The Dakota Boys, father and son team Fred and Dustin Hurt, are back again in Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush: White Water to continue their search for the bounties of gold resting at the bottom of Alaska’s McKinley Creek. Season 2 of Gold Rush: White Water begins on Discovery Channel Friday, Jan. 4 at 10/9c. We caught up with the elder Hurt, Dakota Fred, who claims this season was cringe-worthy and the “adventure was off the charts.”
“When we first finished Season 1, I was not sure I wanted to go back, but after a few months we got to thinking ’man we can do this, we’re not the people who just give up,’” Fred chuckles. “So we devised a new plan of attack. We got more people and a little more equipment. We were so close to what we were after. That’s what inspired us to just go after it again. … I warn people to buckle their seatbelts and hang on.”
Over a hundred years ago over 80,000 ounces of gold had been hauled out of the historic, rugged creek. This season, Fred and Dustin have armed themselves with more equipment and a bigger team including, Rich, a new guy from Oregon who runs his own computer company and is handy with a wrench. Each man hopes this year will be the year that they hit it big, especially for Dustin who starts the season already $75,000 in debt with expenses. During their six-month adventure – from May to October 2018 – the crew worked five to seven hours a day without a break, diving and moving rocks. In addition, each day included a grueling, treacherous 45-minute trek to and from their mining site, which also included zip lining across a 250 foot ravine, which Fred describes as, “death defying”. We’ll get to see these guys taking turns diving underwater as they put Dustin’s new $17,000 dredge to work in hopes of scoring gold buried 15 feet below the creek.
The grueling tasks are just part of their job, but Fred mentioned an especially close call for Dustin when a 1,000 pound rock slid down an embankment and almost fell on him while he was underwater. In addition to the dangers of diving and being in the extreme wilderness with the bears (they all are armed now), just getting to and from the mine site is a feat of it’s own — and for Fred who’s 75 years old, now, it’s no easy task.
“I take care of myself pretty good. I have to keep up with guys half my age,” Fred says. “It’s a challenge. But I’ve been blessed with really good health, and I’m so fortunate I can still go out and do this kind of stuff.” His wife, interrupts, and tells him he’s an “old goat.”
As a gold mining veteran and professional diver in his earlier days, Fred knows how to stay safe but the younger guys don’t always agree with him. In the first season of Gold Rush: White Water, fans witnessed the disagreements between Fred and his son Dustin but when we asked who’s in charge Fred gives full credit to his son. “Dustin is in charge,” it’s his claim. Even though they have their own way of doing things, the team seems well put together and the new members have proven to be reliable as they move with intent and purpose. Fred confirmed that gold was indeed found, how much though, we need to stay tuned.
“I would love to just inspire people to just go out and do stuff – not that they’re going to go dive in a ragging creek to go get gold — but go out and do something,” he concludes.
Gold Rush: White Water airs on Discovery Channel Fridays at 10/9c.