It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Dakota Boys — father and son gold miners Fred and Dustin Hurt — who were series regulars for a few seasons on Discovery’s hit series Gold Rush. While the Dakota Boys parted ways with Todd Hoffman and team a few seasons back, they never actually left the Alaskan gold mining circus or the McKinley Creek area.
In Gold Rush: White Water (Fridays at 10/9c) cameras follow Dakota Fred and Dustin as they put together a team of divers, mountaineers and bush mechanics (plus Fred’s new wife Jen and his new stepson Zach … can you say “drama!”) to go where no miner has ever managed to explore — the raging waters of one of Alaska’s wildest creeks. Their claim is in the most extreme of locations requiring them to dive into raging torrents with a six-inch suction dredge “where one wrong move could have deadly consequences.”
It’s ridiculously dangerous, yet thrilling to watch these guys set up shop. Just reaching their remote claim was an adventure. Every day Fred would embark on a 45-minute hike from their base camp to the canyon. That twice-a-day journey included zip lining across a canyon, walking up about a 45-degree hill (or mountain, depending on who you ask) for about a half mile, then rappelling down a 60-degree slope using a rope. Oh, and Fred is in his mid 70s.
“One thing about this particular show is that it is very, very real,” Fred tells of capturing the enormity of this feat. “I mean, you know how reality shows get off a little bit, but I think that this one’s got so much real stuff in it. It’s true to its name.
“We were not in the business of recreating things,” Fred admits. “Sometimes the cameras are not in the right position and things of that nature. And some reality shows, they may want to do some recreations of things. This we caught it as it happened. I would just have to say that some of the show will make you cringe. The seriousness of it, the levity of it, the interaction between Dustin and I and the crew and whatever. But fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, they don’t always get along in life, and this is a lot of what you will see in this show. The dynamics amongst the crew and some of it’s gonna be tough to watch, but this is the way real life is.”
When asked about if his team has a hard goal to meet, Fred admitted that they didn’t even know if it would be possible to mine and dive in the creek. “It is one of the most impossible mining operations you could ever imagine. It’s one of the most extreme situations. If you just had equipment to go out there and dig up a hole and throw it in the truck and go throw it in the plant and, ‘Oh, gee. There’s gold.’ That’s easy. It may take a lot of effort, but it’s easy compared to what we were doing,” Fred says. “Just getting there was absolutely excruciating. I mean, when I first got there, you’ll see on the show, I was out of shape and I admitted it. I said, ‘Man, I gotta get rid of this 10 pounds on my belly here.’ It was tough. And of course, being an old guy I just said, ‘Well, I’m gonna do it. Keep going,’ and fortunately I did do it. But as far as success, I would just say you make enough to get by on. You know what an adventure is, do you? You go through a very difficult situation, go have all kinds of problems, you overcome them, you come back and you say about six months or a year later and you look back on it and say, ‘Wow, what an adventure that was.’”
The adventure — Gold Rush: White Water — officially begins Friday, Jan. 19 at 10/9c on Discovery Channel.