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Lanny

Golden Grams Of Goodness: Nugget Shooting Stories

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On 3/12/2019 at 11:22 AM, kiwijw said:

Oh Lanny.....what else can I say. You are the master when it comes to the written word. Love it & love your gold finds. Thank you for the journey. I was with you every step of the way.:wub: I needed a rest & a lay down to after that chocolate pudding. :laugh:

Very best of luck to you my friend.

JW :smile:

Thanks for the kind compliments, and thanks for the friendship as well. I'm glad you enjoyed the story, and I appreciate you taking the time to drop in.

I'll try to get around to posting another story when I get a chance.

All the best,

Lanny

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Now, for something different, Flashback Friday Entry:

(This is a true story, although I have taken some liberties in enhancing some details, but I have not exaggerated any of the facts about the gold.)

Before I start this story, I’ll need to provide a bit of background. I was chasing the gold in the mid 1990-s one summer, in a wilderness area far to the north of where I currently live. While there, I worked with some large-scale placer miners, helping out whenever and wherever I could. In return, as the miners were a wealth of knowledge about the new-to-me area, they gave me valuable tips on where to look for gold in that heavily glaciated region. They also let me tag along as they excavated to bedrock so I could see firsthand the local variables of gold deposition. However, as any of you that chase the gold well know, even with tips from the locals, it’s still possible to find trouble while looking for gold, and that trip was no exception.


Story Title: Gettin’ High On Placer Diggin’s

Sorry in advance to those of you into illegal or licensed substances, or those of you hardy enough to have actually smoked gold, or had it ground finely enough to inject or snort, because this tale does not deal with banned chemicals, licensed stimulants, or hallucinogenic substances. (Except I do think I have hallucinated while dreaming about gold in the past, especially during our long winters.) This story deals with the mind-altering effects of a metal. However, this prospecting tale itself is nonetheless mind-altering and reading it is not without risk.

One summer, when the snows had melted and the swollen rivers had dropped enough to allow travel, I headed up North to the gold-fields. Up north means a sixteen-hour drive from my home. But, why drive sixteen hours when there are other gold fields much closer? 

Well, there’s far less people that’s why, and there’s coarser gold. As for population, there are less than thirty souls. As for the gold, it’s chunky and knobby. On a related note, some of the local boys dig test-pits right in their front yards, then shovel the dirt into a small high-banker onsite, and they get good gold.

But, I digress again, and as you'll see, I'm pretty good at digressing. 

So, to summarize, less people, that’s good, right? But bugs? Bad! There are tens of millions of nasty, blood-sucking, winged vampires! There’s no way to hide from, or to outrun them. The bears, by comparison, are less of a concern, mainly because they can’t fly. But, because the bears are huge, smelly, and can be cranky (kind of like me after too long in the bush) they do deserve some respect.

In retrospect, I was in an area of low mountains with fresh, crystalline streams, surrounded by thick stands of deep-green boreal forest. In the low places, mysterious swamps nestled into the hollows and were bordered by countless mounds of glacial till, leavings from the miles-thick ancient glaciers that once bound the land in perpetual winter. 

The moving glaciers generated havoc, and the ancient, glacial meltwater produced numerous, titanic rivers, and some placer excavations have exposed seven or eight overlapping and intersecting stream deposits. In contrast, the frozen glaciers were dozers on insane steroids, cutting deep down or deep into the original bedrock, then pushing sections of channels helter-skelter, or orphaning sections of channel high above the present streambeds. It was one of these orphaned sections that this story is written about. 

One day, I was sitting near the wash-plant fixing a broken six-inch pump. Having been at it a while, I took a break. Looking across the river, I noticed something high up on the opposite slope. A line of boulders and river rock ran in a well-defined line along its side. The line indicated an ancient riverbed resting atop the underlying black slate bedrock. It was roughly sixty feet above the modern-day river, and sections of that high channel had sloughed off, exposing a bit of face. 

Because of this, I scanned the area with my binoculars to gather more information. Clearly, the channel rested on a bedrock rim, while the river-run itself was covered by eighty or so feet of boulder clay, which was then topped by thick forest. 

All at once, my pea-sized brain was hammered by a giant, golden brainwave . . . I had to cross the river to sample that channel!

No argument or thought of personal safety holds me back if there's a shot at getting gold! As hot fever had fired my resolve, I had to act.

I grabbed a five-gallon (20-liter) plastic pail, shovel, pry/digging bar, and a small sledge; these items all fit neatly inside the bucket. Next, I shouldered into my prospecting backpack. (I keep all of my essentials in the backpack for easy transport. Nonetheless, when fully loaded, it weighs just a tad under a fully loaded B-52 bomber.) However, rather than worry about the gear in my backpack, I should have chucked it out and made room for a back-up brain instead. As will be seen, a spare brain would have saved me a lot of trouble that day . . .

Regardless, all packed up, I made my way down to the river. Now, in Canada, even in mid-summer (which it was), the rivers that far north in B.C. NEVER get warm. In fact, if you dunk your head, you get instant brain-freeze! Ignoring rational thinking, I had the clever idea to delicately pick my way across the stream in my rubber boots, and ballet-like, I flitted from rock to rock. Yet somehow, I lost control. Disaster struck! Prospector, pail, and pack plunged below the surface. (Any comments uttered after surfacing will not be printed here in order to protect the innocent.)

In spite of being wet and cold, I fully enjoyed the rest of the crossing (that’s a huge lie!). I felt somewhat refreshed (another whopper) after dragging my cold, soggy carcass out of the water. On a brighter note, after dumping eighty or so pounds of ice-water from each boot, it was easier to walk.

So, threading through the poplars and aspens beside the river, I then headed up the slope until I hit a new obstacle: boulder clay. This is the stuff I mentioned earlier, a nasty mixture of tan to yellowish clay liberally dosed with boulders that was abandoned whenever and wherever the lazy glaciers wished. 

Boulder clay sloughs or oozes down hillsides when it's wet, and later it dries into bomb-proof concrete, though not quite as soft as concrete. As well, getting a toehold on it is the devil. Regardless, I somehow cut some steps with my shovel, and through stubborn dedication, I progressed a third of the distance upslope finding a v-shaped wash filled with cobbles and larger rocks, ones birthed from the channel and boulder clay above. The v-shaped wash held a nest of ill-tempered branches, dead limbs, and exposed roots that blocked my way. However, even with my squishy, soggy socks and boots, I navigated Mother Nature’s hazards. 

I continued upslope and worked my way into some sheltering pines. At that elevation, the smell of the pines is a wondrous thing; it's a smell I'll always associate with the true sense of freedom only to be enjoyed in the mountain environment while out chasing the gold. 

At last, I reached the high placer diggin's, the coveted bedrock rim with its ancient channel. Eagerly, I went to work. (I need to provide a little description of the worksite here: Imagine how tricky it is to rest one rubber boot on a three-inch ledge of bedrock, as the other boot powers the shovel, all while trying to maintain enough balance to avoid a tumble down the mountain. Imagine as well using the pick and bar in such tight quarters, while trying to carve out an excavation, one running three feet into the face of the boulder clay in an attempt to expose the bedrock.

Success arrived when I exposed the underlying black slate of the high channel. Then, pulling my sniping tools from my backpack, I cleaned every little crevice, cranny, and dip or gutter in the slate and dropped the collections into my bucket. In addition, I added some oxidized reddish-orange dirt to my bucket as well.

Not relishing the long haul down to the river with a small load, and wanting a good test sample, I loaded that bucket as heavy as I could in case I only made one trip. So, with the bucket filled, I tossed my tools over the edge to a landing of sorts, lifted the bucket, and turned around. Instantly, I realized something shocking; that return slope looked a lot steeper than it had on the way up! What mind-altering substance had possessed me to get where I was anyway?

Clearly, some moron had deluded himself into scrambling to a place no sane person ever would. Moreover, I get myself into such fixes by denying the existence of the laws of physics, and probability, etc. I override and defeat all laws, and any stored wisdom when I'm gold crazy. Yet, I carry on in happy oblivion until I realize far too late what I've done. Regardless of my denial of scientific laws, etc., one law never surrenders to my delusions, and that law, as we shall see, is the irrefutable law of gravity!

So, there I was, faced with a problem. I had to go down, no option, because I couldn't go up a vertical wall of boulder clay regardless of how high I was on gold-fever delirium. Deciding on a better course of action, I took the first step down. (This in spite of my brain trying too late to warn me of some impending doom. Come to think of it, I often override my brain's warnings to court danger while chasing gold.)

However, the first step really wasn't that bad. I just leaned into the hill and put all of my weight back on my boot heel. Miraculously, it held me in place, and the eight-thousand-pound bucket of gravel and I took another step forward. (Could it be that the bucket was so heavy because of its high gold content? Or, was I just an idiot that had severely overloaded it?)

I kept at it, leaning and stepping, and soon found myself in the branches and cobbles that littered the earlier mentioned wash. I took several more steps but then a malicious root or scheming branch snagged my boot. Well, that bucket just kicked out in front of me like it was rocket-boosted. (At about twice the speed of light, Sir Isaac Newton’s law had instant and complete control.)

Immediately my brain switched to its salvation-panic mode as I yanked myself back as hard as I could, the bucket jerking back toward me. 

However, the problem was, my feet no longer cared what I was doing, as in trying to right myself, they chose instead to betray me by heading down the mountain. The effects of gravity increased in intensity as I picked up speed.

Now, when viewed from the other side of the canyon, it must have looked as if someone had shot and wounded a strange forest creature, some ugly beast, a raging bull-moose perhaps, or some other smelly, cantankerous critter (a classification I could easily qualify for after weeks in the bush!). It also must have looked as if that crazed creature was hurtling down the slope to a certain and speedy demise.

The real truth, however, is that instead of being out of control, I was magnificently in control, in fact, most supremely so. Even with my rubber boots throwing off more smoke than an Alaskan smudge fire, the accompanying smoke was a planned effect to keep the bugs at bay. However, keeping the smoke pouring from those hot boots while simultaneously attempting to apply my brakes among the boulders proved too tricky. In addition, the fact that the three gold pans in my backpack were absorbing more shock than a crash-test-dummy at impact was only a minor annoyance. As well, bashing off the face of the boulder clay was merely a slight test of my prospecting mettle, so to speak.

At last, still breathing (though hot and ragged breaths those breaths were), I came to a sudden stop. Some friendly tree branches gracefully halted my ballet-like plunge. (It's rumoured a visiting Russian judge, observing from across the river, gave me a 9 out of 10!)

Now, for those with a sense of the divine in nature, this was the perfect moment. The moment that finds the human at one with the mountain (and miraculously still alive). However, more remarkable than my survival was that the dirt had not spilled from my bucket! Yes, that is the wonder in this high placer tale—not a stone was lost from the bucket, not a single grain of sand! 

So, with pay-dirt still intact, I somehow made my joints regain function, more or less (more pain and less function!). However, with renewed confidence, I set off once again. The only obstacle remaining was the sullen boulder clay.

At some point, you'd think the brain would revolt, refusing to power the muscles required for descent, especially after a such a brush with imminent extinction, all perpetrated by some ambitious idiot bent on chasing dirt! But no, the brain can always be overridden! I've located the master switch to disarm it. I've used it many times to stop logical thought, yet I have somehow survived to tell this tale. (This is proof that life is full of mysteries, ones not easily solved by rational thought.)

At any rate, about a dozen steps down, the clay, somewhat wet from a seep, remembered one of its admirable qualities, the slicker than greased Teflon quality, and off I went again. This time it was only a playful, sort of jarring bashing, with the odd bone-numbing wallop thrown in for variety. It lasted for a mere twenty or so feet, then I came to a feather-like stop on the gravel below, the contents of the bucket still intact.

Although amazed at the miraculous luck required to save such a valuable cargo, I took a break and picked a pan full of golf ball-sized gravel out of my mouth. Next I pushed several teeth back into their sockets, then replaced my left eyeball. After that, I checked to see what the crooked protrusion was that seemed to be attached to my head. Finding that it was my neck, and finding that it was still attached to my shoulders, I set off to the river to pan the dirt!

Three flakes, in five gallons. . . . You can't make this stuff up.

I guess there's a lesson to be learned here, but far be it from me to get preachy, or to force my hard-earned wisdom on any of you. I'll let you figure out the drug-induced dangers of gettin’ high while chasing placer diggin’s.

All the best,

Lanny

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Another winner Lanny. Laughed all the way through it.  

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8 hours ago, Lanny said:

I'll let you figure out the drug-induced dangers of gettin’ high while chasing placer diggin’s.

So....what were you on?? :laugh: Another classic Lanny. Thank you.

JW

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Love it...…...more so because of the digressing.

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Thanks for the post Lanny, cheered me up on a day I was needing so. I really enjoy your posts.

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On 3/15/2019 at 6:04 PM, Jim_Alaska said:

Another winner Lanny. Laughed all the way through it.  

Jim, you've always been a good friend, and a great supporter.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story, and thanks for leaving a note.

All the best,

Lanny

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On 3/15/2019 at 11:43 PM, kiwijw said:

So....what were you on?? :laugh: Another classic Lanny. Thank you.

JW

I can't quite recall as when I'm back in the comfort of my own home, I wonder the same thing . . .

Many thanks for dropping in, and all the best, especially during this difficult time for your country,

Lanny

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On 3/16/2019 at 2:07 AM, Norvic said:

Love it...…...more so because of the digressing.

Glad you enjoyed the digressing, as I often find myself unable to avoid it, too many connections to other connections . . .

Does that mean I've been chasing the gold for too long?

All the best, and thanks for leaving a note,

Lanny

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On 3/16/2019 at 2:26 AM, phrunt said:

Thanks for the post Lanny, cheered me up on a day I was needing so. I really enjoy your posts.

Many thanks Simon, and I can't begin to imagine the sadness and horror that you are all dealing with at this time.

Take care,

Lanny

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