IN THE WATER - Cleaning Up the Creek in Tennessee

Digger"s Expedition in Tennessee

by Gold Prospectors Association of America

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As featured in the 2018 Nov/Dec Gold Prospectors Magazine

by Dominic Ricci

(Photos by Dominic Ricci, Rictough Robinboy, and also Nina Beck)

As with Michael Phelps in his multiple Olympic journeys, participants in Digger’s Expedition in Coker Creek, Tenn., set out on a quest to . . . Bring Home The Gold!The Tenneswatch gold rush developed in 1827 in Monroe County, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains along Coker Creek. The gold rush skilled a hold-up, though, because the valuable mineral was located on Cherokee Indian land. It wasn"t until 1836 that gold mining really gained going.Most of the gold in Tennessee is uncovered in a small area in the southeastern part of the state in the Coker Creek gold belt, which lies in the Cherokee National Forest. Coker Creek and the Tellico River are the best-well-known locations for gold prospecting as tbelow are countless placer deposits and also mines.The present stream gravels, in addition to bench and "high terrace" deposits, contain plentiful placer gold. There are some alluvial cones that were greatly mined in the area also, and there were countless small mines that created low grade deposits in fissure veins.Gold in the creeks and also rivers of Tennescheck out is a little bit different than what some prospectors might be accustomed to out west. Rather than settling on bedrock, gold deposits are regularly found on what might be thought about false bedrock of hardpan clay. The clay deserve to prevent small gold pwrite-ups from settling deeper and also will certainly be discovered lying on top of it.It has been salso lengthy years since the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA) and the Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association (LDMA) have operated the “Motherlode” Expedition. With determicountry and passion to lug earlier that true miners experience, the search was on to situate a building that can hold the 2018 Digger’s Expedition.We set out and discovered exclusive land also that we can lease to host the expedition. This residential property was extended with old tailing piles from an abandoned bucket dredge and also had actually stunning reserves for just the few lucky GPAA-LDMA members who stepped forward to get involved.Right in the heart of the gold deposits of Coker Creek District in southeast Tennescheck out, the building that back in the 1800s was home to the Annette Placer Worqueens mine, which had actually a huge procedure, is wbelow the GPAA-LDMA got access to exclusive lands that have actually not been touched for years and were primed for dredging and also highbanking for gold.The 2018 GPAA Digger"s Expeditions were split into 2 one-week adventures, Sept. 2-8 and also Sept. 9-15.What was the wanted method for capturing the gold? I will certainly admit to watching WWE wrestling back in the . . . it doesn’t matter how long back, and also what concerns mind is what Triple H was regularly heard saying, “I acquired two words for ya — SUCK IT!”That"s what we did. For significant placer mining operations, the suction dredge is the best tool to procedure huge quantities of product from the riverbed (or creek bed) as conveniently as possible. Dredges have actually a finding out curve to operate effectively, but as soon as you number out just how to usage them correctly you will certainly uncover that they are by much the ideal means to acquire the the majority of gold in the leastern amount of time.A dredge basically vacuums up the gravel from the bottom of a creek or river. The operator provides a hose to suck up product straight off the bottom of the river, pulling up up to a floating sluice box. Tbelow are different styles of suction dredges. Much choose a traditional sluice, the operator can experiment via different setups to accomplish optimal gold recoexceptionally.The material is pulled off the river bottom, up with the hose, over the sluice, and also then out the back to autumn earlier right into the river. This implies that nopoint is actually rerelocated from the river except the gold that is caught in package.Although suction dredges have actually minimal influence on the river device, misindevelopment is resulting in dredging to be sevedepend minimal and also even banned totally in many type of claims. This is unfortunate because the modern suction dredge has minimal result on the river ecodevice and also is ssuggest the finest means to mine gravels from a riverbed.Many kind of civilization sit on the couch on Friday nights watching mirrors choose “Gold Rush” or “Bearing Sea Gold,” wishing it was them out there gaining the gold. The Digger’s Expedition is your ticket to actual prospecting and also the search for gold!Digger’s Expedition became much even more than simply reextending gold. It was teamwork and also dedication. It was family members and also friendship! It was a week-long gold mining adventure. It was sitting dvery own and sharing meals and also life. It was the puremainder of gold, it was camaraderie!The basic procedure of the week-lengthy adventure wregarding arrive midday Saturday and also put up your primitive camping area. A welcome dinner was offered wbelow participants could mingle and also gain to recognize each various other, and accomplish Mitch and Denise Miller, the property owners; Bryan Barner, the Expedition lead who knows the lay of the land; and also of course myself.Adrenaline and anticipation for what was in the week ahead was on everyone’s mind. “Will we strike it rich? How a lot gold will we find? Who will certainly recuperate the first nugget? Wright here and when carry out I acquire to set up my dredge?”Bryan always starts Sunday morning with his “Arts and Crafts” project — his fun method for participants to take a piece of lumber, paint our Tennesview Dredging permit number on it, drill a hole so you have the right to thcheck out a rope through and also attach to your dredge or highbanker. Some execute gain creative!Next it was time to acquire the “Suck It!” equipment in the creek and also begin obtaining the sweet yellow stuff that carried us all together.For the following 6 days, participants would be at breakquick by 7 a.m. and also “in the water” by 7:30 a.m. Shut down and perform a cleanup at 11:45 a.m. Lunch at noon, then ago in the water by 12:30. Run solid till it was time to shut down and also execute the day’s last cleanup at 5 p.m. Dinner at 5:45 p.m. and socialize till roughly 7:30 p.m. Tbelow were no night owls that would certainly remain up as civilization necessary their rest so they can perform it everywhere aacquire the following day.In The Dirt Water, there were all forms of “Gold Catch’N Equipment” — Keene highbanker/dredge combos, Keene dredges, Proline dredges, homemade dredges, and even more — all functioning difficult to acquire even more gold.Throughout the two weeks, tright here were the majority of “artifacts” respanned from Coker Creek. Just to name a few: two tires, plenty of old railroad spikes, old bucket dredge parts, wires, bottles — the list goes on. Mitch and also Denise will proudly display all the “artifacts” in their future pavilion.There’s nopoint favor relaxing in the creek, comfortable in the water, continuing to be cool and avoiding the external 90 percent humidity. LDMA caretakers from Michigan’s Athens Camp and also Expedition participants Tom and also Suzzie Moray enjoyed playing in the water and sucking up gold. We tag-teamed the Keene dredge, taking transforms at the nozzle, chatting ameans about camp company and family company. Oh, and also a few jokes right here and there. It was excellent top quality time under the trees and in the creek!Water snakes were spotted from time to time watching any type of of us. If you ever wanted to recognize wbelow one was, you simply had to look for Nina Beck to press her husband also Freddie and start running the various other way.Deadly caterpillars you ask about? Those cute little bit bundles of future butterflies can be a real pain. Just ask GPAA State Director Bradley Dover when one floats on by and stings your shoulder causing a rash that $&(!#%g hurts choose no various other.The Martins, Stephen and also Susan, operated simply listed below a blvery own out (from a recent storm) beaver dam. A few comments and laughs later on, Susan was telling everyone listed below the dam that they gained contaminated “beaver water” on them. Poor Bradley was at the finish of the line and took on all the beaver water.Even sitting approximately the stop table, looking throughout at one more participant, all of a sudden they begin to move left or right as the chair legs begin to sink in the soft dirt. You couldn’t not laugh at all these innocent happenings.What does any type of of this have to execute via gold? Tbelow was camaraderie made out of pure gold. We common Froot Loop doughnuts (yes you check out that appropriate — Hardee’s fast food had actually a one-of-a-kind supply for Week #2 participants) at breakrapid time. OMG! They were delicious too!Back to the elusive mineral, gold! We did not recoup extremely many type of pickers or a small nugget. The gold was predominantly fines, or what some call “fly poop” and also others contact “skeeter nuts” (Have you ever watched a skeeter’s nuts? No! That’s because they are that small! Thank you, Bradley Dover).We stayed on optimal of the cleanups day-to-day, so participants might watch the rewards of each day’s “fun.” Participants joined in the fun with running the concentrates on a combination of cleanup equipment consisting of Gold Hog Multi Sluice, Spike Strike Tubby Concentrator and also Gold Cube.

Each day we had actually a “last pan” labeled so all might check out. At the end of the week, I would certainly combine all the gold to obtain the complete weight for the week and also divide it up equally for all the participants.

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No black sands dirt bag favor we execute at the Dirt Party outings, just clean gold. Thank you, Todd Martin, for the Martin Water Table for the final cleanups.