REAL GOLD MINING STORIES...FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES...Klondikes Lost Mine....
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Thread: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES...FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES...Klondikes Lost Mine....

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  1. #1
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    REAL GOLD MINING STORIES...FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES...Klondike's Lost Mine....

    Klondike here...

    I've had a request to start a new topic and maybe post a story once a month or so from some of my past mining experiences....

    So here is the first one...it's actually a continuation of the drift mine I started on another post...The name of that mine was:... The Golden Slide Mine, near Downieville, Ca

    We had driven in under the Yuba River and were about 400 feet deep into the mountain...when we realized there was an old tunnel above us....we pumped a million gallons of water every 12 hours to keep the river water out of the mine...

    Once we had drifted in about 400 feet through solid rock...we raised up into the old 1850 main haulage tunnel that had been hand dug.... there were NO drill marks... Later found out this tunnel was dug from 1850 to 1855...(Until after the Civil War was over, there wasn't much Black Powder on the west coast..so most tunnels prior to 1865 were usually single or double jacked...(A double Jack was where one person held the steel and the second person hit the steel with a sledge hammer...a single jack was just one person doing both jobs...)...for the entire length of the tunnel, there were NO drill marks left in the bedrock...meaning no black powder... the old boys had taken about 3 feet of solid bedrock and about 4 feet of river gravel....a typical and classic 7' X 7' tunnel... At one point we came upon a place where the main tunnel stopped and a tunnel went both right and left... in the floor was a major crack and above the crack in the ceiling, was a bright ..pure... snow white quartz boulder shaped like a cigar and about 20 feet long...Holding the large quartz boulder was a 8 in diameter Cedar Stall ( a Stall is a single pillar used to hold the ceiling or "back" in place...) This stall was hand shaped to fit into the crack in the floor..and hand shaped to match the curve of the large boulder... I broke my knife blade trying to scratch the cedar bark... this stall had turned into stone over the 120 plus years inside that mine.... further on to the left....we found the bedrock coming up and angling up at about a 45 degree angle... This is the original inside rim of the channel before the land slide...This must have been a rich spot here as the bedrock was as clean as a newly washed diner plate for maybe 50 feet and about 15 feet high...and above us and near the top of the tunnel cut ..was a very, very, very large bedrock boulder..maybe the size of a full sized quad cab Dodge pickup...it was huge.. and was riding about 4 inches above the bedrock... with maybe 300 to 400 very small cedar stalls...I mean small..... no more than 1/2 inch thick... some even smaller...and 3 to 4 inches long cedar Stalls holding or suspending this large boulder above the bedrock..and somehow they had cleaned all the dirt out from underneath it and held in place ...... It was one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen of the massive effort to mine gold in a very dangerous place...and the engineering ability to trust such small pieces of sticks to hold such a heavy rock.... we took some samples from various places with the cracks in the bedrock... and then the power went out... we almost lost a few crew members as we were laying down track rail in our main tunnel.... we never reopened the tunnel after that...and the samples were very good indeed... but not worth the risk of such a dangerous mine...

    Before the power went out.. we were able to reach the "face" of the left tunnel....the Face is the end of the tunnel.. and there we found several small holes...we called them "Coyote" holes... These were dug by the Chinese miners...after the white miners moved on.... When the mine was operated with Chinese slave labor... they were paid $.25 a day... and were charged 20 cents for room and board..and 4 cents for tool "rental"... Often these Chinese were sent into these small holes, and if there was a cave in.. no attempt to rescue them was done.. just another Chinese miner started another hole... It was pretty bad working conditions....Near the wash plant outside the tunnel...we found a stack of six very old., but in perfect condition, white, with blue pattern of China rice bowls.... plus several coins with square holes in them...

    Until next time...

    Klondike....
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  2. #2
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    hey Klondike
    that was a great experience

    think thats a great idea, the club i belong to keeps asking me to write a story of my trip to Bolivia.
    I have ICMJ to blame for that one, but it was the greatest experience of my Life
    The enemies of liberty will not rest, and neither can we.

  3. #3
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    Nice story, wish i had the opportunity to find and go on such expeditions, perhaps in the future if the way things with the government and inflation ever get better (I dont really have high hopes on that end).
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  4. #4
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES


    Love it! Can't get enough of those kinds of stories from someone who has been there and done that.
    Appreciate the way you explain the details.

    Keep em coming Klondike

    GG~

  5. #5
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodyGuy

    Love it! Can't get enough of those kinds of stories from someone who has been there and done that.
    Appreciate the way you explain the details.

    Keep em coming Klondike

    GG~
    X2 . I spent enough time deep mining to shudder at every detail you have been gracious enough to share with us .
    Stories like this may be enough to keep some promising novice alive .
    Wolfpack forever

  6. #6
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    Jun 2009
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    See Ike, I knew many others would love your stories as well! Thanks so much for posting this.

    Sample till you find the hot spot, then mine it till its gone! Then start over...

  7. #7
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    Thanks to all of the comments posted so far......

    And yes... truckinbutch ... it can be interesting at best when doing underground deep mining...

    Here is one for you.... truckinbutch....

    My foreman (Richard) at a different mine than detailed above... it was an open pit mine... before working for me, worked a deep underground channel mine called the Brush Creek.... and was told by his boss to take two guys and lower the sump pump again before going home on Friday night...

    From the portal of the Brush Creek.. the tunnel went in about 2500 feet.. then down a shaft 75 feet to a second level.... then in again 2500 feet and down again 75 feet... to a third level...in about another 2500 feet to the final shaft to lower the pump....

    The pump was used to de-water the mine...

    For several days, it had been raining and raining hard... the portal, supported by large local cut up tree trunks to support the loose material around the portal opening...and had been back filled with Serpentine rock from the tunnel tailings....Serpentine is the State Rock of California and often is soft and has a kind of soapy feel to it... when crushed, and overly watered, it turns into a kind of "oat meal" mush....

    As Richard and the other two guys approached the last shaft to lower the pump... he heard a soft thump in the distance and felt a slight change in air pressure...

    Once dropping the pump.. they made their way out of the mine until they were met with a wall of mud at the upper level... the thump he heard was a cave in.. the portal and all the MUSHY Serpentine had caved in... the timbers not able to hold the additional weight of the rock and rain water.... In fact... we later learned that 250 feet of the portal had come in...

    Now all these guys wives didn't expect them home that night because it was payday..and usually the guys would go off for a couple of days on payday get drunk and whoop it up some....... so when they didn't come home that night, it wasn't noticed... until the night watchman saw Richards pick up near the mine entrance....ON SUNDAY NIGHT...then he saw the entire portal was gone and just a bunch of rubble....

    So the alarm went out....and everyone came out to try to get these guys out of the mine....The long and short of it, we did get them out on Wednesday evening..... they were stuck in the mine from Friday to Wednesday...

    On Tuesday we got an air compressor hooked up to the air lines that supported the drills when that part of the mine was being worked....and this would pump some good air into the mine for the guys... what we didn't know, was the mine was filling with water much faster than thought....and sending good air...was a great idea... but what none of us knew, was that just past the cave in, the pipes had broken.....and where now under water...

    Richard later told me the most scared he was, was when the air started coming in... by that time, all their lamps had burned out...so they were in total and complete darkness... and were standing in some very cold water because the rising water level had reached them by now...... but they could hear equipment and people working on the other side of the cave in trying to free them.....which gave them great encouragement...

    Then ... all of a sudden...comes the air... and since the broken pipe was under water.. the air started making loud deep toned bubbling noises about 50 feet behind the 3 guys digging with their hands trying to make their way to the others working on the outside...

    Richard said when he suddenly hear the bubbling sounds without any warning...he thought some monster was after them.. maybe even the Loc Ness Monster..was the first thing that came to his mind...... remember they couldn't see anything.. only hear, feel and smell things...

    Richard told me later, it was at that moment, was the most scared point of this ordeal for the 3 guys.....

    Fortunately, we got them out without any serious injuries, other than needing a new set of underwear....

    Klondike...

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  8. #8
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    !!!!!!!!!! Great ending to a potentially bad story , Ike . I'll share one with
    you in another post on a bit darker side .
    Wolfpack forever

  9. #9
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    Thanks... truckinbutch.......Yes underground can be interesting, for sure....

    It's my hopes that some of these stories will help others, the not so experienced weekend warriors, ... give them reason to stop and think about what they are doing out there, miles from from others or help, if something were to go wrong...... or before they do something stupid...

    Mining, at best is a very dangerous occupation/hobby....

    But next to my wife, and my Lord and Savior... mining is the love of my life.... !!.. I've been blessed very well...It's been a great ride.!!!!!!! and hopefully many more years as well....


    Klondike

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  10. #10
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    For Ike ,
    Deep mining coal , rather than gold : I got sent as an extra man to a longwall mining section that was having roof problems from a ride . They were scrambling around the clock to timber and mine their way out of it .
    The section foreman had hated my guts for 15 years and had always done anything he could do to try to shaft me .
    Just before dinner time the roof fell on the pan line . He sent the regular crew to the dinner hole .
    When I asked about my dinner; he told me I would help him build cribbing until he quit telling me to hand him crib blocks and then I could eat .
    I humped crib block after crib block to a foreman that wasn't supposed to be working , anyway ,
    until the roof fell in on him and covered him up in the panline .................... Then I went to the dinnerhole .
    One of the regular crew members asked , "Where's Jukie ?" as I pulled the top off my bucket and started unwrapping a sandwich .
    "Covered up in the pan line ."
    "Yea , BS . Is he makin a fireboss run so we can steal a few minutes more dinner time ?"
    "Told ya where he was . Now quit disturbin my dinner ."
    Curiosity got the better of that suck and he walked up toward the panline . Came running back to the dinnerhole screaming for help because Jukie was covered up ! All but one man jumped and
    ran for the panline .
    Incredulously , he looked at me and asked ,"Aren't you coming to help ?"
    "Buddy , you want the sob that bad you dig him out or call the mine rescue team . I got 30 minutes of undisturbed dinner , by contract."
    They got him out with just 2 broke legs and some broke ribs . MSHA investigation found that I had acted according to his instructions and , not being a trained member of a mine rescue team , had not been obligated to jeapordise myself to dig him out .
    It's in the best interest of any man to be friends with the people he goes underground with ..........
    Wolfpack forever

  11. #11
    us
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    You are so absolutely right!!....truckinbutch

    You need all the friends you can have when underground.....

    I saw you were from WV in your profile and figured your underground experience was in coal...


    Klondike...






  12. #12
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    Quote Originally Posted by Klondikeike
    Thanks... truckinbutch.......Yes underground can be interesting, for sure....

    It's my hopes that some of these stories will help others, the not so experienced weekend warriors, ... give them reason to stop and think about what they are doing out there, miles from from others or help, if something were to go wrong...... or before they do something stupid...

    Mining, at best is a very dangerous occupation/hobby....

    But next to my wife, and my Lord and Savior... mining is the love of my life.... !!.. I've been blessed very well...It's been a great ride.!!!!!!! and hopefully many more years as well....


    Klondike

    I hear you . Spent 20+ yrs scramblin in and out of that 'would be grave' . Miss the rush even after 25 years since I last cleared the shaft into fresh air .
    Wolfpack forever

  13. #13
    us
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    Quote Originally Posted by Klondikeike
    You are so absolutely right!!....truckinbutch

    You need all the friends you can have when underground.....

    I saw you were from WV in your profile and figured your underground experience was in coal...


    Klondike...





    Yep , coal . My Dad tramp mined in the western hardrock when I was a kid . Climax , CO
    moly mine was the last place he worked . It was still drift and stope at that time , 1956 .
    Wolfpack forever

  14. #14
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

    I know the "rush" effect... it always took me a few minutes to get used to being underground....all your senses are so much more alert... and then when you come out... the fresh air is the best part....

    Sometimes, when drive though dead rock... we'd drive through a mineralized zones....and the rotten egg smell of the arcynical minerals....sometimes was really bad....

    In Grass Valley, CA there are 3 very deep gold mines... the Empire, the North Star and the Idaho-Maryland... each one over a mile deep at a 45 degree decline with several miles of laterals on many levels.... The Empire today is State Park and Museum...a great example of hard rock mining in California....it continually operated from 1850 to 1956.... The Idaho-Maryland is being re-opened.....

    A good friend of mine... now dead... worked on the Idaho-Maryland for about 20 years... While driving through dead rock, about 1 mile deep...they crossed a small 1 inch wide quartz vein.. within a contact zone of granite and dolomite... with a 1/4 inch wide wet talcum powder clay on the Dolomite side of the contact... They followed it for about 10 sets..(30 feet maybe 40 feet)... and it opened up a glory hole, about 20 ft by 40 ft...of many, many millions of dollars of crystal gold.... he said it looked like everything had been cut with a laser.... it was a true "glory hole"....he said their lamps made the light jump and reflect of all the gold....the walls seemed alive.... it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.... but the smell was terrible....!!


    Klondike....

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  15. #15
    us
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    Re: REAL GOLD MINING STORIES....FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCES...Here's a dredging one..

    This was back around 1973 or 4...maybe 5... don't remember exactly...anyway... early '70's...

    My friend/partner and I were on the Scott..about 1/4 up from where it runs into the Klamath...

    We had some really fast water.. we had 110 pounds of lead on to keep us down... we had just finished building a 6 in dredge.... using a Ford line 6 water cooled engine.. coupled to a Berkley 5X4 self priming pump...this was our check out trip...

    After about a week of finding some gold., but not as much as were hoping for....we made a startling find... During clean up for a few days..., we had thrown several heavy and ebony black rocks out... after ...I don't know how many pounds of them.. I noticed, one of them seemed like it had some gold stuck to it... actually the gold wasn't stuck... it was a gold nugget coated with some sort of a black coating.... Further study showed, that about 30% of the black rocks or pebbles were gold.. the others were in fact just rocks..... shortly after that, we stopped running into these rocks... there were so many of these rocks around, it was impossible to see the difference between the native rocks and the ones we through out...

    We continued to dredge for a few more days..... and was following a wide crack going with the flow of the water.... but these kinds of cracks don't usually collect a lot of gold... soon the bedrock dipped down... and a kind of boil hole was encountered....with a crack going across the water flow and forming a kind of "cross or X" at the bottom of the hole... again, these types of bedrock structures don't usually hold a lot of gold... and the boil hole was filled with lots of small sand grains... no rocks...not a good sign for gold... but thought ...why not.. and I let the hose eat it's way to the bottom of the boil hole..... I gave it a look to see it look to see if I had sucked it all the way out......and it looked really clean...

    As I was starting to turn away... it seemed like something kind of "winked" at me.... so I got my face as deep into the small, but deep boil hole and there it was.. a nice nugget, stuck in the bottom... and was waving back and forth with the water current swirling inside the hole....

    With my wet suit on.. I couldn't get my hand very deep into the hole... and at the risk of getting stuck.. I pushed hard and really forced my arm into the hole... and at my finger tips..I could feel this nugget.. I kept working my arm into the hole and finally as able to free the nugget and worked it into what I hoped was a good grip on it... now ... having to work my arm out of the hole...it surprisingly came out easier than it went...

    The long and short of it... it weighed in at 11 OZ, 19 DTW... just shy of a one pound nugget...just a slug.. very water worn and no character at all...

    All told that season, we took around 3 pounds, if i remember right...and most likely a lot more if we hadn't thrown so many small "BLACK" nuggets away......lol

    Happy Dredging... everyone...

    Klondike..
    The Gilded Lens likes this.

 

 
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