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Mgusto4north

Spring Trip To Petersville Rec Area

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Though this is my 1st post, I would like to take a moment to thank many people for posting stories and info.  I have followed many of your stories for years (Steve H., Geowizard, Chickenminer, Leonard, Reno Chris, Manvsgold and many more).  If you hadn't taken the time to write or post videos, I would not have learned so much!

I live in Minnesota and have made annual trips to Alaska for more than 18 years now (unfortunately, these have been only 2 weeks in length).  You would think I'd have moved there by now but certain circumstances can keep us from our dreams.  

The trip started out with me arriving in Anchorage on May 19 and then flying to Homer where I keep my truck and boat.  I had purchased a used 5" Keene (3-stage w/air) from a you fellow living near Fairbanks.  It was a long drive and even though I always feel in a hurry, I stopped at Hurricane gulch, venturing to the bottom with my pan and shovel.  I think I have read Wendt's book "Where to find gold in Alaska without getting shot" about a dozen times over the years so I was eager to check it out since he gives it a fairly high rating.  Lots of big boulders and exposed bedrock and the occasional snow bank. I spent about 1.5 hrs sampling here and there within the road right of way and only manage to find a few colors.  I figured the ascent would only take about an hour as the descent took all of about 10 minutes.  At 46 years of age I consider myself to be in good physical condition.  However, I under calculated the incline and think it took nearly an hour and a half.  Making the mistake of accidentally grabbing a handful of Devils club did cost about 10 minutes (to remove said prickers from ones hand).  Once I was just about to the top I came across a small opening where there were 2 hunters (checking their bear bait) both had drawn their side arms, thinking I was a bear. Thank fully they re-holstered their guns once they saw me and a friendly conversation perspired . Pheww! so much for the title of Mr. Wendt's book!  I made it up to Fairbanks and managed to shoe-horn the 5" dredge into the back of my suburban and anxiously return back towards Anchorage where I picked up my son from the airport.  I also stopped by AMDS to see if by chance they had a T-80 crank shaft in stock (the air compressor was not pumping air and upon dis-assembly found the eccentric bearing had worn and wrecked the shaft).  AMDS could order one but I passed since I was only in AK for 1.5 weeks.  We headed out to Petersville utilizing 4 wheel drive frequently and finally made it at about 10pm.  Most people would have gone to bed, but I was set on making good use of my vacation (yes, I typically rest when I get back from my AK trips due to over doing it-this trip was to be No Exception!).  Piecing the dredge back together fulling both engines with gas, I had to put 2 hours in before I decided it was a good idea to get some rest (I was really the fact that it started getting dark, that caused me to shut down).  Boy, compared to my 2.5 Keene, this 5" with 2 P-180s with suck the glove right off my dry suit.  It was a struggle with out air as I couldn't avoid sucking up the big rocks, which wouldn't even fit in the nozzle but required arm wrestling to remove (Yes, I know they make rubber flapper nozzles just for this, but some thing to buy later).  I estimate that my production was reduced by 20% just from the lost time of removing the rock jams (need to weld reduced ring around the nozzle).  To be continued.

Geowizard likes this

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Now is the time to pursue your dreams. The time will come when it just isn't as possible as it once was. I getting ready to quit dredging as I will soon be 71 and it just isn't as much fun as it once was. What I do have though is hundreds of hours of video and thousands of pictures. I had my time and it was great. Now I really enjoy sitting around home with the wife.

Leonard

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It is an honor to have you reply Leonard, I have seen some of your videos and enjoyed many of your stories. I hope that you have many more adventures to come. 

After getting some sleep, I decided to do a clean out on the 2 hr run to see if the ground I had pre-sampled was adding up.  With the assistance of the desert fox, I separated out much of the gold (still have a few ziplock bags of concentrates in garage).  It came to just over 1.5 pennyweights.

 

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Not too bad considering that I wasn't able to use my full face dive mask (no air) and was basically long arming the nozzle.  I must have spent atleast 20% of my time removing rocks from the nozzle and clearing rock jams.  I suspect a lot of this would have been avoided had I been able to see and move the rocks before they entered the nozzle by actually being under water.  Plus, as you all know, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to remove the jams. 

I slipped into my drysuit with renewed sense and got back to work.  I put in 8 hours, dringking 1 whole gallon of lemonade between the rock jams.  I sat down next to the dredge and inspected the 1st stage to see some nice little fines looking back at me.  It took a while to muster up the energy to walk the very short distance to the truck.  needless to say, it took a while to get out of the drysuit, but i felt much better as we had some supper.  The next day I awoke and decided I needed to take a break from dredging and do some hiking.  I had looked over google earth many times about getting further up cottonwood creek.  Due to there being too much snow on the road, it wasn't possible to drive the truck in.  We ventured up several feeder streams to see if there was any large scale activities going on with the hopes of getting permission to do a little panning.  we ended up putting in a little over 12 miles round trip.  It was neat to see the large scale equipment that was set up in a couple of areas.  Being the mechanical type I had to study it more with dreams of someday having a big operation.  It was pretty much raining all day so it was nice to finally get back to camp.

The next morning I let my 18 year old son run the dredge so I could self-promote to supervisor.  A couple of hours of smiling and wrestling the rocks and he was ready for luch.  It was still raining and had rained all night.  as we ater our lunch I was worring about the road conditions and if we would be able to make it out.  So we decided to pack up the dredge and head out.  Sure enough, the road conditions were somewhat worse.  Just a few miles shy of making to he fork in the road, were meet the worst section stopping to get out and walk through a plan of action.  I knew we needed to carry some speed to make it through until I hit a few bigger bumps and slowed down.  While, to make a long story short, the front wheels made it to good ground but the back wheels were burined.  Luckily, there was abottom to the mud (which is very different from the mud here in Minnesota).  We persisted with the shoveling and rocking techniques finally getting out.  It was a good upper body workout with the truck now fully camouflaged with mud.  There rest of the road was in pretty good condition. 

I look forward to getting back there again next year and enjoyed the awesome views.  We went through the concentrates and did pretty good.  The approximate 12 hours of nozzle time yielded 0.37 ozt.

Here is a picture of the Petersville, Ak gold.  The camera makes it look more chunkier than it really was, but forme, it was still awesome.

 

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Clay likes this

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Thanks for the compliment Geowizard.  From your website (and Alaska Mapper), I can see you are a very busy person.  I don't know where you find the time to write so much, but it speaks volumes of your good character (so that others can enjoy and maybe even learn).  Your posts on the mine at Ophir are very interesting and provoke much thought (and spreadsheet analysis :) )!

Keep the rocks moving and hope you find another Nugget Patch,

Mike

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Thanks for the positive feed back Gold Seeker.  Writing doesn't come so easy for me, but I have been inspired by others' stories and hope that may I can do the same from time to time.

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Hi Chris!  Wish I had a fraction of your knowledge when it comes to mining.  Thanks for the compliment.  I guess Lady gaga lives for the applause but I sure do live for the adventure!  

 

I spent 4 days sampling last year with just a sluice box.  There was a small area that calculated out to about 0.01 ozt/yard.  Now keep in mind I was using a 5" Keene dredge rated at 10 yds/hr.  Hmmm!  I am not sure where they get this rate from, maybe if it was sand which was loosened with a rotor tiller and and no big rocks-lol. I would speculate that I may have been running more like 4 maybe 5 yds per hour.  So this is roughly around 48 yds processed which should of yielded closer to half an ozt.  But I suspect my production rate was lower and there are so many factors that can cause error in sampling.  I did use a calibrated enclosed scale to try and minimize measurement error (fringe benefits from where I work).    

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Hi Geowizard,

I plagiarized you 5 gallon bucket sampling idea a few years back from your older posting or the Alaska forum can remember (Please forgive me-kudos to you).  It is a great way to caluculate yardage for sampling.  I only used one 5 gallon bucket (which increases sampling error).  Due to the fast current, it takes a while to fill a 5 gallon bucket, shovel maybe even provides a little sluicing action while under water-adding possible error.  

 

As with any statistical analysis, increasing your sample size, improves your representation of the population being sampled.  Here is a picture of me running the dredge at the Petersville, AK Recreational site

 

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Hey Chuck,

You crack me up! Ya, a neoprene exoskeleton isn't like the suits from the "Iron Man" movies.  I have never run a 6" but the 5 does have great suction. I chased down stream several times to recover my left snap-in-place drysuit glove, filling my left arm with unmistakable glacier run off in the process.  keeps one feeling alive!

 

One could burry the nozzle and keep it burried but the sluice starts to quickly load up.  Running it at 1/3 throttles still created great suction and also helped keep the nozzle from eating the next 5.001" rock! 

 

I had originally planned to get a 4" but got a good deal on this 5".  When I finally got it loaded in the suburban, I kind a wondered what I might have gotten my self in for (see attached picture).

 

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