Gold prospecting at night, now that’s something you don’t see everyday….ok, ok, not funny!! But it is something that we did last month due to the heat during the day. We were in AZ for 7 days and had to make the most of it and I must say for the better part of the week the weather cooperated just fine it was mid to high nineties most of the week and being from San Diego…that’s a bit hot, but we were expecting hotter so the mid nineties was a welcomed sacrifice.
We decided to rest up on one of the days and try our luck at crack vac-ing once the sun went down so around 8pm we headed for a very nice looking ravine with multiple areas that were very near bedrock, the ravine was very steep in spots as well, so it was a bit of a challange to hike all of our gear,camera equipment, lanterns and such to a spot that looked to good to pass up, after many attempts to light the lanterns in a bit of a wind… we settled for two out of three lanterns and a couple of headlamps for light to work with. Now this particular ravine had many, many shallow spots with virtually no overburden so in the spot we chose at the bottom of a six to eight foot drop-off there wasn’t much to do except take a whisk broom and sweep off the light brush and cactus needles from the surface before we were able to fire up the now infamous pile of junk we call a crack-vac that has failed us more times than its actually worked, yet here we are in the dead of night twenty miles from civilization once again wondering whether this thing is going to start or not and why the hell we haven’t gotten a new one yet….
As the motor sputtered and popped before coming to life as its done many times before we new we were on a time limit before this thing konked out, so we got right on it.. sucking up two pockets of dirt that had been trapped in the shallow holes. So with Scotty manning the video camera, Bucket working the nozzle and Boomer trying to keep the motor running, limited light and a fair breeze whisking up the ravine made for less than perfect conditions to work with but the pockets were small, roughly 1-2 sq ft in diameter and were easily sucked into the nozzle, about 1/2 way through the second pocket wedged in a crack was a real beauty!! Just sitting there waiting for three kooks with a crack-vac and a camera to come by and collect it…whodathunkit!!!
So there we were in amazement over our good fortune when the crack-vac decided its had enough and konked out on us, we were in a frenzy to get it started so we could work some other spots while our luck was good! but while we did manage to get it going for short periods of time, it finally died for good. So we packed up and hiked back to the buggy, all in all pretty happy about the experience, by now it was roughly 1am so we hopped in the buggy and were ready to embark on the hour long run back to the house we were staying at but there was one last problem….the buggy wouldn’t start!!!…..next time we’ll discuss what to do when your Sh!t don’t start, So to wrap this up lets just say that gold prospecting at night takes every bit as much preparation as it does during the day and then some!! We will at some point do it again but will come better prepared….next time.