With a pessimistic eye on the weather (a week of heavy rain is forecast) I took Friday off to reconnoitre Grove Creek to see what there is to see. Did a little walking, a little prospecting, and came home with some coarse gold, red zircon, and a smoky quartz crystal. Well worth it! But what did I think of it as a prospective (versus prospecting) location? Watch the video (if you want) and tell me what you think.

I don’t give out the location for good reason, although I’ve thrown a red herring on this blog. Why? Mostly because of lessons learned by others. The guy who inspired me to become a prospector–Andrew from ‘Adventure Gold’–shared not only his encyclopaedic knowledge of the craft but also his locations. He now regrets it. Not all human beings are decent. Some are just bogan lowlives in four-wheel drives who litter, trespass, damage and despoil everything they touch. Hikers don’t often fall into this category. Going places on foot that a 4WD can’t reach is the difference; it sorts the wheat from the chaff. Here’s one of my favourite Adventure Gold videos, in case you haven’t had the pleasure:

Because I want to hike and prospect, I need to find the middle ground, because prospecting gear + bushwalking gear = HEAVY. In the video you’ll see that I stopped beside a bridge. Minimal distance to base means light gear, yet I was still carrying a pile of cold iron tools. A bit further up the road are some bush tracks that give access to the middle and upper reaches of the river. I’m especially interested in a section of s-bends in the northern, wildest leg of the river. In my research I’ve not been able to find a single account by anyone who’s visited this location. As a prosector I can think of at least one good reason why I’d keep quiet. As a hiker, though, I can think of none.

So as previously stated I’ll plan for the worst and hope for the best. Weather is key. If the distance between car and campsite is an hour or two of heavy hiking, that’s totally doable in the event I need to swap hammock for tent in the middle of the night, or run for my life. You’d think the absence of large predators (except for wild dogs and yowies) would make nighttime bushwalking safe, but our most killy snakes and spiders are nocturnal so I’ll avoid it if I can. But that’s the basic plan: park, select optimal gear based on weather and distance, hike hard, basecamp on the river. I should be fully established by noon of the Day 1 which leaves me more than 24hrs to do what I like! Can’t wait!

There will, of course, be photos. A full reckoning of my adventure. Barring torrential rain (100mm+) I will be going regardless of the weather. I have the skills (after 40 years of doing this) to hike and camp comfortably in the rain, and in a way awful weather is better because it deters the lightweights and convinces the peehards to stay home. So I get it all to myself. And morning fog on the river is beautiful, and so are water droplets poised on leaftips, as are rain-slick cobbles on a riverbank. If worst comes to the absolute meteorological worst, I can just sit in my cozy dry shelter with a couple of fat steaks sizzling in a pan with some onion and garlic, sip a nice red from my CamelBak (kidding) and ponder the secrets of the universe. However it works out, you’ll be the first to know; but I’m confident it will be awesome, because proper preparation prevents poor performance.

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