Wet or Dry, GOLD prospecting is Fun!

Here are a few shots to stay cool by. These shots are taken in the south fork of the Stanislaus River, at a mining camp known as Italian Bar. It is owned by the Lost Dutchmans Mining Assocation, for which my family and I are members.

Notice Kenny playing with the output of the high pressure pump
This dredge works by "vacuuming" up the gravels in the stream and running it over a sluice box. It can move many yards of material per hour but this is only a fable - there are quite a few larger rocks that must be moved by hand that wont go up the 4 inch suction hose.

I wish there was a better way to chuck these rocks...
Notice the orange gloves on my hand as I throw a cobble. The water appears green, but in fact is very clear. I use orange plastic coated gloves, as being in the water for a while makes your hands very soft, and picking up cobbles can tear the skin on your hands. Sometimes the water gets so mirky that I cant see those orange gloves under the water. We also use a 'Hooka' air breathing mouth piece to go under the water.

And when dredge season is over, we go to the California's Mojave Desert!

Operating in the desert is a bit different than when water is available. Air is used to separate the material. These photos show a modern day Dry-Washer, which is a old invention that the miners in the late 1800's thru the 1930's used, but theirs were hand operated, using "bellows" much like a blacksmith shop would use. Today, we use motor powered air blowers, to suspend the material in the riffles, while the box below shakes due to a off center weight connected to a fan blade in the air path in the bottom of the riffle box. The conveyor belt is "homemade" after I got tired of smashing dirt clods by hand. It features a "shaker" box at the bottom of the conveyor belt. Large rocks grind the dirt clods into fine power, thus releasing its grip on small pieces of gold. As dirt and clods are fed into the square hopper in the back, the material is screened thru a 1/4 inch mesh, thus only allowing small gold, and dirt to make its way up into the dry washer. The large rocks fall off the back of the shaker box, when an excess of rocks pushes them out.

A view from a different angle

Here are a couple of views for the rock moving winch I built this summer.

The winch is remotely operated by two ropes. This allows me to stay in the river without climbing out to operate the winch. The rope on the left releases the cable drum so I can pull the cable out. The right hand rope engages the motor on the winch.

Here are some other prospecting photos...

Putting in Rubber matting into my homemade beach box
You have to shovel to make this work!
Close up view of gold on rubber mat in the beach box"
Common dig at Duesenburg LDMA camp
Perry Massie panning at common dig Duesenburg camp
A Gold King high banker
Sniping the bedrock in Mariposa creek with friends
I'm sniping the bedrock in Mariposa creek
Some of the goodies I found this year - thats a 1905 S quarter
Map of Italian Bar LDMA camp
Dry washer - all aluminum model
Dry washing before I made the conveyor belt/shaker!
Gee this dry washing is work!
dry washing - notice dirt vibrating over the riffles!
A view of the Keene DW212 "puffer"
About $9K in nuggets
My 4 " dredge running at I-BAR
Some days are better than others!
Got to put gas in it to make it work
Another shot of hole that dredge makes
Some of the stuff found by mid season 1997
Dawn, and light hasnt hit the hole yet
Cover it up until I return on the weekend

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