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Prospecting on the Hillcrest:

The Hillcrest is located in the northwest corner of Cumberland County.  It is part of a large geologic belt which has been known for its rich treasures of precious metals, such as gold and silver.  This geologic belt is known as the "Gold-Pyrite Belt" and courses through the state of Virginia in a gentle slope from Northeast to Southwest, and covers at least half the state.  Over the course of many years there have been many mines located throughout this mineral belt, most of these mines now inactive, having been most productive throughout the 1800's. The Hillcrest is located on the southern edge of this belt, and our farm is rich in quartz deposits, which I have been told is "good sign" that there may be hidden treasure nearby.

The photo gallery below is a pictorial essay on some of the prospecting activities on the Hillcrest.  The fundamental concept to keep in mind is that gold is very heavy, and preferentially sifts to the bottom of a series of filtrations. Find a small creek which looks like a "hot spot".  Damn the creek with a small board, creating a small "pond".  A water pump actively pumps water upstream from the pond up to the "highbanker".  The highbanker receives the water and creates a series of jet streams that empty into the center of the highbanker. Shovel scoops of dirt and rocks from the creek bottom (which hopefully is laden with hidden gold) into the center of the high banker which contains a series of grills.  The grills sequentially sift out large rocks, with the smaller sediment falling through to the "sleuth" below. The sleuth is the metal plank that hangs down at an angle from the highbanker to the creek bottom below.  The sleuth also sequentially sifts through the sediment, and at the end of the sleuth you have the final filtered sediment.  Take the final sediment to the creek edge and "pan" for the residual gold.  Remember that when you pan you are relying on the principle that gold is very heavy, and as you "swirl" you are discarding the lighter sediment, keeping the heavy gold laden sediment behind at the bottom of the pan.

And by the way, don't quit your day job!






 "May your dreams come true and the bottom of your pan always be yellow!"


You can pan any sediment you find in a creek bottom

Pond created by boarding a stream.

Water Pump takes the pond water upstream


Shovel the creek bottom into the Highbanker

Highbanker filters

Highbanker filters sediment and rocks

Jet streams in the highbanker

Sleuth collects and filters

Pond in a stream

The final filtered product for panning

Panning the final filtered sediment

More panning

keep your bottom dry....

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