Western Colorado Rookie
Last Post 09 Aug 2015 10:49 AM by Benjamin Crain. 18 Replies.
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Jason ShelleyUser is Offline
Greenhorn
Greenhorn
Posts:1



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05 May 2015 08:15 PM

    Hi Everyone, 

    I have recently picked up panning and prospecting. I have been in it for a couple months now and am learning most from the web and a few shows on the outdoor channel. My biggest problem is actually pinpointing the gold. I have gone to a couple places where gold mines are in teh area. But alas, I caome up with nothing. I live in Mesa county (Grand Junction) Colorado. Any advise or even specific areas where people have had luck would be helpfull.

    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
    Posts:326



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    06 May 2015 05:59 AM
    Welcome Jason, I too am new to Grand Junction and recently joined the Western Slope Chapter. Their website is www.wcgpaa.org. We will be at the Rock and Gem show this coming weekend teaching people to pan at the convention center and we hold a meeting every 3rd Thursday of the month.

    Many members have their own claims and the Chapter has a great claim you can gain access to after attending a few meetings and taking part in one of our Charity events. I will be at the Rock and Gem show this weekend helping out so please feel free to stop by and say hello and introduce yourself to the Chapter.

    I also know your frustration, you have probably been working the GPAA claims in the upper and lower Delores, and there is nothing there, not even a glint of sparkle, that and 5 feet of red clay to dig through?

    Contact me if you wish to know more and I can help point you in the right direction, crashcrain@gmail.com .

    I was so frustrated when I moved here I thought I had forgotten how to pan because I couldn't even find a flake, I thought it was me, but I soon learned what the problem was, and it was not me.
    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
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    06 May 2015 06:06 AM
    There are two of us members that live near Patterson and 29th, I am not sure the other will be attending, he was headed off to a claim in Nevada.
    Matt JohnsonUser is Offline
    Sluicer
    Sluicer
    Posts:52



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    06 May 2015 06:18 AM
    I wonder why the GPAA files claims on land that isn't gold bearing. It's not cool. How can members find gold on these "Gold bearing claims" if the claims don't produce?
    TIM LEIBELUser is Offline
    Buzzard
    Buzzard
    Posts:567



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    06 May 2015 06:31 AM
    Matt, all the claims are gold bearing properties. It helps if the members file claims reports after each outing so the main office can keep up to date as to whether the claim is still producing as much as it did when GPAA filed the claim or maybe it is time to let this claim go. I have to say the same thing everyone told me and we all share with all the new members. Find a club or chapter near you and join. Go out with others an whach what they do, ask questions, be a pest (I have met no one yet in the GPAA that thinks anyone asking question is a pest). Watching videos on You tube is great but due to the narrow views you can not see the total layout of the land to see why they picked that spot. Being boots on the ground with an experienced prospector is the only way I know to learn that part. And then go out and try it out as often as you want too. I started 20 months ago. I have been on 2 common club digs, and 1 LDMA dig. I have learned so much from the people there. In my first 18 months I have 4 pickers over .5 grams, and 8 grams of flakes and powder that I dug on MY OWN. That is the thrill for me. I found it, I processed it and I get to do that "TV MONEY SHOT SWIRL" for my family and hear them go AHHHH when they see my gold.
    Matt JohnsonUser is Offline
    Sluicer
    Sluicer
    Posts:52



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    06 May 2015 08:21 AM

    Tim, I was referring to Benjamin's comment about there not being any gold on the upper or lower Dolores claims. I didn't say I don't know how to find gold. I'm not a newbie. Thanks for the advice though.  I was prospecting before I joined the GPAA. I've been in another club and asked a lot of questions and been out with other prospectors before and learned a lot in a short period of time. I can go out and get gold by myself, if it's there. Maybe those claims are gold-bearing. I've never been to either one.

    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
    Posts:326



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    06 May 2015 11:58 AM
    Matt, the Delores has people digging this very day on different claims that are not GPAA, and from what I have been told the area is known for Garnets, some gold, but you go a few miles up stream(Which is South BTW) and you have the Richest Uranium Deposits in North America near Uravan. There is even one area headed down towards Gateway where they are blasting the mountainside away and selling the rocks in town because they are solid dark black and used for landscaping.

    Talking to some people in our Chapter that have prospected the region for decades they will tell you to pretty much don't waste your time on those claims, and from personal experience I agree. But that being said there are some BLM claims in the area that anybody can dig on that do produce, you just need to make sure you contact the BLM and verify you can be out there and what equipment you can use.

    The Colorado BLM has a website that shows where the claims are, I just don't have it handy at the moment.

    Tim is right about joining a Chapter and getting to know the people and asking questions, and you would be shocked at how many have their own private claims, or Chapter Claims. I have even read about people prospecting right here in Junction but I have yet to meet any of them. I personally would love to know where they dump the dirt and gravel they dredge out of the Colorado River each year from the dams, that should have some nice material in it. But once again, I am new here too and am learning the area myself.
    joseph LoydUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
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    06 May 2015 03:21 PM
    The claims that are in the gpaa book do not belong to the club .If you find claim markers they will have the owners name on them .That is what cinfuses a bunch of people as they don't see gpaa on the claims .

    And yes do turn in reports on the claims .It does help the club.
    Member LDMA and several other clubs in CA.
    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
    Posts:326



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    06 May 2015 07:46 PM
    Joseph, I would like to give you an example. When you travel down the Delores occasionally you see a diamond shaped orange sign with a number on it and nothing else, this is how the claims are marked on this area. If you refer to the GPAA 2014 handbook and look at the Southern Delores Claims there are no markers present anywhere for the either of the two claims listed in the book. What you have to rely on is the County line you cross going into Montrose County and your GPS, there is nothing else, no naming or Finding Marker, the Southern most claim on the Southern Delores is the same. But you go a few miles south of where the Southern Delores claim is and there are people highbanking on the rivers edge and a cluster of cars a little further South Dry Washing a hillside that the BLM was said to have closed?

    As I said I am new to the area also, so if somebody else could help explain it would be appreciated.

    I have had a bunch of people tell me to go to the Rattlesnake Gulch claim and another dozen tell me to stay away from it because the BLM is cracking down on it, so it is easy for us new folks to get confused.
    trace collinsUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:11



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    13 May 2015 06:53 AM
    Hey guys, i too am new to the club, and western colorado( rifle), and prospecting. I tried to find gold just briefly on the northern most delores claim and just barely caught some flour gold. I haven't seen any claim markers except the numbered PVC posts. So I'm just curious how and where to find the gold? I dug river bank, dry creek bed , and higher up a bank . Anybody know any tips? I would love to go to a dig with the western slope gpaa chapter, but it's too far for an old stay at home dad ,of a four year old ,to make it to any meetings to qualify for a dig. Hopefully I will meet you all at the Denver gold show this weekend . Trace
    DOMINIC RICCIUser is Offline
    Gold Miner
    Gold Miner
    Posts:178



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    13 May 2015 10:37 AM
    STOP! I mean stop by the GPAA booth at the Denver Gold Show this weekend! We like to meet our members, say "HI" and assist in any way we can. Even if it's guiding you to the best source to answer your questions. Get connected with any of the chapters because hands on at an outing is the best learning tool. Ask about our GPAA-LDMA Gold Mining Outings. See you in Denver.
    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
    Posts:326



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    15 May 2015 12:27 PM
    Trace, since you are on the Western Slope look up the Western Slope Chapter at www.wcgpaa.org . We have a meeting this coming Thursday night, the 21st, in Olathe. The Western Slope is a big area and the Chapter has some claims down on the San Miguel River and other locations. The wife and I joined when we first moved to Junction about two months ago and since then we have done a charity event and a fund raiser for the chapter, as well as helped out another club of Metal Detectors with a Wounded Warrior project.

    Everybody is as nice as they can be so please feel free to look us up and come down and join us. Last weekend we were at the Rock and Gem show in Junction teaching kids (and some adults) how to pan for gold from the concentrates from the local claims.

    We are all just waiting for the snow to stop in the San Juan Mountains, I don't think it is ever going to stop this year. But some of the claims are really nice, right off the road, near boat ramps and camp grounds.

    If you like we can meet up with you in Junction and either have you follow us down or come along for the ride. Contact me at crashcrain@gmail.com if you are interested.
    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
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    15 May 2015 12:53 PM
    BTW, as I was telling somebody else, the Delores is known for it's garnets and out in the sun two days ago we took some concentrates we grabbed down there and went through them in the sun with a black drop pan very carefully and found what was in this picture. It will make a nice clear glass pendant for my wife to wear.
    DAVID LINEUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:8



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    02 Aug 2015 05:50 PM
    Was just down at Rattle Snake Gulch on Gunnison River July 25-26th 2015 ,and found a small amount of gold there. The gold is very small, and alot of black sand. Am a rookie my self, but assume the water in river is "hard water", the small gold is there but will float . Would suggest to pan in a tub of water with dish soap in it to "soften water" for best results. If I'm not mistaken sluicing is not allowed, one can only pan. Did not see "Jake" aka rattlesnakes, but did see a nice mountain lion, or cougar track at rivers edge :/. Road to river is getting bad, highly recommend a high wheel base vehicle, and mountain lion protection . For those whom don't own a fire arm maybe a can of bear pepper spray. Best defense against a "big cat" is being able to out run your prospecting buddy, so don't go down to river with out him or her.
    Dave
    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
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    03 Aug 2015 04:43 PM

    The Gulch is a nice place, just a word of advice, get closer to Telluride. You will do better on the GPAA Silverton claim.

    One other thing to note, as you said the gold floats;

    When you pour your wastewater out of your pan do it slowly, a lot of that floating gold will be sitting on the top of you materials. The reason it does this is because it is flat and very thin, the materials it sits in are dense and very heavy. I have found some will go to the bottom but the majority floats on top of your heavies.

    I know, this is a nut brainer, but trust me, you will find more on top than on the bottom in the Gulch. I am sure down deep there is heavier gold but we are restricted from trying to retrieve it for the time being.

    DAVID LINEUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
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    05 Aug 2015 07:56 PM

    If you Get time Ben do please share your interpretation of the signage posted by the BLM at the Gulch. And do humbly appreciate tip on gold not migrating down to bottom of pan in concentrates.  Am hoping to trek north again in late September, will defiantly visit Silverton claim and possibly the San Juans. Am to assume once BLM took over the Gulch...there is no chance for GPAA to file a claim? Sorry am a noobie...Still researching rules and regulations. Have been making base camp per say in Delta. And more bout the Mtn Lions.. one ventured into southeastern Delta , a few months ago and killed some hogs. Right where we set up base camp :/

     

    Dave
    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
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    06 Aug 2015 04:28 PM
    To be honest I am curios if they have new signs up like I have seen on the San Miguel, I am going to have to go back and visit. Unfortunately I won't be doing anything for about another week, I am having surgery tomorrow morning. GPAA will not be permitted to file on restricted lands, nor will anybody else.

    Where I am from Wild Hogs and Mt Lions are just as dangerous, by the time you hear them you had better be drawing your gun. Here you get bears and Mt lions, and they will give you space if you return the favor, usually, and I can't say that about big wild boars. I was investigating a nice open mine high up in the mountains when we first moved here and got about 5ft in and heard the Cougar growl, I backed out as fast as possible. Don't worry about them, just give them their space, but do carry a side arm just in case. I carry a .44mag, first chamber loaded with snake shot and the rest for bigger critters, if you are worried about critters you might want to consider the same. You won't need to carry it during the day, the critters and two legged creeps come out at night when you are trying to sleep.

    I too want to hit the Northern Claim prior to Winter setting in, it's the last GPAA Claim in Colorado we have not visited yet and I am sending my claim reports back to GPAA so they can re-evaluate their claims. For the time being we are sampling, and you would be surprised what a 5 gallon bucket of river dirt reveals.

    Let me get back to you on Rattlesnake Gulch, I need to see if they hung the same signs they did on BLM lands further South. Recently the BLM has closed a great deal of land.
    DAVID LINEUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
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    08 Aug 2015 08:15 AM

    Darn it , I shoulda took a pic of signage, to save you a trip. Will research San Miguel signage to see if they are similar. My interpretation, only pan in river, and before one leaves , leave appearance area undisturbed . This was second time that have been to the gulch, ( previous visit was in May 2013 ), the signage hadn't changed,and the area didn't appear much different, then our previous visit. Road has gotten alot worst though and one way in , one way out .The road getting worst is maybe a good thing, A non 4 wheel drive vehicle, or older vehicle could very easily drop a ball joint or snap an axle now. It would be a long hike outta gulch, due to poor or no cell service. Can honestly say in 2 years since past visit, the non casual mining practices have seemed to cease.

     Do hope your surgery went well, Get well soon.

    Dave
    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
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    09 Aug 2015 10:49 AM
    That sounds like the same sign, from what I can tell all the BLM Claims are Pan Only now though some used to allow a sluice.

    Thanks for the well wishes, surgery seems to have gone as planned just sore as all get out and wish I was down on the River, today would have been beautiful for it.
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