Category Archives: Glory hole

Fall Colors

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mountains in fallI would enjoy the beauty of this time of year more, I think, if it didn’t make me so sad to realize its almost over.

Backhoe’s still in the shop, we’re making due with what we have.


Besides, it means I get to spend a lot of time in the digsite manning the excavator. I love looking for big rocks, bedrock, clay layers and other things that spell good gold.  Every layer is a new possibility.  See that smile?

I have to be careful to pay attention and not get a huge overhang going, its easy to get to excited about a bedrock ledge or something and undercut too much.  Occasionally we have to knock it in.  Here’s a little video, I just love that slow motion feature on the iphone.

We’re almost to the little anomaly we saw on the mag survey, looks like we will have to move the caution fence soon!


All was well, until, you guessed it, we broke something.  A sharp piece of slate hiding in the mud popped a hole in the sidewall of the dumptruck tire.  Quite the sound it made.

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Turned out we had to take off for a wedding so we had to clean out earlier than we normally would.  But the results weren’t bad.  Even found a few nice pickers, must have been under that big rock I was digging at.









Just the two of us


The leaves are starting to turn, and thus begins the bittersweet chapter of mining season.  With the kid back in school, and most of the rest of our crew gone, its up to just my husband and I to save what’s left of the season.  Thanks to grandma for getting the kid to school during the week, we are able to work as long as we have daylight, skip lunch, and get up early.

Mining in the fall is not so bad; less bugs, more bears.  Though we haven’t seen a bear yet this season (knocking on wood).

little dump truck

The backhoe is still in pieces at the mechanic’s shop, but we simply couldn’t wait anymore.  Time to try out the little dump truck that we’ve had for a while but never taken up to the mine.

It takes a little longer because we  first have to use the excavator to load the truck from the dig site. Second, stockpile the stuff at the washplant. Then third, drive the excavator back over to load the washplant. But it worked pretty well.  In fact, we might make this truck part of the process for next season and save the miles on the backhoe.

Also, thankfully, we finally got the report from the geologist on the magnetometer survey.  There are a lot of very promising prospects including possible some bedrock source gold.  I think I’m going to work on the permits to expand the place we were testing last time, as the report agreed with our test results.  We really can’t tell anymore about this spot until I get permission to clear some trees and make some road improvements.  In the meantime, there’s a couple of small hotspots we’re headed towards at in our current digsite that we hope to break through too soon.


I’ve been fighting with this dang rock for days with the excavator, but I bet it’s where the gold is coming from.  I’ll get it soon.

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Pretty good results, less than usual because the process is a little slower, but better some gold than none.

Also more of the crystaline gold in this cleanout.

Back in the Saddle


Things are heating up, and I don’t just mean the weather!  After the last week or so’s dismal returns, a little deductive reasoning and a little luck have put us back on the trail of the gold.

The color is getting better everyday, and we are elated.  Never know how long it will hold out, but I guess that’s why they call it prospecting right?

For now, I’ll enjoy the wins.





Here’s a few test pans, it’s starting to look good.








In the meantime, we’re getting this stuff bagged up for you guys so you can try some of it for yourselves.  That’s all for now, I’ll update more later.


Packing up

Fall is here, the freeze is on, and it’s time to call it for the season.    We fenced off the digsite and hauled everything home.

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We have some great plans for next year, new equipment and modifications to our trommel should make for better production.

So until next year yellow gold, we bid you adieu

cleanup gold


The End of the Rainbow

Fall is in the air.  The kid is back in school.  With grandma watching the kid for the week, we decided to work like dogs and try to squeeze as much out what was left of the season as we could.  We spotted this rainbow, unfortunately, the end is located on a neighboring claim, but hey, gold washes downstream right?

We decided to try a little experiment.  Normally, we clean out the sluice every time we stop the pump, for lunch, or for the night.  Since we were working with a reduced crew, we decided to leave the sluice alone for a few days.  Normally, we see nothing on top of the mats when we stop, but after a few days, we started to see some color.  The yellow matting we use is discarded pipeline insulation material, works great for miners moss.  However its hard to see the gold since it is the same color as the mat.  Look closely, the gold is slightly more orange.

gold in sluiceEverything was going great, equipment working fine, gold in the sluice.  We had uncovered some large rocks in the dig site, always a good sign.  We were disappointed in the rainy weather, but with a full set of rain gear on, we managed to stay warm.  Then minutes into the last run on the second day, we heard a loud   “snap” from the little Kubota tractor we use for loading the trommel.  We had broken the loader for what seemed like the 100th time this year.  This is a great tractor, but not really built for what we are asking it to do.

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Resigned, we cleaned the sluice.  We ran the cons though the mini highbanker.  There was so much black sand and the entire black mat was covered with gold.  At this point we were navigating by flashlight, so held the panning until daylight and toasted the end of our season by the light of the fire.  We got somewhat toasted ourselves I might add…


The next morning we panned the concentrates and were pleased by the results.  We called around trying to locate a replacement loader, but Alaska is a hard place to find parts, especially for an early 90’s model Kubota.  We decided to head for home and see if we could fix it ourselves and maybe salvage a day or two of the week.