SECOND QUARTER, MAY 2022 VOLUME 36, NUMBER 1
Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager
Story by Eric Spitler
Another summer season is upon us here in Happy Camp. The weather is beautiful along the Klamath River and surrounding area. The gold mining opportunities are endless! For us, summer isn’t the beginning of our mining season. We mine year-round. Warm weather just opens up other possibilities.
Betsy and I work the gravel bars during winter. Our careful choice of locations puts us in the sun. We worked a dark spot in a canyon during our first winter season in Happy Camp, and learned from that experience how cold it can be.
These days, during the winter, we pick the gravel bars that are graced with warmth, even on cloudy days. We just completed a winter season, and it went fine. But it is nice to have the summer weather settling in. A lot of our gold prospecting takes place in the water once it warms up; sometimes completely underwater.
Though there are other members who are already mining underwater on the Klamath. We will be out there soon enough!
Since the water is not quite warm enough for us to do that yet, we are using the warmer days to expand our gold projects to the lowering level of the river, where the cool water is now refreshing at leg level. Ourselves, and other members, have had good luck along the edge of the river where winter storms have swept gravel away, leaving a concentration of gold remaining in place.
We have been glad to have other members of the Club mining nearby during this past winter. A few hardy souls have made for a friendly outdoor community atmosphere. We all learn from each other.
This year, we adopted the use of a spiral gold wheel from some of our mining companions. Our friend offered to run our previously-processed concentrates that seemed to us to be depleted of gold values To be honest, we did not expect much.. Now, we’re not novices. We have been at this game for a long time. But a spiral wheel was never part of our arsenal. It is now!
Out of a nearly full bucket of concentrates, which represented weeks of mining, we had already removed an ounce of beautiful, small flakey gold through a concentrator sluice. The processed material was destined to get the heave-Ho.
Not so fast! One cycle through the spiral wheel, and we recovered just under another half-ounce of fine gold!
Oh oh! Well, we have chosen to look at the positive side rather than ponder over the tons of concentrates that we have discarded over the many years…
Many of us own a garage full of gold contraptions, as well as a truck full of equipment that rides around with us. So not to add to your ever-growing arsenal of gold-getting gadgets; but in case you are interested, give the gold wheel a try. We affectionately refer to ours as the “Wheel of Fortune.“
Update from Dickey Melton, Internal Affairs
For those of you who have not met me, I pretty much manage ongoing affairs for The New 49’ers these days. I can be found at our office in Happy Camp, if I am not out helping members or keeping an eye on the mining properties which we manage. Stop in anytime for a cup of coffee and some spirited conversation about whatever is the passion of the moment. Our office is a very friendly place.
There is not much happening along our properties that I am not aware of. We have so much property available, and there is so much room for all our members, there is no need to keep secrets about where the latest gold hot spots are. Everybody is going to find out about it, anyway! Members have brought in some really nice gold over these past few years!
Momentum this season is picking up along the river. The phone is ringing, and more people are showing up nearly every day.
Longtime members, Jim and Cash, stopped at the office just a few days ago to show off some gold they have been recovering off the bottom of the Klamath River along our extensive Wingate property, simply by using their hands to sweep the light material off of bedrock. On that day, they had recovered 1.7 pennyweights (20 dwts = 1 ounce of gold) in around seven hours while taking turns in the river. At 75% of the spot price, that comes to $70 – or $10 an hour. While it does not sound as good as a regular job, they do get to experience the great outdoors, have very little overhead, don’t have to worry about losing their job – and the cool thing is that if they hold onto the gold, the return for their labor is going to go up with the price of gold once it finally begins following (or getting ahead of) the inflation that we are all experiencing.
On that note, one member recovered around 16 ounces of beautiful gold two seasons ago working the bottom of the river by hand just part time along our Mega Hole properties. That’s more than $22,000 at today’s market price. He was only out there during the low-water summer months. There is an amazing amount of opportunity in the shallow portions of our extensive river and creek properties.
Talking about adventure, one of our members, who usually spends a couple months every summer, came into the office with his wife and an interesting story. Their adult children were also in Happy Camp for a visit.
They had a raft and were floating the Klamath a few miles downstream from town, just below Rattlesnake Rapids. On the opposite side of the river, there is a cliff about 50 to 100 feet above the water. There is an old mining site on top that is flat for about 500 feet. They said they heard a noise over top of them. Looking up, they saw what looked like Bigfoot. They said there is no way that it was a bear or a dog. Walking upright, the creature followed them the length of the cliff, so they got a good look at it for several minutes. They said the encounter really shocked them. I know this member is not someone to just make up stories. In fact, they have kept it a secret because some people might think they are crazy. This was not the first Bigfoot encounter our members have experienced over the years.
Comments by Dave Mack
The way things are lining up, we expect to have a pretty good season. Gold aside, many members are very happy to get up here where the ongoing political turmoil and health issues in our country can largely be set aside for a while. It’s nice to get a break from all that. We are located in some of the best great outdoors that America has to offer.
Organized Events for the 2022 Season: Quite a few members have called in to ask if and when our Weekend Organized Events will start up again this season. I’m sorry to say that mining events sponsored and managed by The New 49’ers will not be happening. I have devoted a lot of time mulling and worrying over the organized events, because they have been one of our most popular programs dating all the way back to 1986. Thousands of people have cycled through these events.
As a result of 10+ years of litigation with our adversaries all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, I have learned that it is unwise to discuss important legal matters on a public forum. Please trust me when I say that organized Group Projects, in the manner that we always enjoyed them, have a fair chance of getting us participants in legal trouble. We can have a private discussion (face to face) about this if you want to know the reasons why. My reasons are grounded in the desire to have you enjoy all the opportunities we offer with as little risk as possible.
However, there is nothing in this that prevents members from teaming up to work together in any way that you desire. Members already get together on a regular basis to team up on mining projects, camp together along our properties, share meals and social time. Let’s please keep it this way for a while.
The reason you are not getting these newsletters as often as before is that it feels wise to keep our costs to a minimum until world events start leaning more in our direction. We should all hope that republicans win back at least one of the congressional legislative branches in November to at least slow down the ongoing destruction of the American Dream. There is plenty to be concerned about. It feels like a good idea to keep our heads down for the moment and quietly enjoy the blessings that remain available to us.
Free societies are largely made up of people who are allowed the freedom to create goods and services which can be exchanged with others. No country in history has ever survived by simply printing money to solve all its problems. Printing money alone just makes the problems bigger and more widespread, causing the need to print even more money. This goes on either until the course is reversed or the bottom is reached. This is the trend where we find ourselves today. You cannot change economic reality by wishful thinking. Until we get back to this reality, my own prediction is that we will not see very much that will change our existing circumstances for the better. So, we wait.
Except for one important thing: There always comes a point where gold will establish the true value of paper money. So at least we are not completely trapped by the misguided policies of those who are in charge.
What I mean by this is that under the circumstances, we are lucky to still have plenty to be thankful for. We can still get gold along our properties if we are willing to work for it. We still have the right to freely occupy some of the most beautiful public lands in America while pursuing our adventures. The left will take these rights away if given a chance. So, we can hope the results in November will lean our way.
I will follow up again later this season. Until then, my best wishes to everyone,
Dave McCracken, General Manager
New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012