Cold Alaskan Gold—Part I
September 2012 by Chris RalphCrowds may be great for football games or the Fourth of July, but not for prospecting. So, this summer, while thousands of gold seekers were heading to the coast of Alaska, I headed to a remote part of the Interior.
The nugget sat there in plain sight, though it was covered in dirt, while hundreds of people had passed that way every day.
Across and downstream of our operation was a large pile of huge boulders. It was logical to think that water forces may have deposited gold in and around these boulders. We moved our dredge over and started pulling the rock pile apart.
Most of our gold recoveries have been in the cracks of the bedrock. Hot rocks in the form of dikes cross the creek at various locations, causing us to skip those areas.
We all love to see that first glimmer of gold when it peeks out from under the black sand in our pan, or feel the weight of a nugget in our scoop when we dig a good target. But sometimes things don’t go quite so smoothly.
During this trip we found enough gold to make us want to come back, even with the punishment of a very long, tough hike.
Dredges actually do pretty well in freezing conditions. There are a few tips you should know, however.
It’s accepted knowledge that wet methods will recover more fine gold than dry methods and processing the gravel as a whole will get more gold than only using a metal detector. The question is how much more?
The Bawl Mill • Wild and Scenic River Prospecting—North Fork of the American River • Detecting for Gold—Finding Nuggets Where You Least Expect Them • Potholes and Other Bedrock Traps • Financing by the Crowd • Wealth Beyond Your Wildest Imagination • Gold Too Big to Carry • The World of the Simple Gold Pan • New Silver and Zinc Mine Slated for Montana • Eastern Oregon Mine Seeks Permits • Mining Returns to Historic Comstock • BLM Issues Environmental Review of Wyoming Uranium Mine • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices