Letting the Cat Out of the Bag (Part 2)
In this post I'll be telling you how best to work one of my old sweet spots, Ramshorn Creek. As I progress in this series and reveal more good areas to work that I've discovered over the course of 36+ years, remember that accessing some of these locations may prove problematic for any number of reasons. I apologize, but I'm sure you understand I have no control over that particular issue.
Accessing Ramshorn Creek
As my introductory paragraph already underlines the fact, accessing Ramshorn Creek may be a bitch (for lack of a better term). In 2010 when I last stopped by to visit it, the creek was heavily overgrown with new growth of all sorts, including numerous blackberry bushes. Those blackberries are delicious, by the way. This new growth was so extensive and wild I had a hard time distinguishing old landmarks I relied on many years ago. Active claim signs abounded along the creek but I saw no real signs of any work being done. Like many locations in the Northern Motherlode, everything got claimed up once gold prices rose above the thousand dollar mark eight years ago. What the purpose of the active (2010 status) claim was or is I can't say. I suspect it was claimed and set aside to sell, lease, or to simply keep Ramshorn from being worked by anyone. Should you pursue the idea of accessing the creek with the intent to work it, the very first thing you should do is drive the few miles north along Highway 49 to Downieville, your main supply and info point in the immediate area. A fairly new county complex has been built there as well as a small medical center. Head for the Sierra County clerk or recorder's office and find out the current status of Ramshorn Creek. If it's still claimed up try to get the claimant's contact information if you can and contact that person or persons. If you're lucky, the claim owner is a local individual or group.
However, be prepared to find that the claim owner lives elsewhere in California or even out of state. You just never know these days. If you do track down the claim owner try to work out a simple and fair access deal like a lease or pay-as-you-go deal. Who knows? You may run into a claim owner who will give you permission to work Ramshorn without any cash considerations. It's happened to me up there in the past and it could happen to you as well. If you fail in tracking down the current claim owner (if the creek's still claimed, that is) then your next step is to start talking to the local miners or shop owners in Downieville and/or Goodyear's Bar. Some very valuable info can be gleaned this way. One thing you MUST remember here, however, is that I don't recommend you "sneak" onto Ramshorn Creek or claim jump, if you will. Claim jumping or trespassing is a big deal in this area and actually resulted in a murder one summer back in the 1980s when I was dredging the North Yuba River not far from Ramshorn. Whatever good gold you can recover from Ramshorn ain't worth dying over pard. Remember that.
(Campgrounds along Highway 49 north of Nevada City.)
Tools to Work Ramshorn Creek
So through performing your due diligence you've managed to gain access to Ramshorn. Bully for you pard! Good job. Now it's time to get the gold from that little feeder gem. First off, leave your suction dredge behind 'cause it won't do you any good. In case you didn't already know, California is chock full of little leftist libtards, hostile LGBT storm troopers, and the perennially dope-addled greenie weenies of the New Green Church Cult. No dredging is allowed here any longer and you can pretty much thank these self-righteous assholes for that sad state of affairs. But not all is lost. You don't need a dredge to work Ramshorn although a 2.5-3.5 incher would help things along the way. How about a highbanker? I don't what powers-at-be in Califa think of those terribly destructive pieces of small-scale mining equipment (yes, I'm being sarcastic) these days but it can't be good. So here's what you need:
- Sturdy "come along;"
- Pry bar or heavy duty crowbar;
- Miner's pick and a shovel;
- Portable sluice box;
(Your best tool for working Ramshorn Creek.)
- Five-gallon bucket (or two);
- Gold pan and classifier;
- Industrial-strength insect repellent; and
- A strong back and hands accustomed to hard work.
(Your arch enemy at Ramshorn.)
OK, next time I'll tell you how to use your implements of destruction on Ramshorn Creek and get the good gold that feeder holds in its treasure box.
Until then, be good to one another.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R) 2016
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org