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GhostMiner

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  1. MORE ON DREAMWIND CANYON : I've got a lot of information on this canyon and a few more experiences to relay. This particular one came about in the Fall of 2016. My brother in law & his wife along with my wife Lindy and I were doing a bit of exploring in the canyon. The weather was much cooler than the extreme Summer heat that sucks the water right out of your body. There had been some old rumors of an old mine entrance on the west side of the steep cliff. We had an old map from way back but there was no date on it. It did show a drift marked out in a location that seemed to match up with the stories. We hiked out early in the morning wearing heavy back packs. We were heading north from the lower elevation and climbing in altitude. The going was tough and slow. The canyon floor was strewn with heavy rocks and boulders as well as thick Manzanita. All four of us were also sporting snake gators for safety as the rattlesnake here may be more abundant than the gold. We took a short break around noon and the girls stated they thought we ought to go back. I talked them into continuing for another hour. What happened next is something I can't explain. About 45 minutes into the extended hike my brother in law hollered out and pointed to the left. There was the entrance that was marked on the old map. I couldn't believe it - the stories were true. The entrance was timbered but they were old and partially rotted. They looked to be hand hewn and were probably set back in the mid 1800's. I shined a flashlight inward and the tunnel looked to be solid. The adit was just tall enough for me to stand upright and was about five feet in width. Who wanted to venture inside? My brother in law and his wife said they wanted to take a look so they headed in as my wife and I watched. I asked them how the air was and they replied it was good so far. As they got in about 100 feet both their flashlights died. They came back out. It was strange for two flashlights with new batteries to die at once. More than strange. However, they were not ready to quit so my wife and I gave them our flashlights which also had new batteries. Well, about the same distance in both lights went dead and back out they came. Now they were visibly disturbed. This just wasn't right. Reluctantly, the four of us eased on out of Dreamwind Canyon. The mine had seemed to want to keep its secrets. And it did, at least for that day.
  2. September 8 2002 Well the day finally came and we were mining as the sun came up. It was perfect weather as well. I told Conor to go ahead and feed the new tom with the skid steer. I wanted him to get his confidence back. He was being extra careful but after an hour I could see his confidence return and he was operating the machine like a pro. Jacob was up on the mountain digging pay gravel and Big Clay was hauling. Jacob loves to run that excavator and he knows how to stay on the pay gravel. At noon I jumped in my truck and took some sandwiches up to Jacob and Clay. Jacob climbed down off the machine and walked me into a fresh cut in the mountain. He scooped out a pan of gravel and panned it out for me to see. There were seven pickers and a lode of coarse gold. Jacob gave me a wink and told me he was onto something special in this location. I asked Clay to come have a look as well. He blinked twice to make sure he was really seeing the pans’ contents for real. I told him he was hauling some very rich material. Then I headed back down to tell Conor. The plan was to process carefully and not overload the tom. That way we could get a good read on the values we were mining. The toms’ sweet spot seemed to be around ten yards an hour so that’s how we fed it all day. We shut down at sundown having washed 100 yards. Then Conor and I pulled the mats. The concentrates were heavy and we could see abundant gold in them. Tomorrow morning we’ll do a cleanup and get back to work after lunch. I am hopeful that this gold weigh is going to be a whopper. TO BE CONTINUED ...............
  3. September 7 2002 Part Two Just like the Forest Service agent said, when I got to the ranger station my paperwork was approved and waiting for me. I asked if I needed to talk with anyone and the lady in the front office told me I was good to go. When I got back to the mine I drove up to where the crew was working and showed them our approved permit. As long as we didn’t go near those reclaimed areas we were good to mine. Clay hauled gravel until dark and the crew got together for supper, just like a family would. We were all anxious to put the new tom to work in the morning. We had a huge mound of pay gravel to start working on until we got the trommel back. I fried up hash and cooked up some hot dogs to go with it. We all had a couple of shots of whisky to celebrate. Clay was going on and on about how anxious he was to see that gold come out of the mountain. I told him we were digging on rich pay ground up there and we should have gold soon. We all turned in except for Clay who once again sat up drinking beer. TO BE CONTINUED ................
  4. Howdy Skip. Hope you are doing great. Dave offered the crew a chance to buy the mine in Alaska with all equipment for one million but supposedly they turned the offer down which may have been smart. The operation there was prone to flooding which caused many problems. I think Dave was just sick of fighting everything and wanted to spend time with family.
  5. September 7 2002 Part One Uncle Sam Pays Another Visit I was actually up an hour before sunrise and had breakfast and coffee ready for the crew when they rolled out of their sleeping bags. It was a cold but clear morning with temps around 40 degrees but we all knew that as soon as the sun rose they came up quickly. The high temperatures lately have been in the mid 70’s to maybe 80 degrees. Perfect for working and a much needed change from the Summer of brutal heat. The crew got to work hauling pay gravel and I headed for the ranger station. I was at the door when they opened and actually caught our minerals agent before he headed to his office. He was quite surprised to learn that we had completed the reclamation process where required. With some kind words just short of begging I plead my case to him and asked if he could possibly head out to our mine for the inspection first thing before he got caught up in other paperwork. To my relief he agreed, saying that since we had an active permit and he was only tending to a few late applications that wouldn’t start operating until next season he could do it for us. I thanked him and told him I’d be waiting when he got to our property. I actually didn’t have to wait very long before he arrived. My crew were all up on the mountain working. The agent walked through the reclaimed sections taking some notes and also some pictures. He seemed quite pleased and told me he would take his report to the ranger for his signature. He told me to come back to the ranger station at 4:00 PM and our new permit should be approved. I shook hands with him and he drove away. This was great news and I could hardly wait to tell the others so I jumped in my truck and drove up the mountain to the dig site. When the crew heard the news they were hooting and hollering like we just won first prize at the county fair. We were hopefully back on the road to mining gold once again. TO BE CONTINUED ...................
  6. These shows are quite manipulated by the producers I think. I don't know if you remember way back in Gold Rush when Todd Hoffman moved his crew to the High Bar mine in Oregon. I talked with the head of a group that was trying to sell it. Just a small part of the acreage was permitted. He told me that when Todd & Dave & rest of crew got there they only spent a few hours actually mining for the show before they moved to Fred Dodge's claim in Colorado.
  7. I think there were 6 shows where he visited possible mine sites.
  8. My wife thinks they use the same pans of gold over & over on the Gold Rush shows LOL.
  9. I wonder if Sanchez still owns that claim. If it's for sale I might be interested in partnering with some people if it proved out. He owns a bar somewhere in Montana as well. Maybe I can hunt him up.
  10. Yep. Dave is attempting to sell his Alaska claims & all equipment for somewhere around one million dollars from what I am hearing. His attempt to mine in Alaska with his hand picked crew ended in failure. He is about 64 or 65 yrs old & said he was done with gold mining. Looks like he is now going to do some smaller stuff on TV.
  11. If I'm not mistaken that was one of the areas he was looking to mine for his past show that he quit. The guys name was Jason Sanchez or something like that. He was digging with the excavator and pulling some nice nuggets but to actually mine they needed water which wasn't available. I might be able to find one of the scenes on the internet & post it here for you. I will look.
  12. I just hope people watching don't quit their jobs and think they can go out and find enough gold to make a good living. Yes, it's possible. But the odds are not in your favor. It's sure a great hobby though. Also, if gold continues to climb in value as I think it will then it will become easier to make a living by prospecting. I once spent a month just panning on an overworked gold bearing creek in northern California. It was tedious and I only got an ounce of fine gold. At the time it was worth about $1100. Now it would be over $2000. Of course everything else is more expensive as well.
  13. An answer or clarification to a question received : No, Big Clay in the 2002 journal is not Clay Diggins from this forum. I have not worked with him on our mine or anywhere else. Cheers.
  14. September 6 2002 We all spent another long day on the mine. Jacob and Clay once again did themselves proud and the Old Bulldog hauled 160 yards of rich pay gravel to our processing site. Conor and I finished the reclamation just as night rolled in. Tomorrow I am driving to the Forest Service station to let them know we are ready for an inspection. Hopefully they can come out quickly and we get back to mining. There have been a lot of unexpected twists and turns to this mining season. I have learned that the best laid plans sometimes aren’t worth the paper they are written on. Our crew is strong and getting stronger with each adversity we face. I think Clay is rock solid and can be depended on in any situation. Jacob is Jacob and Conor is doing his best to become a miner. He has come a long way in a short period of time. We all ate supper together and watched the stars pop out of the black night sky. I never tire of looking at them. Jacob had a surprise for us. He brought out a pan he had processed out of the pay we were stockpiling. It was full of coarse gold. He said he’d tested several samples and they were all looking good. That material up on the mountain is definitely the rich ground. When Clay saw the contents in the pan I saw his eyes glaze over. I knew immediately he had the fever just like the rest of us. The fever that will keep you fighting against all the bad things that can happen out here on this cursed mine. The fever that can even turn you into an old outlaw like Jacob. TO BE CONTINUED ............
  15. September 5 2002 Part Two I had a long talk with the Forest Service agent and headed back to camp to talk with the crew. Everyone was upset including new crew member Big Clay. He wanted to see gold. I was able to salvage part of our work operation. I explained that we would still be able to haul pay gravel. So Clay and Jacob can stay busy and Conor and I will use the skid steer to do the required reclamation. We should be able to get back to processing in a few days as long as the Forest Service signs off on our reclaimed ground. Then we will have to steer clear of those areas which will not be a problem. It’s a nuisance but we will just have to deal with it as fast as possible. We all got back to work and by sundown Conor and I had gotten a lot of the big trenches filled in. I am thinking maybe one more long day and we might be ready for an inspection. Jacob and Clay were working fools. I heard that old Mack rumbling down the haul road over and over. If those two stopped for lunch it must have been a quick one. We won’t let anything stop us. We sampled some of the pay gravel Clay has been sending and it has a lot of coarse gold in it. I think we have a good shot at ending the season on a high note. TO BE CONTINUED .............
  16. September 5 2002 Part One Uncle Sam Shuts Down The Dead Man’s Mine We were excited to get back to producing gold and testing out the new long tom this morning. Jacob and Big Clay were having their fourth cup of coffee and the sun was coming up over the trees. Conor and I were about to get the tom set up properly when a Forest Service agent came walking into camp. He had parked his truck just around the bend and out of sight on the haul road. The four of us walked over to see what he wanted. It seems he had decided to do a surprise mine inspection and had already been up on the upper workings. He didn’t have a problem with anything up there but wanted to inspect the areas of the diggings we had done along the base of the mountain about 150 to 200 feet from the creek. We walked along with him as he took his time making notes and taking pictures. At the same time he was shaking his head as if to indicate his displeasure. Finally, after about 45 minutes of this, he looked up from his clipboard and asked who was in charge of the operation. He had to have known this because he had our permit paperwork with him. I stepped forward and told him I was the main operator and everything including the bond was in my name. He nodded his head. He told me I was in violation of the disturbance limitations set forth in the permit plan. It seems we had opened up too much ground during our exploration without doing reclamation before we moved our dig sites. We had multiple open trenches that had not been filled and reclaimed. He said we either needed to apply for multiple bonds to cover each trench until we reclaimed the ground or do the reclamation now. Either way we were put on notice and handed a cease and desist of all further mining operations. I was stunned. I explained to the agent that I fully intended to do all the required reclamation before we left the mine site at the end of the season. I explained that I couldn’t afford or wait possibly a month for the multiple bonds to be put in place. It fell on deaf ears. The rest of the crew was listening to all this and I saw Jacob begin a slow boil. He got in the face of the agent. He called him a low life government law dog that couldn’t do a day's work if he had to. I stepped in quickly and asked Jacob to take the men back to camp. He didn’t want to but he did what I asked. After the crew left I continued talking with the agent. TO BE CONTINUED .............
  17. Something Not In The Journal : Back in 2014 one of my partners gave me a phone call and told me to check my email. He was pretty excited and wanted me to see some pictures he had sent. This guy is Vern in the 2002 journal and we are still partners to this day. He specializes in exploration and is known as one of the best gold prospectors in northern California. If there is gold he will find it. He has amazed me more than once. On this particular occasion he was poking around on one of our western claims. He had been taking bucket samples in a little gulley near the base of a mountain and had found trace amounts of gold. I had him checking this area because it showed no signs of previous mining by the old timers. No tailings or signs of a diggins at all. It has been my experience that when you see no sign of previous mining near large workings it is for a good reason - the old miners couldn't find anything worth their time. That's why I always like to explore at or near previous workings - especially those that showed that the old timers put in a lot of hard work. They usually did that for a reason - there was a lot of gold. Anyway, on one of his samples he started finding several nuggets of shiny material. They were about the size of dimes and nickels. He thought they were platinum nuggets and so did I. They were found just several feet below the surface. He ended up taking them to get analyzed and told me they were DSO iron. I asked him what the heck that meant. He said DSO stands for Direct Shipment Ore. Pure iron. When we had a physicist out there he did some lidar work in that area before flying a drone along the fault line 1500 ft to the east. He said there appeared to be a large deposit of iron where Vern had sampled. I found this quite interesting. I'm also wondering if there may be a large gold deposit along with the iron but at a much deeper level. Someday I may find out.
  18. So my plan is 2 fold - to work the upper dig site talked about in the 2002 journal with a trommel & excavator. Water will need to be pumped from the closest creek about 3000 ft in distance. At the same time another crew would work the old 1936 dig site which sits on a fault line 2000 ft west. The 1936 gold strike area produced 1000 ounces and I have had a physicist up there looking at the area. He thinks the 1000 ounces was a drop in the bucket because it was removed from a small area of raised bedrock and there is likely 1000's of ounces more just below and to the sides of the original strike. The miner was murdered and the area long forgotten until I discovered it by finding the old government report. Two crews & one big camp. I will continue to work on this plan & post more as things possibly develop.
  19. Concerning re opening the original dig site of 1936 here is an email response from a Discovery producer > That sounds super interesting! Can I ask you a few questions about your plans to mine this season?
  20. Every once in a while I post excerpts from the journal on my FB page as an experiment. People who read it know nothing about prospecting or gold mining. I am always surprised when they want to read more. Some comment that the journal needs to be made into a movie. I think not a movie but it would make a great continuing weekly adventure series made for TV. Who would the actors be to play all the different characters in the journal is something I always think about. Every year starting in 2019 I get contacted by Discovery. It's actually happened twice this year. They bug me to put a crew on Fred Dodge Mine Rescue which I always tell them I have no interest in doing. This last contact came from a girl who is an associate producer based in London. I told her about the journal & sent her the link. I told her it would be a far better program than anything they are currently producing. Her response was that I should pitch it to the new programs department. I never did. If I had the funds and know how I would produce my own mini series. Some people have suggested I read the journal on a YouTube channel. Not sure about that. Lots of fun posting the entries here on Steve's site.
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