The New Dredge's maiden voyage

Happy days! The dream has finally come true and here I am posing with a nearly new Keene 4" over-under sluice dredge with air. I have dredged with other prospectors 4" and 5" dredges as shown in other pictures on this web site but the only dredge I own is my "old faithful" 2 1/2" shown in many pictures. My dream has always been to step up in size to a 4" as anything larger would be difficult to handle by myself as I can't always find someone crazy enough to go with in the winter. I had the opportunity to buy this dredge a little over a year ago but "alas, I had not the money." None of you probably have ever had that problem.

New dredge in the truck

Me and my new toy

Many people that have seen my truck might comment that the money would have been better spent obtaining a new truck but I know you fellow prospectors would not agree. A truck would cost more and besides it wouldn't float, at least not as well. This is the same dredge pictured in the fall section of the web page.After picking up the dredge on a Wednesday night and going directly to a gold prospecting meeting then working Thursday and Friday until 11:00 at night, when Saturday came I was really ready to go. Getting up at 6:00AM to check it out and make sure everything was there, I headed to gold country 80 miles down the road.

Checking out the new dredge

Everybody is checking the dredge out

I had set up a meeting with some of the prospectors at the club meeting and we had agreed upon a place to go. Upon arrival I found that there was a group already waiting there. The first item on the days agenda was

"Taking some pictures"

That's the nice thing about having a web page. It gives you an excuse to take a lot of pictures and then bore everyone at home to death, then everyone at work, and finally, everyone on the WWW.
Nobody was in the water but they had already began the day of socializing. A lot of the winter "prospecting" is done on the bank far from the cold water with absolutely no equipment and results in unearthing some of the largest nuggets you can imagine. ( in fact, all of them are imagined. Kind of like fishing. ) After a group discussion on how to install the grizzly screens it was time to launch. This was a used dredge so no instructions were included and not everything made sense. After using the dredge several times I have came to the conclusion that no one in the group knew what they were talking about as I believe we had it wrong. Complicating the installation of the screens was the fact that this is a over-under sluice. I will have a series of pictures and a report on this in a later page. I think that this is the greatest thing going. More on that later.

Small dredge at work

A "slightly" smaller dredge

A variety of equipment was present. In the background on the truck is a Keene 5" triple sluice. It "wussed" out and didn't even get it's feet wet. In the foreground a small dredge is hard at work. The equipment doesn't have to be big to have big fun. (Don't tell my wife that though)

With all the help that was present, the official launching was easy. With a prospector on each corner the dredge was lifted out of the truck in one piece and carried to the water. Getting it to the water is harder than my old 2 1/2" but once in the water what a difference. All of the equipment is loaded on top of it and up the stream it and everything else went. The 2 1/2" usually took several trips to get everything hauled to the dredging site. The selected spot was an area of bedrock that probably had only been dredged about 500 times before. This area of Clear Creek gets a lot of action from the Denver area.

Go to New Dredge page 2.

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