AZ Field Trip

This story begins in July of 2001 when I received a request for one of my Custom Research Packages from a fellow named Steve from Indiana. He was interested in the Weaver Mountains (Rich Hill) Placer area. Well after about 2 weeks of talking back and forth about nugget hunting, the next thing I knew Steve and Marc his son were going to be in Arizona the first weekend of September!

Well these guys were totally new to nugget shooting and didn't own gold detectors and asked if I knew of a place to rent some. Now I'd never given that much thought and did not know of any such place so I posted the question at a couple of forums and got several responses from folks willing to help out. A good friend Ron was the closest to their hunt area so I got them in Touch solving the detector problem.

I planned to meet up with Steve and Marc that 1st Saturday in September with Lou to do some Rich Hill nugget shooting and hopefully help them to get their first nuggets. Well they got together with Ron mid week and got some hands on training in one of Ron's spots, but no gold had was found the first couple times out. They did though learn how to use the detectors (both Whites) quite well.

Lou, Steve, and Marc (left to right)

Saturday Lou and I arrived at Stanton AZ at 6:00 am and met with Ron, Robert, Steve, and Marc. We then headed out to a spot I was fairly sure we could get a nugget or two up the road past the Octave Mine. Well after a couple hours worth of hunting Ron scored 1 little nugget, but the rest of came up empty handed.

We then had problems with one of Ron's detectors that Steve was using, the ground balance knob had come loose. We all then took a break and went to the truck to do repairs. After fixing the detector we all decided to try a different spot further up the road, so we loaded up and headed for new ground. After hunting a couple more hours Lou and I had to head home so we made plans to get together in a couple days.

When Lou and I got back together with Marc and Steve Sunday morning we all headed to the San Domingo Placer area near my home to give it another try. we drove to an area that had produced good nuggets in the past and started hunting. After a short time I got a small nugget out of a tailing pile in a small drainage. Thinking there may be more in the area I called Marc over to hunt down the way from me.

I was working my way up the hill side a bit later when I heard "YAHOO", I looked back to see Marc looking into his hand with a big grin on his face. "I got one" he was yelling so we all went down and had a look. It was a very nice nugget of about 8 grains and had some quartz stuck to it. Well after congratulations we all headed off in different directions again to resume our hunt.

Well a few minutes later Marc get's another one, then Steve get's one in the same area! It sure didn't take these Indiana boys long to get the hang of things!

Marc showing off his and Steve's nuggets

That was it for Sunday's finds and we called it a day around noon. We got together again Monday afternoon and hunted for a couple hours in the 106 degree AZ heat, but didn't manage to get any more gold. Both Marc and Steve had a great time and got some AZ gold to take back to Indiana and Lou, Ron and I met some new friends! All in all a great Arizona field trip. G.H.

BY William Southern Jr