Tag Archives: Gold Mining

The Mountains are Calling..

“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” –   John Muir

Welcome to the start of the 2017 Alaska mining season!  To those of you just joining our story, we are a family of gold miners from Alaska.  For some reason that I will never understand, folks like to hear about our trials and tribulations while trying to dig our fortune out of the ground.  For those of you who have followed us in the past, thanks for tuning in again!

I understand what Muir was saying about the call of the mountains – I’ve been hearing it for some time, though the snow didn’t seem to be cooperating.  Thankfully though, Spring is finally upon us and its time to start setting up.  First piece of equipment – the recently repaired backhoe- is on site.

While there is still snow in places like the creek – there are some signs of Spring – we even found a patch of violets.

The camp looks pretty lonely right now, looks like we shouldn’t have left our supply tent up (we lovingly call it the taj mahal) I guess we had a big snow load here this winter!

The dog couldn’t resist a wallowing in the settling pond.  We’re not the only ones excited to be back at the mine!

Both our new and old dig sites are not quite thawed out, but that is ok, as we still have a bit of staging to do.  You may remember that last year we had a magnetometer survey done to help us find that “good pay”  and we are really looking forward to following up on one of the “hot spots” from the survey and seeing what kind of values are there.  This spring I can tell you why there is most likely good gold there – the water is just pouring out there, draining from up on the canyon rim.  You can literally hear the water trickling down.


More to come – just thought I’d let you all know the news.  IT’S MINING SEASON!!!!

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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.









Ready, set…

 Welcome to the start of the 2016 mining season!
Unusually warm temperatures have allowed us to get moved into the claim a lot earlier than normal.


With the help of a friend and some tire chains we managed to get the sluice box and wash plant up in the canyon.  Meantime the rest of us worked on setting up the camp.
It’s probably another week air so until any processing happens, but it feels really good to have it mostly set up, and in April to boot.

2015 and we’re off – sort of

We got an early start on the season, we had very little snow this winter, which meant we didn’t have to wait for the thaw.  Armed with a couple of new toys, including a mini excavator and a sluice we had welded just for us.  The sluice  has four leveling jacks, and a nugget trap.

The excavator is the best purchase we ever made, I don’t know how we lived without it.  It loads faster, and has the ability to easily go up in the woods to dig test holes.  We run more material in a day than we used to in three, run the dirt more evenly, and are much less worn out at the end of the day.  We found a new test spot up in the woods that looks promising.

The first week we were going great until the water pump died, back to town, but we managed to rent one at a reasonable price from the folks who were repairing ours.  Next, we had a mishap with one of the controls getting caught on a piece of clothing, and rammed the bucket through the grizzly, sigh.. back to town.

We had our friend the welder weld us a new grizzly like we always wanted with a steeper angle, everything was going great.  This is a short days find.gold










The next day, I’m ready to move from the digsite to the washplant to start running material, and the excavator wont move.  Final Drive is shot.  Let me tell you, removing the track so we could take the part to town was not fun.  I knew there was a reason I bought that three ton hoist!

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So here we are with nice weather and nothing to do, we decided to try out the hooka and dry suit we got off craigslist and do a little dredging.  There is a short window of time we are permitted to do this so as not to disturb the salmon fry, we’ve never had the conditions be right to give it a go.  If you are interested in dredging, take my advice and try on the suit you are going to buy.  It was too small, it took three people to squeeze me into it, and leaked like a sieve. In these mountain fed streams, I believe that the water temperature is somewhere approaching the liquid temperature of nitrogen.  Got about twenty minutes in before the current and the cold temperatures defeated me.  Its a whole new world under the water, I forgot how much I loved doing that, I just need a better suit.










Now we are waiting on the new final drive, a little broker, a little wiser, but still damn greatful we get to do this.



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

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