Friday, August 15, 2008

All That Glitters--- Is Gold!

This fantastic piece of 1920's mining equipment operated until 1959, worked over 4.5 miles and produced more than 7.5 million ounces of gold.

It is one of the last existing floating dredges and the only one open to the public today.

Once seen throughout Alaska, they dug up gravel, separated out the gold and dumped the tailings out the back.

                     Our guide explained the process as we went through the entire dredge.

                                Out front is an 84 foot long digging ladder--

                                              --with 68 steel buckets--

                                 --feeding a large rotating trommel or sorting device--

                                --which separated out the sand and gravel.

                                 Gold and sand fell onto tables, was washed with water--

                                 and the heavier gold stuck in the riffles and was left behind.

              Gravel and rocks passed through and were deposited in pilings out the back.

                                       After touring the rest of the mine buildings and equipment--

                                             --we each got our own "poke" of pay dirt.

                                          In short order we were stricken with gold fever.

                                              Judy was first to find "color" in her pan.

After putting our finds together and having it assayed we had a take of $44.74.

Not quite as big as this nugget, the 25th largest ever found in Alaska and valued at $40,000.

And a little less than this bar that I was hoping to buy an Athabascan fur coat with and a lot of other things.

After striking it rich, we treated ourselves as any respectful miners would do and took a dip in Chena Hot Springs.

                                          The warm water and pleasant outside temperature--

                                                   made for a wonderful end--

                                                 --to another perfect day.

On the way back to town we saw a number of moose. Judy took this picture of three, all in one picture.

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