Dredging Kaufman Creek cont.
We drove a short distance up the road and selected a great looking camping spot near the side of the road. After setting up camp we once again headed for the creek. This time looking for a spot where the dredge could at least get wet. I've dredged before with the floats sitting on dry land but we at least had to find a wide spot to get it close to the water. After a little hiking around we found a spot that looked wide enough for the dredge. We went back to camp and began to haul the equipment the 1/8th mile to the stream. I had brought the Dredgebarrow to move the floats, motor, and hoses as a single assembly. Normally this takes three or four trips when it is broken down into carrying size pieces. I had designed the Dredgebarrow for the haul-in to my favorite dredging spot on the Arkansas River and this was to be it's maiden voyage. After piling most of the equipment on top of the floats and making liberal use of bunji cords, we headed out into the wilds pushing and pulling the Dredgebarrow.
We first had to haul all of the equipment down a steep hill and up the other side and then through some tall brush. Finally we arrived at the stream. The Dredgebarrow had performed great. The tall brush had tended to drag on the axle but it certainly was easier than carrying everything on our backs.
We found a likely looking spot and slid the assembled dredge in and started the motor. Water quickly flowed through the sluice box. After pulling my wetsuit on, I headed into the water. All 6 inches in depth. This was going to be a challenge keeping the nozzle underwater in this shallow a spot. Gradually the hole got deeper and it became easier. I was only wearing my wetsuit bottoms as there was no way the water was deep enough to need the tops. Not deep enough, but soon I noticed, certainly cold enough to need the arm protection provided by the top. The water was in the low 40's. Definitely not summer water.
After a short time dredging, I headed up out of the water for my mask and snorkel. I hate to dredge when I can't see. The rocks plug up the hose about ten times more often. When you can see what is near the nozzle you can pick the big ones out before they get stuck in the nozzle. Soon we had forgotten all about the cold water and were laying face down in the 6" deep water happily dredging away.
After playing in the water for a while, I reluctantly turned the nozzle over to Dave. He had been patiently waiting his turn. We took turns each dredging for a while then taking a rest while the other worked. It was warm enough that the wetsuit top came off whenever we weren't in the water. What a great day!
When the dredge was running, most of the water in the creek flowed through the sluice box. This was definitely the smallest creek that I had dredged in.
We dredged into the afternoon and all to soon it was time to quit. Oh well, there's always tomorrow. We removed out wetsuits and walked back to camp. This is always a time of day I enjoy. We were both feeling great after spending all day in the water searching for gold and then enjoying a cool one or two as we sit around relaxing. Later we cooked a leisurely meal after which we had a campfire and more cool drinks. It just couldn't get any better than this.
Did we find a ton of gold? No, but we did find some and it was a enjoyable enough trip that another is planned for this year.