In The Desert
Lost Nugget Mine
This is just a short little tale, but interesting all the same. Perhaps it is still there in the desert just waiting for you to swing a detector over it. See below for more info!
Out in the desert in Arizona, exact location unknown, but supposedly about a two days' trip for a burro along the east side of the Colorado River south of Topock, is a streak of yellow clay full of gold nuggets. It has been seen by at least two men and $50,000 or $60,000 in gold nuggets has been taken from it at different times.
One day about 30 years ago a man came in from the desert and boarded a Santa Fe train at Needles, California. On the way east he showed the Santa Fe conductor about $30,000 worth of large gold nuggets, stating that he had found them in a streak of yellow clay in the desert south of Topock. He gave the conductor several of the large nuggets and said that he would return later to work the mine. Several months passed and then one day the man got off the train at Needles accompanied by a younger man whom he introduced to the conductor as his son. The two men were outfitted for the trip, taking supplies sufficient to last them for about two weeks in the desert. Getting the gold was their main objective now.
When three weeks had passed and the men had not returned to Needles the conductor notified the authorities and a search was started to the south of Topock but no trace of the missing men could be found in the desert and the searchers returned to Needles. The conductor then secured the services of two Indian trailers and in about two months from the time they had disappeared in the desert the Indians came upon the dead bodies of the father and son and nearby the carcasses of the burros. The men and burros had been shot and the cargo of gold nuggets was missing. Many trips have been made in the desert in search of the rich diggings but no one else ever brought back any more of the gold nuggets.
Those who would search for the mine would do well to heed the advice of the old Santa Fe conductor and look for a band of yellow clay out in the desert about two days trip for a Rocky Mountain canary (burro) to the south of Topock on the east side of the Colorado.
About 11 years ago on a trip to a completely different destination; that we couldn't find (no GPS with us then) We decided to go to Bullhead City, Arizona to purchase a topo map of the area in the desert that we were going to prospect in. We stopped in the Southern end of Bullhead City for gas and while in the gas station, Jack Ross, our partner started talking to another person getting gas. He was in a midsize pick-up with a camper shell on it. He was telling Jack that this was his last trip out prospecting because he was just too old and was hurting to much to keep it up. He did look like he was on his last legs to me. But he did do real good on this last trip. He had approximately 10 to 12 - 5 gallon buckets in the back that were full of yellowish clay chunks; how that old guy got them out and carrying that weight still amazes me. He took a miners hammer and broke some of up in his hand and it was full of small (!/2 the size of a pea, and smaller) pieces of gold. Probably not all of it had gold. Now after reading this story about the Lost Nugget Mine just recently, I'm wondering if this is where he found it. He said he was South of Topock East of the river. When this happened we were too involved with our original search. We talked about going back sometime; but like a lot things you plan to do in the future -- it never got done! This could still be there as this is now Wilderness Area and it is rugged and hard to access this area in the desert. I hope someone finds this someday.
Modern day addition to the story
The map below is live and you can scroll around and switch views from Map to Satellite, to Terrain. Topoch is located where the River goes under Interstate 40 so the search area is South and a little East of River. This is an isolated area.
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This is a really good lead that should be looked at. We saw the gold it was plentiful