Modern gold miners using a suction pump in a barge
In the late summer, this part of the river was the site for one to three dredges to be brought in for finding gold in the river bottom. The barge held a compressor and pump, with a diver going overboard and vacuuming up river silt which was fed up to a sluice box on the barge. The heavier gold would drop out of the sluice grating, the rest of the slurry would go back to the river (in principle). Barge miners were notoriously close-mouthed about whether they found any gold (understandably) and there were occasional tensions with rafters if the barges extended out in the river too far – in any case they were very noising when operating, which cut against the beauty of the lower part of the canyon here. Just beyond the second, farther, barge is Boatman’s Rock, where guides could nudge their boats against, climb out and up, then drop back in as the raft swung around the rock – unless it swung too far, in which case, it was time to swim. Wino Swim Rapid is just below Boatman’s Rock.
Date uploaded: Mar 24, 2023
Date last modified: Mar 24, 2023