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More old mining camp buildings at the pay to dig I ran in the summer of 2010


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These old buildings date from the 1800,s they are all part of a patented claim and consist of a mill site and several miles of creek. Directly across from the old original house still standing was a lake formed by a dam and it had a water driven electric plant that drove the main crusher  and several houses now in ruins. They were all electrified with ceramic tubes  and knobs so the electric was a later addition. All of the remains were a pack rat haven and the area had been detected and the outhouse dug. There were about 5 or 6 tunnels horizontally driven  along a one mile stretched that I found and most of them were caved in at the entrances and draining bad looking water. The mill was in the creek bottom about 1000' below and some of the  log ore bins at the tunnel entrances still contained  ore , the remains of the  chutes that fed the mill below were destroyed , the mill had collapsed but the ROD mill was still in place and I dug several hundred pounds of spillage out from under it. The assays showed 43% silver and traces of gold. The old timers that I talked too said the explanation was that when they opened it the slop that spilled was the lighter and the gold had already settled in the drum when it was opened. Me I don't know but it didn't pay for me . the main income producer for the whole operation was selling water. About 3 miles below the mill they dammed the creek at the edge of the property and the flume carried  the water all the way to Pioneerville and Placerville  supplying the miners along the route. The flume  was kept high enough to cross the high point at  Grimes Pass and turn south . This operation kept producing log after the mine. Everything above and below the dam site was hydraulically mined by the different  claim holders for miles and miles. When they got to the main creek they built floating dredges and left miles of tailings all the way to Idaho city and the surrounding streams. Where the dam site was had never been mined in the old days . So we started in the present stream wilh little luck just dust and the occasional picker. Then we started up the side of the hill below a meadow where there was the remains of the flume operations. the higher we went up the side of the bank the bigger the gold got but it was not easy because of the Big boulders you had to move they would slidedown on you if you were not careful. The gold was just under the grass roots  and if you went on top you still had the boulders to contend with, this was all in an area of about I would guess 50 to 75 feet in length and 15 feet high, it was where the flume had been attached to the dam and still had rocks in place for a spillway at the lower end.  All of this was accessible by ATV only.

Well the owner had been trying to sell the entire property to a mining company  who was core drilling on top of the mountain  for I believe Molybdenum , they wanted to pay him from mill returns but he wasn't born yesterday  and told them numerous times his price was 3 million cash. They had been using the old road and dragging  steel sleds with core drills ,steel , fuel and other supplies   from Grimes Pass road to the top of the mountain .  One day  he showed up to meet with them and the Forest Service . They offered him a cashiers check for 3 million . He told them he would deposit it in his bank and when it cleared the whole place was theirs, both mill site his nice log cabin, sho building full of artifacts, records and parts form 120 years of mining on the site. then he told me when the check clears you have whatever time they give you to clear out. The same day the FS gave them permission to doze the road out to where it was passable for trucks, they stared the same day and when they cam to where we were digging they  moved the  road to the other side of the creek and bulldozed all these big boulders out of the hill side. They gave us 5 days to recover what gold we could , it was a madhouse , the dozer and water truck drivers saw the nuggets we were getting in every pan and would stop and borrow a pan . Then their boss showed up and told them the next time he had to come and look for a truck they would be fired. Before that they had got a fire started  and it was out of control just a couple of miles from us the entire valley was under evacuation orders but all the roads was blocked so we kept digging and we did not have to share with anyone . The fire fighting planes was flying right over out heads on there drops . The FS finally got the road to Placerville cleared and told us to hit it , I was already hooked up the my Motorhome and headed out the long way to Garden Valley where they were escorting one way traffic 40 miles to the main highway. My total take was somewhat over 28 ounces for the  5 days + the rest of my take for the season. I am sorry now that I didn't take more pictures Most of the pictures are self explanatory, the gold in the bottles was the 5 day rush, the 1 OZ nugget was from a dredge tailings pile it and another 3 or 4 OZ of small nuggets were stolen by an assistant caretaker I had hired , he pulled out in the middle of the night, he missed the big dig , I had trouble with caretakers , one that was supposed to come for the summer took a position at an LDMA camp for the summer , one didn't last one full day, he could not find his way the to camp from Horseshoe Bend to either Garden Valley or Placerville so I made a run to horseshoe Bend to get some supplies and lead him in the  close way to the camp , he showed up at Horseshoe Bend about 3 pm and  was not used to MT driving to say the least and this was the flat road in. He said he could not see the road well enough and would have to stop for the night, turns out his alternator was out on his Motor Home and he was running a little gas generator  inside the rig for 12 volt power!!! I got him parked by a creek and off the road were a log truck would not run over him and told him to come in when he could . Well he showed up the next day about 12 noon and  said where do I park? I told him we would have to move about 50 2x12x12 and 50 6 inch poles so he could park close enough to get to the electricity. So i parked him on the side of the main road to the campground by the creek . We started moving the poles and in a few minutes he said I am sick , his wife came over and said he had just got out of the hospital and could not do any hard work "DA"  so then he said he needed to go to the hospital, it's in Boise I said, he said I need to go. Well they did not have a car so I loaded them in my Geo Tracker and started to Boise via Idaho City and   got him to the first hospitalI could find and him and her went in while I sat in the parking lot. In a few minutes they came back out and said the hospital would not take him because it was a no smoking facility and he would not agree to give him his smokes !!!! I took him downtown Boise to the main hospital and by then he needed to be admitted so I gave her my phone # and told her to call that I had to get back to camp because my wife was there by herself. Well the Motorhome sat there  the rest of my time there. He had lung cancer and knew it before they ever left home. Her sister came later and got there stuff.  So I got the guy who robbed me the first week. Let me tell you this running a full time pay to dig operation is not easy, it was easier in Mexico!  These are all the pictures that I saved from a CD that survived  my 2013 house fire I miss ny pictures and papers far more than anything else. Sorry to be so long winded but this will be in place of the second years report I was going to post about the Idaho experience.








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