The following journal and pictures are presented courtesy
of my partner on the Arizona Adventure,
Arizona Log : May 13-May 25, 2000 text and photos by Tom Spector
Leonard Leeper , Larimer County, CO.
Tom Spector, Denver, CO.
Mike "Grivy" Gryvnak, Parker, AZ.
Bill Behm, Lake Havasu City, AZ.
|Click on pictures for a full sized view|
Our episode began two miles east of Lake Havasu City, Arizona in the foothills of the desert range. It was hotter than hell and I was mentally unprepared for the heat. I learned today that I must pace myself and that I must erect the shade tarp. Feelings of regret washed through me that day as a delirious sensation constricted my good spirits. ‘ This is not the desert of Colorado’, I thought as I sat in the mottled shade of a spindly thorn bush. I slept fitfully, despite a cool breeze from somewhere forgiving.
The Colorado boys were introduced to drywashing by Bill and Mike. The Gold King really shook out the heavies. We worked below camp in a wash about as wide as a semi-trailer. Our efforts were concentrated along the sloping banks of an invisible water flow. We did not find much of anything, but did master the basics. Pick, shovel, shovel, pick shovel, shovel, and repeat. At 1100 hours, I knew from yesterday’s head rush that it was time to sit under my pitifully erected shade tarp. Good enough – for now.
So went the next few days. Getting after it from 0700 to 1100, grab a chaise, a gallon of ice water, and my smokes, and rest/sleep in the shade until roughly 1600. That is when the unrelenting sun would drop behind the western boundary of camp. A hill to which I referred aside as The Savior.
Evenings were spent talking and joking around Leonard’s culinary delights.
I was no longer counting the days at this point. I awoke this morning to a magnificently cool breeze. The breeze stayed around all day and transformed Hell’s Kitchen into a heavenly playground. Leonard and I walked down the wash about eighty yards to a spot where a rift of bedrock cut down through the riverbed. We shoveled the loose gravel from the lee side into my Keene Mini-drywasher and then broke up and VacPac-ed the bedrock.
Our methods were founded in dredging doctrine, bedrock being the goal. This such promising ground had we been standing in Northern California. Our cleanup revealed so little gold as to brand all efforts for naught.
We enjoyed the cool morning, however, and were visited by our soon-to-be-recurring guests – the Desert Dogs. They were a couple of young Rhodesian Ridgebacks that belonged (we assumed) to the owner of a nearby gravel mine.
They roamed the desert all day, stopping in to see us and happily chasing the vehicles of anyone else who happened along (one guy all week). They brought great comic relief to the monotonous combination of dragon’s breath heat and mining routine into which we had settled.
We came to find their names to be Fred and Barney. By Arizona law, we had to offer these strangers a throatful of water, so Fred and Barney had their own bowl under my truck. So friendly and charming, gentle and affectionate. One preferred hotdogs, the other cheese. They were a welcome comfort of home.