Many people wonder if a fee dig operator has picked through pay dirt before they get to a site, thinking the owner has kept the best material. At the Pala Chief fee dig, that’s certainly not the case.
Here, Jeff Jeff Swanger, Owner and Chief operator of the Ocean View and Pala Chief Mines, digs up untouched ground, piling it to one side so rockhounds can go through it. He must have spent fifteen minutes at it, removing a tremendous amount of material.
After the excavator retreated, some jumped into the new trench, to see if anything was down, rather than up. In either case, no one had gone through that ground before!
Besides that treat, we were free to dig, chisel, pry, and hammer at any rock or rock face on the mountain. Many people did very well just surface collecting. And we kept whatever we found.