Prospecting Tales

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
Prospecting stories, tips, a few poems on gold hunting, and all are about chasing the gold. Just fly past the poems if you'd rather read stories.

The Tale of Sourdough Sue

It’s time for the tale of Sourdough Sue,

A right salty gal she was, through and through.
She’d followed the strikes all over the west,
And chasin’ the gold was what Sue liked best.

As summer was fadin’ there came word to her
A rush was a hapnin’, for certain, for sure
Yes, gold had been found, big nuggets, coarse flakes
“I’m goin’”, said Sue, “Whatever it takes.”



It seems in Montanny they had them a strike
And word of a rush, them gold diggers like.
So Sue grabbed her gear and loaded her mules
With beans, bacon, flour and stout minin’ tools

At last she was ready to head on up north
Sue knew t’would be tough, but still she set forth.
Why, week after week it was lonely and cold,
But Sue couldn’t shake the lure of that gold.

The weather degraded the farther she went
The storms she encountered seemed not heaven sent
The trek was slow, the wind howled in the trees
The snow was so deep Sue wished she’d brung skis.



Them passes was chokin’ with oodles of snow
The air in them mountains was forty below
Now Sue weren’t no Pilgrim, but this here was tough
The sun had skedaddled, and things were plumb rough.



Sue needed a spot to ride out that storm
A shelter and fire to get herself warm
Well, off in the spindrift she spied her a light
To Sue there weren't never a more welcome sight.

A cabin it was, for certain, for sure
The warmth that it offered was likely a cure
For cold toes and fingers with needle-like pains
(Escape from that storm didn’t take many brains.)

The cabin was home to one Hook-Nosed Bob Brown
His spirits was up, for they never was down.
As looks weren’t his strong suit, Bob’d loaded his mind
With right clever sayin’s from book quotes he’d find.



Now Sue came a stumblin’ from out of that storm
And Hook-Nosed old Bobby just turned on the charm
He sat Suzie down, right close to the heat
Then went to his stable—those mules got a treat,

Bob stripped off their harness, their cold heavy packs
He rubbed them right down with dry gunnysacks
He broke out some oats, some sweet meadow hay
Then forked them some bedding where both mules could lay.

Then back to the cabin he flew off to check
How Sue was a doin’, but she’d hit the deck
A buffalo hide, she’d found near the bed
And close to the fire, she lay like the dead

Well Bob had read somewheres to let such things lie
(T’was somethin’ on canines, to wake them you’d die?)
So Bob settled in for the last of that night
While the storm shook the cabin with all of its might.

The mornin’ it came with a hushed quiet chill
The wind had died out, but the cold was there still.
Bob built up the fire, then snuck off outside
To check on those mules, who thanked him bright-eyed.

Then back to his cabin he sped to his guest
For Sue was a stirrin’, so Bob did his best.
He threw on some bacon, them beans got a stir
Whatever Bob did, he did it for her.

For up on the wall, on a peg near the fire,
A stockin' was hung! For what you enquire?
T’was Christmas of course, and Bob had desired
A gift from old Santa, just like he’d enquired.

Right here lay a woman, fresh in from the storm
And on Christmas eve, he’d made his place warm.
He’d trusted in Santa to grant him his wish
This Sourdough Sue was a right purty dish.

Well Sue and Bob bonded. His nose wasn’t right,
But Bob was so witty, it fled from Sue’s sight;
She saw there, instead of what others had seen,
The solid-gold-Bob that'd always there been.


So, this is the tale of Sourdough Sue
Who went in a rush to find gold, it’s true.
But Sue wasn't savvy to Nick’s crafty plan
To scoot her off northward to find there a man.

And just so you’re certain, so there's not a doubt
(I’m sure in your mind you’ve figured it out)
In Bob’s Christmas stocking, hung there on his wall
Was a note from old Santa explaining it all.


All the best,

Lanny

 
Last edited:
Upvote 2
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
Warning: Prospecting Poetry



I hope you guys enjoy this.

Old Santy Claus Came Out One Night

The miner bent sat in his shack

T’was Chrismas eve, the sky pitch black.
A blizzard roared outside his place,
A lonesome night for him t' face.

Still, up he gits to hang his sock,
A nail he drives with played-out rock,
And hangs that stockin’ up with care
In hopes that Santy will be there.

Why--ain’t no cookies--nor no milk,
The finer things just ain’t his ilk.
No puddin’ pie, nor Christmas cake
The finer things ain’t his t' make.

His money’s gone; the claim don’t pay,
The vein he chased has pinched away.
Upon this ground he’s toiled his best
His four-score twenty’s now his test.

The things that always easy were
Just ain’t that way, not now, for sure.
Yet up he gits and hangs his sock,
He sez his prayers and winds the clock.

The storm, she smacks that shack about
But it’s built snug—the cold stays out.
So, off he goes t' sleepy land
But comin' soon, a visit’s planned.

It seems a grizzly’s wide-awake,
He’s huntin hard for grub t' take.
Then up he sneaks upon that shack,
This ain’t no Santy with his pack!

He checks the door and finds ‘er stout
It seems the miner’s locked him out.
That ain’t no Christmas way t' awe
Twelve-hundred pounds of fur and claw!

So, Mr. Bear he checks the place
And sets himself a torrid pace.
He’s had no lunch since early fall,
He finds a weak spot in the wall--

It’s at this point where shack meets hill
(The miner’s hid his mine with skill)--
That griz he pulls some stones away
And steps inside t' eat and play.

He’s in a room, but not the shack
(This spot's fer grub and stores t' pack)
His nose tells him there’s food in here
His stomach senses fun is near.

He finds a ham just hangin’ there
And chomps ‘er down without a care
He even finds a jug t' try
He rips the cork, and drinks ‘er dry.

He’s feelin’ rather light of head
He picks a spot, then off t' bed.
The world she turns from night t' day
The storm has purged itself away.

On Christmas morn the miner wakes
He checks his sock, his head he shakes.
He gives a sigh, he’s feelin’ poor,
And to his mine, un-bars the door

The storage room ain’t lookin’ fine,
A bruin’s there, he’s all supine. . .
If Santy Claus left him this brute,
Ol’ Santy thinks he’s mighty cute

Fer’ layin’ out this nasty gift,
That’s blockin’ up his minin’ drift!
Well, what t' do? Now that’s the trick
The miner’s thinkin’ mighty quick.

T' tippy-toe around that bear,
Well that would take the greatest care,
And if he slipped, or sneezed, or stomped
The miner’d get himself right chomped.

Then all at once he has a plan.
He spies himself a blastin’ can.
He twists some fuse and strikes a light,
He’ll do this job, and do ‘er right.

A lengthy roll toward the bear,
Then thunder happens everywhere!
Now Mr. Bear is wide-awake--
An exit hole he sure does make.

The bear he's gone, but that there blast
Set things in motion mighty fast.
The ground and hill began to quake,
The beams and posts began to shake.

That portal needed new, strong wood
(His Christmas morn weren’t lookin’ good).
“Aw Durn”, he cussed, “She’s gonna’ give.
There ain’t much chance I'm gonna' live.

But he was wrong, and when t'was done
A Christmas gift that miner'd won.
For near the portal, to the right
He saw himself a golden sight.

A vein of quartz all laced with gold
His wondering eyes did there behold.
And to his mind he knew this was
His real gift from Santy Claus!


SpruceFishing08064-1.jpg


Summer2008094.jpg


RockwallHill.jpg


MineHill.jpg


GoldinQuartz.jpg


1887flakeB-1-1.jpg


101_0059-1.jpg


101_0056-1.jpg


All the best,

Lanny

P.S. Here's some background info on what inspired me to write this poem--there's a Charles Russell (legendary Western artist and author) connection, as I believe the story I'll refer to in my following notes, lower down, is from one of his early collections:

This poem is a compilation of several different experiences--the one where the bear broke into the trailer (through the window) of some mining buddies of mine and drank all of their canned beer--got hammered--and then tore through the door when he came to and wanted out.

Another story is an experience from a very old western tale I read where two prospectors are lost in a blizzard on Christmas Eve, and their pack horses then stop in the trail, as they know there's a cabin just off the trail that their human companions can't sense or see. So, paying attention to the horses, the prospectors hole up in the cabin for the night, hang their stockings (a token Christmas celebration as they won't be making it to where the celebrations are going on), and they head off to sleep.

Well, in the back of the cabin (the tumbled-down part) there's a griz a hibernating. The big fire they've built in the rock fireplace awakens him (and the smell of the bacon they'd fried), and pretty soon there's a big bear right in the main room licking up their leavings by the fire. Well, hot lead starts flying thick and fast, the bear succumbs and becomes Christmas dinner, but after a feast, the boys decide to check out the fallen down part of the cabin where the griz was hibernating.

It turns out that way back there's a bunk under part of the roof where it's caved on one side, with the skeleton of an old-timer under it, all dressed out in buckskins, a flint-lock rifle laying beside him--a true old-timer--one of the first. So, that gets them thinking, and that thinking leads them to scour the ruined part of the cabin where they find a hiding place. In that place, there's a nice, fat poke of gold cached! (They gave the weight of the poke in the tale. It was most impressive, but I can't recall it right now.) So those two old boys got their visit from Santy Claus.



paperclip.png
Attached Thumbnails



All the best,

Lanny
 
Last edited:
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4

kazcoro

Hero Member
Feb 11, 2013
876
357
Glendale
Detector(s) used
Gold Bug Pro, Gold Buddy drywasher, Black Magic, Pro Gold recirc, Custom highbanker/2.5" dredge, Roadrunner Member
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
Those pictures are fantastic.
 
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #6
​A Visit From Old Nick



Out West there toils a man named Nick

That fills folks’ wishes purdy slick,
Yet only when they’ve done their best
Will Nick step in te do the rest . . .

So get yourself a comfy spot
For you’ll hear things, as like as not
Which may seem false or might seem true
But how you see it’s up to you.

* * * * *

A boy there is whose name is Pete,
His sister Sue is mighty sweet,
And yet their lives are far from fine
Their Ma and Pa are clothed in pine.

Pneu-mo-ni-a—it holds the blame,
So things will never be the same.
‘Cause, life is rough for orphaned youth
And that’s the cold hard, durn-ed truth.

But these two kids has Uncle Joe.
His ways are kind. His speech is slow.
His hands are big. He’s got huge feet.
His sense of humor’s never beat.

But loyal, Uncle Joe is most,
He’d take his licks and be a ghost
Before he’d ever break his vow
To see them kids raised-up somehow.

But—times is bad and mighty tough,
Depression woes have made things rough,
‘Cause things is hard in ‘33
And that’s a fact now, yes-sir-ee.

The jobs is gone, the banks ‘r broke
And findin’ cash, it ain’t no joke.
But Joe he plots himself a plan
To garner riches if he can . . .

He packs his gear to head out West
Where Argonauts once did their best
To wrest the wealth from nature’s hand;
To dig some gold, is what he’s planned.

So one spring day, he bids adieu
To little Pete and tiny Sue.
He packs his gear and strides away
Into the West, to find some pay—

To give those kids a decent shot
At food and clothes, and like as not
At books and school and learnin’ fun.
His quest for gold is number one.

He sets his pace to reach the land
Where noble nuggets have been panned.
Through untold miles he keeps his pace,
To reach the hills, that guard the place.

At last he spies the quested spot—
Those magic hills where Oro’s got.
But as he strolls those treasured creeks,
Joe finds he’s late by many weeks.

The news she’s bad, for times is tough
And many folks has got it rough.
The Sourdoughs feel bad for him,
They know Joe’s chance, she’s mighty slim.

His farmin’ skills won’t help him know
How far to dig, or where to go.
But Joe decides he’ll stay to mine,
To work for others will be fine.

He’ll work until he’s learned the tricks.
For once he’s learned, it always sticks.
So one fall day, he quits the creeks
To hike some slopes—for gold he seeks.

A bedrock rim crops from the hill
It lures him in and fires his will.
A cut is there from days gone by—
A tunnel black has caught his eye.

A drift he views from long ago
He ducks his head and shouts hello,
An echo greets him in a blink—
The air, she’s got a potent stink!

A cougar’s made her den in there
For bones is scattered everywhere
And cougars they’s a tough old lot
And fightin’ them gets mighty hot.

Undaunted though, Joe probes about
And finds the big cat’s ventured out.
Off to the left he spies a seam
And starts his miner’s diggin’ dream.

A month of dirt--he runs it through.
It’s mighty poor, that’s awful true.
Yet on he digs to test some more.
Them kids needs him, of that he’s sure.

The days is short, the weather’s cold
The sluices gripped in Jack Frost’s hold.
The Sourdoughs, they start to fret—
They pull their freight and out they get.



Well Joe, he’s now the only one
That’s diggin’ dirt fer Winter fun.
Yet what he’s gettin’ ain’t worth spit
Dejected now, he packs to quit.

His heart is heavy, that’s fer sure,
For tortured ways there ain’t no cure.
Them kids wuz sorely countin’ on
His help, but now that hope is gone.

Sweet Sue and Pete—no Christmas—none.
No clothes, no books or school’in fun . . .
But then at once, Joe hears a sound
Which makes him snap his head around.

Just up the creek there stands a sight!
A Sourdough with beard of white—
With cow-belled mules all fully packed.
And through the snow old Joe he's tracked.

He’s heard of Joe from those gone south,
(Rich gossip spread by word of mouth).
Of miner’s woes the news spreads quick,
He shakes Joe’s hand—his name is Nick.

Old Nick he tells a tale or two
Of how things wuz in ’62,
Of how he struck it rich those days,
Then left for Frisco’s finer ways.

But now Nick’s bored from sittin’ there
In all that balmy ocean air,
His life’s gone soft with wine and song—
Not bein’ here, it seems all wrong.

Imagine Nick’s complete surprise,
When up the hill he looks and spies
That Joe’s been diggin’ in his drift!
His bushy brows give quite the lift.

Nick scrambles up to check his mine
And then his eyes begin to shine.
He says to Joe, “Now here’s a sight.
You took a left instead of right.

The clay that’s blue, she marks the way
That maps the seam where lies the pay.
And here’s a truth that must be told,
It leads the way to sassy gold.”



Old Nick and Joe worked day and night
And chased blue clay off to the right.
At last they found a seam of pay
Where fines, and flakes, and nuggets lay.

Well Joe, he hollered, hooped and cried
And Nick he grinned a mile wide!
When Joe he turned to thank Old Nick,
Old Nick had pulled a clever trick—

He’d up and vanished without trace!
No tracks or mules any place.
No trails through the virgin snow.
No camp of Nick’s just down below.




* * * * * *

The Argonauts, when tales are told,
Recount of Nick from days of old,
Who lost his life in ’62,
While minin’ seams with clays of blue.

Out West there toils a man named Nick
That fills folks’ wishes purdy slick,
Yet only when they’ve done their best
Will Nick step in te do the rest . . .

All the best,

Lanny


Summer2008095.jpg


SpruceFishing08060.jpg


BabyhorsegreenfieldsEchoMilitarySkeetShoot184.jpg
 
Last edited:

Hoser John

Gold Member
Mar 22, 2003
5,854
6,711
Redding,Calif.
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
:icon_thumright: I love it when ya get them creative juices a flowing Lanny. Thanx much for the great thread and truly hope your 2014 is righteously golden in Free Canada-respect-John :headbang:
 

Goodyguy

Gold Member
Mar 10, 2007
6,485
6,842
Arizona
Detector(s) used
Whites TM 808, Whites GMT, Tesoro Lobo Super Traq, Fisher Gold Bug 2, Suction Dredges, Trommels, Gold Vacs, High Bankers, Fluid bed Gold Traps, Rock Crushers, Sluices, Dry Washers, Miller Tables, Rp4
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting

Jeff95531

Silver Member
Feb 10, 2013
2,625
4,094
Deep in the redwoods of the TRUE Northern CA
Detector(s) used
Teknetics Alpha 2000
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
When I was just a kid, up in the mining ghost town of Warren ID, my folks knew two loggers named Stan and Ernie. They both had very low "bass" tone voices and when liquored up properly, would leave us spell bound with renditions. I actually found one of them on line just now...here it is.
(Thanks Lanny:icon_thumright:)


The Cremation of Sam Mcgee

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that he'd "sooner live in hell".
On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.
And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."
Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead -- it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."
A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.
There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."
Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows -- O God! how I loathed the thing.
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.
Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May".
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here", said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."
Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared -- such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.
Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.
I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked";. . . then the door I opened wide.
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm --
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
 

fowledup

Silver Member
Jul 21, 2013
2,757
5,162
Northern California
Detector(s) used
Whites GMT V/SAT
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
Lanny reminds me of a modern day Robert Service. The shooting of Dan McGrew is another Service favorite. I think I've said something of this before, but there used to be an awesome place to go outside of Fairbanks, at Ester gold camp called The Malamute Saloon. Sawdust a d peanut shell floors, swinging doors, the original bar and bar back from the Malamute Saloon in Dawson. Really cool place, they had a guy with this booming bass voice recite service poems, and they performed period skits.
 

Jeff95531

Silver Member
Feb 10, 2013
2,625
4,094
Deep in the redwoods of the TRUE Northern CA
Detector(s) used
Teknetics Alpha 2000
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
YES! The shooting of Dan McGrew was another one! I didn't post it because I wasn't sure if I found it...didn't remember the words exactly. It's only been 50 years since I heard it.:laughing7:
TYVM for the name fowledup...I'll google Robert Service later:icon_thumleft:
PS Even tho I never made it to Fairbanks...I did get the Tee shirt from The Malamute Saloon8-)
 
Last edited:
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #12
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #13
:icon_thumright: I love it when ya get them creative juices a flowing Lanny. Thanx much for the great thread and truly hope your 2014 is righteously golden in Free Canada-respect-John :headbang:

Thanks so much John. I hope you have a great 2014 as well!

All the best,

Lanny
 
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #14
Last edited:
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #15
Lanny reminds me of a modern day Robert Service. The shooting of Dan McGrew is another Service favorite. I think I've said something of this before, but there used to be an awesome place to go outside of Fairbanks, at Ester gold camp called The Malamute Saloon. Sawdust a d peanut shell floors, swinging doors, the original bar and bar back from the Malamute Saloon in Dawson. Really cool place, they had a guy with this booming bass voice recite service poems, and they performed period skits.

Thanks for your nice, solid compliment, and thanks for the extra information--very interesting.

All the best,

Lanny
 
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #16
Jeff--thanks for posting that perpetual classic! Nice find.

All the best,

Lanny
 
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #17
I posted this a while back on another forum--the link is now inactive.



Gettin’ High On Placer Diggin’s

(I have taken some liberties in enhancing some details of this adventure, but I have not exaggerated any of the facts about the gold.)

Sorry in advance to those of you into illegal substances, or those of you hardy enough to have actually smoked gold, or ground it finely enough to inject, or snort it, because this tale does not deal with banned chemicals or hallucinogenic substances. (Except I do think I have hallucinated while dreaming about gold in the past, that is, when the fever's bad.) However, the effects of this prospecting tale are nonetheless mind-altering, not without risk, and perhaps worthy of reflection.

One summer, when the snows had melted and the rivers had receded to make the trip possible, I headed up North to the gold fields. Up north means a sixteen hour drive (north and west) from my home. Why drive sixteen hours when there are other gold fields much closer?

Well, far less people that’s why. In fact, where the pay dirt hides out there's less than thirty souls.
Furthermore, it’s true that some of the local boys dig test-pits dug right in their front yards (where they run little sluices and get good, coarse gold), because the yards around their cabins hold good pay!

But, I digress again, and as you'll see, I'm pretty good at digressing.

So, on with the story. Anyway, less people is good, but the bugs? Bad! There are tens of millions of nasty blood-sucking bugs that fly!! You really can't hide or outrun them. In comparison, the bears are less of a concern, mainly because they can’t fly. (Wouldn't that be something? A flying Grizzly?!) But, because the bears are huge, smelly, and can be mighty cranky (sounds like a prospecting buddy I once had, or maybe he was saying that about me?), they deserve honorable mention and respect.

To return to my story, the gold field's location is in low mountains with lots of streams, thick northern boreal forests of pine and fir cover them, swamps abound, and mounds of glacial till are everywhere. Moreover, as some of the ancient glaciers were miles thick, when they melted they generated numerous rivers, so some placer pits contain seven or eight various stream deposits that intersect and overlap each other, thus the different stratigraphic levels. To complicate things, the glaciers wrecked the natural watercourses by dramatically changing the watershed's orientation, often stranding streams far above those of the present day, and that takes me to my story.

Picture this, I was sitting near the wash plant one day fixing a broken six-inch pump when I saw something across the river up on the opposite slope. A line of boulders and river rock ran along the side of the mountain. That line indicated an ancient riverbed perched atop the bedrock, about sixty feet above the modern-day stream. Clearly, sections of that high channel had sloughed off. So, I scanned the hillside with my binoculars to gather more information, and found that the channel rested on a bedrock rim, covered with eighty or so feet of boulder clay, further capped with thick forest. All at once, my pea-sized brain was hammered by a giant, golden brainwave . . . I must sample that channel! No argument or thought of personal safety holds me back if there's a shot at some gold! Fever fired my resolve.

I grabbed my five-gallon (20-liter) plastic pail, shovel, pry/digging bar, and a small sledge, items that all fit handily inside. Next, I shouldered into my prospecting backpack. (I keep all of my essentials in the backpack for easy transport. Nonetheless, when fully loaded, it weighs just a tad under a fully loaded B-52 bomber.) But rather than worry about gear in my backpack, I should have packed a back-up brain in it instead. It could have saved me a lot of trouble.

So, all packed up, I headed over to the river. Now, in Canada, even in mid-summer (which it was), the rivers that far north in B.C. NEVER get warm. In fact, if you dunk your head, you get an instant case of brain-freeze on steroids! Nevertheless, I had the clever idea I'd delicately pick my way across the stream in my rubber boots, hopping lightly from rock to rock, almost ballet-like. I danced across, losing more control with every step, until I put all my weight on a nice slippery cobble, and then prospector, pail, and pack plunged below the surface. (Any comments uttered after surfacing will be kept under publication ban to protect the innocent.)

Now that I was wet and cold, I enjoyed the rest of the crossing (which is a big lie). I felt somewhat refreshed (another lie) after dragging my cold, soggy carcass out of the water. On a brighter note, after dumping eighty or so pounds of ice water from each boot, it was way easier to walk, soggy socks aside.

Working my way up the bank, I hit a new obstacle. Boulder clay, the stuff I mentioned earlier, is a nasty mixture of tan to yellow clay and boulders the glaciers dumped wherever they wanted. It sloughs down hillsides when it's wet, then hardens into bomb-proof bunker concrete, though it's not quite as soft. Moreover, getting a toehold on that obnoxious stuff is the devil. Regardless, I cut steps into it with my shovel. Working a third of the distance upslope, I wound up in a wash filled with massive cobbles dropped from the channel and boulder clay above. The wash included a nest of ill-tempered branches and larger limbs as well. Regardless of my still squishy boots, I made it through while avoiding Mother Nature’s hazards and random obstacles. So, I continued upslope and worked my way into some pines. At that elevation, the smell of the pines is a wondrous thing; it's a smell I'll always associate with chasing the gold and the freedom to do so.

At last, I hit the high placer diggin's and started to work. (A little description here: I must say it's tricky to perch one rubber boot on a three-inch ledge of bedrock, while the the other boot powers the shovel as everything is kept balanced, with the pick and bar manipulated to carve three feet into the face of the boulder clay, while uncovering the unpredictable contours of the bedrock rim.)

My work exposed the top of the black slate rim at the bottom of that high channel. Pulling my sniping tools from my backpack, I cleaned every little crevice, pothole, and cranny in the slate. Then finding some promising oxidized dirt, I placed it in my bucket as well.
Being a long haul back down to the river, and as I had no desire to repeat it, I loaded that bucket as heavy as I could to make that one trip worth my time. So, with the bucket full, I gathered all my stuff and turned around. Instantly, I realized something shocking; that slope was a lot steeper now that I was facing a trip back down it! How the heck had I even got up there? Had an anti-gravity time warp transported me or something?

Well, we all know it wasn't any effect of anti-gravity or worm-hole travel, just caused by some moron that got himself into a place no sane person ever would. To get myself into such fixes, I somehow deny the laws of physics, probability, etc. so I believe I defeat them when I'm gold crazy. I carry on happily until I realize too late what I've done. However, one law never surrenders to my delusions, and that law, as we shall see, is the iron-bound law of gravity!

Well, I was faced with a problem. I had to go down, no option, because I couldn't go up a vertical wall of boulder clay no matter how high I was on the effects of prospecting. So, I took the first step down. (This in spite of my brain trying too late to warn me of something. Come to think of it, I often override my brain's warnings while chasing the gold.)



The first step really wasn't that bad. I just leaned into the hill and put all of my weight on a squishy boot heel. Miraculously, it stuck, and the eight-thousand pound bucket of gravel and I took another step forward. (Could it be that the bucket was so heavy because of its high gold content? Or, was I just an idiot that had severely overloaded it?)

I kept at it, leaning and stepping, and soon found myself in the branches and cobbles that littered the gulch. I took several more steps but then a root or a branch snagged my boot. Well, that bucket just kicked out in front of me like it was rocket-boosted. Now, Sir Isaac Newton sure was right about gravity—his law grabbed me right then and there, all at about twice the speed of light.

Immediately my brain switched to salvation mode as I flung myself backward as hard as I could, yanking the bucket towards me.

However, the problem was, my feet no longer cared having already chosen to head down the mountain. My clumsy attempts at correction and salvation only magnified the effects of gravity by hurrying my feet on their way.

When viewed from the other side of the canyon, it must have looked as if someone had shot and wounded a strange forest creature up on my side of the slope: some ugly beast, a raging bull-moose perhaps, or other smelly, obnoxious critter (a classification I easily qualify for after spending three glorious weeks in the bush!). It probably looked as if some tortured victim, the last of its death-throes a hopeless attempt, was hurtling down the slope to certain and speedy destruction.

The real truth, however, is that instead of being out of control, I was magnificently in control--most supremely so in fact. In spite of my rubber boots throwing off more smoke than an Alaskan smudge fire, it was only my clever attempt to keep the bugs at bay, so I kept the smoke pouring from those hot boots while I then chose to find my brakes among the boulders. As a side note, the fact that the three spare gold pans in my backpack were absorbing more shock than a crash-test-dummy at mach-five was only a minor annoyance. Bashing off the face of the boulder clay was only a slight test of my prospecting mettle, so to speak.

At last, still breathing (though hot and ragged breaths those breaths were), I came to a sudden stop. Some friendly tree branches gracefully halted my ballet-like plunge. (It's rumored a Russian judge gave me a 9!)

Now, for those with a sense of the divine in nature, this was the perfect moment. The moment that finds the human at one with the mountain (and miraculously still alive). However, more remarkable than my survival was that none of the dirt had spilled from my bucket! Yes, that is the wonder in this high placer tale—not a stone was lost from the bucket, not a single grain of sand!

Nevertheless, somehow I rearranged my joints to make them work again, more or less; the pain was less than severe, more or less. However, with renewed confidence and something like desperation to make it back to camp alive, I was on my way once again. The only obstacle remaining was the sullen boulder clay.

At some point, you'd think the brain would revolt, refusing to power the major muscles in a descent like this after such a close call where the whole body has just faced imminent extinction at the hands of an ambitious idiot bent on sampling something so unfathomable as a bucket of dirt! But no, the brain can always be overridden! I've located the master switch to disarm it. I've used it many times, yet somehow still I live to tell this tale. (This is proof that life is full of mysteries, not easily solved by rational thought, or predictable theories.)

At any rate, about a dozen steps down, the clay remembered one of its admirable qualities, the slicker than greased Teflon one, and off I went again. This time it was only a playful smashing, with the odd bone-jarring bash thrown in for variety. It lasted for a mere twenty or so feet, then I came to a feather-like stop on the gravel below, the contents of the bucket still undisturbed.

Regardless, after I'd picked a pan full of golf ball-sized gravel out of my mouth, pushed several teeth back into their sockets, and replaced my left eyeball, I took a bit of time to check the bony protrusion between my shoulders to see what it was. Finding that it was my neck, and finding that it was still attached to my head, it was off to the river to pan the dirt!

Three flakes, in five gallons. . . . You can't make this stuff up!

I guess there's a lesson to be learned here, but far be it from me to get preachy, or to force my hard-earned wisdom on any of you. I'll let you figure out the drug-induced mysteries of this tale all on your own.

All the best,

Lanny
 
Last edited:

Jeff95531

Silver Member
Feb 10, 2013
2,625
4,094
Deep in the redwoods of the TRUE Northern CA
Detector(s) used
Teknetics Alpha 2000
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
I waited till I could give your story the time I knew it would deserve. It made me feel much better for getting my 2.5 flakes from 2.5 gallons as I didn't work nearly as hard as you did. The moral as I see it?

Sometimes we get punished for not learning better...like my affliction with waterfalls.

Great story Lanny, tyvm!
 
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #19
I waited till I could give your story the time I knew it would deserve. It made me feel much better for getting my 2.5 flakes from 2.5 gallons as I didn't work nearly as hard as you did. The moral as I see it?

Sometimes we get punished for not learning better...like my affliction with waterfalls.

Great story Lanny, tyvm!

No lessons greater than the ones Mother Nature teaches when I'm out chasing the gold.

What's your story with waterfalls? You've got me interested. . . .

All the best,

Lanny
 
OP
Lanny in AB

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,582
6,151
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #20
(Alder Gulch, Virginia City Montana is where I first got bit! I wrote these lines in memory of that fateful day.)

The Alder Gulch Virus

In days gone by, when just a lad
My sister’s spouse did somethin' bad.
A ghost town visit he had planned
A golden flame in me it fanned.

The rocker boxes sit there still,
With flumes and sluices on the hill.
The Gurdy girls don't dance no more,
The Sourdoughs are gone for sure.

The gamblin' joints don't roar at all
The Red Light district's lost its call
The liquor's gone, the men no more
That chased the gold in '64.

In old Montanny, land of dreams
The gold lay thick in Alder's streams,
Virginia City was the spot
Where Plummer's gang the miners shot!

But in that gulch of golden fame,
A virus got me just the same,
An illness wormed into my brain,
A yellow fevered nugget pain.

A bug sure bit me on that day,
My blood's infected, that I'll say!
It ain’t no good to take a pill,
There ain't no cure for this here ill.

What ill is that, I hear you say,
That addles brains in such a way?
Why—fever golden, through and through!
'The strongest ill I ever knew.

I’ve tried to kick it, ain't no fun
The golden fever's always won.
It’s always there, a constant friend,
It haunts my minin' to no end,

It's with me always, on the slopes,
That golden promise full of hopes.
A double curse this blasted plague,
Of that I'm certain, never vague.

Why should I cure it? Shucks to heck,
There’s tougher ways to stretch one’s neck!
Like booze and parties, speed and weed;
There’s gamblin', robbin', pride and greed.

Well durn it all, I’ve thought about
Until I’ve figured this all out.
It ain’t the gold that's got me hooked
It’s chasin' it that’s got me cooked!

All the best,

Lanny

As this place holds a special spot in my gold minin' heart, here's a couple of videos of Virginia City, Montana. Have a look around.
:icon_thumright:





 
Last edited:

Top Member Reactions

Users who are viewing this thread

Steve's Detector Rods
Top