Stories I have written

A paystreak to remember

Adventures of a neophyte dredger at Slate Creek

Panner searches for gold

An encounter with the big cat

Prospecting trip to Little Secret

Boating prospect trip

Hiking with Wilson

 

Adventures of a neophyte dredger at Slate Creek

The excitement began when I traded some of my extremely hard to find gold for a cute little 2.5 inch Keene gold dredge. Now I had to rebuild my gold collection by sucking dirt and small (less than 2.5 inch) rocks into the little nozzle hoping for a miracle nugget to appear. My Slate Creek adventure began when I found the dirt road out of La Porte all on my own with a little help from my newly acquired GPS.

I arrived Thursday morning before anyone else was there, thus getting a prime spot in the forest. I got the dredge to the water first thing, and, lo and behold, all of the coveted bedrock in the carefully selected pool was covered by large rocks, bigger than the 2.5 inches my dredger could handle. Now I was in a pickle: do I move rocks by hand or wait for a larger rock moving dredge to appear (thinking of the "great dredge king" Harley at this point?) I sucked and sucked and moved and moved rocks, getting many stuck in the hose, and getting real good at whacking the hose with my rock hammer. All of this action was getting me nowhere but tired! A rest was in order, food was on my mind, and gold could wait.

After lunch, as I surveyed the surrounding stream, I came to the conclusion that most rocks in the dredging area must have been scattered in the pool over and over, year after year. Harley appeared and a new plan was in order. In went Harley with the almighty 4- inch rock-moving, stream-sucking dredge near my little floating beauty. We could become dredging buddies and work together (or at least close to each other!) Harley agreed to this idea -- he is a great guy! Our dredging holes were close together but separated by a ridge of rock. Of course, as the day progressed, the ridge began to break down into one large trench. We moved forward and gold was beginning to appear in the cracks in the bedrock. I could see a very big problem in the making for me. We had an imaginary line in the sand. No nozzle could cross from side to side. We certainly must each guard our part of the claim. As a piece of gold would appear (on my side) I quickly put my finger on it because Harley's nozzle could suck any object from four feet away right into his gold cache.

I got so excited when gold would appear (on either side of the line) that I would put my finger on gold on his side. More than once I almost lost my hand to his nozzle! One day Harley quit early and said to me, "The claim is wide open. Go for it! And, let Randy use my dredge." I continued breaking rock and out popped a gleaming 2-penny weight gold nugget. A treasure to behold! This first time dredge outing is now forever etched in my mind. I now have a great little nugget to mark the event. We all had fun, everyone found enough gold to make it a great outing.