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Lanny

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Lanny last won the day on March 5

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  1. Absolutely beautiful find! Nicely done, and all the best, Lanny
  2. Can you smell the rice cooking?I recall being far to the north in a historic gold field, and I had the opportunity to have a chat with a Sourdough (a seasoned miner from the area) about his claim. He took me to a spot one day and told me a most interesting tale.However, before I relate his story, I’ll describe its location. It was far down in the bottom of a secluded valley. Steep, black-walled mountains rose on either side, and courageous growths of spruce and fur clung to the steep slopes, with birch, poplar and aspen peppering the evergreens lower down. Dark draws inhabited by deeper areas of gloom gave birth to swiftly flowing streams that emptied into the valley. From these gulches, the icy, ghostly breath of unseen currents of air rushed forth to randomly lift the hair, before chilling the neck and spine. Indeed, an eerie atmosphere pervaded that sullen spot of murky shadows where the long dead miners of some 150-years past had chased the gold to make their fortunes, or to lose their lives.On a gentle slop above long rows and piles of cobble stacks, the remnants of a massive hand-workings, the miner’s cabin was situated. It was an ancient cabin, one in continual use since the original gold rush, the cabin perpetually maintained and rebuilt until it was later used by a member of the North West Mounted police as a retirement refuge. Later, it was acquired by Glen the miner. Heavy logs formed the base of the walls, with smaller logs progressing up the sides, and there were only two windows, one big enough to allow light to enter, and one small one which served as a lookout. The log ends were all beautifully axe cut to fit and lock together, and there was an addition on the back of the main cabin that housed a food storage and washing area. The doors were heavy and sturdily built as grizzly and black bears frequently visited the area. (I have a story somewhere about the attack on Glen’s cabin by an enraged grizzly, quite the hair-raising tale he told me of his experience that truly made my blood run cold.)A path led down from the slope to a long draw that then led to a bedrock rise, with the draw, or gulch, continuing upward. On the other side of the bedrock rise a fast-flowing creek could be heard. The bedrock rise continued to climb as it joined the shoulder of the mountain. There was a trail that led up the non-creek side of that shoulder, and I headed off on foot to look the area over.The first thing I noticed, as I looked down into the draw from the trail, were the sunken places. There were five large areas where the earth had slumped, with smaller areas running perpendicular to the gulch that were still at the original level. This of course spiked my curiosity.When I returned from my hike, Glen the miner was at his cabin, and we had a chat.He started in with a bit of history of the area. That the place had been extensively hand-mined I had already seen; that it was shallow to bedrock in many places was also obvious. What he filled me in on was that the early miners were after the easy, shallow gold, and they had done very well, with many ounces of coarse gold quickly gathered from the shallow diggings. But, as was the common case in the 1800’s, there was always the news of new gold rush farther to the north where the gold was equally shallow, easier to get to, so the miners that loved the quick gold soon left to chase other strikes. That left the deeper gold that required organized groups of people with the necessary capital to start up larger operations.Then, he told me about the arrival of the Chinese miners in the area. They followed the gold rushes and came in after the other miners had had creamed the shallow gold and had either abandoned their claims or were looking to sell cheaply. The Chinese, he said, were not afraid of hard work, and moreover, many of them did not have a choice of whether they liked hard work or not due to being indentured laborers, a form of slavery so to speak, until they had paid off the Tong for their debt to the organization. Glen went on to explain how the Chinese used a lot of opium during their miserable existence, and he told me of bottle hunters that had come a few years before my arrival and of their efforts in trash dumps to recover the precious little bottles. He also told me of the tiny log huts the miners lived in, short-walled on purpose as they were easier to heat during the brutal winters. In addition, he told me of the superstitions the Chinese were bound to, mysterious ones that propelled their efforts.Then, he took me on a walk.The bedrock rise that I’ve already mentioned was where he took me, but he walked me over closer to the face where there was a bit of a fold, and that fold hid from view the entrance to a tunnel, but one that he had caved in with is heavy equipment as it led to a large area of unsafe underground workings, ones the Chinese had excavated by hand. I then told him about my upslope hike, and of seeing the collapsed areas, and he confirmed that all of that long draw was a continuation of the original Chinese workings. He elaborated that the Chinese had struck an ancient channel by cutting below it through the solid rock so they could hit the base of the channel where the coarse gold was trapped. A lot of trapped water had flowed when they punched through the last of the bedrock, but they had cut the tunnel on purpose so it would drain the ancient water down and away before they went to work.The gold was coarse, and they took out a lot of good gold over several years, but then one day the horrific happened, the roof of the tunnel, off on one side excavation of the gulch, collapsed, killing several Chinese. They left the area . . . (This is not an isolated incident, and I have read about this in other gold rush accounts, bad Josh/Joss [bad luck] was something they didn’t mess with, and the area was forever cursed to them.)When Glen first acquired the claim, he had gone into the tunnel mouth, and he’d taken samples from the floor of the tunnel. The buckets of dirt he’d recovered were full of pickers! To prove this, he gave a jar of the dirt for later panning, and it was indeed loaded with gold!!So, his interesting tale had answered my questions about the sunken areas I’d seen on my walk, and I could see just how extensive the underground workings were that the Chinese had driven up that gulch from the size of the collapsed areas. Those determined miners had really got the job done, regardless of their motivations.As we were leaving the tunnel mouth, Glen turned to me and said, “Can you smell the rice cooking?”I said, “What?”He said again, “Can you smell the rice cooking?”I answered, “No, can you?”He then told me that on certain days, when the wind was just right, he could smell the scent of rice cooking as it drifted down to the cabin from the gulch. He didn’t smile or joke in any way, and the gloomy setting of the area, with its accompanying tragedy, put nothing but a large punctuation mark on his story.All the best,Lanny
  3. This is great information to know as when I finally quit my day job so I can chase the gold on my own terms, I'll be visiting Yuma in the wintertime to get away from our northern cold. Thanks for the information, for the pictures as well, and all the best, Lanny
  4. Hi Fred, always great to hear from you, and thanks for the question. The main reason, right now, is that I'm on good gold as well as gold in quantity where I'm at. In addition, the gold is much closer, which is always a good thing, six times closer in fact. Another reason is the nature of the trip to get to that remote gold field: brutal roads, the need to dodge logging trucks that in no way can stop if I wander into their path or suddenly emerge from the choking dust (after a tight curve, or a dip or rise in the road, for instance) that constantly covers the roads in the summer, and then there's the numerous flat tires caused by the razor sharp bits of grader blade added to the road's surface from maintaining the roads. In addition there's the bears and the bugs: the deadly B's. However, the gold is very coarse in that area, and believe it or not, I will be making a return trip one day when I retire and get the opportunity to mount another expedition as I know of several places (other than the one I wrote about) where there's good gold to be found with the detectors, ones shown to me by my mining friends as they pried the pickers from the bedrock cracks with screwdrivers! (Now, that's low tech. gold gettin' equipment!) They showed me some great draws and gulches (screwdriver gold) where the old-timers worked by hand, places that are now overgrown, ones shallow to bedrock, and with what I've learned about detecting since I left that area, and with the advancements in detecting technology since I left the region, I'll have a good time chasing that sassy northern gold. Oh, and on a side note, I saw the gold the river snipers (floating the water with snorkel, mask, and sniping tools) were getting from bedrock cracks, and that's something I'm much better at now too. (The truly great thing to keep that gold safe up there is that there's only a tiny resident population, perhaps 30 people in many hundreds of square miles.) Hope the answer wasn't too long, and thanks for your question, Lanny
  5. JW, the whole thing about Kiwis, Canadians, and Aussies, and being able to tell the differences is child's play compared to trying to ID all of the varied accents in the US: now that's an enterprise that takes some patience, and I have in no way mastered it. For a little accentual variety there's Cajun (Louisiana), Bostonian, Texan, Kentuckian, southern Utahan, Arkansan, the twang of Wyoming or Montana cowboys (the truly rooted, native individuals, not the later move ins, mind you) and this is just for a bit of the taste of the flavour of the range of varieties, and I haven't even brought up North Dakotan because I've only scratched the surface with my weak attempts. However, the truly amazing thing, all of those greatly varied accents are home grown in the same country! And yes, there's differences in accents in Canadians as well to add to the continuing confusion . . . Ever listened to anyone from Newfoundland? All the best, and thanks for sharing your gold chasing adventures with all of the wonderful pictures that represent so well what you're up to, Lanny
  6. Simon, Wonderful post with incredible pictures of your beautiful surroundings, and thanks for the photos of the historical cabin, nice they've put protective roofing, etc. to keep it intact, great idea. Glad you're learning more about how to chase that sassy gold each and every time you're out. All the best, Lanny
  7. One of King Midas' tears? Didn't know he was in Australia, but the proof is in his golden tear you've recovered. Cool find, and all the best, Lanny
  8. Great book by the way, and thanks for doing all of that work to put it together. All the best, Lanny
  9. We'll be heading to the mountains during the break as well to check our gold camp, haven't been back since last season, so hoping to find everything intact. Good luck out there, and have fun too. All the best, Lanny
  10. Sweet finds!! Nicely done, and thanks for the write-up about the coils too. All the best, love the pictures, Lanny
  11. This post falls into the category of things that haunt us, the lost opportunities, the unknowns that make us wish we'd have done something different, that we’d have paid more attention at the time, or that we’d have made a return trip . . . I know of a spot that I have to get back to one day where they were running the material so fast they were pushing nuggets over the end of the sluice boxes, and all of that material ran under a road across jagged bedrock, so those nuggets will still be there.That same outfit had a hopper that had a leak, and it used to ooze out material from one side. These guys were getting so much gold, they knew about the leak, and they knew they were pushing gold over the end of the sluices, but the season up north is short, and the material was incredibly rich, so they were running flat out to get as much as quickly as they could. Furthermore, because they were getting so much gold, they wound up not caring about what they’d lost.From my own experience, I know the gold was left at the site after they pulled their equipment out as I panned a few spots, and talk about pickers! That country is known for coarse gold. I gathered up a couple of five-gallon buckets for my son to pan, and what a party he had running those buckets through a little river sluice. There was lots of dirt left at the site of that hopper too. But, once again, a person would have to know exactly where to look, and to the casual observer, they'd never have a clue as to what had taken place there in the past.However, I’ll add a few more details about that abandoned area, and the wash-plant, as well as a bit about the crew and the deposition of gold in their mining cut.After removing about forty feet of overburden (boulder clay: thick glacial clay salted with boulders), the ancient channel was finally exposed, with lots of orange material (orange is a good sign of the heavy mineralization that runs with the gold in ancient channels) in the bottom six feet of material that was sitting tight on bedrock. Moreover, getting to the bedrock had exposed a large section of tunnel where the old-timers had worked extensively, and as those Sourdoughs did all of that underground, back-breaking work by hand, it was a good sign that we might have a great chance to hit some good gold as well, and we sure did.After the modern miners used the excavator to take the orange material out, and there was only bare bedrock left, I got invited into the pit to have a look at the side-wall of the channel, the area composing the ancient stream material that was still buried under all of the previously mentioned overburden. It was a sight I'll never forget.The excavator operator (who was also the mine owner) walked me in from the north end of the cut, and he said, "I've never seen this before. Come take a look."He walked me over to where the cleaned bedrock met the wall, and then he started pointing out nuggets in the wall! You just can't make this stuff up!!About a foot off of the bedrock, and all along the length of the cut, we walked along flicking out multi-gram nuggets from the side wall into a pan!! I'd certainly never seen anything like it before, and I haven't seen anything remotely close to that amazing sight since.The owner had to go to town for machinery parts, and the second-in-command wanted to yard as much through the wash-plant as quickly as possible, but not having been in the game as long as the owner, he overfed the plant, because when they shut it down, the twin sluices were yellow from top to bottom with nuggets!! That's another sight I haven't seen since, and one you should never see if you're running the plant properly. Furthermore, that's why the nuggets went over the end of the sluice with the discharge water, getting trapped on the broken bedrock as the water rushed under the road to fall into the waiting settling pond, and nobody ever tried to recover them as the whole outfit left at the end of the season and none of them returned (me included).However, as I said earlier, they got so much gold everyone was happy regardless. Now, that’s the kind of gold mining problem I’d love to have in the future, the issue of pushing nuggets over the end of the sluice but not bothering to recover them because the overall take was so rich!All the best,Lanny
  12. Entertaining little thread. Thanks guys, and all the best, Lanny
  13. If it's the right kind of quartz, that for the area is known to hold detectable gold, then yes. All the best, Lanny
  14. Thanks for dropping in Mark, and if I'm in gold country whenever I find previously worked bedrock (from the 1800's, the 1930's, or later, right up until yesterday), I always check it with the detector. Almost always, something seems to get left behind. All the best, Lanny
  15. Wow! Beautiful haul!! All the best, Lanny
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