Gold Mining Day Trip

A friend has access to, and is working some remote claims owned by a friend of his. The guy that has the claims provided a “small” 8” suction dredge, so this isn’t exactly traditional gold panning, but we’re not strip mining either.  I’m helping out… Its something fun, interesting, and different to be out doing. Provides some nice day trip adventures in the back country.

 No, didn’t strike it rich. Didn’t even find any ”color”. But we did scout for and find a couple more promising places to run the dredge further up the creek/claim we’re working.

Little over three miles of hiking along the creek and on the ridge it follows… Doesn’t sound like far, but you try side hilling on a 75 to 80 deg slope (where 90 deg is a Straight up and down cliff) covered in 1′ to 1.5′ thich spongy moss while wearring rubber boots/waders with no ankle support…  (Actually, I’ve done this in good supportive hiking boots and its not really much better!)  Fun. Then there is the dead flat, or slightly sloped areas covered in muskeg; little mounds of plant/sod about 8” to 10” in diameter, and up to a foot high. Acres of them, with only 4” to 8” of wet mossy ground between them… Ankle breakers no matter how you go through them(its an art… One I’m not verry good at yet!)

Some tundra, on a relatively flat spot on the ridge;



The ground;




The trees are small and dwarfed from growing on perma frost, and the brush thin, but it can actually be pretty hard to see through. Believe it or not in this shot you are looking right at my buddy and his wife about 50 yards away;




Digging through the two feet of moss along a elevation/ground type line on the ridge; All we found was permafrost, permanently frozen ground. Hopefully with a week or two of being exposed, we can go back and have it thawed enough to get a gravel/soil sample to process.




Strange rock formation we got out of a hole we dug along the old creek bed;





I unfortunetally(lol) stopped my buddy from walking past a small rock slide on this slope, so thats where he dug the next sample hole… He managed a flat spot to stand and dig, while his wife and I ended up standing on the 75deg slope, and the 3′ wide bank over the creek… That was Deep at that spot(I know, I tried to get into it and it was over my hip waders…)

I unfortunetally missed getting a pic of the gravel slide a little ways up that went the full 40 ft down the bank from the top edge to the water… That was fun to walk across the first time, but looked more dangerous than it was… it was Just muddy enough to keep you from slidding down it. 

And no, we couldn’t just climb to the top then go along the ridge… Exactly where the slope ends is where the THICK forest starts… no where to go in it if your bigger than a wolf… Or don;t have the mass of a moose to push through with. 😉 Not to mention you’d have to find a way Down again without breaking your neck 😉


I’m standing on a narrow, 1′ ish wide flat half(ish) way down the slope, looking up for this pic;



And down toward the creek;



Camera level looking along the slope… Up to left.. Trees trying to grow somewhat upright..


Up where the mossy slope ends and the top soil and rocky over burden started, along with the tree line starting;



A little of Gods glory shining through, blue bells(I think!) alone and shinning along a section of rather barren borring creek bank as we got back into the heavier lower forest;




Never seen burls on cottonwood trees before! We spend enough time up there dredging this creek, and working in that area a lot, and I’m cutting that burl out of there! That tree is better than a foot in diameter Without the burl too… Big burl!


A smaller burl on a spruce just up the ridge from the cottonwood one(center tree);





The tiny feeder drainage/new creek we found comming down off the ridge;












Where it starts a 50 ft trench that goes from about 4′ wide x 5′ deep to about 1′ wide and about 3′ deep where it opens into the big creek at a trickle..



Some random tundra on the ridge(meaning I can’t remember why I took the pic…)




The we spent two Entertaining hours IN the creek with the dredge, standing in anywhere from 1′ to 5′ of water, and up to 2′ of silt and clay… Sorry, no pics. Even though the S5 Active is waterproof to IPX8, I wasn’t about to test it first hand it I didn’t have to 😉 

Thats two hours felt like about 30 minutes in time, but the workfelt like about 4 hours… lol.. fast and intense.. ANd wet.

There is now a hole we dug in that creek that my buddy has dubbed “Garry’s Hole” since I tripped and fell into it backwards. Noone saw it, and I got out of it fast so that no one would see… Even managed to keep my head above the water.

 And like an idiot I mentioned it later… Thus the naming of the hole… Lol.. Me and my big mouth will learn someday, right?

Yeah… I didn’t think so either. 😉

But anyway, All in all its just a great day getting out doing something different, fun and interesting with some wonderful friends in the great land I am blessed to call home.

Categories: Outdoors

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One thought on “Gold Mining Day Trip

  1. AlaskaLinuxUser

    Nice! looks pretty remote. Worthy of the AK-Adventurer!

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