Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What Did You Do For Christmas This Year ?

We spent our Christmas holiday in the desert - Stanton, Arizona to be exact. The Christmas/ New Year LDMA outing is held here each year and this year we are joining in all the fun. This year it's too wet to dry wash, but not wet enough to dredge or even high bank and pan without a little help from the prospectors, so job one was to use the back hoe to dig a big hole in the gully wash and fill it with enough water to use the highbankers. The big blue tarp helps to retain the water that otherwise might go right back into the sandy soil.

Then we find an area that promises to be holding ore (gold, that is) and dig out a mess of that dirt to run through the equipment in the hopes that Goldie Santa will be good to all of us! Our old pal from back east, Harry, was out here running the back hoe. That guy sure gets around. Many of you may know him from crew Nome, Alaska. A former Marine, Harry never runs out of either energy OR enthusiasm, which makes him fun to be around. Semper Fi!

I walked the borders of the Stanton claim, just so I could scope out where I wanted to do my own prospecting after the common outing. There are lots of good looking prospects- hence the name, prospecting! With the weather conditions we have this year, it's the method and not the madness that will be the challenge. Challenge is good! I think people are conditioned to wish for a lack of challenge in their lives. Bull crackers! Without challenge, life is boring. Just ask anyone who does not have a challenge in life. I'll say it again: challenge is good! Doesn't need to be a big deal: a nugget in the desert or a needle in the haystack....

Then we hooked up with camp legend Wayne (RED) Johnson for a bike tour of the outlying area. He led on his Kawasaki dirt bike and we followed as best we could (novices that we are) on the Honda Rincon 4x4 ATV. What an amazing ride. Up into the mountains where few people get to go. Over winding roads and hills, though valleys and washes, all types of terrain and geographical features. Red explained WHAT we were seeing and how it should be interpreted, especially as it relates to our prospecting goals. Many of the claims in the "outback" are his. But he showed us many others as well and explained the possibilities (and likelihoods) for each. From some of the vantage points the view was all encompassing and breathtaking all at once. Some of the trails were easily manageable; others were testy; a few were scary, two made Marilyn get off the back of the bike and walk until the trail settled back down, and one made me think about getting off myself and leaving it there! But what a special way to spend the day: learning, seeing, feeling, experiencing things that few will ever have the chance to do. Time is best spent on things that advance our life experience. This was such a time today. Special!

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