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Author Topic: Chasing the gold with Lanny  (Read 9864 times)

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Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #120 on: January 29, 2020, 01:00:17 PM »
I knew an old timer that did that. It collapsed at night while he was sleeping and he was too afraid to ever try it again...……..I would have been too

Yes, I think that would put the fear into anyone. You've really got to know what you're doing as far as safety goes to get involved in drift mining.

The various tunnels I've seen over the years had massive supporting beams and braces with countless yards of lagging driven ahead of the workings as the tunnel progressed, not the kind of work for the faint of heart. Having said that, boulder clay seems to be the right kind of material to drive a drift into as it's such solid material on its own. I believe where the problems occurred was when they hit the ancient gravels that had water running through them/were saturated with water as that material was much more unstable.

I've seen the large rooms exposed by modern equipment, seen where large equipment broke through and sunk into old workings, seen the maze of parallel tunnels exposed, and I've even seen hundreds of feet of tunnels driven under solid conglomerate with all of the tunnels still intact (all timbers hand-cut, no nails or spikes used anywhere in the construction, beautiful joint work).

I'm not getting involved in drift mining as I don't want to chase the gold that badly, but I have collected some more stories about drift mines and gold over the years, and it was a way that solo miners could chase some rich, ancient channels, but I also know that others got skunked.

I saw a large drift operation (modern, 1990's) that was abandoned as they missed the buried channel they were chasing. It had high ceilings as they were using machinery to excavate, and it had proper ventilation, etc., etc., but they sure missed the gold.

All the best,

Lanny

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #121 on: February 13, 2020, 12:42:42 PM »
A Lonesome Nugget Tale

Flashback to the the summer of '99, and I was swinging the SD2100 up in Northern British Columbia. We four-wheeled up an incredibly bad road to get to the site. The road was so bad that one of the other mining operations had dropped a big four-wheeled military surplus truck into one hole, and the unit sunk down far past the axles. After fetching a Cat, they finally got it out.

So, this was the same road we had to negotiate, with the same hole, and we moved very carefully around the edges of it, as well as around other nasty water traps until we finally made it to a small creek in the high, northern mountains where the road turned into a rough trail. Being muddy and slick, the truck started to slip off the road, and we had to stop, walking was the only way forward

I got set up, made a lot of noise to alert the Grizzlies in those thick pines that we were in the area, and then I set off to do some detecting. It was a sunny day which meant the bugs were bad, but there were butterflies, songbirds and beautiful, iridescent humming birds at work on the alpine blossoms. High overhead, thin white clouds drifted on the mountain currents.

Bordering the side of the trail, there was a long stretch of exposed bedrock that the Old-timers had cleaned off in the 1800's; however, as I detected, all I found were various sizes of square nails, bits of old tin cans, and tiny pieces of wire.

A bit later, I spotted the remains of an old cabin farther up the trail. I scouted around it and tried some detecting, but there was so much trash under the moss beside the building that I gave up after a short while. I marched over to the creek and was confronted with piles of Old-timer hand-stacks, ones left where they'd worked the creek bed. However, all I found was the regular trash plus bits of lead from tin can solder.

I worked my way back down the trail to where the truck was parked. My buddy was slugging it out in the brush while swinging his 2100, and he was in a serious war with the bugs, and the bugs were winning! In retreat, he came blitzing back to the truck for bug dope, and off he went in a different direction.

So, that left me standing alone by the truck. I'd already detected all of the exposed bedrock I could find, but I'd noticed a curious spot earlier back up the trail where someone had dug a test hole and piled a big mound of muck beside the road.

Since I had nothing else to do, and since my buddy was eagerly donating to the Northern Bug Blood Bank, I wandered down to the test hole. I detected all around the bottom of the hole and only found a few bits of tin, and two square nails. On the sides of the hole I found more nails, but these were round nails, so obviously this was an area that was worked in the 30's. To elaborate, there were more miners active in this particular goldfield in the 30's than there were in the 1800's gold strike.

At the far end of the test hole, there was a large boulder. I scanned it, and the whole thing was a hot rock! I'm no geologist, so I have no idea what kind of rock it was, but the 2100 constantly sounded off on it no matter how I configured it. However, just to the side of it was a little dike of dirt, one pushed up from the test hole. I climbed up on top and started to detect it. The ground was very slippery, and the next thing I knew, it had caved off and down I rocketed into the muck and water in the bottom of the test hole. (Zero points for grace.)

After that slippery adventure, I was ready to head back to the truck. I was muddy, wet, and tired. It had been a long unrewarding day, yet that far north there's still daylight at eleven p.m., so my stubborn streak kicked in, and I decided I'd claw my way back up to detect the top of that wall of dirt once more. And that's the thing, the material was dirt--no river run in it, just a bunch of black clay and goo (in retrospect, the black should have tipped me off that it came from deep down near bedrock). I walked along more carefully this time, came to the break in the dirt I'd made when I slipped off, and I gingerly slid the coil across the gap. Almost instantly I got a nice sweet signal. This one was nice and smooth, no harsh iron growl.

I worked my way across the breach and set up shop. I passed the coil over the signal again, approaching from a different direction. Still a nice smooth sound and very clear. It sounded like it had to be shallow. I dug down with my plastic scoop and scanned again. The hole was silent, but the scoop had a nice rich sound when I scanned it. I processed the dirt in the scoop, and then dumped the remaining bit in my hand and passed it under the coil. The signal was definitely in my hand. I dropped the dirt onto the coil and, thwack! The object hit the coil. All I could see was that black dirt. I moved the lumps around and one of them squealed when I moved it. I picked it up and rubbed off the dirt. The golden glow confirmed its identity. It was a nice, sassy five-gram nugget.

I detected around the rest of the dirt, but no more luck. When my buddy came out of the bush and saw my nugget, he gave the detected the spot as well, but no luck.

My lonesome nugget was the only one that came to play that day.

All the best,

Lanny

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #122 on: February 14, 2020, 12:20:22 PM »
Detecting For Nuggets The Hard Way

Armed with my detector one balmy, late-summer weekend, I set off to find a nugget or two.

As a nugget shooter, I sometimes stupidly fail to appreciate the difficulties associated with hunting nuggets or the low level of compensation that might be the reward.

So, I set off to work a spot where a tiny creek intersected a famous, gold-producing river.

The Oldtimers had worked the area heavily; their hand-stacks of cobbles and boulders lay piled on a bench of highly fractured, black slate bedrock. However, I realized that moving all of those boulders would require far too much work. Therefore, I chose to hike instead along the river banks to detect the low-water levels of exposed bedrock.

Square nails, blasting caps, a coin, lead fishing weights, .17 cal. lead pellets, pieces of disfigured iron junk were my only rewards. However, during my excursion I noticed two rookies panning across the river. Staggering and stumbling among the cobbles and boulders beside the stream, they entered the stream and flailed the water to a white foam in their steel pans. (Carefully concentrating heavy material, specific gravity? What’s that?) Regardless, it appeared they found no gold, as nothing was put in a bottle. (At the time, I wondered if they had even put dirt and rocks in their pans, giving them a better chance at finding the gold—just kidding. Regardless, their technique was awful, almost exactly like mine when I first started out.)

Forgetting about the rookies, I looked up the bank and stared with no eagerness at the washtub-sized boulders and melon-sized cobbles stacked on the bedrock above. I knew the hard work ahead to detect any gold missed by those Oldtimers, ones who often worked swiftly, and sometimes sloppily, before sprinting off to the next gold rush farther north.

Using a massive steel pry bar, buckets of elbow grease, and convoluted body positions any contortionist would avoid, I finally uncovered the bedrock after sending the rocks into the river.

This was accomplished while simultaneously terrifying the aforementioned rookies across the stream. (Maybe chucking all of those cobbles in every direction, while generating colourful, explosive expressions had an impact?) Those rookies were somewhat shaken as well by the thunder produced by those rolling boulders, and the fountains of water generated as everything plunged into the twenty feet of fast flowing water that separated us.

To calm the rookies’ fears, I stopped tossing and rolling rocks, and detected the bedrock instead. Nine targets were quickly identified. All turned out to be tiny bits of rusted tin can . . ..

Quite demoralized, I sat down to think up a new strategy. Meanwhile, across the river, the rookies abandoned their pans, and they now attacked the bedrock on their side of the river. Cobbles filled the air, and boulders were rolled into the river—colourful expressions filled the air. Afterward, they scooped newly uncovered material into their pans, then foamed the water yet again, but still, they captured no gold. (At least, I don’t think they found any gold, because they kept throwing everything from their pans back into the river! However, perhaps they were members of that new, environmentally conscious breed of "catch and release" panners.)

Knowing I wasn’t getting anywhere, I abandoned my diggings, waved a quick goodbye to the rookies across the river and fled the scene.

As nuggets prefer clever hiding spots, I had a giant brainwave to drive a short distance to a veritable abyss. At its bottom were a series of exposed bedrock outcroppings. Being not so foolish as to hunt such easy pickings of bare bedrock at the bottom (although the next day, a wiser nugget shooter took an eight gram nugget out of said bedrock outcrops, #@$!*!), I chose instead bedrock covered with cobbles and boulders.

After a leisurely two hours of hot sweat and ragged pain, the area was cleared to hunt. After numerous passes with the detector, a tiny whisper emerged as the coil gently scrubbed the sharp, steeply angled slate bedrock. After chipping and chiseling, the signal was slightly louder. Next, I turned the mono coil on its side and pinpointed the signal. Working with hammer and chisel around the signal, I popped out a quarter-gram nugget. (Well, back then pride [whose slave I sometimes am] demanded I call it a nugget! I mean, after all of that work, what else could I call it?)

With a calm, yet horrifying recognition, my dim brain was forced to admit that never, with the exception of a near-death trip down some slick boulder clay, had I ever worked so hard for far, far less than minimum wage!

Nevertheless, to lift my spirits and put me in a playful mood, I now had to plan how to pack sixty pounds of equipment up a mostly vertical, scree covered slope . . ..

All the best,

Lanny

Offline Xplore

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #123 on: February 14, 2020, 02:08:25 PM »
As always, the reward is in the journey Lanny : )

Dan
North Vancouver, BC

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #124 on: February 14, 2020, 03:28:44 PM »
As always, the reward is in the journey Lanny : )

Dan

So true. Thanks Dan, and all the best,

Lanny

Offline sawdust

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #125 on: February 14, 2020, 11:04:06 PM »
Your narratives are amazingly entertaining and a pleasure to read. With some editorial assistance, I`ll bet a published account of your adventures is a definite possibility. Not many people have the ability to express their thoughts in such an entertaining manner.  Probably a couple of phone calls to a post secondary English department would be a worthwhile effort. Very impressive writing! Sitting here getting ready to go to work, I know I`ll be thinking about your your upcoming book off and on all night. Congrats on your posts.

Offline upnorth

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #126 on: February 15, 2020, 03:03:11 AM »
Yes very good writing, lanny's posts on treasure net are also great.

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #127 on: February 15, 2020, 10:26:16 PM »
Your narratives are amazingly entertaining and a pleasure to read. With some editorial assistance, I`ll bet a published account of your adventures is a definite possibility. Not many people have the ability to express their thoughts in such an entertaining manner.  Probably a couple of phone calls to a post secondary English department would be a worthwhile effort. Very impressive writing! Sitting here getting ready to go to work, I know I`ll be thinking about your your upcoming book off and on all night. Congrats on your posts.

Thanks for the encouragement and the compliments Sawdust. I really appreciate it.

All the best,

Lanny

Offline Lanny

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #128 on: February 15, 2020, 10:27:36 PM »
Yes very good writing, lanny's posts on treasure net are also great.

Many thanks Upnorth, truly!

All the best,

Lanny

Offline kennyj

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Re: Chasing the gold with Lanny
« Reply #129 on: February 16, 2020, 12:58:47 PM »
Thanks for another great story! They sure fuel the fire.
kenny

 


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