has significantly deeper response to larger nuggets? Surprisingly, the answer in many cases is no. A typical gold detector will do a much better job of finding really small nuggets but may display little, if any, difference of finding larger ones.
      On the minus side, several types of gold detectors are dedicated for that purpose only, to find gold. As a result, some of them do not have any discriminating circuitry or circuitry limited to minimize digging iron objects. These detectors do not lend themselves to be used as coin-hunting machines.
      Another drawback is, as a general rule, gold detectors are touchier to adjust. Because of their increased sensitivity, even the iron oxides (the black sands with which we are familiar) are something the detector can readily detect. Thus, the primary adjustment of graound balance control may take some getting used to, as well as require continuous periodic adjustment as an area is searched.
      A good general-purpose coin-hunting detector having as ground balance control may be a better choice for the casual nugget hunter. This type of detector may miss the really small nuggets but, because of the reduced sensitivity, is easier to keep properly tuned and, surpassingly, may make it easier to hear a faint signal of a deep nugget. This is because there are fewer or smaller signals caused by ground conditions. More importantly, this type of detector can be used for other purposes, such as coin hunting in parks, yards, etc., as well as searching ghost towns.
      Whichever type of detector you may own or decide to buy, learn as much about it as possible. Know how each adjustment affects the detector's operation.
      The three most important words that can be stated to increase your odds are: practice, practice, practice!

This article is from the Prospectors of Colorado newsletter.

Gold Nugget Drawing Winners
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
1.3 gram nugget - Nora Dorn
0.7 gram nugget - Walter Schlomer
0.7 gram nugget - Sue Clover
0.9 gram nugget - Don Fling
0.8 gram nugget - Walter Schlomer
0.8 gram nugget - Kindra Solomon
0.8 gram nugget - Don Fling
0.7 gram nugget - Wayne Hale
0.9 gram nugget - Hank Innerfeld
0.8 gram nugget - Chuck Harris
0.8 gram nugget - Donovan Greene
0.8 gram nugget - Doug Taylor
Door Prizes and Special Drawings
0.5 gram Mexican nugget - Chuck Harris
Donated by RAndy Solomon
The Old Timer patch - Rachael Boyes
Donated by Gary Hawley

August Find of the Month / Year

by Doug Taylor

      Harvey Whitcomb brought in some gold dust he sluiced out of Clear Creek Canyon and Ken Barker entered his gold from the GPR outing on the Arkansas River. When the votes were counted, Harvey took the win.
      thanks for bringing in your finds; it is always nice to see what club members are finding in the great outdoors!

Food for Thought
by Ada Keim

      Thanks to Jill Eads for the great job with the food at the July meeting. Thanks to Elizabeth and Walter Schlomer for the great job with the food at the August meeting.
      The Snack Table volunteers for September are Elizabeth and Walter Schlomer again! Thanks to the Schlomers for volunteering two months in a row!
      No more volunteers are needed for the rest of 2002!
      Thanks to all of you who have volunteered to take a turn or two. We need the rest of you to think about helping next year.
      The donation amounts coming have improved. Let's keep it up!

Member Classifieds
Wet Suit For Sale
Two-piece wet suit, medium size (5' 8" - 140 lbs.), great shape, new.
Asking $65.00
Contace Larry Weilnau
Members: Your Ad Could Be Here
Wanted, For Sale, Free--you name it!

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.