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.
This photograph shows twenty pounds of mine tailings from either the Ocean View Mine or the Pala Chief Mine in San Diego, County, California. The mines are open to the public for a fee a few days each week but I’ve been unable to schedule a visit. Perhaps this box will introduce me to what the mines have to offer.
Although the cost may seem high, a hundred dollars plus shipping, a trip to San Diego County would involve gas, three nights of hotel or camping accommodations, and of course the entry fee once I finally got to the mine.
As a hobbyist, I don’t expect my findings to pay for my expenses. It’s the experience, the excitement of discovery. Small bits of aquamarine, kunzite, and tourmaline are inexpensive bought outright. This is just buying into treasure hunting at home.
I’ll go through the material today and tomorrow. Screen and wash. As to what I find, sorry, you’ll just have to buy my book. If that sounds mean, realize that the more I disclose content here, the more I take away from someone having to buy my title.
My publisher would not be happy if I wrote up every experience I have at this website. If you review my previous posts, I think you’ll find I am sharing as much as I can. I have always been a fair trader with my writing and I hope you appreciate that.