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Author Topic: Chasing the gold with Lanny  (Read 5485 times)

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Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #40 on: March 29, 2019, 09:25:42 PM »
Sorry to hijack your wonderful thread, but I thought I would explain "the rest of the story":  My little what-if is the combination of three separate incidences:

My brother was camping with a buddy under the stars in Northern Ontario.  Both snug in their sleeping bags after a nightcap and staring at the sky.   All of a sudden, their campsite filled with lights so bright that they couldn't look up. The ground was shaking along with an indescribable, unbelievably loud noise.  Then all returned to "normal" as quickly as it had started.  They didn't say  a word to each other for a long time, lost in their thoughts as to what they had just experienced.  Another nightcap or two was of course in order.  Later,they learned it was a low level US bomber exercise and not a visit from aliens. 

When I had a claim in the Cariboo on upper Antler Creek, we would camp just off the mining road above the stream.  There was a young fellow with his skinny little buddy, who were paid to babysit equipment at a placer mine above us where they lived in a 16' hardtop trailer.  Every afternoon, they would drive by  in an old Trans Am that probably only had about 3" of ground clearance.  You could hear them coming from the damaged exhaust and every rock on the trail that they hit.   They would return long after we were asleep.   Only saw them one season - the next spring was a "hundred year" flood.   I found their ravaged, crumpled camper had been moved downstream by the water.  Interesting, the same flood moved gold from marginal areas and concentrated some into the same spots that the old timers had previously cleaned out.  Anyway, what I learned later is that Trans Am (everybody gets a nickname) had found an old adit.  Skinny would crawl into it (Trans Am was too big to fit), whenever they needed bar money (everyday) with a brush and dustpan to clean up the floor of the adit and extract whatever gold they could accumulate.  Then off for another night on the town in Wells.   

On one of my solo trips into the Yukon, I wanted to find a remote creek known for nuggets.  About an hour into my walkabout, I climbed a rockslide to see if it was natural or tailings.  From the top was a beautiful view of the surrounding area.  I sat down to enjoy a few moments and up the trail heard Gaelic singing.   To me, the best sound to reverberate up a lake or thru mountains is bagpipes.  I learned this day that female Gaelic singing is a very close second.     It was two Scottish women making as much noise as possible, so not to surprise a grizzly.  They were also wearing little bear bells and bear spray on their hips.  As they walked past, I was wondering how to say hello without spooking them (so a loud growl...considered and discarded...was out of the question).  Instead, I quietly stared up with one of the only two Gaelic songs that I know - - Sgt. Mackenzie from  "We were Soldiers" movie  (the other song being Old Anzine, which did not seem appropriate).  Freaked them out anyway.  They told me that they could only hear some of the words in the wind and were both thinking "ghost". 

If you cannot immediately explain it, it must be supernatural.  LOL

Never worry about jumping in with stories to tell. As you've probably figured, I really enjoy stories, so the more stories that are shared, the better as far as I'm concerned.

Those three little excerpts are great tales, and you wrote them up well, keeping it interesting the whole time.

I hope others jump in with stories of their own as well.

Thanks for your contributions, much appreciated and enjoyed.

All the best,

Lanny

Offline ykplacer

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2019, 08:41:58 AM »
Some of the best gold in the bush ,isn't always the gold.
I'll never come across  another one like this,i'm willing to bet.

Everyone i know and met sleeps with eyes both closed,until i met this fella in the bush.This guy slept with his eyes wide open,for real and not because he wanted too either(he had a rare eye condition).Needless to say he used  a lot of eyes drops.

One of the most freaky things i seen "so far"


Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #42 on: March 30, 2019, 02:00:05 PM »
Some of the best gold in the bush ,isn't always the gold.
I'll never come across  another one like this,i'm willing to bet.

Everyone i know and met sleeps with eyes both closed,until i met this fella in the bush.This guy slept with his eyes wide open,for real and not because he wanted too either(he had a rare eye condition).Needless to say he used  a lot of eyes drops.

One of the most freaky things i seen "so far"

That is freaky.

I knew a guy that could sleep with one eye shut, but never both, quite the story that proves life is stranger than fiction.

All the best,

Lanny

Offline mcbain

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #43 on: March 30, 2019, 07:43:42 PM »
Beware of Count Dracula.he only closes his eyes to the daylight.Some folks have wierd sleep functions but that would scrare me silly.Mcbain.
I started out with nothing Istill have most of it.

Offline sunshine

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #44 on: April 03, 2019, 08:43:03 AM »
As a kid, I used to fish on a long pier on Lake Simcoe (Ontario).  Down the road was a retirement home.  There was one old fellow who would wander up to see the action.  We became friends and when fishing was over, I would walk with him (slowly) back to his residence.  Long story short, he had some kind of medical condition that he could not sleep sitting or lying down.  Instead, he had a homemade device against the wall that he would lean into and go to sleep on his feet.  It was the strangest thing to a youngster like me.  It is no fun getting old. 
See my YouTube channel for fun amateur video:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnz8kX6AZOeZbRt0F9XqVJA

Offline mcbain

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #45 on: April 03, 2019, 07:02:04 PM »
Hey Sunshine some folks enjoy old age.Unlike myself just turned 65 a few days ago.Feel like I should be over a hundred. the way I am crippled up.One of my old time customers came to visit me the other day.He usually comes by riding a electricscooter.And most times could not get off the thing.The other day he walks in fitas a fiddle and about 100lbs lighter.He was all excited.He says Mark I got to tell you something.He layed off the beer 6 months back and divoriced his wife.He sold off his property and decided to retire.He bought a 1 ton 4x4, motor home and agood claim he worked years ago on the Tulemeen.He says I can not wait to start mining again.I kind of scratched my head and asked.Isaid Jerry how old are you?His reply was 84  and I can not wait to start living the dream again.It is going to be so much fun digging again.Well to say the least i was baffled.I wish him the best of luck.Mcbain.
I started out with nothing Istill have most of it.

Offline JOE S (INDY)

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #46 on: April 05, 2019, 01:07:25 AM »
Chasing the Gold is an Elixir of Perpetual Youth.   <-yahoo_> <-yahoo_>

 {cool^sign} <-party-> [!!DANCE!!] [&whistle#]
Wiser Mining Through Endless Personal Mistakes

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #47 on: April 19, 2019, 09:30:12 AM »
Chasing the Gold is an Elixir of Perpetual Youth.   <-yahoo_> <-yahoo_>

 {cool^sign} <-party-> [!!DANCE!!] [&whistle#]

The elixir I'll soon be uncorking thanks to the return of the milder weather.

All the best,

Lanny

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #48 on: April 19, 2019, 01:02:28 PM »
Can you smell the rice cooking?

I recall being far to the north in a historic gold field, and I had the opportunity to have a chat with a Sourdough (a seasoned miner from the area) about his claim. He took me to a spot one day and told me a most interesting tale.

However, before I relate his story, I’ll describe its location. It was far down in the bottom of a secluded valley. Steep, black-walled mountains rose on either side, and courageous growths of spruce and fur clung to the steep slopes, with birch, poplar and aspen peppering the evergreens lower down. Dark draws inhabited by deeper areas of gloom gave birth to swiftly flowing streams that emptied into the valley. From these gulches, the icy, ghostly breath of unseen currents of air rushed forth to randomly lift the hair, before chilling the neck and spine. Indeed, an eerie atmosphere pervaded that sullen spot of murky shadows where the long dead miners of some 150-years past had chased the gold to make their fortunes, or to lose their lives.

On a gentle slop above long rows and piles of cobble stacks, the remnants of a massive hand-workings, the miner’s cabin was situated. It was an ancient cabin, one in continual use since the original gold rush, the cabin perpetually maintained and rebuilt until it was later used by a member of the North West Mounted police as a retirement refuge. Later, it was acquired by the miner. Heavy logs formed the base of the walls, with smaller logs progressing up the sides, and there were only two windows, one big enough to allow light to enter, and one small one which served as a lookout. The log ends were all beautifully axe cut to fit and lock together, and there was an addition on the back of the main cabin that housed a food storage and washing area. The doors were heavy and sturdily built as grizzly and black bears frequently visited the area. (I have a story somewhere about the attack on his cabin by an enraged grizzly, quite the hair-raising tale he told me of his experience that truly made my blood run cold.)

A path led down from the slope to a long draw that then led to a bedrock rise, with the draw, or gulch, continuing upward. On the other side of the bedrock rise a fast-flowing creek could be heard. The bedrock rise continued to climb as it joined the shoulder of the mountain. There was a trail that led up the non-creek side of that shoulder, and I headed off on foot to look the area over.

The first thing I noticed, as I looked down into the draw from the trail, were the sunken places. There were five large areas where the earth had slumped, with smaller areas running perpendicular to the gulch that were still at the original level. This of course spiked my curiosity.

When I returned from my hike, the miner was at his cabin, and we had a chat.

He started in with a bit of history of the area. That the place had been extensively hand-mined I had already seen; that it was shallow to bedrock in many places was also obvious. What he filled me in on was that the early miners were after the easy, shallow gold, and they had done very well, with many ounces of coarse gold quickly gathered from the shallow diggings. But, as was the common case in the 1800’s, there was always the news of new gold rush farther to the north where the gold was equally shallow, easier to get to, so the miners that loved the quick gold soon left to chase other strikes. That left the deeper gold that required organized groups of people with the necessary capital to start up larger operations.

Then, he told me about the arrival of the Chinese miners in the area. They followed the gold rushes and came in after the other miners had had creamed the shallow gold and had either abandoned their claims or were looking to sell cheaply. The Chinese, he said, were not afraid of hard work, and moreover, many of them did not have a choice of whether they liked hard work or not due to being indentured labourers, a form of slavery so to speak, until they had paid off the Tong for their debt to the organization. The miner then went on to explain how the Chinese used a lot of opium during their miserable existence, and he told me of bottle hunters that had come a few years before my arrival and of their efforts in trash dumps to recover the precious little bottles. He also told me of the tiny log huts the miners lived in, short-walled on purpose as they were easier to heat during the brutal winters. In addition, he told me of the superstitions the Chinese were bound to, mysterious ones that propelled their efforts.

Then, he took me on a walk.

The bedrock rise that I’ve already mentioned was where he took me, but he walked me over closer to the face where there was a bit of a fold, and that fold hid from view the entrance to a tunnel, but one that he had caved in with is heavy equipment as it led to a large area of unsafe underground workings, ones the Chinese had excavated by hand. I then told him about my upslope hike, and of seeing the collapsed areas, and he confirmed that all of that long draw was a continuation of the original Chinese workings. He elaborated that the Chinese had struck an ancient channel by cutting below it through the solid rock so they could hit the base of the channel where the coarse gold was trapped. A lot of trapped water had flowed when they punched through the last of the bedrock, but they had cut the tunnel on purpose so it would drain the ancient water down and away before they went to work.

The gold was coarse, and they took out a lot of good gold over several years, but then one day the horrific happened, the roof of the tunnel, off on one side excavation of the gulch, collapsed, killing several Chinese. They left the area . . . (This is not an isolated incident, and I have read about this in other gold rush accounts, bad Josh/Joss [bad luck] was something they didn’t mess with, and the area was forever cursed to them.)

When the miner first acquired the claim, he had gone into the tunnel mouth, and he’d taken samples from the floor of the tunnel. The buckets of dirt he’d recovered were full of pickers! To prove this, he gave a jar of the dirt for later panning, and it was indeed loaded with gold!!

So, his interesting tale had answered my questions about the sunken areas I’d seen on my walk, and I could see just how extensive the underground workings were that the Chinese had driven up that gulch from the size of the collapsed areas. Those determined miners had really got the job done, regardless of their motivations.

As we were leaving the tunnel mouth, the miner turned to me and said, “Can you smell the rice cooking?”

I said, “What?”

He said again, “Can you smell the rice cooking?”

I answered, “No, can you?”

He then told me that on certain days, when the wind was just right, he could smell the scent of rice cooking as it drifted down to the cabin from the gulch. He didn’t smile or joke in any way, and the gloomy setting of the area, with its accompanying tragedy, put nothing but a large punctuation mark on his story.

All the best,

Lanny

Offline DirtHogg

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #49 on: April 19, 2019, 03:43:50 PM »
Great Story Writing EXCELLENT.And YES i can smell he rice cooking even reading this on my ph.

 


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