I just recently went to scout the one and only claim in San Luis Obisbo county. Its calle "Slo-Able 1."
I wanted to see how camping would be and if there was running water on the claim this time of year and to take a couple of test pans to see if there might be some decent gold to be found.
I made it to the Navajo Flat campground as it speaks about in the book, but then things got strange. The directions in the book said that the claim was 1/2 mile farther, but it wasn't clear if it was talking about farther down the road, or up a motorcycle/ 4 wheeler path. I drove farther looking for a claim marker and found one that must have been for a different claim because it wasn't oriented correctly according to my google earth research prior to leaving on the trip. I was about to give up when a farmer came down the road in an ATV with his dogs. I asked him if he knew where the GPAA claim was and he told me that it was up the 4 wheeler path a little ways and that it wasn't clearly marked. I went up there and looked around for a bit and started feeling really sick so I ended up leaving and not test panning or anything. It was a total bust for me, but for those of you who are considering a trip there, here is some good info for you.
The claim is 1/4 to a half mile up the 4 wheeler trail. If you dont have a 4 wheeler to haul your gear up there with, you will be hoofing it with your gear. You could probably make a few trips as it isn't like you are walking for miles. The fence at the path entrance can be opened with the fence wires. They are just hooked together, presumably so the rangers can open the fence and drive up there. The path is wide enough for a 4 wheel drive to drive up to the claim, but I dont know if it is allowed or not. I would think that since motorized vehicles are allowed on the path, and this is a GPAA claim, that in theory, a member could drive up there, but you cannot park off of the road, you have to park on the side of the road. There are signs everywhere telling you not to drive on the greenery.
When I camp I like to be undisturbed. I dont much care to be around a bunch of people. This claim seems to have the potential for being somewhat crowded with offroaders and hikers etc... There are farms and houses in the area as well. It is not exactly deep wilderness, but the claim, besides being on the offroad vehicle trail, seemed to be insulated from much of what was going on around it in other areas. The claim was green and lush this time of year. In fact it was gorgeous. There was exposed bedrock on the old river bottom and lots of benches to dig from. Much of the benches had already been mined. There were many tailings piles around, but there were still plenty of untouched areas to dig. There was no water. The McGuinnes and Navajo Creeks weren't even trickles this time of year, probably still reeling from the drought. The problem was that the ground was really really moist from recent rains. I couldnt have drywashed if I wanted to. High banking would have probably rocked though. This is all alluvial material. It's river placer mining without the river. I like this because I understand where the gold hides in rivers. In the desert I get confused sometimes on where I should actually be digging.
I wish I had some test pan results to share with you, but as I said, I started feeling really sick and ended up going home.
I hope this info helps anyone planning a trip there!!!