LOCATION: IndianValley Mine, Indian, Alaska
This post is part of my Alaska Trip Series.
Alaska really boomed during the Gold Rush era. Today, many of these gold mines are left behind as a historical site or are still actively in use. The Indian Valley Mine is located along the Turnagain Arm in-between Anchorage and Seward. This mine and the Crow Creek Mine are the only two lode gold mining ventures that were actively worked over a substantial period of time and was responsible for small mine operations during the 1920s-1940s. The mine was developed by Peter Strong and to this day, the cabin and assay building are the oldest structures along the Turnagain Arm. Upon arrival, it looked much like a tourist trap. You could see a sparse museum of various things left behind and the mine blocked off in the background. For $11, I was able to get a small bucket of dirt and proceed to pan for gold in a trough of water. To pan for gold, you fill a dish with dirt and water.
Gold is 19 times the weight of water and naturally sinks to the bottom as you lift the lighter dirt off. As you swirl, you knock the rocks out until you’re left with the good stuff to search through. My bucket had several gemstones. I found amethyst, jade, garnet and quartz. As far as finding gold, my bucket had one flake of gold, one small nugget of gold and a few pieces of dust. The final value of gold was about $5 for an hour of sifting. That’s definitely a lot of work just for a little payout. During the gold rush, people really did a lot to make their money. I think I’ll stick to panning for gold at my local jewelers from now on instead.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? It was interesting once, but that’s about it.
HOW TO DO THIS: IndianValley Mine. $1 entrance, $10 for a small bucket of dirt. Buckets have various sizes and prices. www.indianvalleymine.com