Prescott National Forest, and GOLD!

We’ve  been into the Prescott National Forest, AZ 3 times on our trip so far, all in search of a little adventure and some gold.  And each time, successful!  Yeah!  Our first visit, I picked up some grass on the side of a stream, cleaned it off into our pan, and voila, a tiny little picker!  Our second visit was far more adventurous, though we didn’t get “lost” as on the first trip.  We drove 20 or so miles off the main road and off the beaten path to a friend’s log cabin, no electric or water, 3/4 mile hike in.  It was amazing!  We cut wood to keep warm and cook by in the enormous 2 story stone fireplace, and admired the tributary of the famed “Turkey Creek” (with it’s great history for gold) which ran actively through the front yard.  We hiked the 2″ Keene dredge in and Marcus & Drew dredged in the cold water for 2 days.  Color was good, the trip fun.  Enough color and fun, that the following weekend, we decided to venture into the forest once again.  This time, however, we opted for the scarcely used “Trail 83” over which we labored for the better part of 4 hours to traverse a mere 2 miles with the truck in order to drive to the cabin instead of hike.  14 two-foot thick fallen trees later, we arrived in one piece.  This time we spent cutting out the road turned out to be well worth it, as this gave us more time to run the dredge.  Day one, good gold, day two bigger gold, and with just a little move up the river, day three much bigger gold.  We were just getting into it as the time came for us to pack up.  But, we hope to go back for the month of January next year to chase that streak!  The pitures of the gold are only of days 1 & 2, as we were too excited on day three and forgot to take a picture before splitting it up.  Yup, GOLD FEVER has definately set in…

Published in: on January 19, 2008 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Scott’s Bar, California again…

We spent our first night under the stars next to the Klamath River at the Klamath LDMA property. Early the next morning, we finished the windy drive on route 96 to the junction of the Scott River and the Klamath. This is the local of the Scott River LDMA camp where we spent a two weeks last month. This time, it was colder…the sun in the valley would hit the camper and begin to melt the thick frost around 10:30am and would literally set behind the mountain on the other side of the valley at 1:40pm! And we were here to do some mining on our own.

We built up our arm muscles moving big rock after small boulder just to get to the gravel, but came across 2-3 penny weight a day. Hard work could payoff in this area. We needed a few parts for our high banker so headed in to Happy Camp, a town 35 miles West along the Klamath river. This took us on a treasure hunt of sorts. None of the mining stores had our part, so we went out into town seeking Rusty, a dredge repairman with some used parts. After arriving at the place of work we were told he was at, and finding out he hadn’t been there in days, we decided to give up and go back to camp. On second thought, we drove past the local tavern first. And, maybe by coincidence, he happened to be parked outside. We gave him a ride to his house, got a tour of lots of different dredges, and purchased our part. Another fun adventure.

We spent Thanksgiving day with other members of the LDMA at home in Hamburg eating plates of delicious food and listening to grand miner stories. These guys talk about gold in pounds, and store it in mason jars (so we’re told), not in penny weight (20th of an oz) and keep it in little glass viles like we amateurs do. Pretty astounding.

Published in: on December 8, 2007 at 11:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Scott’s Bar, California

As we continue to search for gold, we head south to Northern California where the trees are huges and the roads a bit narrow!  We stayed at another LDMA camp called Scotts Bar.  It sits where the Scotts river and the Klamath river meet.  The salmon were running upstream and we watched the water boil and the fish jump.  Boy I bet they taste good…But, no time to throw some lines in the water, there’s gold here.  We finally purchased a used highbanker-dredge combo and put it to pretty good use right away.  We did find a few “pickers”, and mini-pickers, as we call those that only Chase can pick up.  The weather was sunny, rainy, snowy (only in the higher altitudes).  Wonderful!  The caretakers of the camp are welcoming and fun, and the campfire & coffee’s always hot.  I could easily spend a ton of time here.  One afternoon, we took an exploritory drive along the scotts river and ended up off on a 4×4 logging trail beginning at 1000ft and ending at 6000ft in the snow!  The view was well worth the ride!  All in all, the gold here was good, and the company fantastic.  Can’t wait to go back…

Published in: on October 23, 2007 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Gold in Oregon

After leaving Montana, we sped past Yellowstone in search of that yellow stone.  The LDMA (Lost Duchman’s Mining Association) was holding an “outing” in Durkee, Oregon and that’s where we headed.  After 9 long bumpy miles into the property on the very wash-board road, we arrived at the Burnt River camp nestled in a deep ravine with huge steep mountains on either side and a river running through it.  We set up camp and immediately headed for the river with our mining tools.  We were able to pick away at a hole in the mountainside and run about 4 buckets full of material through the sluice box before the sun dissapeared behind the westward mountain and the dark and cold set in.  Each pan produced some color, or gold, which was exciting enough for us to continue the following day. 

While at the Burnt River camp, we ventured out of the valley again and visited the “Hungry Redneck Cafe” which was just off the interstate in Durkee.  Just the name alone gives you a pretty clear idea of what it’s like.  We had a wonderful time with a fun server.  Chase ate spaghetti and was actually up set that he was given so much.  “Do they actually think I can eat all this?!”  But, he did manage to put a huge dent in it.  After our meal, the cook came out of the kitchen to show off his day’s findings to the table next to us.  I was too curious to keep my mouth shut, so I asked him to humor us, as well.  To both of our’s dismay, this young man pulled a rolled up piece of plastic shopping bag out of his pocket, laid it on our table and unrolled it reveiling at least (and this is no fish story) a half an ounce of true nuggets.  Our jaws hit the floor.  We were a little more motivated to find that shiny yellow rock after that.  

We met lots of adventurous prospectors like ourselves and made, as always, a bunch more friends to add to our ever growing family.  A rainbow graced us and convinced Chase that it was showing us the way to the gold.  If only he knew how far the top of that mountain was.  He was ready to hike up there as soon as we saw it.  Once again, we had a fantastic time and were sad to leave all of our new friends.  But, the adventure must continue… and so it does.  Next stop, Northern California!

Published in: on October 18, 2007 at 3:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Camping at 11,000 feet

After 2 days of nursing headaches, walking slowly, and drinking loads of water while adjusting to the lack of O2 at 11,000 feet, we were finally up to some hiking and exploring of the enormous mountains which surrounded us at our dry campsite up above Leadville, CO at the LDMA property. We ran the metal detector, and found an old axe head, iron nails and scrap metal from the mines, and lots of silver ore (so we think) inside the rocks. There are old and new mine shafts and holes dug every 50 feet or so, where iron, silver, and gold have been found. One such hole had the vegetation around it pushed inward, making it apparent something quite large had recently climbed in and made it home for the day. Upon further inspection, we discovered very large cat prints, and cat scat near the opening. Only the day before, we had a gentleman in his pick-up stop to warn us he’d just seen a mountain lion in the valley just below us. Pretty neat! After reaching our summit at 12,000 feet, (and I say Our summit, because the mountains just kept going UP, and our stomachs were calling us back to camp), we began our decent and it began to SNOW! What fun to be out in the mountains in September and have the sun beaming down one minute and the next being pelted with wind gusts carrying snow flakes! It didn’t last long enough, and we all wished for the new weather to continue. Alas, the sun came back. We dug for gold some, but didn’t come across any. It is difficult to find especially without water. I found a bit while we were at the ranch in northern Colorado while trying to fish with Chase. The water was a bit too cloudy for the trout, but not for the gold. After leaving Leadville, we stopped at a creek along highway 70 towards Denver and panned for a few hours. Each pan had some color, and as we were leaving, Marcus pointed out that I, too, had gotten some color (my back was burned from leaning over the river).

We spent the next evening in Cheyenne, WY at the A B Campground, then headed north into Spearfish, SD.

Published in: on September 14, 2007 at 3:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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We’re staying at an LDMA (lost duchman’s mining association) property in Athen’s Michigan.  Chase and I were out digging in his claimed “canyon” when we came across an odd looking rock.  Upon further examination, this isn’t a rock, after all.  It’s a fossil of some sort.  We all have our theories as to what this once was, Marcus thinks it look like a nut, I think it looks like a butterfly chrysalis, and Chase thinks it looks like a leaf print.  Pretty neat to find something so old and mysterious.  We’re headed back over to explore our paleontologist sides once more.  I’ll try to get some pictures of our finds and get all of your ideas of what they might have once been.

We plan to pack up later on this evening (it’s too beautiful out right now to waste the day driving) and make our way towards Minnsota.  It’s a good 9.5 hours from here, so we’ll break it up into 2 days.  Drive late tonight, park at a Walmart for free, and finish up tomorrow.  Once in Minneapolis, we hope to meet with NECI alumni, do a demo or two, and stage at a few restaurants.  

Published in: on July 29, 2007 at 11:12 am  Comments (1)  
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Loud Mine, Georgia

May 2007 Loud Mine LDMA outing. 

Published in: on May 27, 2007 at 11:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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The March 2007 Vein Mountain LDMA outing

Published in: on May 27, 2007 at 10:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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