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Some fun memories of this place

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David Irelan
Step 1 of 1

I used to live in Oakdale, CA on the edge of the Big Valley along Hwy. 120 back in the mid-1990s. Rough Knight was my favorite weekend panning destination. (Yes, I was still young and stupid back then.) The dirt road from Italian Bar to the claim varied in quality depending on when it was last graded. Most of the time, it was decently maintained, but a couple times it had deep gullies eroded across the way. And by deep, I mean maybe a foot or more deep and a foot or more wide. A decent 4x4 with high clearance would obviously be required to get over those! Other times, it had been freshly graded and was much more civilized.

There was a nice little parking space at the ingress point, with room enough for at least a couple of vehicles and a tent or three. In the mid-1990s, there was a trail of sorts down to the creek. Not easy to see any semblance of a trail on the ground, but there were blue streamers along the route marking the way. BE ADVISED, THIS IS A STEEP, PHYSICALLY-DEMANDING HIKE. But hey, that's what made it worth getting to: I always found at least some color in my pan, and an occasional nugget. I remember one charming elder citizen who found his first nugget downstream of me on one trip -- a nice, bright-golden pea-sized clinker. His voice shook slightly as he tried to oh-so-casually ask me to take a look and confirm if it was indeed gold. I think he was humble-bragging. (grin)

Another time, I found a tan scorpion sitting on top of the gravel in my pan! So don't forget Ma Nature's surprises out there.

Water varies with the seasons. Some days, I'd find a vigorous rushing creek with plenty of flow for a small sluice; others, a few standing pools amidst a mostly dry creek bed. Both offer their own opportunities and challenges: a dry bed means you can get at spots that would normally be under a lot of cold, fast-running water, which you can process with a small rocker box with water from the pools.


Title Says it All

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Step 1 of 1

Well, what can I say? This claim has so much promise, but it I guarantee you will question the wisdom of trying to get into it before you get to the creek. The west side of the claim is really steep-don't try it. Parking above the east side of the claim at the road split is best, but be careful not to stray onto the private property adjoining the claim. The guy who owns the house there is extremely vigilant and pretty hostile.
Once you start toward the creek, there are really no real trails I could ever find, just game trails. And I hope you are not prone to poison oak-you will be literally swimming through it. Head down hill, trying to find areas where the brush is open. Any way you go, though, it's brutal brush busting, off-trail going. It will probably take you at least 45 minutes to go the 400 yards to the creek. Once you reach the creek, it is pretty tight confines, but lots of good looking crevices and gravels. Used banjo pan, ran about 5 gallons of material and only found a few tiny flakes, not even enough to mess with saving. Actually pretty disappointed, especially considering how miserable it was getting down there. I would bet this claim has some great gold somewhere on the claim, but just not worth the pain in my opinion.


member report 1/2017

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Step 1 of 1

went byway of small trail at pull out did 6 pans found small flakes