By Britt Bickel

This morning, we had a family of gold diggers stop in to the K-EARTH 101 Morning Show…but not those kind of gold diggers – Real dig-in-the-dirt, panning in the river for gold kind of gold diggers.

The ladies from the new Animal Planet reality series Alaska Gold Diggers joined Gary and Lisa in studio to talk about what this “fish out of water” experience has been like for them.

Hailing from Newport Beach, Calif., the five women on the show include the mom, Sara Jane Bartholomae, and her four daughters, Krista, Korre, Kamme and Tori (not present in our interview).

The story behind the show goes down like this: The ‘Gold Diggers’ grandfather had a mine in Alaska that ‘SJ’s father grew up working in. After the mine closed up, the Bartholomae ladies went out on a quest to reopen the mine to finish what their grandfather and father started.

The ladies pooled all their savings and packed up their entire lives to ship off to a remote area of Alaska and mine for gold in order to “push to secure a return on their investment, as well as a renewal of their family legacy,” according to the show site.

“I’ve been going up there for years, but I’ve never gold-mined before,” said SJ, noting that the mine is located “in the most remote area” of Alaska.

SJ explained how the gold mining works, saying they use a giant vacuum-like hose that goes “six or eight feet in the river and you actually suck the dirt, which has the gold and then they’re the nuggets. It’s really fun.”

Back in the old-timey prospecting days, the ladies note that gold nuggets littered the rivers of Alaska, but as time passed, the pickings became slim. Now to earn a pay-off, they have to go deep into the Alaskan river beds to come up with a prize.

Because the family is living and working in close quarters in such a remote part of the world, they admit that sometimes they have disagreements that play out on the show. However, they work through their issues and remain a close-knit family.

“I think that we all genuinely love each other…so we might get into a little tiff, we might have a difference of agreement on where we should dig, what tools we should use, who should do what,” said Kamme. “In the end, we’ve grown up together, we’ve been so close, so we all just work really well together. We love each other, so if there’s a difference, we get through it really quickly.”

As for if all their back-breaking work in the rivers mining has led them to strike gold, SJ responded, “absolutely.”

Alaska Gold Diggers airs Thursday nights at 8 on Animal Planet. Listen to our interview with the Alaska Gold Diggers in the clip below.

Watch a teaser for the show below:


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