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Lanny

Golden Grams Of Goodness: Nugget Shooting Stories

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Dredging River Dance (or, how to almost die dredging). 

(This rather lengthy flashback of a tale is about one of my dredging misadventures, experienced while I was investigating what I thought was promising bedrock. [I will offer these stories up for as long as my wounded pride allows.])

Well, here's a tale of summer's fun, more or less:

One glorious day, I tried to cross the swiftest part of a river, located in a deep gorge, to get to the other side. I like to think of it (my attempt) in terms of the world famous River Dance as there are common elements: both of them require rapid movement of the feet, careful planning, and lots of whirling of the body, with accompanying vocal or musical tones that may or may not be melodious (when it comes to dredging, in particular).

As I got suited up one pristine summer’s day to head into the dredge hole, I saw a cliff across the river at the base of a terrace of other cliffs, ones that marched up the mountain in a series of timbered steps, rising upwards for several hundred feet.

Cut into the bottom of this black bedrock, there’s a wicked pool of water where the river fires a significant portion of its water through a bedrock chute. Just upstream of the chute, the river slams into the bedrock wall, cuts back on itself in a foaming suction eddy, then whirls on, completing a right angle turn before diving to create a channel around eight feet deep, yet with a width of only a couple of yards.

To elaborate about the volume and velocity of water rushing through that chute, the rocks and boulders in that hole perpetually shimmy and shiver under the relentless thrumming of the stream.

Nevertheless, my giant brain had a feverish idea, a true inspirational melon buster of an idea (this often foreshadows some form of danger or disaster). I peeked across the river, and since I was already suited up for underwater gold hunting, my brain devised a way to get me safely to the other side to investigate.

Now, remember, there’s a cliff on the other side, so holding on to that far bank isn’t an option. However, with the weather nice and hot, and the river level dropping day by day, it seemed a good plan to saunter over to the chute to take a peek underwater to see if any nuggets were trapped in its cracks or crevices. After all, it should be a simple matter to peek around over there so as to have a shot at any visible coarse gold before the snipers cleaned it up later in the summer.

As mentioned earlier, I was geared-up for dredging which works great for sniping as well. In fact, I had on two wetsuits, a 5mm shorty, and my Farmer-John 7mm, with a cold-water hood; my mask, and snorkel; and my Hooka harness with my regulator slung over my shoulder. I was ready.

So, my pea-sized brain (notice how my brain shrunk from earlier on?) decided it would be a glorious idea to secure my arm around an anchor rope and then tiptoe across the river—all while keeping constant pressure on the line to maintain my balance in the stiff current. That was the idea . . .

I’d work my way to the far side of the chute, gently lower myself into the river, and then let the sixty pounds of lead I had strapped to me do what lead does best. While it sunk me, I'd casually examine the bedrock for orphaned chunks of golden children in need of adoption, so to speak.

That was the plan. That is not what happened.

While the dredge motor purred contentedly to fill the reserve air tank, I stepped away from the Keene model 4505PH four-inch, three-stage model to work my way over to the chute to snipe for gold. (I was so excited to get into the hunt, it reminded me of my younger years as a boy getting ready to hunt pheasants with my gun dog.)

Come to think of it, it’s too bad I didn’t have my hunting dog with me then, as he’d have absolutely refused to test the waters for the golden game I was after that day. Being a smart dog, he’d have looked at me like I was crazy, turned tail, shot back to the cab of the truck, hopping in with a smug look on his face as he bedded down for a safe snooze.

Upon reflection, there’s something about dogs being smarter than me that doesn’t sit well. Regardless, maybe some humble pie is in order, and I should wise up and pay dogs a consulting fee to save myself from future grief.

Pea-sized brains, dog brains, and canine wisdom aside, I decided I’d quickly cross that stream, and I immediately stepped on a slippery sheet of slate. Not to worry, I told myself, for in addition to my weight-belt around my waist, I had ankle weights that would quickly stabilize my feet.

Thinking back on it, there must be some science of river physics that my tiny brain hasn’t quite grasped. It must be a ratio or an equation that goes something like this: “river velocity times mass plus slippery rocks equals stupidity” all run out to the power of 10! And, if you divide that by a gold-fever dimwit factor in action that day, you get a predictable result. For, with every misstep in the stream, the river exerts an ever-increasing degree of control over the flailing foreign body that’s trying to stagger across it (NASA should consult me on bizarre test theories involving impossible encounters with physics when they get stumped!).

Well, the playful river started having fun almost immediately when my left foot, moving forward, slid down the slippery slate, the accompanying force mashing my big toe into a boulder, thus causing the formerly cheerful dredger (we’ll refer to this numb-skull in the third person, on and off, for the next while, to keep things simple . . .) to weave a tapestry of glorious, colourful words that blued the mountain air, said words accompanied by melodious tones (Well, all as melodious as a roaring boar grizzly sounds while attacking a cougar with newborn kittens is melodious, I guess.).

This verbal explosion of excited speech created a momentary lapse in sanity, causing said golden boy to move his right foot to avoid the hammering pain of his left foot's big toe. Furthermore, the river current promptly seized said bozo’s right leg at the exact moment when the right foot slid down a submerged incline.

This in turn caused the doomed dredger to twist his back, generating some sort of physics wonderland where the the dredger's broad back now acted like a garage door trying to navigate the river perpendicularly. Yet, the dredger resisted this irresistible force by trying to keep his body upright!

This exponential force utilized the might of untold millions of gallons of glacial melt water moving at roughly Mach III (this is only a rough estimate as I had no calibrated instruments for measuring water velocity with me that day). These enhanced forces took vengeance on the dimwit as he porpoised back and forth across the river (yet the same dimwit kept a death-grip on the safety line).

I must call a brief pause here to reflect on the annoyance of having a smug dredge buddy, one that watches you thrash about helplessly in the grasp of a raging river. It's not annoying that your buddy is watching. No. What's annoying is the jackal-like, high-pitched laugh that terrifies or frightens off any man or beast, within three miles, capable of helping in any way with a rescue.

But, not to worry, after several ballet-like corrections on pea-brain’s part, he righted himself with the safety line, nearly . . . For, pulling back hard on the safety line to come upright, his garage-door-like body, now played the part of a super-rudder and rocketed him back across the river, bouncing him playfully off the boulders as it launched him downstream toward the dredge. This frolic in the water started a barrel roll, spinning the attached twit around on the safety line like a tailless kite in a hurricane.

Oh, did I mention that his Hooka regulator was hanging across his shoulder as he artfully (more like really bad art than anything else) stepped into the stream? Well, with his regulator streaming straight behind him, and his snorkel acting like a water-main, he began his attempt to breathe the river dry.

Oh, desperate drinking it was! For, after his noggin plowed underwater furrows, he’d burst forth, shaking his hooded-head side to side, smacking his lips loudly as he bellowed unpronounceable syllables (ones likely banned from Viking drinking songs; ones sung after drinking steadily for two days!). Nevertheless, he soon floundered (both eyes looking as if they were the squashed and compressed eyes located on the distorted face of the flounder) his way up the safety line. He then stood waist-deep in the placid river, magnificently in control, feet firmly anchored once again.

Yes, rest from insane turmoil was finally his. 

However, then came the shameful task of trying to explain his aquatic antics to his mining partner . . .

Nonetheless, after a witty explanation, the dope on a rope cautiously proceeded to the chute on the other side. Once there, he launched himself into the slack water behind a lip of protruding bedrock that guarded the head of the chute.

With regulator in place, he stuck his head under water only to see that the bedrock's surface was as smooth as a bathtub for most of its length . . . But there, just off to the right, was a small crevice, and in that crevice was a chunk of sassy yellow gold.

(Oh, it was magnificent and glorious, for the bright sunshine winked off it as it sparkled and shone.)

Therefore, the dauntless dredger once again ignored his ever-tinier brain and tried to reach the golden prize, forgetting all lessons learned as he then abandoned the shelter of the bedrock outcrop.

This unexplainable act launched him yet into another River Dance. Clearly, this performance was not in any way connected to the one that played on the world stage for years. No, this was a river dance accompanied by colourful and strangely explosive, yet disharmonious tones instead of the lively, upbeat music of the world-famous production.

At last, the soggy dredger, much refreshed after finishing his two auditions for the River Dance team, returned to his still purring dredge, stuffed his brains back in through the openings originally intended for his ears and nose, reoriented his eyeballs, popped his shoulder back in, and then quietly returned to a boring day of uneventful dredging.

River Dance, indeed.

All the best,

Lanny

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26 minutes ago, Lanny said:

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

Ha ha.....just high on life I guess. I get that. Just being out in the hills & doing what we do is all we need for a "rush."

29 minutes ago, Lanny said:

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

Lanny

Thank you Lanny. I was bad enough, emotionally, with this kind of thing happening around the world, let alone in my own "backyard." Little old NZ.... Geographically isolated from the rest of the world tucked up down in the bottom corner of the South Pacific Ocean. No threat to any one, strategically no use to any one. Who would have thought it would come to our shores. But that of course is their message. Nowhere is "safe."

Just horrific.😥

Take care...stay safe & thanks for your thoughts.

JW

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On 3/18/2019 at 11:13 AM, kiwijw said:

Ha ha.....just high on life I guess. I get that. Just being out in the hills & doing what we do is all we need for a "rush."

Thank you Lanny. I was bad enough, emotionally, with this kind of thing happening around the world, let alone in my own "backyard." Little old NZ.... Geographically isolated from the rest of the world tucked up down in the bottom corner of the South Pacific Ocean. No threat to any one, strategically no use to any one. Who would have thought it would come to our shores. But that of course is their message. Nowhere is "safe."

Just horrific.😥

Take care...stay safe & thanks for your thoughts.

JW

Truly a tragedy especially with the sad reflection of realizing heartless people can attack innocent people anywhere as that is what used to happen in the wild west before law and order were established: the strong (good or bad) ruled without the law. So, it's like a regression to former lawlessness, but paradoxically, with the law established, empowered, and in effect, a strange result indeed.

Stay safe JW, and all the best,

Lanny

 

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Bugs, Blood and Gold: Tales from the North. 

(This is prospecting humour, with mild fiction, but sadly, based in reality.)

I have to talk about a perplexing, maddening phenomenon that occurs ever year in the summertime: hundreds of prospectors line up to donate blood! On the surface, this appears to be quite humanitarian. However, this is no lineup at a medical facility to give blood, but a gathering that happens only in northern forests, far from the soft, cultured masses of pampered urban dwellers. 

This annual, rather insane event must serve as a ritual cleansing, one rooted in superstition and myth, for it is part of the pilgrimage that gold-seekers make during the warmer months. The cost of the trek is not tallied in cash however, but it is paid in blood, donated so to speak to the winged vampires of the north.

In contrast to this savage blood-letting, try to imagine an area of consummate beauty, a peaceful, tranquil region where pine, cedar, tamarack, fir, birch, aspen and balsam trees flourish. Imagine as well a forest floor lush with the softness of mosses and undergrowth. In the mountain meadows try to see hummingbirds and butterflies flitting from flower to flower, try to hear a choir of songbirds singing their age-old symphonies. In addition, visualize a place where crystal streams run free and unhindered, where lakes teem with trout, grayling, and arctic char. Moreover, by gazing into the distance, try to comprehend the endless rolling carpet of mountain greenness that undulates until it blends with a perfect blue horizon. 

Against this dreamy backdrop however, a dark, dizzying cloud forms the minute anyone exits their rugged 4x4’s. This previously pristine setting is marred by an evil cloud that hides the Great Northern Horde. (Gengis Kahn’s horde, by comparison, was a puny force.)

When I was a rookie, I often wondered about bugs. How bad could they be? Well, any northern prospector worth his salt has tangled with the “threshold vampire” (so named because it sounds like the buzz of your detector’s threshold), aka, the mosquito. And what prospector has never had an encounter with a galloping horse fly, or a prancing deer fly? Or, how about getting bit by the teeth that fly? (No-see-ums, nothing but flying teeth) Yes, bugs indeed . . . 

Well, I stepped forth into just such a cloud of bugs, but luckily my survival instinct overrode my dim brain. Without thinking, my arms began a furious wind-milling action as I carelessly launched my detector through the air, the astronomical price I’d paid, an insignificant, annoying memory. As I ran back to open the truck door to escape the winged-bullies, I was horrified to find my partner had locked the vehicle! Moreover, he had the only can of bug spray outside of the truck. (Later, he swore up and down that he never used the stuff, didn’t even need it that day he said. Then he carried on with some nonsense about how a real man would never fear such tiny creatures, some back-handed comment to me about insect repellent being a wussy cop-out, something not worthy of the northern prospector’s stripe.)

So there I was, stranded, and somewhat bug-eyed (no pun intended). Frantically, I pressed my sweaty face against the glass, hoping perhaps the other door was unlocked, but defeated, I then saw what I’d left on the seat, my first line of defense, my ultimate weapon: the potent, DEET-laced concoction known as Bug Dope! Impotent rage filled me as I ineffectively swatted and slashed at my attackers.

Then, relentless panic filled every cell of my entire organism, accompanied by merciless, shredding terror. The panic’s sheer volume widened into a chasm of unspeakable horror. Sensing disaster, while icy fingers of doom clawed the back of my neck, I turned to face my agonizing fate, a living cloud forming a rising black wall of the famished, northern horde.

Instantly, I was engulfed by a buzzing, hissing mass of wings and slashing teeth, ones perfectly adapted for blood-letting. (Vampires, by comparison, are thousands of years behind on the evolutionary scale.) Next, I conquered some of my tormentors by cleverly breathing in an entire squadron. (Or, was that simply a reflexive gasp of stricken terror?) 

Nevertheless, by reducing their numbers, I’d dealt the beggars a costly blow. (I wish!) Next, some of the stealthier bug ascended my pant legs, on the inside where their malicious intent was hidden. This, assault was led by the black demons from some cursed other-world. They were indeed the dreaded blackfly, casually referred to in Webster’s dictionary as “any of various small dark-colored insects; esp.: any of a family of bloodsucking dipteran flies”. Dipteran?! (What a gentle misnomer for such incarnate evil.)

Updating their tactics of savagery, some blackflies even practice camouflage now, by dressing in orange, yellow and red. Moreover, they’re getting bigger now. For example, I saw a cloud the other day packing intravenous poles for easier blood transfusion as they assaulted and overwhelmed some wretch trying to bathe in the river!! Am I using hyperbole, a form of extreme exaggeration? Well, in all honesty, I am exaggerating as the person had only gone to the river for a drink, and when he saw the horde, he dove head-first into the river. So, yes, guilty of exaggeration as he was never there for a bath at all. 

So, what happened to me, the dope caught without his bug dope? (Which reminds me, I’ve often pondered on that puzzling name given for that powerful spray, but the answer came to me with lightning clarity as the name refers to the idiot that leaves his locked in the truck! [Any resemblance to the story’s protagonist, or to myself, is purely coincidental.]) 

(To digress a bit, the blackflies’ march up my pant-legs would not be discovered that day, for they carry anesthetic in their toothy kit of devilry. I discovered the bites later that night, while trying to sleep, but, sleep never came, as the bites itched longer than it took the dinosaurs to go extinct. Moreover, scratching the bites was much like taking a sharp knife to my throat, because after I’d scratched them, I wished I’d had a sharp knife to take to my throat for being such a jack-wagon to scratch them in the first place!)

To return to my tale of being bitten by the horde, my ears started to itch, but not on the outside, no, deep down on the eardrum. Some of the little beggars do not follow the rules of war (The Marquess of Queensberry rules of engagement for war? Why, they only revere him as a possible blood donor!). Moreover, the flying sadists have the power to attack in unmentionable places, enough said!

To digress a bit more, I referred to horseflies earlier, and on that trip I went after some of them with a rope, but not to try to drive them off. I wanted to try my hand at lassoing them as some of the resident sourdoughs had bragged to me of saddling the smaller ones, then using them in their bizarre northern rodeos. These rodeos consist of letting the mosquitoes out of a cattle shoot, hazing them with the horsefly, then hog-tying them to try for the fastest time. (On a different note, not related to rodeo at all, some of those blowhards tried to trick me into believing I could shoot the mosquitoes up there with a shotgun. This is absolute nonsense! A shotgun will absolutely not bring them down. However, a lucky burst from a 20mm cannon has been known to blow off a wing, or part of a leg now and again.) 

Regardless of my digression, in my mad dash from the bugs, I finally saw my friend. He was leisurely swinging his detector over a patch of exposed graphite-schist. However, my friend’s head suddenly snapped up when he heard a low moan, followed by a screeching sound, followed by yet another low moan. Perhaps he thought I was hunting with an external speaker and had stumbled on a good target? 

However, imagine his shock when he realized the sound was coming from me, his partner, squealing and moaning as I burst forth from the swarming wall of insatiable northern vampires. 

With the flies in deadly pursuit, I raced toward my partner, but slowing before I reached him, the cloud-like wall outstripped me. (On a side note, that was one thick wall of bugs. How thick? Well, I took out my Bowie knife and cut a square hole right through those bugs to be able to see my partner.) After my Bowie knife tactic, and with a wild, glazed look in my eye, I dove through the hole, knife outstretched. By way of reflection, I think my partner thought I’d lunged straight for his throat with my knife. However, I only wanted to shred the pocket of his jacket, to quickly get at the Bug Dope. Then, I disappeared into the trees.

Now, this whole tale may seem farfetched, perhaps light-hearted, and somewhat unbelievable. Indeed, I confess to having invented more than a few details. However, I assure you, it was quite a serious matter, most stressing in fact. 

But, what happened to the protagonist of this tale after he fled the scene with the can of bug spray? Why, it’s rumored he’s still holed up somewhere deep in an abandoned placer mine, a location that is dark and cold. A place far too cold for bugs, but not too cold for dopes.

All the best,

Lanny

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On 3/19/2019 at 5:34 AM, Lanny said:

But there, just off to the right, was a small crevice, and in that crevice was a chunk of sassy yellow gold.

Lanny....is that chunk of sassy yellow gold still there?? :biggrin:

JW :smile:

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    • By mn90403
      I had some afternoon time today and decided to see what the wind blew in to the southern California beaches.  The tides are bad, the waves are small and it took me over a mile before I had my first target penny!  These are the same beaches where I've found lots of targets in the past but these small wind waves are only moving sand.  It is all deposit mode, sanded in as you might say.
      On the way back I decided to do a bit of blanket line near a surf break.  I found a little spill for about $1 in change when a surfer came up to me and asked if I had found his Toyota key.  I had only been there about 5 minutes and I told him I had not but I'd help him look if he knew EXACTLY where he had sat and picked up his roll on the way to his car.  He showed me and I began circling that area and he dragged his foot along the path he took to the parking lot.  I followed that line with my Nox 800 and the 15" coil and found a couple more coins but not his key.  I did a double width pass on his path and then told him I had no results after about 25 minutes.  He was bummed and wanted me to take his number in case I found it but I said I was leaving and there was no chance I was going to find it tonight.
      He said thanks for helping and we parted.  On my way back to my parking spot I saw the lifeguard truck ahead of me watching the sunset.  I went up to the guy and he cracked his window and wanted to know what this metal detectorist wanted.  I told him a surfer was looking for his key and I had been helping him and he reached down into his lap and says, "I have it, where is the surfer?"  I pointed him out about 1/3 of a mile down the beach and he took off.  I watched as the surfer went over to the truck and took the key from the lifeguard.
      It would have been nice if the surfer could have spotted me and waved or even the lifeguard could have come back and said something but that did not happen.  I didn't find the surfer's key but I did find a story with a happy ending.
      Mitchel
    • By Dig It
      Cabin fever setting in, was needing to get out. It warmed up to 38 degrees and that's just warm enough to melt a little snow off beach and the warm air blowing through gravels allowed me to dig targets. Nothing special 5 coins and trash, but I've been hitting this beach since I got the NOX last March, cleaning out trash, thinking there should be a ring sometime, just Not Today. I know there has to be one some time. ( Right ??? ) I have to think not everyone thought to take jewelry off before a summer swim.  Sure felt good to get out. Kenai Lake / Quarts Creek Camp Ground Beach. Watch out Nevada / Arizona / Florida Treasure Coast next winter, I'm a coming !!!!! Haha !!!!!!  




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