You might be asking yourself what would motivate a man to drive 500 miles for $15 worth of gold? Well if you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.
Deep in the rugged hills of Northern Nevada there are certain areas where the gold nuggets are scattered like salt in the alkali dust. No rhyme or reason, no geological oddities to trace. Just dirt seasoned with a pinch of adventure.
I took Ole Bessy, by 1996 GMC Suburban, way off the paved roads to a secret spot known only to a few. With a dust storm on the horizon I made camp, and downed an MRE. Tomorrow I would swing a coil from sunup to sundown in hopes of scoring some Au. But there was still some light. So I grabbed my 24k and powered up, pick in hand.
After about 45 minutes I get a faint but familiar ZIP ZIP. I’m down the backside of the hill, in a small flat. Perfect spot for gold to hide. So I scrape with the side of my pick and swing again. ZIP ZIP. Louder. My heart starts to pound.
Cleaving the pick into the soft dirt I get about 4 inches down and swing a third time. No sound. It’s out! I scan my dirt pile and now the detector is screaming. Time for “the waltz” where I take scoops of dirt and scrape them over the coil. First scoop is it.
I carefully brush some of the dirt out of scoop and see a lumpy little biscuit. It’s heavy. Like a Tic Tac I pop it in my mouth for the spit shine. Plop it into my hand. And let me tell you, that shiny color in your hand never gets old… Even though I will.
This particular nugget came in at 3.4 grains and was about 3 inches deep. Not bad for a VLF, and gives me confidence that it will find me a lot more gold.
I hunted the rest of the evening until my eyes were sore from staring into the darkness. The next day I found another nugget, then packed up camp and drove back home. Next vacation I know just where to go.
So yes, I drove 500 miles to find a tiny bit of gold. But the value of the find is minor compared to the experiences I’ve had in the desert.