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"RICH HILL"  by  Gary Bain   5 April, 2005


                                              ELLY LOFTIN                                                                                                   RICH HILL

During my quest to find an area that I could gold prospect in and also where my wife could enjoy some great horseback riding I discovered Rich Hill in Arizona. I was told about Rich Hill and the owner of the claims, Elly Loftin,  by Rob Allison. He is an outstanding prospector and a person  I consider to be a straight shooter as well as having a great personality. I met Rob at Ganes Creek last year and shared a great trip with him and a host of other prospectors. You may contact Rob through his website at:      

NOTE: Be sure and read the update on my metal detector at end of page.   

 I contacted Elly last month and daily conversations ensued which ultimately led to my trip, the 1st of April through the 4th. My "Misadventure" started upon arriving in Phoenix where I had to wait at the airport an additional 3 hours for my delayed baggage!! This messed up the plans of course but I arrived at Congress,Arizona late in the afternoon where I met Elly at the Congress Cafe. I was not disappointed!! Elly fit perfectly the image I had conjured up of a person hardened to the rigors of chasing gold for the better part of her 60+ years of life. A warm smile and a strong handshake as well as a welcome hug tuned me in to what I thought the next few days would bring. Again, I was not disappointed. Elly made me feel as though I was an integral part of the operation there and I had just met her. For the duration of my trip we shared stories, coffee, good food and a sense of camaraderie I have not experienced in a great while. 

I unpacked my bags, threw my White's GMT together and we struck out for a tour of the gold country of Rich Hill which is but a short drive from Congress. My mind filled with visions of gold nuggets, rattlesnakes, and images of the days of old when prospectors eked out an existence in primitive conditions, we toured the Rich Hill area. Huge saguaro cactus,  monster boulders, and an abundance of plants in full desert bloom greeted my eyes as we drove further and further into the area. Historic sites were pointed out which included petroglyphs, the old historic Wickenburg Post Office, Octave, Stanton and miners shacks.  We drove to the base of Rich Hill where a couple of prospectors were digging dirt and running it through a small sluice. They were definitely getting "Color" . I watched in envy as they added the tiny particles to their growing collection of gold.

Enough touring, time to find some gold for myself. With my White's GMT in hand I tuned it for what I thought was the best for mineralized ground and started searching. I found a couple of really small pieces of metal which told me I was doing things right and could find gold if it was there. Unfortunately, the short time I had left for this first day produced no gold and we struck out for home.

Early the next morning we went back to Rich Hill and immediately started searching. After a couple of hours of detecting I decided to take a break and went back to the truck to sit for a bit. I leaned my detector against the truck beside the passenger rear view mirror. Then the person I was detecting with, the driver, and I decided to move to a new area and I forgot my detector was leaning against the vehicle. Yep, it happened!! Making a right turn out of the area the detector fell just right to go under the wheels as we made that turn. The tires ran right over the brains of that detector!! Not even noticing it we drove on for a ways and then the folks we had been waiting on showed up so we turned around and went back to where we had been detecting. I got out of the vehicle and exclaimed loudly, "Hey, somebody left their detector here!!". Walking over to it I soon realized it was mine and further exclaimed, "And it's been run over!!". Reality soon set in and the detector was retired for the duration of the trip.

What a White's GMT looks like after it is run over by a 1993 Dodge caravan!! (click to enlarge image)

I spent the rest of that day and the next on a grand tour of the surrounding area searching out acreages and admiring the various ranches. Wildlife was in abundance. Huge jackrabbits were seen frolicking in the desert, quail running across the roads, ducks in the ponds, a variety of hawks, and many different type birds. We got to see a gila monster up close and personal as well as one non-poisonous snake. The desert was alive with flowers and green shrubbery. I was surprised at the number of horses in that area. Most memorable were the majestic saguaro cactus that dotted the countryside, the monarch of the Sonoran Desert.

In summary, Elly made the trip one that I won't soon forget. I'm sure the gold will wait for my return which is a certainty. And I won't be leaning my detector on any vehicles!! I am anxious to find a few of those elusive gold nuggets on Rich Hill. Some samples of the finds from the area may be seen at the Photo gallery above as well as other pictures of the area.


UPDATE ON MY METAL DETECTOR: As soon as I got home I contacted White's with my tales of woe and was told to send the detector to them and they would see what they could do. No less than a week later I walked down the road to my mailbox to pick up my mail, ( I live in the country), and there was a package sitting there just inside the gate. To my surprise it was from White's!! I couldn't believe my eyes when I unwrapped the box and there before me was a shiny new detector!!

But I shouldn't have been surprised.  I have been dealing with and using White's detectors for over 30 years and have always found their service to be top notch. My personal thanks go to the White's team of pros for getting me back in the business of finding gold nuggets.


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