Friday, November 30, 2012

A Harring, Whats a Harring?

GOLD, quarter, goldpan, mining
It seems that the story post I made was very popular so I think I will continue to tell the story of the mine through the magic of imagination.   As you all know we are looking for gold up here at Quartz creek Alaska.  What you don't know is that the gold we find is found in smaller flatter pieces.  The gold was created a couple million years ago when glaciers covered this whole area. Well most people think that nothing can live in a glacier.  Well in this area the only place for things to live was either on or in the glaciers.  Glaciers are constantly moving and grinding up the rock it is moving across.   Because of this the glacier becomes embedded with minerals and very small pieces of the bedrock.  This was the source of food for a creature called a "Harring."  The Harring looked like the cross between a big horned Beetle and an earth worm, the cross being that the earth worm had the horns kinda like the beetle. The Harring used its horns to borough through the glacier and find food as it went. It consumed the minerals and small rocks that it came across. Using the small rocks it would grind up the minerals for digestion. As the Harring digested, it only used from the minerals what its body needed, the rest was waste that would continue to pass through its body. One thing that I had not mentioned was that the Harring had its own heat source, a chemical reaction that would take place inside its body, as the remaining minerals passed through the body of the Harring it would pass through this chemical reaction, Changing the minerals into an new compound, before the waste minerals were expelled from its body.  This waste product is now valued for its beauty and rarity and people will go crazy trying to get at it.   It is what we now call GOLD!  The reason it is flat is because it had been carried through the glaciers for all those years and worn down to a flattened shape.   As the glaciers thawed the rivers carried the GOLD throughout the area depositing it in very randoms spots.  Sometimes you can get lucky and happen upon a concentration of it, but that does not happen very often.   In the picture above we performed a cleaned out after two hours of operating our wash plant.  There have never been any fossils found of the Harring since once they died the glacier took care of grinding them up to powder.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gold Panning Instruction

Well Here is an example of some gold panning with a couple pieces of the gold we find at the mine. I threw this together real quick without scripting it at all so please don't mind the misuse of words to describe the process, this was very ad-lib so no judging, I will will make a better video later, just thought I would see if this was something people would like to see on the site.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What is it, that dwells at the Quartz Creek Mine?

Lyra, tree, gold, mine, forrest
The gold mine is a magical place, it is full of wonder and amazement its a place that just draws people in. Is it the mystery and beauty of quartz creek that brings people here? We get a lot of visitors through out the summer months, even during thanksgiving weekend we had some visitors drive up. Usually not anyone we know, but normally very friendly.  So all visitors heed the following warning.  There are some elusive creatures that dwell in the the shadows of the trees up there at our quartz creek mine. Mischievous little creatures. You may find your full soda that you just set down is now half empty, or that shovel that you put next to the rock is now leaning against the tree. So keep a sharp eye out you may even catch a glimpse of one of the mystical beings, in fact I got a picture of one with my camera, it was peeking out from behind a tree and I am posting for all the world to see as proof that there is a reason that your coffee cup is not where you left it.(or maybe you just forgot where you put it.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Layers, Its All About the Layers

Layers, gravel, gold, mine,
This is a photo from the first hole we started digging in at the gold mine. You can see the different layers in the gravel very well. The almost black layer seems to have a large quantity of gold in it. Other locations that has deposits of gold are found are in the clay layer and in the fractured slate(bedrock). This hole was dug completely by hand, we used a Keene High banker to process the dirt from this hole and we pulled 3/4 of an ounce out of here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

All work and no play....well you know the rest. trees, fallen
Every winter the snow brings lots of trees down in the trail and every spring we have to get out the chain saw and start clearing the way so we can make it down our trail. Here is a picture from thanksgiving to show that the mess has already begun. You would think that we would get at least one spring that would be free of fallen trees on the trail, but that is so not the case. Mother Nature loves to keep us busy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gona Get Some Gold!.......Maybe not.

Creek, Quartz, Mining, Thanksgiving, Frozen, gold
Well while we were up at the mine for Thanksgiving, I thought boy it sure would be fun to get the dredge out and find some gold. So I wandered on down to Quartz creek to see if there were any good spots to slip in the water. As the creek came into view I had to thoughts, "Brrrrrrrr" and "Boy I am glad the state does not allow dredging in the winter months." This photo is what I saw.   Just so everyone knows, I am really only allowed to dredge in the Salmon creek/streams from May, 15 - July, 15.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How do you KNOW there is GOLD there.

Gold, Striation, Glory, Hole, cut, dig, site
Well knowing that there is gold somewhere is actually just some educated guesses, lots of small sample holes, and a pinch of luck. In reality it is not much more complicated than that. This hole here we were processing the material on top of the clay in a line perpendicular to how this hole has been dug when the gold just stopped, so I moved the equipment back to a point that we were producing gold from and started making this cut up the hill from that Point. As we were moving up the hill the concentrations of gold were getting higher and higher. Then guess what?.....Our season ended. At least we have a starting spot for next years search for the glory hole!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nice ROCK you have there.

Crystal, Quartz, outcropping, mineral, discovery, find
Remember the Post about the LARGE quartz vein we found up the hill from our current dig site. Here is a picture of a grab sample off of the vein, we kept this one because it is a very neat quartz specimen with great crystal formation. This chunk is about 9" long and about 5" wide, very pretty. It took a little work to get it cleaned up, but it was worth it. It has now joined the ranks with the rest of my specimens on the shelf.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

As Promised

Bunk, House, Gold, Mine, basecamp
As Promised Here is what our new bunkhouse looks like. We brought this in the last month of mining. This is where we had thanksgiving dinner this year. It was awesome. We did have to start a fire under the hinge on the gate so we could open it and get into the mine. Other than that the bunkhouse heated up nicely and we had a wonderful rustic thanksgiving dinner. The bunkhouse has a full bathroom with over sized shower, on demand hot water heater, toilet, full kitchen, dining room, slide out lean-to, flat screen TV, DVD player(for the rainy evenings, we still work in the mine when it is pouring down rain during the day).

Happy Thanksgiving

mining, camp, showing, lyra, base
Happy Turkey Day everyone. I put a summer picture of the base camp, because we are having thanksgiving up at the gold mine today(and i kinda wish we were still mining). We are going to forge through the snow, thaw out the bunkhouse and have our turkey dinner. I will get some winter pictures of the mine while we are up there today.  I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday, If you have to drive be cautious of other drivers, slow down, don't be in a hurry and If your drinking during the festivities, get a cab or have a designated driver.  We all want to get home safe.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Is it Winter or Summer

Snow, Season, Quartz, Creek
Termination snow, first snow of the season.  Strange that it only snowed on one side of quartz creek.  This signifies the end of our mining season.  Very sad day, but on a high note, it made for some great photo ops.

Monday, November 19, 2012

bedrock, outcropping, gold, quartz
One day we decided to take a break from digging and do some more exploring of the claim. We decide to walk up the mountain from where we were digging and found a large outcropping of bedrock. At first glance it did not look very significant, other than it was a large shelf with 75 feet exposed, it looked like a giant step. We walked around this outcropping inspecting is closer and as we started to pull the moss off of the face of the rock we uncovered a very large quartz vein with tons of stringers running all through the formation. We kept pulling off moss and kept uncovering more and more quartz. My mother-in-law found a loose piece of quartz and pulled it loose, it was a beautiful crystalline quartz specimen. We are very suspect that this quartz is the source for the gold we are currently finding, The plan is to send out a few grab samples for assay, wish us luck. Who love's rocks.......I do! I do!

Load up!

Getting Ready to head out in the morning to start a long day of mining. We don't like to make many trips so we pack as much on the 4-wheelers as possible. Sometimes though there just has to be multiple trips. The camper you see in the picture we have sold and we now have a bunkhouse built on an old boat trailer sitting in that same exact spot.  The bunkhouse by the way is awesome, in fact we are going to be having thanksgiving up there.  I will get some better pictures of the bunkhouse then, so check back for updates.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Everyone loves Chicken(no, not the animal)

Mining, Chicken, Gold, outing,
This is a photo from one of our family outings to Chicken Gold Camp.  We had a ton of fun, found some gold visited with friendly people enjoyed the sights and scenery.  I cant say enough good things about the Chicken gold camp.  Anyone who gets a chance to visit chicken should look these guys up they are very friendly, they provide a lot of conveniences at their campground that would otherwise be unavailable to the recreational miner.  Here is a link to their website - Chicken Gold Camp.

Is there gold there, I think there is.

gold, nugget, picker, found
This nugget my wife picked up just walking by the pile of dirt we stage for processing.  There is gold up in them there hills!  Maybe we could get on a TV show, just a small family operation, having to fight nature and breakdowns, no big wallet to fund the operation just two grandparents(Elaine and Antonio),Two Parents(Robert and Teresa), and a three year old(Lyra).  Add in a bit of creative and inventive personalities, some wishful thinking and the fever for gold.  I think it would make a great reality TV show.

Some Science At the Gold Mine!

Grandma and Lyra like to take hikes through the woods up at the mine.  The came across this birds nest(sorry for the out of focus picture).  They found it when there were just eggs in it and they monitored it every weekend we were there until the birds left the nest.  Lyra was very insistent as we were driving to the mine that her and grandma had to check on the birds and make sure they were ok.  She was sad when the birds finally grew up and left the nest.

Friday, November 16, 2012

How could I have done that?

Blacklab, Rottweiler, dog, bear guard
Stella the Dog
So I have left out a very important individual to a mining party, so here is an introduction if you see her in some of the photos.  Her name is Stella, Black Lab, Rottweiler mix.  She is a super good dog and the best bear early warning device you could have around.   She Plays all day with Lyra(she does have to take some breaks to rest).  When we are split up she will run between the groups of us checking in to see if everything is alright.  She rides the 480D tractor with me, and she rides the Kubota by herself.  Just a super good, "mans best friend."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

To Hardrock or Not to Hardrock?

Mining, 4-wheelers, mountian, trail,
View, Mountain, Scenic, mining, claims

Not all of our Stories are at quartz creek.  We had a Partner in a group of claims call the Gilpatric, They were a very historical hard rock play.  I do have a lot of information regarding this claim and the history of the claim that I could put on this blog if anyone is interested.  It is a beautiful area to be mining in, very difficult to get the ore off the mountain.  We never actually processed any of the ore, we did however find a vein of quartz we sent out to be assayed, from very random grab samples and it was very rich with gold.  This mine was really our start into real gold mining, not just hopping from tourist trap to tourist trap panning for gold.  We learned a lot from our mining partner, but in the end we decided that we much more enjoyed the instant gratification of placer mining so we began searching for our own little mine. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


dredging, resurrection, resurection, creek, hope, AK, gold, mining
Everyone once and a while our friends will accompany us on our outings.  Well this is my buddy, Dom.  He is playing in the waters of the Resurrection creek in Hope.   This is a little blurb about him and the spot he is in.  We were here for the 4th of July weekend, and as those of you know running a dredge is cold hard work so it is nice to be able to take turns with people.  Well it was Doms turn to run the dredge and the rest of the group is up above him at camp relaxing around the fire when we hear Dom scream, "BRING ME A SPOON, I NEED A SPOON!"  So of course we all go to see what is going on.  Dom was very insistent on needing a spoon and at this point we still did not know why he needed a spoon.  Well the reason Dom was so frantic was, as he was dredging he uncovered a piece of gold about the size of a rice grain,  He could see it from above the water and he wanted a spoon to pick it up with.  He wanted a spoon quick because he thought it would wash away in the current,  well the current in the spot where he was working was not really that swift.  I gave him simple instructions, "Just reach down and pick it up."  He looked at me kind of skeptically, but did it, I believe that was the first large piece of Gold Dom found.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Story to Remember!

Talking Ice, Chinese, Mine, Hole, ExcapeAntonio, sandoval, Ice , Book,
My Father in Law Just Published a great book Where the main character is my daughter, Woohoo!  Its a gold mining story, some truth in it, some not so truths.  A little bit of history, and alot of excitement.  Those of you who know me, you will recognized some of the names in the book, some of the places.  I have included a link to the store and intro to the book below.  If interested the book may be purchased on Amazon, the name is "Talking Ice."

Here is the intro:
Lyra Winter the main character in the Novel and she is the Author’s grand daughter, three years old at the time Talking Ice was published. It is an actual account of small scale mining methods on working claims and the story is set twenty two years in the future. The Action/Adventure, Fiction is the story of a young woman who inherits mining claims on the Kenai Peninsula and all the dangers of mining and those who would do anything for the price of Gold. 
Locations on the creek, named by previous owners after special events or earlier gold discoveries have been carried through the years along with some history of the claims. Placer Bluff is at the opposite side of the main camp on the first claim, in an area that was mined by hydraulic methods. Three hundred yards up the trail is Mastel’s Dig, a large area of exposed large rocks and boulders and gravel where the most recent previous owner mined two half gallon jars of “wheat size,” gold, prior to 1990.
Dead Dog bluff is a location just past the Mastel Dig, on the right side of the trail, overlooking the creek, still using the creek, left or right designations as a reference, where a previous owner buried his dog. Midway into the next claim going north is Seven Hundred, an area on the left side of the trail on the first shelve where seven hundred ounces may have been mined using placer methods with machinery and possibly even high pressure pumps.
No records were found to authenticate the existence of the Chinese mine, but as all legend goes, it may have existed and might have been buried rather than continue the risk of a cave in. The large deposit of black Slate where the mine may have been located is so unstable, it would have been dangerous work to keep it open or even dig. The fictional account of the Chinese mine in this work of fiction was a result of conversations around a late night campfire and speculation about where the mine may have been located. The "Talking Ice," is located on the lakes West of the Authors home. The ice resounds in the deep of winter and brings images of eerie shapes and wisps moving over the ice. The sounds can be heard in the bedrooms at night and have been known to influence dreams.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Dont Think So!

480D, Backhoe, Tractor, Yellow Toys
My daughter loves the tractors and every chance she gets when they are not running she climbs up on them and pretends she is driving.  We will make a gold miner out of her yet.  I must confess I too love the tractors and climb up on them whenever I get a chance, of course if she see's me getting on the tractor she will want to go for a tractor ride too.  Big repairs had to be made on this tractor this winter, so I will be getting a logbook for the tractors to track maintenance schedules,  man there is a lot more to gold mining than just mining for gold.   I love it ALL!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Everything Needs to be Cleaned.

gold, pan, concentrates, panning, mother, father
At the end of the day we do a clean up of the material we ran all day.  We take the concentrates from the big red and blue wash plant, then run that dirt through a small mini high-banker to concentrate the material even more, we call this the end of the day clean up.  After that about a gold pan of material is left to have to work, and that is what My mother and father in law are doing in this picture, they are also the ones that take care of most of the equipment construction, like the Wash plant, Trommel, High-Banker and Bunk House.  We would not be able to mine without them.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Public Diamond Mine......For Real?

Crater, Diamond, National Park. mining. Panning

 Well this post is not about gold mining it is about Mining Diamonds, obviously.  I had a business trip down to the states and I had a few days between meetings, so I hopped online to see of there was any recreational mining sites near by.  To my surprise I came across a public Diamond mine in Arkansas.  The mine was call the " Crater of Diamonds National Park. "  It was a very nice establishment. They provided me with everything I needed to begin my quest to find diamonds, for a fee of course.  After I got my equipment I went out the back doors to the mine to find it was a just a plowed up field.  I spent all day, from when they opened to when I realized that I had gotten a very bad sunburn(Unfortunately late in the afternoon).  So, I got Sunburned and skunked.   I was just really excited to do some diamond mining.  It was a ton of fun and recommend you check it out if your ever in the Arkansas, if all you have is the internet here is the link to their website -

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mov'in on Up

Gold mining, high banker, digging, dirt, quartz creekGold mining, high banker, digging, dirt, quartz creek
This is how we started out.  The first picture was our first piece of home built equipment for the mine.  It worked well, my wife and mother-in-law are working the equipment in that picture.  This little unit is how we found the first little glory hole that inspired us to upgrade to a larger KEENE HI-Banker(Second Picture), which worked out very well, we went from shovels full to 5 gallon buckets full.  Then to Kubota buckets, and hopefully next year we will be loading dirt with the 480D Backhoe.