After the welcome series of rainstorms following last year's drought, the rocks, now washed of their powdery dust, take on a reddish hue, often due to a high iron content. It is iron in the presence of quartz that produces the proper ionization that causes gold carried in water to deposit on the quartz much like the phenomenon that occurs in the process of industrial gold plating, forming in nature the renowned mother lode the opposite of which many prospectors were content to settle for, and that was the panning or sluicing for gold as the pieces of the precious metal would wash off the mother lodes back into the waterways as particulates in the form of dust, flecks, and nuggets.
The secret to gold prospecting is to look for the patterns visible from a distance. The best chances occur in volcanic areas where hot water geysers up from deep underground, having contact with magmatic chambers and then running past the iron-quartz configuration. More gold, it is said, is taken from the old Yukon Canadian continental shield, or the edges thereof, these days than actually was obtained in the 1898 gold rush or, as it was often described as back then, stampede. There was a stampede in the post office a while back, but that was a centipede on a postage stamp.
Most of the rock faces exposed in the new mountains of the Saw Tooth Range along the Alaska coast of the Northern Panhandle in the regions of Skagway, Dyea, and Hanes, due mainly to their forbidding hostility, but also to the inhibitive undergrowth that abounds during the Alaskan summers when the sunlight is present up to twenty hours a day in June, have not apparently been prospected. The nature of the Saw Tooths, with their upended strata washed down in weaker sedimentary areas by the onslaught of the elements, would presumably present a phantasmagoria of minerals to the discerning eye of any trained geologist resourceful enough to scale the cliffs laterally instead of simply vertically.