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Detector Prospector Magazine

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Everything posted by GhostMiner

  1. Jacob was living by his own rules. He really didn't care about laws. No outlaw does. His mind was set in concrete in the yr 1937.
  2. July 6 2002 Part Four The three goons slowly made their way to the bottom of the mountain where the trommel sat. Sure enough, after they thought the coast was clear, they made their way to the sluice with a few large buckets. They began trying to unfasten the mats. Obviously, they were going to put the mats in their buckets and haul them off. To Jacob’t credit, he had not fired a single shot. I knew it must be killing him not to open up on them. As they started to pull the first mat I charged in with my semi auto and hollered for them to freeze and not make any moves. Jacob stood up with the Thompson. I told them if they moved they would be cut to ribbons by his machine gun. Only one of them was armed with a pistol which he dropped. I ordered them to their knees. Jacob came forward with his Thompson and held it on them. I demanded to know their names but they weren’t talking. I asked them several times to identify themselves but they refused. They had no wallets or I D on them. We had no idea who they were. Then Jacob spoke up. He said it really made no difference to him who these guys were and he would deal with them in his own way. I looked over at him and his face was like stone. He went over to one side of the trommel where we kept some supplies and grabbed three shovels. He marched the thieves over to an area south of camp which was a deep pile of very old mine tailings from previous years of work here. He threw the shovels on the ground and told them to pick them up, which they reluctantly did. They had still not uttered a word but I could see them looking nervously at each other. Jacob told them to start digging a hole and if they stopped he would cut them down where they stood. I was horrified. He was forcing them to dig their own graves. TO BE CONTINUED .............
  3. July 6 2002 Part Three Around 1:00 AM my walkie talkie came to life. It was Jacob saying he saw flashlights coming down the mountain towards the area of the trommel. He saw three of them. I radioed back that I would come down the water line trail and take a position and not to shoot his gun as we needed to catch them in the act. If only we still had Vern & Jim I was thinking. I took good cover with a position about 30 feet to the west of the trommel and Jacob was just 50 feet south east of it. We had them cut off unless they headed back to the north up the mountain. However, that was tough going with no trails and it would be hard for them to make a fast getaway if they chose that route. I was sure that Jacob was willing to cut them to ribbons with the Thompson. Our camp was just south of the trommel and everything was dark so they must have figured we were sleeping. I watched the beam from their flashlights bouncing around and off of the trees and rocks as they slowly worked their way down the hill. They were still about 50 yards from the trommel and had no idea what was waiting for them. I knew what Jacob might do if he saw them messaging with the sluice. I was hoping to intervene and capture them at gunpoint if possible. The alternative was not pleasant and I asked myself if I was capable of shooting a thief. I prayed it wouldn’t come to that. TO BE CONTINUED ...................
  4. July 6 2002 Part Two I got back to camp late morning with a new motor. I suppose it could have been worse. There was no attempt by the saboteurs to contact us and put pressure on us to make them partners. How could anyone make a business deal with thugs like that? They could never be trusted and would most likely murder us in our sleep at some point. Something has to be done. There is quite a ways to go with the season and we are not safe by any means. Jacob and I had lunch and got the motor on the trommel. We had everything running by 2:00 PM and washed gravels until 6:00 PM. We didn’t even bother to pull the mats and headed into camp for supper. As we ate hamburgers we discussed the problem of the intruders. There was just no way we could guard everything with just the two of us and we both needed sleep in order to keep working. If it had been September I would have pulled the plug on the operation but we were starting to hit it big now and neither one of us were quitters. We would have to figure something out. Jacob said that the thugs probably were watching us and getting impatient. He figured they knew we had just run gravel but left gold in the sluice. He was thinking they might attempt to steal the mats to see how rich our pay dirt was and get some easy gold. He wanted to post watch near the trommel and I would guard the pump area. There would be no sleep but perhaps we might catch ourselves some crooks. As dark settled in we pretended to go into our campers but after 15 minutes took cover with Jacob near the trommel and me at the pump. Heaven help anyone who tries to steal those mats from Jacob. TO BE CONTINUED ..............
  5. Might be nice if he'd let his old group know what his intensions are.
  6. Has the forum owner actually said the website is done?
  7. Here's a 16 yr old video of some prospecters in southern Cal. Dis anybody here know any of them?
  8. July 6 2002 Part One We fired up the trommel and I went up to start the pump. Before I got it running Jacob was on the radio to me. He said the trommel was down and it looked like someone had put sand in the motor. I got back down there and Jacob was madder than a wet hen. We had taken turns on night watch but it was impossible to keep an eye on the pump, water line, and trommel at the same time. They were 2000 feet away from each other and trees and mountain between them as well. We would need a new pump from town. Jacob said we should be able to get one and have the trommel running by afternoon. He also came to the conclusion that we needed two full time night guards. Otherwise there was no telling what might happen out here. He also wanted one day guard as well to patrol the water line and pump. So now we would have to hire three reliable men and that would be a challenge. I left Jacob to watch the mine and headed for town to get a motor. TO BE CONTINUED .............
  9. One thing that happened on the other mine in 2019 was a black bear attack. This happened before the crew was there. It was late May and I set up camp. It took 2 days. One night I had finished eating. I'd been having problems with bear up there. I had been warned about them by the mine owner. He said one night they got so bad that the crew slept in a metal storage container. For me, several would come into camp and circle it bawwing the entire time. I'd fire off a few rounds from my semi auto and they would leave. This particular night a big one came down the mountain. He had followed an old, abandoned mining road that ran for several miles. Camp was at the bottom of the road. I fired off some rounds but he refused to leave. I didn't have an airhorn which was something we also used to signal each other or scare critters with. But I always had bear spray on my bibbed coveralls. This bear was what I would call a rogue. He came straight in and towards my little table where food had been. I grabbed my bear spray as he took a swipe at me with his paw. I was moving backwards and tripped over a rock and landed on my back with the bear looking straight down at me and bellowing. He started to stomp up and down and he was almost on me. Somehow, I slipped the safety off the spray and let him have it. Square in the face. He let out a loud bellow and sauntered out of camp. It was nearly dark and I was lying there with the spray in my hand when I noticed my hand was shaking. I never saw that bear again. True story.
  10. Yes, when looking back, what you say makes perfect sense. However, when you are out on a mine and trying your hardest to get gold and have the fever you sometimes make questionable decisions. My wife would have had a fit if she knew half of what was going on out there. Even today that place is far from safe. I've had my share of run ins. As long as you are getting gold each day you tend to overlook the rest of what's happening. The 1st part of the 2019 season was spent on someone elses mine in a very remote & higher altitude area. I worked there for nearly a month on my own before the crew made it out there. We eventually moved to our own mine later that season. That experience was a total nightmare that will be told here eventually. But for now it's 2002 at hand.
  11. At some point I will talk about some other mining seasons I kept a record of. One of the more interesting seasons besides the 2002 & 2003 seasons were the 2012, 2015, 2019. & 2020 seasons. The 2020 season was my last rodeo. For someone who knew nothing about mining when he was growing up I find it hard to fathom the expriences I have had while doing gold mining & exploration. Some of the people I have met in the gold mining business were some really crazy characters. It was all quite an experience for sure. One wild ride. Hopefully that helps to answer a previous question. Now I'll get back to season 2002 as there is still much to tell.
  12. Trommels can be very hard to set up correctly. Besides the sluice angle you also must set the barrel angle correctly. Then you have the rotation speed as well. It's all very dependant on the gravels you are running. Something I quickly found out is you can have big time arguments over how trommels are set up and operated. I've seen guys in fights over how they should be set. Why? Because you put someone in charge but others don't think they did it right. And if any gold is lost you have trouble in a crew. It can happen fast and can easily get out of control. I had one guy quit over just this thing. And he was one of rhe best guys on the crew. He got so mad he just left and never came back. This wasn't in the 2002 season but another year. But Vern quit in 2002 for real. Jacob abused him a little and he didn't like it. I didn't write all the things that happened in the 2002 journal for good reasons. I was warned about working on a crew in 2012. There were four guys from Nevada and they were also outlaws. Against the advice of a geologist who warned me they would slit my throat one night I went ahead and worked part of the Summer with them. They drank whisky & and smoked plenty of dope. But they were also on a piece of ground that had good gold on it & knew how to mine. Not my claims but not far from them. They also had a nice washplant and good equipment. I saw some nasty fights that Summer & was involved in one of them. I ended up in a fight with two of the guys on that crew. I'll leave it at that. I had gold fever and so did these guys. We worked hard all day and partied at night. We pulled 50 ounces out of those gravels one day and ended up working the gravels for two months before the streak ran dry. I brought home some nice gold. The crew carried guns & knives & had two big guard dogs that you would not want to mess with. When you are mining a big pay streak things get serious real fast & people get crazy. What I write about in the 2002 season isn't even the half of what went on that year. Until you live it you will never understand it. Like what it's like to be on a remote mine with no way to communicate with the rest of the world and you are living free. You handle your own business and it's all real. You deal with your own problems and stay clear of other people. That's the life and it's no place for the faint of heart.
  13. July 5 2002 I was feeling good when I woke up before sunrise. Jacob was already cooking us some breakfast and we headed to work at the break of dawn. The air was still nice and cool. I went up and got the pump started and Jacob radioed me that water was coming down and the trommel was turning. The plan was for me to dig pay gravel with the excavator and Jacob used a skid steer to load the hopper. We’d also have to deal with tailings as needed. We had built a nice ramp for the skid steer to drive up to the hopper on the trommel and had excavated a drop off area for heavy tailings from the grizzly. We also had a sloped drop off for the reject material from the trommel barrel. The fines went through the sluice run and down a sloped hill. At some point we would rerun the fine tailings to see what gold we could capture but today we were running virgin pay gravels. Jacob checked the sluice several times and said it was looking good. He also checked the fine tailings with a few pans and didn’t see much of anything. We had also slowed our run rate to 25 yards an hour. Things were running smoothly. We worked straight through until 3:00 PM and shut down. We wanted to pull the mats and see what we were getting. We had run 170 yards for the day. We could see lines of gold in the top section of matting and Jacob checked the bottom of the run. There was no gold there which meant we were most likely getting it all. Jacob shook his head and commented on Vern. He called him a young buck who thought he knew it all and wasn’t willing to listen. I didn’t say anything. We were both in a good mood and set about to do the cleanup. We finished up well before dark and the moment of truth came. Jacob poured the gold on the scale. It sure looked pretty. There was a whopping 81.4 ounces. We had more than doubled our production per yard from Vern’s setup. Jacob gave me a wink. He said if the ground holds up we’re both rich men. Then he cautioned that pay gravel can be a fickle friend and enjoy it while it lasts. I asked Jacob what he was going to do with his gold. He said he was getting pretty old to worry about saving much of it. He said he was going to buy himself a new Cadillac and find himself a real pretty dance hall gal to spend it on. I laughed and said good for him. I told him I was going to buy a real nice piece of land somewhere out in the country and build my wife her dream house if things worked out for us. In the back of my mind I knew we had a way to go before we were rich and we also needed to get back home in one piece. There seemed to be no end to trouble out here and I believed the mine to be a cursed place. If we could just mine the property for a few more months we had it made. TO BE CONTINUED ..............
  14. I may have to change the name of this journal to "As The Trommel Turns" now. There is so much crazy stuff about to take place in the back half of this 2002 season that I have to take a deep breath before putting it on the forum. Wow.
  15. July 4 2002 I didn’t wake up until nearly 8:00 AM but Jacob was up and had breakfast cooking. Bacon, Eggs, pan fried bread, and coffee . My head felt like it was three times its normal size. Jacob poured me a half cup of coffee and filled it up the rest of the way with whisky. He told me to drink it and take a few aspirin and I'd feel like a new man. I can’t say I felt like a new man but it did help me quite a bit. Once I got some food in me I didn’t feel half bad. Jacob said he didn’t mind Vern and Jim leaving as it was much easier to split the gold two ways instead of four. He said even if we ran less yardage out of the trommel we’d still come out way ahead. It got me to thinking that maybe he was right but there was the issue of camp security. That was something that bothered me. Jacob didn’t seem too concerned about it for some reason. After breakfast we went over the trommel with a fine tooth comb and checked everything out. We serviced all the equipment and checked the fine tailings. It still seemed rich in the test pans so we reset the sluice to 7 degrees and added another four feet of length with some matting to make sure we would catch the fine gold that was escaping. After we had the sluice set up it was late afternoon and we called it a day. We would hit it in the morning. Jacob and I would split the night watch and see how things went. That’s about all we could do and as darkness fell I went up on watch while Jacob got some sleep. TO BE CONTINUED .................
  16. July 3 2002 Part Three Seeing as we took the day off and were also taking the fourth of July off as well Jacob and I sat around camp and talked. He was like a grandfather to me and I admired him. I think he really was an outlaw but I respected him in many ways. He was my friend and I could count on him. That I knew for sure. I cooked up his canned hash and hot dogs he liked so much and after supper we stoked up a nice campfire. The night was as clear as could be and we could see every star in the sky. Jacob brought out a new bottle of Bushmills and two tin cups. We drank toasts to the old crew and Jacob sang some ancient Irish songs I had never heard before. Songs of lonesome mountain travelers and songs of the sea and pirates. We were both slowly getting drunk together. Jacob turned to me and shook my hand. His grip was strong and firm. He said he would not want to be anywhere else tonight but on this mine. He grabbed a lantern for himself and gave me one as well. He took the half empty bottle and a second one and said to follow him. He was heading for the old watch station he had been at in 1937 when the crew was attacked. When we got there he told me he wanted to sit there for a spell and I sat with him. He poured more whisky into the cups and he lit one of his homemade rolled smokes. It smelled good and even though I didn’t smoke I asked him if he had another and he gave me one which I lit using his matches. It was strong and I let out a cough or two. Jacob ignored it and I could see he was going back in time. There we sat drinking whisky and smoking tobacco as midnight approached. Suddenly Jacob broke into a song. His voice was rough and the words were hard to understand but I had heard it before. He called it “The Parting Glass” and he sang it softly. I sat and listened and the whisky tasted good. When he finished we drank to the old crews of 1936 and 1937. He looked at me and told me I was an outlaw miner now just like him and there was no going back. He said we were free men. Free from society and its rules. Jacob said that out here we would make our own laws. He pointed in several directions where the gunfire had come from that tragic night. His trusty Thompson was with him as always and he pulled it up to his chest and fired off a burst to the north up into the trees on the mountain. Then he set the Thompson back down. He told me how he had fought like hell until he was almost out of ammo. He was reliving everything right in front of me and I didn’t know what to do. Around 1:00 AM he seemed to have it out of his system and we trudged back to camp. Neither of us was too steady on our feet and the whisky was hitting me hard. But we kept the fire going and sipped away at our cups until nearly 3:00 AM. Jacob was too drunk to get to his camper so I got a heavy blanket and covered him where he sat in his chair. I decided to stay out there with him and before I knew it I must have passed out. TO BE CONTINUED ...........
  17. Yes, the danger is real. How far anyone is willing to go is up to each indicidual. What I learned about Jacob is he was willing to go to the max.
  18. July 3 2002 Part Two Jacob and I stayed in camp and watched Jim pack up and drive off. I was able to shake his hand and thank him for his help on the mine but Jacob refused. After he was gone Jacob and I did some talking. Jacob said Vern and Jim had panicked and given in to the hooligans. He said this is what they wanted and if they didn’t already know they would soon be aware it was just the two of us left. Things could get bad real fast. To top it all off, today was the anniversary of the July 3 1937 attack and murder of Jacob’s crew. He was in a down mood. So was I. We decided to take the next two days off and get a grip on our project. We would need to come up with a plan to mine but also stay alive and well out here in this remote mountain country. Jacob looked at me square in the face and stated flatly that this is where we separate the men from the boys. He asked me how bad I wanted gold and what would I be willing to do to get it and keep it. Would I fight? We would need to count on each other if things went bad. TO BE CONTINUED ...............
  19. The whiskey is the important thing. Wish I could have been there but too many other projects going on now. Sounds like a great time was had by all.
  20. July 3 2002 Part One When I got up early this morning I was shocked to find out Vern had left camp. Gone without a word. Right after that Jim came to me and told me he was leaving as well. He said it wouldn’t be safe with only three men at camp and he’d had enough. His wife wanted him home. He was taking his gold cut and would not be back. Vern had left with his gold as well. I asked Jim about the partnership between the four of us. He said it was over and wished us well. There wasn’t much I could say. Jacob was out of his camper and pretty much told Jim what he thought of him. He called him a low life quitter. Jim didn’t say a word and began packing his things. I was stunned and couldn’t believe what was happening to us. It seemed like sometime late last night Jim and Vern had conspired to quit the crew. The part that really bothered me the most was they gave me no warning. Jacob looked at me and simply said it was just me and him now and we didn’t need anyone on the mine without the sand to stick it out. How in the hell was I going to keep things running with no crew? And would it be safe? TO BE CONTINUED ..................
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