There’s gold in the California foothills again, according to local gold hunters who were stunned by their recent finds in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
“He’s going to go crazy,” gold hunter Mark Dayton said. “It’s the biggest event of my life.”
Dayton is an expert metal detectorist and a regular member of the Gold Country Treasure Seekers club in Placerville, California. In interviews with CBS and The New York Times, he revealed that he raised $750 ($1,025) in gold in just a few hours.
And he’s not the only treasure hunter to have reaped unprecedented gold returns.
During last month’s meeting of the Gold Country Treasure Seekers club, Dayton said one of the members removed two pounds of gold nuggets that he found with a metal detector.
“There was $50,000 in gold on that table,” Dayton said. “We have had more gold in the last two meetings than in the last two years.”
Meanwhile, Albert Fausel said he found about $100 worth of gold ($140) in just 20 minutes by poking around in a creek bed. Fausel is the third-generation owner of Placerville Hardware, which opened its doors in 1852 during the California Gold Rush.
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“So now instead of selling dynamite, I’m selling metal detectors,” Fausel said.
Fausel says that he, too, is preparing for the anticipated gold rush.
“I have never seen this in my life,” he said.
There has always been gold in California, even after prospectors scoured the state for seven years during the 19th century gold rush. The problem is that it is not easily accessible.
But the historic storms that hit California last winter sent torrents of water cascading down mountain streams, eroding the ground and releasing precious gold reserves never before seen. And as the spring and summer warm up, the snow atop the Sierra peaks will flood downstream, causing more erosion and more gold.
“As the water goes down very quickly, especially in steep canyons,” Dayton said, “it comes up the banks and washes away the fresh soil … and releases fresh new deposits of gold directly into the water.”
The expected gold rush for this year was also aided by the devastating wildfires that raged in California in recent years as they loosened the soil.
“It’s going to be a great year,” said Tony Watley, president of the Gold Country Treasure Seekers club. “Everywhere we are seeing a new erosion.”
The current price of gold is around US$2,000 ($2,700) per ounce, very close to the precious metal’s all-time high price of US$2,075 ($2,800). In the last six months alone, the price of gold has increased by around 20 percent, Forbes reported.
With prices this good, it’s no surprise gold hunters are gearing up for a major season.
“This year will be unprecedented,” Dayton said.
The gold hunter predicts that the best time to go out and seek your fortune will be in June and July, when the water level of the rivers begins to drop.