Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lonnie's Miners

We meet some exceptionally fine people traveling this country and some of the creme de la creme comes from the associations we make with people who like recreational mining- aka gold prospecting. The last couple weeks we have been working side by side on "Gundy Mountain" (or what's left of it after we shoveled much of it into a highbanker) with Lonnie and his extended family- his wife, his three great kids, and his wife's parents. If you can get better neighbors in a mining pit next to yours I'd be surprised- although the people that came in after him have been absolutely great as well. The kids were bright, inquisitive in a good sort of way, hard workers, easily entertained and self occupied. If you need a helper, any of them are glad to jump in. The oldest, nicknamed Bubba, is a soft spoken young man who can dig a hole with the best of the adults and that boy has a nose for gold that few adults have. The first day that Lonnie set up, his oldest son had two pieces of gold on the dredge mat before Lonnie was even ready to run. If I ever work beside them again I will try to "lease" out Bubba just for his sense of gold discovery. Great kid! Danielle was always all smiles; how she did that when 99 % of the time her boots were off stuck in the mud somewhere while she danced back and forth in the 34 degree water of Myers Fork Branch of Chicken Creek I'll never know excepting to say it is good to be young! The family worked long and hard and did exceptionally well. On one occasion, Lonnie was working the bench and a beautiful nugget just fell out of the gravel he was working and dropped right in front of him. No way is that typical, even here, but oh how I hope that happens to me one of these days. Just for the sheer thrill of it happening! The gang took off before I had a total weight for their take for their stay with us, but for sure it was an excellent return on investment as well as a great family vacation...and even though we were working in short proximity- their take was running well out in front of ours at the time of their departure. Not to worry- our day will come. Gold tends to pocket up, not run straight and constant which would make it all too easy to find and thus not so valuable. We work hard to find it and the reward is well worth the wait and the effort. So here comes a nice portrait of the family up on Gundy Mountain and a slide show of their time with us at Chicken Gold Camp. In the slides of the kids all gathered around the mine hole taking some interesting lessons- that is Gene, our claims director/caretaker, working with the kids.

From the That Was Then department, here is what was "shakin'" two years ago on our tour of the great state of Alaska:

A Blessing From Denali our first ever visit to the mighty mountain, a delight that I carry in my mind nearly every day since then. That monster of a mountain, IF you get to see it, will give you memories for life....

On The Way To Valdez
our visit to the village of Talkeetna, the Musk Ox Farm, and a close up look at some Reindeer (caribou) and a couple of really cool Elk. We fished the river for King Salmon, but as you'll see, we still hadn't tied into any salmon as of that point in the trip. Talkeetna? Well worth checking out!

Well, that's the roundup for another day. Marilyn just finished cleaning up our gold run for today- came in at .9 pennyweight. For reference, it takes 20 pennyweight to make an oz. Since we are dealing in Troy ounces, there are 12, not 16 ounces to a pound.

In case any of you will be doing some prospecting and don't have a reference chart for all the very confusing weights we deal with in gold mining and production ( I thought the metric system was bad!) here is a handy dandy chart you can print out for yourself:

24 grain= 1 pennyweight or 1.55 grams
20 pennyweight= 1 ounce or 31.10 grams
12 ounce= 1 pound or 373.24 grams

"Pure Gold" (AU) = 24 karat or 1000 Fine

If you're like me, you might as well write it way are you going to remember it right off the bat!

No comments: