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Thread: There's gold in them thar hills!

  1. #1
    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Default There's gold in them thar hills!

    Yes, I am slightly bitten by the gold bug. I live in Fairbanks, have a gold pan, gotten a few flakes only but have only gone out a few times to local public locations. But after my recent trip to Chicken and Eagle I became even more interested in gold panning. I don't know much about sluices though a guy showed me his (at the camp area, not in operation) and it is fascinating. Now I read that the Taylor Hiway has been washed out in several places from severe rainstorms and I'm just wondering if that is washing out some new gold. And how would one go about finding a place that someone could go panning recreationally? I stayed at Chicken Gold Camp for Chickenstock and am on their facebook page and people find LOTS of gold there. I think their prices are resonable as well. But I would rather just be out on my own somewhere and not in some commercial place (I'm sure some of you understand this.) I know nothing about claims or anything like that. Teach me oh wise ones. Please. I love the 40 Mile Country so am really interested in going up there again, but would be willing to go just about anywhere.
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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    For placer gold.... floods change everything. Look for the NEW false bedrock. Back in the 90's a guy walkinto Crow Creek and supposedly cleaned up right after a flood. He uses a rake and threw all the overburdon into the creek, then used his detector to find all the nuggets. It may be a clay layer or something else.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    See if You can find a copy of Ron Wendts book: Where to prospect for gold in Alaska without getting shot.
    It's out of print but maybe you could find a copy in a used book store. This book is loaded with spots to try on the road system such as road right of ways and places the state has set aside for public use.
    I had a couple of copies but just sent my extra one to a fellow forum member.
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    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Thanks. Found it on Amazon for $245 lol. Found it somewhere else for less then $12.
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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Over on College just off of the freeway heading towards the college is a prospecting store on the right hand side. Pick up an Easy Sluice for a few dollars. I had one for a bit until it was stolen and it worked pretty good. Also pick up a sieve, 1/8". I fill a 5-gallon pail full of water and then shovel into the sieve on top of the bucket letting the smaller stuff collect in the pail. You should be able to see nuggets larger than 1/8" in the sieve. I then spoon the bucket material into the sluice. For the beginner it works fine and you have less than $100 invested in all the gear. Remember to pick up a snuffer bottle (at least 2) and a bottle for the gold.

    Good luck!
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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Just curious, are you guys actually making some money, paying for expenses anyway(?), or doing this as a hobby like most others where it's mostly is about trying to keep up with costs?

    had a friend who mentioned panning once, a little bit around Kodiak, (hardly made sense to me at the time) and then next time I saw him about a year later, he was into Hookah dive gear, Dry suits, the raft with powerdredge and sluice, etc. Thousands of dollars and heading up north.

    Wow the Gold Fever Hit Him Good, never did hear from him on how that paid off but sure sounded like a lot of fun and got him Outdoors Big Time

    He's back in Kodiak Welding for a living now.....
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Oh thanks Dave!
    KR, I have no illusions of striking it rich. I just love to get outdoors and this is just one of many outdoor things I like to do. It's kind of like washing the dishes or mowing the lawn, work, yet relaxing in that you can let your mind roam a bit.
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  8. #8
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    It could not be said any better than this.

    The Spell of the Yukon
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
    I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
    Was it famine or scurvy — I fought it;
    I hurled my youth into a grave.
    I wanted the gold, and I got it —
    Came out with a fortune last fall, —
    Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
    And somehow the gold isn't all.
    No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
    It’s the cussedest land that I know,
    From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
    To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
    Some say God was tired when He made it;
    Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
    Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
    For no land on earth — and I'm one.
    You come to get rich (****ed good reason);
    You feel like an exile at first;
    You hate it like hell for a season,
    And then you are worse than the worst.
    It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
    It twists you from foe to a friend;
    It seems it’s been since the beginning;
    It seems it will be to the end.
    I've stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
    That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;
    I've watched the big, husky sun wallow
    In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
    Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
    And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
    And I've thought that I surely was dreaming,
    With the peace o' the world piled on top.
    The summer — no sweeter was ever;
    The sunshiny woods all athrill;
    The grayling aleap in the river,
    The bighorn asleep on the hill.
    The strong life that never knows harness;
    The wilds where the caribou call;
    The freshness, the freedom, the farness —
    O God! how I'm stuck on it all.
    The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
    The white land locked tight as a drum,
    The cold fear that follows and finds you,
    The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
    The snows that are older than history,
    The woods where the weird shadows slant;
    The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
    I've bade 'em good-by — but I can't.
    There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
    And the rivers all run God knows where;
    There are lives that are erring and aimless,
    And deaths that just hang by a hair;
    There are hardships that nobody reckons;
    There are valleys unpeopled and still;
    There’s a land — oh, it beckons and beckons,
    And I want to go back — and I will.
    They're making my money diminish;
    I'm sick of the taste of champagne.
    Thank God! when I'm skinned to a finish
    I'll pike to the Yukon again.
    I'll fight — and you bet it’s no sham-fight;
    It’s hell! — but I've been there before;
    And it’s better than this by a damsite —
    So me for the Yukon once more.
    There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
    It’s luring me on as of old;
    Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
    So much as just finding the gold.
    It’s the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
    It’s the forests where silence has lease;
    It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
    It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.
    "Never again shall one generation of Veterans abandon another".
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  9. #9
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Kodiakrain it is just a hobby for me. There is fun in just looking for gold. It can also include many other fun outdoor activities like fishing,camping,hiking,hunting etc...
    A coworker once asked me how much Gold I needed to find to pay for the mining gear I had just purchased. I asked him how much beer he had to drink to pay off his bartab. He looked at me funny and I began to explain it to him. I don't drink or smoke and his beer and cigarettes every month more than equaled that of my mining gear. To top it off I still have and use my mining gear but his beer and cigs were always gone.
    Some people do make money at it but most like me do it just for fun. I always find some color and have had a few days when I could have sold my gold for a profit. Mostly I just love to get out in the great outdoors and the chance of finding some gold just adds to it. You can get started panning for less than $10 if you already own a shovel. $100 will get you a sluice box and classifier (sieve).
    I did read an article on prospecting in Kodiak a few years back and as I recall there is some there. Maybe even enough for some guuys to make a little profit now and then.
    Last edited by kasilofchrisn; 07-14-2010 at 15:54. Reason: grammer
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    Hi, I am new to this forum but will be moving to Alaska in two years to follow my son and grand kids. I grew up in Montana with a gold mining family and have played at it for as long as I can remember. Just thought I'd offer a couple of things that are easy and cheap. The first being a classifier that is made of a one gallon plastic bucket. Cut the bottem out of the bucket leaving a one inch lip all the way around. Then get some screen, stainless is best. I like 1/4 " myself so i don't miss any small nuggets. Rivit the screen in place with stainless or aluminum rivits backed on both sides by stainless washers about every inch or so. Reinforce the handle so it can handle the twisting motion that you are going to be using when classifying. This classifier is a breeze to use and you can go through a lot of material with it. Bring a bunch of buckets with you so that you can haul as much material from the field as you can. I do like to find a stream with enough flow to set up a sluice and spend a little time sluicing out the concentrates. When the material is all about the same size slucing is easy. This method can be used in a dry area as long as you bring along enough water to fill a few buckets. Another little trick is to put a drop of biodegradable soap in the bucket of water to break down the surface tension. Gold has an afinity for oil and can collect enough to itself that it can accually float your finer stuff and end up losing it. It really does increase the finer values. Good luck out there and hope you find the big one.

    Da Stump

  11. #11
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Wow Dave, That is the best I've read in a while, Jack London(?) or who wrote that,
    I Love This One, "I've stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow, That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;"

    I get it you guys, that's the best reason to do anything, if it gets you out there,

    I was mainly wondering as it seems it would be really fun to do all that camping, walking, etc. and actually come up with a little Gold in a pouch. So wondering seriously if it is an Ounce now and then or just a few flakes in a bottle, not that I'd cash it in anyway, probably stash it on a shelf as "Actual Gold I Found in the Woods"

    and Yes, I realize to tell me on the Forum, you'd be risking someone Following You Around next time you look like you're loading up your truck to go out.

    So that's the answer I was looking for, what Dave quoted and you agreed with, Thanks, Have Fun out there.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  12. #12
    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    It could not be said any better than this.

    The Spell of the Yukon
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
    I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
    Was it famine or scurvy — I fought it;
    I hurled my youth into a grave.
    I wanted the gold, and I got it —
    Came out with a fortune last fall, —
    Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
    And somehow the gold isn't all.
    No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
    It’s the cussedest land that I know,
    From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
    To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
    Some say God was tired when He made it;
    Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
    Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
    For no land on earth — and I'm one.
    You come to get rich (****ed good reason);
    You feel like an exile at first;
    You hate it like hell for a season,
    And then you are worse than the worst.
    It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
    It twists you from foe to a friend;
    It seems it’s been since the beginning;
    It seems it will be to the end.
    I've stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
    That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;
    I've watched the big, husky sun wallow
    In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
    Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
    And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
    And I've thought that I surely was dreaming,
    With the peace o' the world piled on top.
    The summer — no sweeter was ever;
    The sunshiny woods all athrill;
    The grayling aleap in the river,
    The bighorn asleep on the hill.
    The strong life that never knows harness;
    The wilds where the caribou call;
    The freshness, the freedom, the farness —
    O God! how I'm stuck on it all.
    The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
    The white land locked tight as a drum,
    The cold fear that follows and finds you,
    The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
    The snows that are older than history,
    The woods where the weird shadows slant;
    The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
    I've bade 'em good-by — but I can't.
    There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
    And the rivers all run God knows where;
    There are lives that are erring and aimless,
    And deaths that just hang by a hair;
    There are hardships that nobody reckons;
    There are valleys unpeopled and still;
    There’s a land — oh, it beckons and beckons,
    And I want to go back — and I will.
    They're making my money diminish;
    I'm sick of the taste of champagne.
    Thank God! when I'm skinned to a finish
    I'll pike to the Yukon again.
    I'll fight — and you bet it’s no sham-fight;
    It’s hell! — but I've been there before;
    And it’s better than this by a damsite —
    So me for the Yukon once more.
    There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
    It’s luring me on as of old;
    Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
    So much as just finding the gold.
    It’s the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
    It’s the forests where silence has lease;
    It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
    It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.
    *sigh* Yes, that. Thank you.
    Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North
    http://cloud9doula.wordpress.com/

    Does this shotgun make my butt look big?

  13. #13
    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Today I was digging around online trying to find that book that was recomended and then a bit about how claims work and found an extensive site written by a women. Her and her husband/s mined in several different states, including here in Alaska and she wrote about them all in a style that I really enjoyed. For a couple of hours, I read her stories. Then came the part where she got cancer. She had three years of pages of fighting the cancer and then in 2006 her writing stopped. By this time I felt I knew her from her wonderful, open writing. I was sad. I sent an email to the address and it was returned. So I spent the next few hours thinking of all the history I was missing.

    When I moved here in late 2003, I really, really wanted to meet Jay Hammond. I had read his books before coming here and would have loved to just sit and listen to him talk. Unfortunatly I didn't get that opportunity before he died. So, anyone want to meet for coffee and tell me stories? I know, kind of weird request. Guess I am really a bit morose today. Must need to get out and get a dose of wilderness in me.
    Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North
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  14. #14
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Fairbanks for Coffee, that's sounds great, probably a bit far though,

    yeah, you need to get out there, and Quick

    I don't think you're supposed to be reading or surfing the web in the summer,
    Hey wait, what am I doing in here anyway?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  15. #15
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    I get a kick out of people that think there gonna get rich quick looking for gold. I managed a mini-storage for 6 years and got a kick out of the big city folks comming up to look for gold. Right now I llive in N. CA. in the heart of the gold coun try. In fact my house sits over the main shaft of the old Empire mine. It closed in 56 and has since become a state park. While mananging the mini storage, folks would show up with their brand new equiptment (some still had the price tag on it) gonna teach us country people how to get gold. By the end of summer there stuff would still be in storage and double locked because they hadent paid their bill in several mos. Sent them letters telling them if they dint pay the bill the stuff would be sold as per aggrement contract they had signed. Some told me I coundent do that, Judge said I could. Most of the stuff was beat up so bad best thing to do was take it to the dump. I knew a lot f the old timers that had worked in the mines here and a lot of them did a little High Gradeing (stole gold) to help make ends meet. Miners dint make a lot of money, but the companys did.
    My idea of gold panning is to get my pan and go find a quiet spot I like on the river. Take couple of soda's couple sammiches and 22mag pistol with first 2 rounds being snake shot. Get my boots and socks off and sit on the bank with my feet in the water and play with my gold pan or my small sluice. If I find something all the better, if not I had a nice day on the river while everybody else had to work, I'am retired so that helps when going when I want to,

    Gun Runner

  16. #16
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Gun Runner I know what you mean. I have heard of more than one person who spent upwards of $5000 on a new dredge and all the gear that you need with it and then have to ask the salesman where can they go to and find an ounce a day.
    I think 1stimestaris on the right track. Starting small then working your way up in gear as your budget alllows.
    There are quite a few guys in AK who do find several ounces every year prospecting on a recreational basis but most of those people own or lease claims and work them pretty hard. Sometimes you might work a week or more removing overburden and digging toward bedrock with little to show for it. Then when they get to bedrock they find a ounce or two in a weekend.
    I have found to do really well you sometimes have to stay in a spot and dig there several days to get the good material. Rarely is there "Good" gold in the top 1'or2' of material especially in areas open to the public.Those metal detectorists have gotten most of the nuggets that were there in the first 1' or so of dirt in most public areas.
    There are exceptions though I found about 2 pennyweight (20 pennyweight to the troy ounce)one day including some small nuggets digging under a large flat rock that someone else had been digging under previously. Unfortunately it did not last and the next day I got very little.
    An ounce a summer or more is not unreasonable for someone who spends some quality time with the ole pick and shovel.
    Since I bought my Halibut boat I find myself going gold mining less often. I still go every year though.
    If I lived near Fairbanks I would hook up with ya for coffee but since I live in Soldotna it's probably not feasible.
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  17. #17
    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Runner View Post
    My idea of gold panning is to get my pan and go find a quiet spot I like on the river. Take couple of soda's couple sammiches and 22mag pistol with first 2 rounds being snake shot. Get my boots and socks off and sit on the bank with my feet in the water and play with my gold pan or my small sluice. If I find something all the better, if not I had a nice day on the river while everybody else had to work, I'am retired so that helps when going when I want to,

    Gun Runner
    As is mine Gun Runner. I'm a musher and a backpacker but those are things that I tend to do without my children (except for short rides) but gold panning is something we do together. Like I said, I have no intentions on getting rich or spending a ton of money on gear I can't afford and don't know how to use (though that sluice DID look fascinating, I'd like to see one in operation.)It's exciting to find a little bit of gold after playing in the water all day though. It gives us a reason to get out of the house. I also include them in going over maps and deciding where to go so that makes it more fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    Gun Runner I know what you mean. I have heard of more than one person who spent upwards of $5000 on a new dredge and all the gear that you need with it and then have to ask the salesman where can they go to and find an ounce a day.
    I think 1stimestaris on the right track. Starting small then working your way up in gear as your budget alllows.
    There are quite a few guys in AK who do find several ounces every year prospecting on a recreational basis but most of those people own or lease claims and work them pretty hard. Sometimes you might work a week or more removing overburden and digging toward bedrock with little to show for it. Then when they get to bedrock they find a ounce or two in a weekend.
    I have found to do really well you sometimes have to stay in a spot and dig there several days to get the good material. Rarely is there "Good" gold in the top 1'or2' of material especially in areas open to the public.Those metal detectorists have gotten most of the nuggets that were there in the first 1' or so of dirt in most public areas.
    There are exceptions though I found about 2 pennyweight (20 pennyweight to the troy ounce)one day including some small nuggets digging under a large flat rock that someone else had been digging under previously. Unfortunately it did not last and the next day I got very little.
    An ounce a summer or more is not unreasonable for someone who spends some quality time with the ole pick and shovel.
    Since I bought my Halibut boat I find myself going gold mining less often. I still go every year though.
    If I lived near Fairbanks I would hook up with ya for coffee but since I live in Soldotna it's probably not feasible.
    Lol well if you are ever up here, give me a message and I'll buy you a cup of coffee and pick your brains.
    Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North
    http://cloud9doula.wordpress.com/

    Does this shotgun make my butt look big?

  18. #18
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    Kasilofchrisn, sorry but not in Fairbanks, am in N. Calif. Did live in Soldotna for a couple yrs. Lived down at the end of Knight Dr. Tended bar at ALFIES, now Mikeyls, also worked at the Mavrick, and the J bar B. as a bar tender. drove septic truck for a while also.

    Gun Runner

  19. #19
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Runner View Post
    Kasilofchrisn, sorry but not in Fairbanks, am in N. Calif.
    Gun Runner
    Sorry for the confusion I was refering to 1stimestar's offer to talk mining over coffee and he lives in fairbanks.
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  20. #20
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    Confused is my normal state of mind.

    Gun Runner

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