Adventure - that's what its all about! Yesterday I was 22 years old and today I'm 52.
I can still pull up memories like they were yesterday and yet I still have the drive to look
over the next hill. My first nugget was pulled out of the YUBA river about 2 o'clock.
I was using a snorkle in about 5 feet of water. It was just a little crack - maybe about
the size of a pencil line. As I picked at that crack, it became larger and more promising.
I surfaced and gave some details to my friend, Kenny. He handed me his beer, then the hand pump and wished me luck. I filled my lungs with fresh mountain air and returned to
my crack. Using the water pump, I injected its fury into the hole. I was met with a veil of
of light gray silt which quickly dissipated its life to the river. Once again I
pumped a jet of pressure into that crack and out came that dancing nugget! It did a little
jig, then settled onto that white rock that held it prisoner for eons. It took me a couple of
seconds to respond to this visual onslaught of sheer joy. I screamed out as loud as I
could "Right fkn ON"! I snatched that nugget off its white pedestal, ripped my snorkle from my face, put that yellow God-like rock into my mouth and bit it! What Kenny observed was a low rumble of sound followed by a ballistic rocket being launched from the depths below him. YAHOO!! CHECK IT OUT! FU@#ING A DUDE! Gold!
Like the rock, its my prisoner now!
Here it is!
More adventures coming or check out our Picture/Video Gallery
Ken and I have been in a lot of mines together throughout our prospecting years and trust each others judgment with our lives. So if you do not have a BUDDY you can depend on in ALL SITUATIONS… DON’T DO THIS!
I have never found a mine that was cut the same. This mine had all of the signs of being healthy, and stable, after all it was a solid rock mine, what could go wrong? I explained to my posse of 4 what I was going to do and how far I was to travel. With my son at the entrance as my relay I made small excursions and found my recent observations to be deceiving.
The presence of old timber suggested weight bearing problems. The fact that some of them were burned suggested that a fire had consumed this part of the mine. Possible gas escaping into the mine followed by an explosion could have been its demise. Now that I knew a fire was present at some time what did the extreme heat do to the rock walls and overhangs? I checked this out and found the sides as well as roof where fractured and with just a tap of my equipment pole some came falling down. The floor of the cave was strewn with timber, square nails, and the bones of many animals. Note: possible gas seeping causing affectation or a mountain lion den, hummm. Deciding that further exploration deeper into this mine without a sensor/ breathing device and better lighting options, I stopped and collected samples of ore from floor. I then took a series of pictures of the walls and roof as to not wanting to disturb/piss off the mine. With my sons worried pleas I exited the mine. Total mine explored was approx 200 feet. This may seem not far but turn off your light and see what happens.
Our crew continued to explore and metal detect the surrounding site and unearthed more tailing piles and two more collapsed entrances. We found gold slivers in the ore, gold still attached to quartz and one flattened nugget. We also exposed some type of large equipment in about 18” of overburden. We will dig this out in another trip to map out what type of gold operation this was and how it functioned.
Being that some timber, the ore piles, and this large piece of equipment are still present I can only surmise that something went wrong at this site. I say this due to the fact that in my experience of prospecting and past history of mining camps, everything that could be carted off and salvaged for other operations would indeed have been taken. This area is still rich in gold as it was back in the 1850’s but why was this place abandoned? I hope to find out and will let you know
Black Berry Mine 2011
Prospector Swado n Ken
Gold Ore n Nuggets
Mine Floor Inside