Tag Archives: Trommel

To Everything..

To everything there is a season.


We’ve been forced to admit that we’ve reached the end of this mining season.  The cold has caught up with us, and while we can work through numb fingers and toes, the equipment can’t handle the freeze.

flat tire

Our decision was helped by the event of getting two flat tires on the dump truck in as many days, we seem to be spending more time repairing equipment than running it.  We got a very short run, but managed to get just a little more gold out of the ground before it froze.


Unlike other mining operations, we have to clear everything out when we’re done for the season.  This year we decided to use water to dig out the trommel instead of our backs, and it worked pretty well.  I don’t know why we didn’t consider it before.


Hoses rolled up, camp broken down, and now its time for the long parade of trips to bring the bigger stuff home for the winter.

Its hard for me this time of year, though at this point I’m almost too exhausted to be sad.  I won’t deny that I look forward to long showers, warm wood stoves, and catching up on all the movies I haven’t seen.  Also, I get to dream about new digsite we hope to explore next year.  It doesn’t look like much, but if the results of our magnetometer survey and bulk testing are any indication, this might mean our next season could be the best yet.  We’ve got a lot of planning to do.



We gave it everything we had this year, then we reached down and found more to give.

Thanks for following along with us.

end of season party

Karma Points

As July comes to a close, I’m not super happy about the yellow leaves falling from the trees and the fireweed nearing the top.  I keep reminding myself that its only August, there is still time…

Been a busy week at the mine, still getting better results than we ever have thanks to our addition of more water to the trommel.

gold in quartz






We are also excited to see more and more gold in quartz, for those of you that don’t know, this usually is a sign that it didn’t travel very far from the source vein.

back to the shopfixing belt

But of course, its mining, so we have to break something.  First we shredded one of the belts turning the trommel, spent a few hours replacing them, only to shred them again.  Looks like we’ll need to do a little more investigation as to why.

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AND just for good measure, we went ahead and locked up the breaks on the backhoe, back to the shop.  Again.








Its not all doom and gloom though, results of our mag survey have started coming in. I don’t want to bore you with a bunch of scientific terms, basically this shows hot and cold (high and low) magnetism. The pink areas indicate that there’s a lot of black sand (and thus hopefully gold).  We are currently doing better than we ever have and we are only in a red zone.

Though I hate to pull the excavator away from the washplant when we are making good gold, we really need to focus on following up this survey data with test pits, that way I can work on the permits for next year.

fish rescue

Lastly, here is dad coming to the rescue of some poor stranded little fish fry that our daughter found.  Maybe we’ll get some Karma points for that.





The Work


What a week this has been!  We couldn’t have asked for better weather, 80+ degrees in Alaska means we have to watch each other for signs of heat exhaustion.

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First off, a little trommel maintenance, we had to replace a few casters and the motor that turns the barrel.

For sometime, we’ve been aware that we are not getting enough water in the trommel.  It’s frustrating to be in good dirt and have to load it a tiny bit at a time in order to not overload the sluice.  We did look into getting a bigger trommel, but this time in Alaska there are none for sale (at least that we can afford); so we had to look at a cheap way of working with what we had.

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One thing we do have a lot of is pumps.  We decided it was worth the extra gasoline to drop another pump in the settling pond to add more water to the trommel.  It may look a little silly to just bungee an extra hose into the hopper, but it worked like an absolute champ.  We’re now moving dirt like crazy! The loader operator can barely keep up.

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The digsite is looking good, we’re running into a lot of large boulders.  Those of you who do any prospecting know that the large rocks in a river are a great place to look for gold, it works the same in ancient stream beds.





Though with the amount of dirt we’re moving now, its going to take a while to figure out the new “normal” so we know if we’re in the best ground or not.



We got a request from one of our fans to see more of the “work” involved in the mining process.  To our friend in Belgium, this one is for you.

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Lets get ready to MINE!

Hey guys,

Its early for 2016 to be updating the Blog, I know. The sun is shining, there’s hardly any snow, and I want to get ready to mine!  I think we’re in for an early season.

2016 prep








We pulled the trommel out of the ice and snow, and took it down to our friends at Adams Fabrication.  Rich is always ready to fix what we broke last year and implement our crazy ideas.  He built our new sluice box last year and we couldn’t be happier.



Going up to the claim tomorrow to see what needs to be done to get ready up there.  We’ll keep you posted!


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!

broken excavator









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.