By the time Art returned the rest of us were raring to go. “I've taken a lease on a claim a little way up Bonanza,” he reported. “Although a lot of gold has already been taken out of that creek, it might be worth digging out some of the gold-bearing gravel on the creek bottom and see what we get at spring cleanup.”
     We all agreed to this plan. Since we had already assembled everything we thought we would need, we headed out. Once we arrived at the claim, our first job was to build a second cabin. This one was smaller and less luxurious, since we would be using it just for a short time, and it would not have to keep us warm during the coldest part of the winter. Naturally, we didn't worry about such niceties as a puncheon floor; just the basics.
     In the mornings we found frost on the ground and ice along the creek banks. We knew we would have to work hard and fast to pile up enough gravel to bring us some rewards in the spring. We all pitched in and started digging.
     As we went along, we panned the gravel in hopes of finding pay dirt. We knew that mining a bench claim required digging down to find the old stream bed below, where the gold-bearing gravel lay. Perhaps we would even find some big nuggets there!

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