Sunday, October 19, 2008

My old mining claim

This one of my old claims. You can see my claim notification on the tree above my truck, still there after 20 years. At least I think it's the same sign...... The claim looks completely abandoned judging by the brush that had grown back after I cleared it out.
This was one of the most accessible claims I've had. You could drive right up to it!
I bought the claim from a friend thinking that I could remove all the overburden right down to the country rock, clean out the gold and start living the good life within a week or two. Yeah, right. For one thing, there's only water there during the spring - the rest of the year it's dry diggins and that means backbreaking work.
See the pile of rock in the background of the 3rd picture down? That was the result of a solid weeks' work, and I never did hit bedrock.
I worked the claim just enough to make my purchase price and claim filing fees back then I gave it back to the scorpions, tarantulas and rattlesnakes. I was seriously outnumbered by them anyways......


VC said...

So what is involved with getting a claim?

There are work requirements?

How much did you make? (too personal?)

What does a claim mean?

What kind of mining did you do?

Was there dynamite?

Snakes and bugs?

wirecutter said...

Not too much involved with getting a claim filed, VC. I would imagine it's a lot easier now with GPS - fill in the grid coordinates instead of nearby landmarks. But after you find some promising ground, just go to that county's courthouse and do the paperwork. But once it's filed, you have to show that it's a productive claim and you're not just squatting on the land. That's what's meant by "work requirements".

All a claim means is that you "claim" the mineral rights to a section of BLM or public land. You can't build on it, though.

Sometimes I made a couple of thousand bucks, but most of the time I just got blisters. I can truly say that with all the work involved, I never even made minimum wage.

I've tried placer mining (in a stream or river) using pans, sluices or dredges and I've done some dry mining with rocker boxes.
No, I've never blasted, dammit.

Snakes and bugs? Bunches and bunches. I've worked some areas that seemed like every rock I moved had a scorpion or snake under it.

All in all, it's a young man's game. You'll notice in the post that I mentioned that it was 20 years ago that I was seriously into it? You'll get some serious aches and pains even from panning in a river - try squatting for a few HOURS in your comfortable living room sometime,then imagine doing that in an ice cold river. Even with waders you get numb feet and hands.