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Last Summer in Alaska


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#1 Reno Chris

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 10:19 AM

Last summer I spent an amazing 3 weeks with Steve Herschbach and George White in a remote part of Alaska. Access was limited - we had to fly in on a little plane. Still it was an amazing experience and a time I will always remember.

 

Are any of you headed to Alaska this coming summer?

 

 

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Reno Chris

"So I learned then, once for all, that gold in its native state is but dull, unornamental stuff, and that only low-born metals excite admiration with an ostentatious glitter. However, like the rest of the world, I still go on underrating men of gold and glorifying men of mica. Commonplace human nature cannot rise above that." -- Mark Twain


#2 Guest_flintgreasewood_*

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 08:25 AM

Chris,

   My wife and I are chomping at the bit to be on our way back to the Fairbanks area to resume working our underground permafrost placer prospect.

Spring is coming very slowly up there and we don't want to jump the gun [not sure if that's an acceptable term] and find a frozen, snow covered work site [we're old and a bit wussy], so we're going to shoot for [oh, that's not p.c.]...how 'bout..aim for... that's not good either...Hells bells..we're going to leave end of April from our equally frozen, snowy home at 10,350' in the Colorado Rockies and arrive early May.  With the help of my partner, Driftminer Doug Sherrer, we're going to steam pay gravel at two different locations on our claims.  The one site is about 60' to bed rock and the smaller prospect is probably about 30' [still deicing the old shaft so I don't know the exact depth].  We'll be posting photos and videos of the progress during the mining season.  Stay tuned.  Flint



#3 Reno Chris

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:48 PM

What do you use for the fuel to generate the steam for melting? Wood?


Reno Chris

"So I learned then, once for all, that gold in its native state is but dull, unornamental stuff, and that only low-born metals excite admiration with an ostentatious glitter. However, like the rest of the world, I still go on underrating men of gold and glorifying men of mica. Commonplace human nature cannot rise above that." -- Mark Twain


#4 Guest_flintgreasewood_*

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 09:27 PM

Chris,

    As it stands now, we use diesel to fire a burner that heats a "hotsy" type coil.  The plan is to convert to a waste oil system as soon as possible.  Which reminds me, I need to order a waste oil nozzle.  Thanks for jogging my memory. :)



#5 Reno Chris

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:17 AM

Sounds interesting. I hope you will share some of that experience with us after you get up there.


Reno Chris

"So I learned then, once for all, that gold in its native state is but dull, unornamental stuff, and that only low-born metals excite admiration with an ostentatious glitter. However, like the rest of the world, I still go on underrating men of gold and glorifying men of mica. Commonplace human nature cannot rise above that." -- Mark Twain


#6 Guest_flintgreasewood_*

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 09:47 AM

I plan to do detailed documentation of the whole operation. My little GoPro camera will be with me constantly...like on Gold Rush.  My wife will be blogging it too.  I should mention too, that I have all the old drift mining hoisting machinery to some day put back into operation on our claim.  That includes steam boiler, one lung engine, drum hoist, and self dumping bucket carrier.  Actually, the boiler is shot as is the dump bucket, but there are good old boilers still out there and I can salvage a good bit of the heavier steel from the bucket and rivet it to new plate.  That's when I have lots of time on my hands...ha!



#7 chickenminer

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:20 PM

Kurt...

   I'm going to be real curious how your operation progresses over the summer. I realise it gets hard to take the time when

summer rolls around, but boy would love to see some videos posted!

 Best of luck to you guys!


Dick Hammond
Stonehouse Mining
Chicken, Alaska
http://www.chickenminer.com

#8 Guest_flintgreasewood_*

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:23 PM

Dick,

   Actually, the videography stuff is important and enjoyable enough for me to take time to do it.  Also it makes me take breaks.  Ask about anyone who knows me and they'll tell you, if someone or something doesn't stop me or slow me down, I'll work myself to death.

  It's kinda funny...I've built and am building steaming equipment, I've researched and written about my plans for doing it, and yet I've not done it, nor have I ever even seen it done.  I know I'll be in for some big surprises, headaches and frustrations when I finally get to doing it.  Fortunately, I have the foremost authority on steaming, Doug Sherrer, to guide me through the mine fields.  Keep me safe, LORD!



#9 Steve Herschbach

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 08:19 PM

You guys are amazing. How many people still drift mine in Alaska? Two?

Hey Chris, any drifting going on in California these days?

#10 Reno Chris

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 08:31 PM

Don Robinson, who often writes for ICMJ, has a drift mine that is in volcanic rock and not yet back into the gravels yet. I also know of one that is WNW of Omega. Perhaps we will go vist sometime.

There are loads of untouched channel, but for the most part, drift mining in CA is a large scale and expensive operation.


Reno Chris

"So I learned then, once for all, that gold in its native state is but dull, unornamental stuff, and that only low-born metals excite admiration with an ostentatious glitter. However, like the rest of the world, I still go on underrating men of gold and glorifying men of mica. Commonplace human nature cannot rise above that." -- Mark Twain


#11 Guest_flintgreasewood_*

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:32 AM

Steve,

   I'm pursuing the drifting method for two reasons.  I can't financially afford any other way to mine...at this point.  But I'm also a guy stuck in the past.  I have nothing but reverence and awe for the old miners and their ways of getting to the gold or whatever else they were mining.  I'm also about adventure.

I'm a dreamer and an eternal optimist who believes I can recreate the old ways..with a little help from modern technology...and be successful in my endeavors.  The day I quit dreaming and pushing the edge is the day God can take me home.



#12 Steve Herschbach

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:59 PM

Well Kurt, I think it is just awesome. What blows me away is Doug at it all these years. He was the man all the way back in 1984.

 

http://www.dggs.alas.../nl1984_001.pdf



#13 Guest_flintgreasewood_*

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 07:26 PM

Thanks for the affirmation, Steve.  One of the things about Alaska that I love is that there are men and women around every black spruce doing "awesome" things.  Even "ordinary" jobs often take on almost epic proportions and qualities due to the harshness of the environment and the complexity of the logistics.  You know that well with Moore Creek and Doug the same with Boob Creek.  I've got it easy where I am...close to the highway and town, no bears and few mosquitoes to bother me.  If I need a part bad and I can be gone and back on site in less than 2 hours.  Yet, when I'm down in the creek bottom shoveling gravel into my wash plant, I feel like I'm 100 miles out in the bush.  Still and all I intend to earn my stripes and try to have some fun while doing it.



#14 Ronald C

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:29 AM

I am getting back to Alaska this summer after missing out last year due to too many obligations and needing to build a hovercraft. Set for this year so I will be on the 40 mile for 5-6 weeks. Not long enough though.  :)



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Posted 29 March 2013 - 05:15 PM

Ronald,

    Have photos of your hovercraft?  Before I first went to Alaska, I had hopes and dreams of building a hovercraft.  I even bought a copy of Wes Devore's dvd of building and operating his monster hoverdredge on the 40mile.  If I had $40K I'd buy it.  Good luck to you this summer and keep us posted on your adventure.



#16 Ronald C

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 10:33 AM

I will put some here as soon as the lakes melt. It's in my friends barn. It is a sevtec vanguard. Much less to build then the one you looked at. They have pictures at sevteckits.com (hope that is ok to mention here).  It was not too hard. My son did the welding. I will take a lot of pictures this year.

Ron



#17 Glen Oates

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 08:25 AM

I think that my plans echo some of Steve's.  Different sequence though.  Evaluate claims in Bettles to find out how far downstream the deposit goes.  Acquired another 2 1/2 miles of claims on the 40 Mile.  Got a twin-engine 10" dredge nearly completed, but dunno if it will go to 40 Mile or to Nome.  Went into new ground south of Faribanks and did some winter staking of ground that we explored last summer.  Still not thawed completely from that one.

 

Like Ron, I have a Sevtec started in the shop.  After building the first one, the next one only takes a couple of weeks to complete.  Might be cheaper this time to buy another one already on location.  I am hoping for a low-water year on the 40 Mile this season.  Not much snowpack there last time that I looked.



#18 Steve Herschbach

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 10:29 AM

HI Glen,

 

I am sure a lot of people would like to see it not rain all summer this year. The last couple summers have been cold and wet for sure. Off to a weird start again though. Lots of fresh snow and 10 degrees at my house in Anchorage this morning. There should be green grass in my yard!



#19 chickenminer

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 09:33 PM

  I am hoping for a low-water year on the 40 Mile this season.  Not much snowpack there last time that I looked.

 

Glen,

  Don't hold your breath!  We had above normal snowfall at 42" this winter. Plus, a sloooow cold Spring so far.

In fact, not much indication of any Spring yet except for longer daylight hours. -20F last night once again!


Dick Hammond
Stonehouse Mining
Chicken, Alaska
http://www.chickenminer.com

#20 Glen Oates

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:42 AM

Definitely NOT what I was hoping to hear Dick. I am worried that we will have a repeat of the last 3 years.

If it does, at least I have somewhere else to prospect now. But it hurts having all that money tied up in fuel and equipment that is sitting idle.




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