Geotripping? Just What is It?
According to the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology it is the exploration of geological sites without ever leaving home. That means, you can look at a whole slew of places you can visit by seeing photos, write ups, and site reviews before you place a food out your front or back door.
Knowing what to expect if you should, would, or could decide where you wanted to venture just might make your trip more valuable. Check out what Nevada has to offer on their geotripping site and see if we can't just get something like that put together for Montana. It would be a worthy project. http://www.nbmg.unr.edu/ScienceEducation/Geotripping.html
Now Just Where Did This Come From?
Now when you go to Bynum and the Trex Agate Shop and you set your eyes on a giant quartz crystal that came from Skalkaho Road and you were just there, you ask yourself, "Just where did they find that as I would love to go there and dig."
The point is that when you find you ask yourself questions about the sources of Montana stones, it means there is a lead that you can pursue. Begin to ask questions of other people who might know just where that huge puppy came from.
Even if you can get a proximity on that road, you might be able to define enough that an exploration to the area might be in order.
I think some people like Andrew Luna might be able to sniff it out because those rock hounders who love it so much find that their nose will lead them to the right place. But one thing for sure, one lead leads to another and that is how new sites to dig rocks are found. Sure would like to know on this one.
What's South Dakota Have to Do With It?
On a recent internet search common western states were named as producers of gold in the US and it correlated with a map of the US where the gold deposits were highlighted in yellow as they coordinated to the mountainous regions.
However, in the listing of western states was the name of South Dakota as a large producer of gold in the US. It seems like it is the mountains and the push upward of the mineral from beneath the ground.
But there are no mountains in South Dakota much to speak of!! That just can't be, but is. Flat land here we come!!
Here's the website that speaks of this and more. http://www.geologypage.com/2019/04/where-was-the-most-gold-found-in-the-united-states.html
Best Place to Dig in Montana
Crystal Park out of Dillon, made the top place to dig in Montana. For decades families have gone there to have the bonding experience of digging in the dirt and finding crystals underground in those giant gopher holes.
Check out what the latest posting on the internet says that is in store for you if you put this on your calendar for the summer. It's worthy and the hot springs nearby will soak your weary bones. Good prospecting. https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/montana/crystal-park-mt/?fbclid=IwAR3o7se9VLOP9IXB5aThdGBzLY2iwBN4acLxPPr3yQLFyOYanI8m3nq5thc
Where Miners Aspire to Go
Blue Jewel Mine was the source of a new tip as to where to go in search of garnets and other Montana stones.
Apparently, one can go past the Ruby Reservoir about 10 - 12 miles out beyond it and there is a ranch called the Sauerbeer Ranch. Just a little ways beyond it can be found a place to park with a walk up over the hilltop one can see a sea of holes (probably like the gopher holes in Crystal Park) where people have dug.
On the next break, Erik from the mine, plus Bruce intend to go there to dig for garnets and other rocks.
This pointer sounds like a good destination to explore to find some Montana gemstones of your own. Trying it might work for you.
Recently news came of young bucks' success with going to the Helena hills, going upstream and wrestling the boulders into position so the sluice could wash the rocks out from beneath.
When the process was complete, nice color was in the pan; happy to see fruits of your labor as the true saying goes: gold is always being unearthed daily. Finding it in the rivers and streams around big rocks and boulders have proved fruitful for young prospectors of the first of July. It can work for you too!! Get out there and do it!
Does a Heavy Winter Snowfall Help Prospecting In Montana?
While safe in town the recreational prospector who is mostly homebound watching the news and checking out weather channels can rest assured that the more snow that melts, the more opportunity there is to wash down the gold that is unearthed regularly through the spring runoff.
Right outside Great Falls it was reported that there are 9 culverts on the road up to Hughesville, and old mining town that act as perfect sluices with the snow melting pushes the heavy gold to the nooks and crannies of the metal tubes so a prospector just doesn't have to work too hard to garner the gold.
Try it out, see what you can find because the entire state of Montana is full of gold and it is our heritage to access our natural resources this way. May all that glitters be in your gold pan soon.
Infusing new ideas into your Prospecting Plans for 2019
You ask yourself, "Just where might I go this year to find gemstones, gold and fossils in Montana for the season?" Getting new ideas are sometimes in store for the freshness, fun and adventure.
Here's a tip...go to some gem and mineral shows and talk (even though you have to wait until next year to go) Ask questions. See where the interest is for finding stones in our state. People are always willing to share their latest pursuits.
You will find conversations over tables one for listening or one for curiosity. Either way you look at it, you will get leads as to where to strike a pick for digging frenzy. There are plenty of shows listed to check out. See what you can find. I know I will come up with lots by doing just this.
If you think looking for rocks is a waste of time or not worth your time, think again.
Here is a pink diamond going on the chopping block for an estimated 50 million. OH, MY, just to have a tenth of that proceeds would be fabulous, but someone had to find this one in the ground and bring it up to the jeweler. You could have been the one; it takes determination and focus to go out and get those stones in the ground all over the world. Read about this one: https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/lifestyle/extremely-rare-pink-diamond-could-fetch-up-to-dollar50-million/vi-BBPCLpN
Flourite at the Top of the Mountain
While checking out the large maps the geological students at Montana Tech had to show off at the Montana Bureau of Mining and Geology, Frances from Tennesse via French Canadian area, showed the area on Crystal Mountain where he explored and found flourite because he met the owner of the claim and he allowed him to work the area if he would share his thesis paper.
Frances said he would be willing to arrange a trip to this area outside of Dewey, Montana if we could get it done before the end of May when he has to leave and is done with school.
Now we are wishing for good springtime weather so we can smash the rocks like he said and out comes the flourite. A smashing successful connection!!
Making Plans to Find the Poo
If a guy can gather this many pieces of dinosaur poo in a five gallon bucket, I wanna go with him when he looks for them. I wouldn't necessarily find these pieces when out in the field, but certainly if I was following him and looking in the same places he does, I might be able to find them as well.
Parly this into a summer trip to Choteau area and see if he can show us how to search and find some dandies like this as well. Oftentimes it takes a guide to bring you along to show you the ropes of the search.
Putting this on the agenda for next year might be a good outing to get your own bucket of poo. Gonna try.
Perfect Porta Potty
What can you do besides sit on a log and hang your bum over it to go potty while out in the woods prospecting? Well, Jesse Buff has a good tip when he showed off his new purchase from Cabelas in Billings he got to stock up his rig when he gets it ready to take off for parts unbeknown.
It's simple. All you do is put this get up on one of your 5 gallon buckets and voila, you are at the right height like with the normal porcelain bowl you are familiar with. Gotta go get me one for sure. Then I would suppose one would have to get some chemicals or find a place to dispose of your waste as to not attract animals or critters of any kind.
I once heard that in order to save a fresh kill in Alaska a girl had to urinate all around an animal carcass so no others would come while they got their supplies to haul it out. Such strategery to protect one's area might come in handy. Gold is worth guarding, you know.
Get Out and Get Prospecting News: Leads are Always Good
When one gives the State Park at Bannack a call ahead of time, it gives you opportunity to ask many questions way ahead of your visit. Often times many bits of information comes pouring out. For instance, the word Bon Accord Road on the way to the park is a trip one might want to take to find gold like the local miners do. However, it was said, one would need a four wheel drive to get to your destination. Future plans list.
The local rangers also get their pay dirt for gold panning from area miners. These miners might just be willing to be generous with you as well. The Bannack Grazing Association was unavailable to get phone calls because apparently the ranch that houses the address is just down the road and they were all at the rodeo in Dillon, so try calling them back for permission to pan in the area when they return. Hmmm...just might have to do that.
While in the local hot springs one can get tips as well. The bartender from Pony invited me to prospect in the tailings around there while we were swimming in White Sulphur Springs hot springs. Water brings out news!!
Helena is Loaded With Prospecting Possibilities
When bringing the news back to Great Falls about sapphire panning on the Helena Mineral Society's Beverly #1 claim off of the Canyon Ferry Shore, to Delbert Henry at the Missouri River Diner, a customer popped up with, "I know all the sapphire mining men in Helena.
"Oh, are there more places to go other than Blaze's, the Blue Jewell, and the El Dorado Bar?"
"Yep," he said. "You can go beyond the sapphire mine signs out of York, to a claim up the hill that belongs to Mike. And you can go passed Unionville and on the left there is a whole wall that is full of black sands. You can go there."
To Morass or Not; Who Will Prevail?
While negotiating with the State of Montana's Natural Resource men and the USFS it was stated, "Where between the MORASS of 1872 MIning Laws and the USFS present issues can we find common ground?" Well, that might just be the willingness of the government to recognize the significance of claim owners and the law that has been established long before the USFS ever existed. Hmm..do the laws get thrown out of the operational manual of government organizations, or does the individual rights prevail?
The morass just might be in the hearts of the bureaucrats who don't want to work with the people. Hard one to call, but necessary. Our founding forefathers knew what they had experienced with England's power and the three branches of government were created for a reason: to challenge the power hungry.
What if Pitching Your Plan Worked?
Ever watched Blaze at Blaze N'Gems run his jig from a day's worth of digging and see his take of sapphires in his hands or pan? Yep, done the same at the neighbor's mine, Blue Jewel. There are lots.
Now what if you had a buddy and you who wanted to split the cost of a load and have the dump truck full of gravel from a front end loader dig and see it scooped up ? Just how much do you think it would cost you and would the owners buy your proposition? It's worth a try to see, don't ya think? Will let you know what happens.
Techniques In Your Search For Agates
Avid rock hounders with lots of experience can tell you that your search for agates can be dotted with the unusual. I was told recently by hounders of the White Earth area that: you can go one day and find agates, go back the next day and have the area look totally different and have the earth show up with things that were not there the day before.
The wind, the rain, and the mud can do unusual things to the gems laying in the ground. Some rocks will get buried deeper, some will get exposed. Lots of times it is the luck of the day's draw that means what you will take home with you.
Lincoln, Montana story told by a truck driver about prospecting.
At our panning booth spontaneously a guy said as he pulled off the road at St. Regis, he parked near the river for a rest. Soon up pulls another truck. A guy gets out and promptly walks to the river and out onto a rock, laying down on it. He began scooping up dirt and putting it into a bag.
He went up to the prostrate truck driver and asked him if he was looking for gold. The scooper said, "I do this frequently and you wouldn't believe how much gold I find!!" Working smarter, not harder.
Planning Your Prospecting Outings
In talking with Allan Robertson, an avid prospecting YouTube presentor he mentioned he had a three day opportunity in the Helena area when he was coming for an Avalanche Gulch day tour gold panning event. When searching the idea for some other places in the area to pan, asked him about Radersburg. He said he had never been there. Said he could check on Treasure Hunting year 2 but said, "What about Blue Jewel Mine as well for sapphires?
It was a go. There you have it: three sites in one trip. That's where it's at; knowing the spots is key and you can find them out on this webpage by checking out our treasure hunting excursions and their write ups.
Make Like a Drone
While you are socked in with the igloo effect of snow with trails to your backdoor, don't fret, your imagination can fill the prospecting bill and take you away to a land of make believe for the moment.
Those exploration plans for the warmer weather can fetch adventure if you think of all the places in Montana you can go while on a destination point of travel. For instance, just recently in thinking about mining for opals out of Nevada for the Memorial Day weekend, the thought occurred of all the places in Montana that could be checked out along the pathway out of the state. I felt like a drone, covering and hovering over sites between Great Falls and the Montana border. When you know and hear of spots for prospecting, why not incorporate a few stops for sampling the rivers and streams and remote places in between to add a little spice to the rock life of ours.
The sparkly thrills of planning a prospecting weekend can twinkle in your eye now with the visual imagination droning can bring. Find your spot to get some earthen goodies now, so when you launch out your summer exploratories you are right on target for fun and the bounty.
May the blessings begin with you and your desire to be successful in prospecting with a Montana droning effect. There are lots of sites that can be seen from above that will prove fruitful to you. It's application of your skills on the ground eventually that combine with the aerial that bear fruit.
Gold Digging Tip from a Prospecting Manufacturer
On a recent visit to Gold Fox manufacturing site, Kelly Fowler, the owner said, "When there are tailing piles on your claim, dig the earth down below the pile because the tailings were put on virgin ground. Hmmm...told him that's exactly what we did on the Blackfoot River Prospecting Club's claim; you always find gold when you dig below the surface and back into the ground.
This was the perfect tip from an expert at finding much of Montana's gold. It has proven a very helpful tip because it works!! These piles can be found all around Lincoln, Montana.
Employing Strategies in Your Search for Gold
For three years now the trek to Zortman for the Big Dig has given opportunity to stand in line for the small numbers of gold nuggets found from two days of digging gravel to just draw blanks and go home with just the experience. That's good, but if one really wanted to get gold, the Blackfoot claim always comes up with gold.
Why not join the Blackfoot Prospecting Club, use the very productive Little Monster to process your gravel on site with those riffles of the sluice catching gold readily. Much simpler way of filling your vial especially if you dig in virgin ground under the tailings. Smarter not harder.
This is the feeling when you have been run over by the USFS and you get word from Senator Daines's office, "What does your prospecting club want?"
What do you mean? We have an opportunity to negotiate? So our pressure with going to the state advisors, multiple meetings and letters to Daines' office, national magazines and organizations representing our constant point: WE NEED ACCESS TO OUR CLAIM!!! worked. Totally amazing!!!! More than two years of working on it! Are they fast action people?
We celebrate the statutory rights of the prospector to mine our claim without the games of closing our roads, played by the USFS. Success for the moment. We'll see how it goes.
One note says that the meetings set up by the Lewis and Clark Forest Service is for Travel Plan talk. Wouldn't traveling a few feet over your culvert qualify especially if it is used for fire suppression as well? That counts, doesn't it? Oh, and how about travel of your backhoe into your claim...that's travel too, right?
Was I right?: While coming up out of the sapphire mine area on the El Dorado Bar out of Helena, we stopped at a turnout to check out the rocks on a wall of shale. My partner took the buckets and went into the washout alongside the road.
He took the classifiers and was shaking the gravel to bring concentrate home to pan. As he brought the bucket back to the car, I asked him what he was searching for. He said he was looking for sapphires; I thought he was looking for gold as it washes down with water. I said, “The sapphires are found way down along the water below. You won’t find any sapphires up top here.” Was he searching for the wrong gemstone?
I questioned my son with the same proposition. He thought you could find sapphires up on top the mountain. Called Gem Mountain of Phillipsburg and asked the same question. “Was I right? ” The guy said, “It just depends where the sapphires came from. Our sapphires were formed by volcanic activity. When the volcano blew, the sapphires fell down to the ground. We find ours on the top 12 feet of a mountain top. The sapphires at the El Dorado Bar were formed by being forced up from the earth’s crust and would therefore be where they dig by the water mostly.” So apparently truth was right considering the spot we were talking about. So the place to dig is based upon the geological information of an area. Application of logic depends upon knowledge. Asking and learning more prior to a visit is always helpful but you don’t always think of it. Was I right? It depends!
Cheap & Easy
Ditch your piepettes and the sucker tubes, the easiest way to get gold out of your pan with water is to use the free infant medicine dropper from any pharmacy.
Here's the advantages:
When you befriend rock hounders you get a heap of ideas of how to expand your Montana prospecting experiences. I found that to be true with Josh Saksa and his 406 Minerals. This spring when I went to set my prospecting schedule of desires and wants, I asked Josh Saksa where he would recommend an adventurous group go in search of rocks. He said several possibilities one of which was White Earth Campground. Looked it up, easy access put it on the list months ago.
Messaged him recently for details. He said, “You need a boat.” What? I replied, you never said anything about that!! But through the dialogue I got details as to where to go and how to find agates. Here is the photo and he says with every rainfall the agates are unearthed. He said scale the fingers in the circle and they are easy to find. I think I can do it with those details. Got a bunch of agates so know what I am looking for without someone guiding me. See what you can do too!
When my friend Patty was young she would work on dude ranches in the summer for money and industry. One summer she was up north of Great Falls working with a family that had lived in the area outside of Choteau all their lives. When she was there, a flash flood of 1964, the year we graduated from Great Falls High School, and the small creek covered the entire valley.
After the flood and evacuation had passed the lady owner told Patty, “See those hills across the valley. Every year, gold washes down the river in the springtime.” This old timer knew the process of gold distribution from up above to down below, knew it and shared it. A worthy tip to a young girl.
Would love to see on a map of Montana what hill she was pointing to. But the truth be known, gold is always being unearthed all the time. We just need to go explore the possibilities.
Since the inception of our Central Montana Prospector Coalition organization there has been many opportunities to hear prospecting stories and hear ideas of developing your own personal plan for this fabulous outdoor recreational activity. Many of these tips are given because we have a booth at the Great Falls Farmers' Market and we have onsite contact with people from many places in the United States.
This page is intended as a service for you in order to make plans of enjoying the great state of Montana independently from a club possibly. Choose a place and go for it! We are happy to share these significant pointers in order to expand your knowledge and experience in recreational prospecting.
A guy that was born and raised in Dewey, MT living in Great Falls recomended to us at our Farmers' Market booth for anyone who wanted to prospect, go to Dewey, MT because anyone can prospect anywhere around that town.
There is Quartz Hill is located about 5 miles south of Dewey, Montana and off Highway 43. This is a serious place for rock hounding which could be included in your gold prospecting plans.
A great tip that was given to me at our first Farmers' Market booth about prospecting in Montana was given by a resident of SW Montana.
This gives you access to large area of land in SW Montana.
Founded in 1862 and named after the local Bannock Indians, it was the site of a major gold discovery in 1862, and served as the capital of Montana Territory briefly in 1864, until the capital was moved to Virginia City.
This was the begining of our Montana cultural heritage of recreational prospecting. Utilize your heritage!
There is a technique that if you write out a question and put it under your pillow you will dream about it during your sleep.
If you have questions in your mind about where to prospect or how to do it just use this simple technique.
One day while swiming I realized that I had a dream several days earlier that had highlighted four specific mini lakes around Montana where I should go in
search of gold. Later I drew circles these areas so i would be sure to include them in my plans because trusting in inner insites are things to be trusted.
Prospectors always trust their hunches and you can get them from dreams as well. Just ask with the dream technique; keep working on it as answers will come.
When one is a member of the Gold Prospectors Association of America you have access to this national organizations claims not only in Montana but throughout the nation as well. In Montana there are claims in Radersburg, Libby, Cooke City, Zortman, Gallatin National Forest.
A member can bring 5 additonal people with them to these claims so its helpful to hook up with a member to get into these claims to check them out before you join. Message us on our Blog or see us at our booth at the Great Falls Farmers' Market and we can help you out.
Don't forget to consider panning for garnets along the banks of the Ruby River. Many a prospector has been succesful in gathering garnets along these shores. A prospecting family recently reported that it is free and open to the public everyday. The Ruby River gives forth garnets as well as the Ruby Resevoir. This brings many more miles of prospecting choices to you besides the lake shore there.