Backhoe Push Digs Bring Back the True Nature of Gold Fever.
Push to Gold
By Donny Karr
Backhoe Push Digs Bring Back the True Nature of Gold Fever.
Gold prospecting has always brought with it an element of unyielding competition between any groups who are working to take as much of, if not all of the precious yellow metal from the Earth as they can. In the modern era of gold prospecting and mining, the desire to hoard all the gold one finds is still just as prevalent as it has always been, but in the nature of fairness to novice diggers and newcomers, many events are designed to make sure these new folks don’t leave empty-handed.
Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association (LDMA) has kicked off the 2021 year with a new kind of gold mining experience. Instead of each participant working and a common gold split at the end with the group as a whole, everyone is able to keep all the gold they find during the 3-day event.
Peggy Schlichter, caretaker at LDMA’s Duisenburg camp, is preparing to host the location’s first Push Dig of 2021. She, and other LDMA caretakers and long-time members, are excited about the new event structure as it will undoubtedly foster a greater sense of competition and good, old-fashioned gold mining that lets each prospector keep every bit of gold they find.
“Usually, everyone who takes part in these kinds of events don’t always get to keep every bit of what they find,” said Schlichter. “To make it a little fairer the newcomers and some of the people who don’t have as much luck, we all pool the gold we find together and dole it back out so that everyone gets an equal share in most cases.”
The Backhoe Push Digs operate in a way that’s opposite to the format that other LDMA everts are structured. Simply put, participants get to keep every bit of gold they manage to find during the three-day excursion. When it comes to the Push Digs, you get what you put in, according to Schlichter.
The Duisenburg Camp is located in California’s Mojave Desert, and is unlike any other mining camp in the United States. Visitors will find a place that seems to be straight out of the Wild West, all the old hallmarks of an old western mining town, without the roving bands of outlaws and rival gold miners looking to find the gold before anyone else. Located just a couple hours’ drive from Los Angeles, our Duisenburg Camp is ideal for RV camping, as well as tent camping.
“We’ve had a lot of people over the years ask us to do an event like this that lets you keep everything you find,” said Schlichter. “That really makes things interesting and gives folks quite a bit more incentive to get out here and put in the work because, in a way, it’s more rewarding.”
How it Works
The Backhoe Push Digs are set up in a similar fashion to other LDMA events. This event, as well as many others that are being organized by the group, are part of a larger effort on behalf of the gold prospecting and camping organization to open the grounds to people who might otherwise be less inclined to join LDMA or take part in the many different events.
The format is preciously simple. LDMA caretakers and their select team go out to a desirable area to prospect and test for some good PayDirt. Once they decide on a spot (or two or three), then the backhoe comes out and starts diggin. As it’s piling up PayDirt, the testers keep testing to make sure its worthy for the Push Dig participants, if not, they reclaim the area and move to the next spot.
The PayDirt is placed in a long pile, where once participants get access, they can set up their equipment next to the pile and process to their pans content. Some will process a lot, and some will process a lot more!
“What we know is, you will run material, process your cleanups and keep all the gold you recover!” says Dominic Ricci, Executive Director of LDMA. “We hosted the first one at Stanton Camp and it got out what people were recovering (gold), and then the next two Push Digs sold out!”
“It’s almost like an all-you-can-process PayDirt extravaganza that starts on Friday morning at 8 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. Sunday evening,” says Schlichter. “They can run as much dirt as they want during that time period, and we stockpile a whole bunch of PayDirt before-hand to prepare for people to do that. We’ll have some people who really get after it and go through their PayDirt hard and fast—some of them might go through a yard and a half of dirt per day, but others might only run through about half that much.”
Anyone who takes part in the Push Digs bring their own gold prospecting equipment. The camps do have a few rental units, but they rent out on a first come first rent basis.
The Push Digs are designed to serve as a short time period in which each prospector gets right down to business and finds gold! You’ll have a lot of fun and will be smiling…just like the smile of gold in your pan.
As Duisenburg prepares to host their first Push Dig of the new year, the LDMA Stanton, Arizona camp kicked off their first such dig on January 8 through the 10th. John Mathis and his wife, Nannette, who serve as caretakers for Stanton, said the event was a great success.
LDMA Stanton camp hosted the first Push Dig of 2021 on Jan 8th through 10th. At the base of Rich Hill is Slaughter Gulch, and many tributaries flow the gold every year down to the gulch. This is why we chose this location for the first Push Dig.
“The Push Digs are a lot of fun, “said John. “It’s a “Rich” gold outing where—whatever you find, you get to keep, and a lot of people really took advantage of that and worked hard to get some gold. Depending on how hard you want to work, you can walk out of here with a lot of gold if you really want to.”
John noted that the Push Digs are something that can be more closely related to what an actual gold mining town or operation of the Old West in America would have been like as most of the participants go about their business with a no-nonsense attitude in an effort to utilize what little time they had to extract as much gold as they could from the dusty desert soil well over a century after the famous gold rush took place.
So far in 2021, only Stanton and Duisenburg have Push Digs scheduled to take place. Each event is limited to only 45 participants each, so it’s important to sign up early and claim spaces before they are filled.
“Everyone who came to the first Push Dig said they had a great time and you could really tell because they were all smiling and talking about how much gold they came out with,” said John. “We have a bond with the BLM so we can hit a different claim each time we do this. That makes it more exciting for all!”
Lost Dutchman’s hosts many events every year, and the best thing is they are open to anyone. The gold and fun are waiting for you.
To find out more about the upcoming Lost Dutchman’s Push Digs, or any of their events, call 888-GOLD(4653-)717 or visit lostdutchmans.com/pages/events. All events are limited to a certain number of participants, so secure your spot(s) early before they sell out.
Donny Karr is a freelance writer, avid outdoor enthusiast, and most important a husband and dad that wants his family to experience a little gold fever! He can be reached at email@example.com