After visiting the Yankee Fork dredge, I was really interested to see if I could find an abandoned dredge out in the wild. Were there any left? I started to do some research to see what I could find.
We set out upon a long drive across various mountain ranges and arrived at a large grassy meadow broken up by a few creeks. We were surrounded by rolling hills and open woodland. This didn’t look like the right place for a dredge. Still, my research pointed to a nearby wooded creek. I grabbed my pack and set off for the trees. Before long, I was crashing through the underbrush and trying to avoid swampy wetlands. This was starting to become more than I bargained for. Then, I came around a corner and, in a clearing, straight ahead, I saw the rusting hulk of an old gold dredge sitting in a pond. Amazing!
From my research, the dredge brought in over 9,100 ounces of gold over a four-year period from 1938 to 1942. I hiked around it as much as I could and found the only way in was by climbing on to the stacker (the rear conveyor belt). So, climb up I did. I quickly discovered that all the timber on the vessel had nearly rotted away and would only support a little weight. This made moving around more of a challenge. I stuck to the rusty iron infrastructure as much as I could, as I wasn’t particularly interested in taking a dip in the pond. It was an eerie feeling climbing around in this abandoned dredge. Everything felt decayed and far older than its 1942 date.