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steve62

Who Got All The Gold ?

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It must be just about time to Report in for those working further North. So how did you all go ? We are all interested in hearing some Summer stories. Nobody of course want's to give up too much info. but I'll start off by saying that I had a really tough Summer. I got some color where I thought I wouldn't get anything and I got nothing where I thought I would definitely get something. Just goes to show that the Gold doesn't always like to co-operate, no matter how much we think we know about it.

 

The usual challenges were there. Lot's of rain, muddy Trails and luckily only one Bear that disappeared  quicker than I could draw the peacemaker. High water in the Rivers, digging through 6ft. of Clay, getting bogged etc. was all part of the fun. Roll on next Season.              

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Steve,

   Though I posted prolifically on our summer's efforts, you've prompted me to do a recap for those who don't want to wade through the entire thread.

   We knew there was still a lot of snow around Fairbanks in May, but I just couldn't wait any longer so we left Colorado for the 3000 mile drive up to the claims.  I had to snowshoe in pulling sleds for the first week or so till I had the use of the Bravo snow machine.  By the time I got all our stuff unburried and set up, the snow was melting fast and water was everywhere.  I was able to resume jackhammering and hoisting ice out of the small prospect shaft in which I was down only 15'.  I made good progress expecting to hit bed rock within a few more feet.  But then it was 30' and then 35' and hoisting by hand became too strenuous.

I put a small Superwinch to work with a control switch down in the shaft so I could raise, dump and lower the bucket without help from up top.  My partner got the steam equipment moved in and operational so we gave me and my jackhammer a rest and thawed out the ice.  The steam point hit mud at 37' and we were happy to know we finally hit bottom.  Or so we thought.  I still had to get down with my jackhammer and bust up the ice that didn't get melted and in doing so ran into a large chunk of frozen muck.   At some point in the long history of the shaft the muck had sluffed off and was encased in ice.  Doug's point had hit that chunk and we were fooled. 

    The deeper I went, the more difficult it was to remove seep water as well as ice.  I was unsuccessful in trying to get a deep well submersible pump to work so we reverted to pumping up to a hanging 1/2 barrel and then the remainder of the way to the top with another submersible.  I also had to keep adding ladder sections and when I ran out of aluminum ones, we made them out of wood, one of spruce poles and another of 2x4's.  From day one I had been assembling a hydraulic system to operate a Pullmaster hoist.  The hoist was old and worn out and after many hours of futzing with it along with several hundred dollars in rebuilding efforts, I gave up on it. 

   By now I was down to about 55' and we decided to do some more steaming.  This time we hit bed rock for sure...at 67'.  I had switched to a larger deep well pump which worked like a charm, so pumping out the melt water was a piece of cake.  Still I had to do some jackhammering and a final steaming to finish off the remaining ice.  But when I lowered and secured the final section

of ladder and stepped onto the muddy bottom, it was a great feeling.  I could now see that we had about 12 feet of gravel, 4' of it mixed with mud and 8' pure gravel, rock and sand.

   Water, too much of it, was an issue early on and we went to extreme measures to try to keep it out of the shaft [to no avail].  Later in the summer water, the lack of it, also kept us from washing gold bearing gravel from the old dump pile.  To help ensure that we'll have sufficient supply next summer I built a dam on our little creek [in compliance] and it should help a lot.  It even survived a heavy rain late in August.  I'll be adding to it's height next spring.

   A shortage of funds kept us from opening the drifts off the shaft, but it will all be waiting for us next season.  We were able to build a boiler shelter [soon to be a boiler shack], deck the shaft and erect a shelter over it.  I'm eager to get back up to the claim sometime in March for a few weeks of work down in the shaft.  Could be I'll finally be on the pay.  Stay tuned.

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Never fails to amaze me at the extreme lengths we miners will go to find a little oro puro. Read every post numerous times in exacting detail and enjoyed them all. Looking forward to a much better season next year for ya as you sure WORKED like a man possessd by the FEVER FGW man......respect to any honest miner,successful or not-John  PS-didn't mine much this year,2 1/8 ozs. as multiple deaths,house remodel and such took up much time and DROUGHT killed my best hidey holes as MUST be careful in kalif (land of stupidity) when gravel suckn'

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Flint - I take my hat off to you. I tried Shaft Sinking once for a couple of weeks just helping out an old timer and it's a back-breaking, no-room-to-move exercise. The ground was hard and had to be drilled and blasted. No water, just drilling dry. Shovelling in to a Kibble ( big steel bucket ) then topside winches out. Let's hope you manage to get some Drifting done next Season and that you measure your Gold by the pound. We all know you would have earned every gram.  

 

By the way, in case you get bored over Winter, I've got a Claim which has two Shafts on it which were put down in 1907 and which would probably be half full of muck, ice and slide if you feel like some more practice instead of sitting in front of your fire ? One was 86ft. and the other about 97ft. If it was Contract work you would want to be asking at least $2,000.00 / ft.

 

And when you go up next Season, try and post some more pictures please. We look forward to more of your updates.     

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Thanks, Steve

   Where are those shafts? Are they prospect or mine shafts?  If they were just half filled with ice you'd be lucky.  Every shaft on my claim was completely iced in.  Next season I'll have better lighting down below so the photos will be good.  The whole operation will be much more organized as will be my photo collection.  Stay with me...the saga will continue.

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