Thursday, June 29 , 2017, 8:40 am | Overcast 60º

 
 
 
 

Captain’s Log: It’s Season for Prospecting and Treasure Hunting

Swollen mountain streams have gouged out deeper and wide ravines. Surface dirt and rocks are spread out on lower flood plains waiting to be rummaged through by rock collectors and artifact hunters.

Up in the ravines, washouts and slides leave previously unexposed treasures laid bare to be found. It is highly dangerous ground to be prospecting, however human nature seems to require some intrepid adventure.

Prospectors never could resist an opportunity to poke around rocks and dirt recently unearthed by winter storms.

Maybe it’s the chance of finding a vein of gold. Maybe it’s the chance of discovering a dinosaur skeleton or relic of earlier times in the history of man. We’ve all got a bit of the prospector in us.

Prospecting is fun and fascinating. It is also extremely dangerous when the ground is saturated with rain. Slides and cave-ins can be brought on just by climbing around or digging with a shovel or pick.

It doesn’t take a large-scale slide or cave-in to bury a person where he or she might never be found except by another prospector perhaps decades from now.

In the Old West, prospectors headed out with a fresh grubstake, following the wake of major recent storm washouts. Some were never heard from again, and I’m betting that slides and cave-ins were the cause for the mysterious disappearances.

Locally, our ground is beginning to firm up now that we’ve had some drier weather, but the dangers are there, so it is best to focus on shallow work at least for now.

What can you find? Pretty rocks that can be made into jewelry are the most common finds. Sometimes a rock hound gets lucky and finds something of substantial value.

Arrowheads and tools from our indigenous peoples are possible finds. I know one person who found a minor stash of fairly new jewelry in the local creek bad, which I suspect was the work of a thieving raccoon. Raccoons are known for that trait.

One time while I was on a long hike in the back parts of the Cuyama Badlands, I found ancient shells from when the area was a seafloor a very long time ago. It is always amazing what a person can find when searching diligently.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >