"Rocks in My Head:" a Prospector and Miner in the Making (Part 6)
(Early hard-rock gold mining in north Georgia.)
Here's the latest from guest author and novice placer miner Alan Brown of Dahlonega, Georgia:
The Lure of Running the New Sluice Box
"I had decided to work the set of bedrock 'stairs' that my daughter Caitlin and I had so enjoyed that fine afternoon many weeks past. Armed with my new mining gear and nearly bursting with anticipation, away to prospect I went."
"I know now I should have done some sample panning first to determine if this particular spot held anything promising, but the lure of running the new sluice box proved too great. I'd come to the conclusion that find gold or not, at least I'd be logging time learning to work the sluice box."
"If all proved to be for naught (which I fully expected), I still hoped to learn as much from not finding any color as by doing so. I had resolved myself to seeing this part of the stream to it's bedrock surfaces...I needed to know what lay underneath all that sand and gravel overburden."
Setting Up the Box
"I should say here that at the ripe old age of 47 and essentially a coastal 'flat lander' of 30 plus years, lugging nearly sixty pounds of sluice box, buckets, shovel, gold pan, scoop, pry bar, classifier, drinking water and myself down that hillside and back up the first few times was, and still is, a real workout. Once down, I could not imagine the distress to come as I began to attempt setting up the box."
(A 3-dollar piece made from Georgia gold and minted at Dahlonega.)
"Prior to all this, I had done tons of research on the subject in the past and this, by the way, was how I found 'Bedrock Dreams' in the first place. I'd watched videos and read all I could find on the subject and all should have been a big "GO." But in real time, well...things are a little different."
"I pretty much knew what was SUPPOSED to happen with my sluice box. After all, the friendly employees at the Crisson Mine store had taken a lot of time to give me tips on running that particular sluice box. But little did I understand just how fine those points could be."
Small-Scale Mining Equipment
"When you've never actually seen gold being trapped in a running sluice box you simply don't know what you're watching for. The old prospector, all those years ago, had given me sage advice when he told me, 'you'll know it when you see it.'"
There's more from Alan to come, so stay tuned.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "'Around the Mining Block:' Facts and Tips for Seasoned Prospectors and Miners (Part 2)"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2011
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