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Lanny in AB

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Lanny in AB last won the day on September 4 2020

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    Prospecting/Nugget hunting/Dredging/Placer Mining/Scuba diving/Wilderness areas/Horses

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  1. Nice video, and thanks for posting. All the best, Lanny
  2. That truly is a unique piece of gold! Thanks for posting the video. All the best, Lanny
  3. I found a prospecting entry today from the summer of 1997 that I’d like to post: “Most of the prospecting I get to do is in the summer (up here in Canada) because that's when things thaw enough to get out and root around. Well, one summer in the Omineca region of British Columbia, I was working with some miners who were stripping a large placer cut in an area that had historically produced coarse gold in quantity. They got down to bedrock and as they worked the excavation of the pit, the gold got better and better as they worked from the front (south) to the back (north) of the pit. When things got real interesting (that is when nice nuggets and coarse gold were turning up in the sluice) they hit a massive series of what the local miners called drift mines (they described drift mining as tunneling from a lower elevation in relation to the pay-layer to allow for drainage from seepage). Once the old-timers hit the pay-layer, they worked back and forth following the good pay. It could be done underground all winter long and the stockpiled material was then processed in the Spring. In fact, the entire back end of the pit had been roomed out (roomed is the term they used when the tunnels were so close together they went back and forth in a series of parallel tunnels literally taking all of the material from a pay layer, thus leaving a large underground pillared and lagged [wood that forms the roof of the room]. At any rate, the placer pit was now abandoned and scheduled to be refilled. They said I could poke around, but to stay out of the old drifts as they were dangerous. Well, that didn't take any convincing on my part. I have done a bunch of caving and rappelling but the tunnel works were there for well over a hundred years and the wet lumber had changed somehow and broke in chunks with the consistency of celery, nothing like wood at all. As I poked around, there was seepage everywhere, and the lagging on the ceiling of the tunnels was all cracked and caving. In addition, the pit was rapidly filling with water from the front to the back where I wanted to prospect, so I didn't have much time. The modern miners had displaced a bunch of the large upright pillars (large hand-hewn logs) with their machinery when they hit the drifts. I panned some of the material from the false bedrock and true bedrock they had scraped. There was a little gold, mostly small flakes. I reasoned that when the old-timers were putting in their pillars and posts they must have covered up some pay, even if it was a small amount. As well, I knew from all the work they had done (extremely difficult manual labor) that the pay had to have been excellent; the modern pit had proven that as well. So, I found a nice fat displaced pillar, levered it out of the socket with a large bar and carefully collected the material from around it and in the socket forming the bottom of the hole. I panned it out and man you should have seen the pickers! I scratched around the base of another pillar but I couldn't move it out of its place and yet I still found some more coarse gold. However, time was running out. The seepage was real bad and the upper bank material started to slough off from above, and let me tell you, when that starts to happen, it’s time to get out fast! All the gold in the world isn't worth a lick if you’re dead. Standing above the bank I watched as the wet material oozed down into the pit which then collapsed the bank, with a slurping sound, down into the cut. There would be no more getting the gold there anymore, it was kind of sad, but I had found out something truly valuable: anytime I come across old drift workings that are exposed by modern mining, if the conditions are safe, I'll happily gather the material from around those old pillars and pan it.” I found out more about the type of gold some of that false bedrock (I mentioned earlier) was holding on another day, but that’s a story for a later time. May you all find something golden to smile about, and all the best, Lanny
  4. (Annual Christmas Poetry)Santa’s FateOne winter’s day, in ’82,Well, things were lookin’ mighty blue,Cause Santa’s sleigh was runnin’ late,And this produced an awful state.The kids was feelin’ mighty down.‘Cause Santa might not get to town!An avalanche had closed the wayTo block their local Christmas sleigh.Now Santa’s name was Honest John,A muleskinner off and on,He cussed and chewed, he liked his boozeAnd in a brawl, he was bad news.So, not your average Santa, no.But Christmas set John’s heart aglowThat he could freight the gifts and toysTo all those little girls and boys.His mules he’d garb in greens and reds,With antlers mounted on their heads,Then off they’d scoot to meet the trainDown far below, out on the plain.So once again they did the same,But Fate had run a crooked gameAnd choked the pass with tons of snow.So, Honest John was stuck below.A telegram he quickly sent,And this is how the message went:“Just meet me at the closest spotWhere all that snow just ain’t quite got.”The folks was stumped just how to goThrough all the piled up winter snow.Why, snowshoes might just do the trickTo meet their hometown Old Saint Nick!The Sheriff rounded up a crewOf miners, ranchers, gamblers tooWith packs and bags they quickly went.This telegram to John they sent:“We’ll get to you just at that spotWhere all that snow just ain’t quite got.”This news was something mighty big!So John, he danced a merry jigTo know the good he done each yearTo fill that town with Christmas cheerWould once again get carried out,On Christmas Eve, without a doubt.Well, Honest John, he met that crewAnd filled their bags and packs up too.He turned his mules out far belowThen snowshoed off across the snow.*******************************On Christmas morn, the kids they found,With wondrous feelings quite profound,Their toys and goodies 'round the treeJust like the way things used to be.But Honest John was fast asleep.His promises that he did keepHad left him tuckered, plumb worn thin.Yet on his face, a peaceful grin.All the best, and a Merry Christmas to all,Lanny
  5. Loved the pictures, was never able to make it to one of the outings, but now that I have more time, and if the world ever gets back to normal, I hope to make it happen one day. Looks like a whole boat-load of fun! All the best, Lanny
  6. Some of this year's summer gold: 1.5 ounces of gold from detecting, haven't been able to get out too much this summer due to CO-Vid restrictions. All the best to those of you that chase that sassy gold, Lanny
  7. Nice find indeed! All the best, and thanks for the pictures, Lanny
  8. If you look at the largest piece (6 grams) doesn't it look rather like a Christmas tree angel? (Head and wings at the top) All the best, Lanny
  9. Yes, that's a pan from the mine owner. He gets lots of nuggets where he's at right now, with a smaller fraction of fine gold. I'd estimate about 70 for coarse to 30 for fine. The water was really moving through that channel when the gold was deposited, not a lot of black sand either. All the best, Lanny
  10. Wanted to post some pictures to go with the last couple of stories from this summer: Half an ounce of goodness my son found the second day with his Minelab X-Terra 705, first time ever he'd used it to find nuggets (he does have over 500 hours on it coin shooting though), A nice 3-gram nugget my son found on a lonely shelf. The goodies we both found the first day, largest piece 6-grams. My son found this one all by himself; that broke the dam for him, and the rest came easy. It seems to be good luck to wave your hand over a pan of gold before you start detecting, certainly worked for us. All the best, Lanny
  11. Will post some pics of some of the gold we've found in the last couple of outings this summer. All the best, Lanny
  12. A New Learning Curve My son and I loaded up our blue mule (Dodge 3/4 ton diesel) and headed for the mountains Friday evening.That meant we'd be doing part of the drive in the dark, and setting up camp in the dark, but when we're out chasing the gold, that's no hardship at all.Early the next morning, we did an equipment check: gold pans, a bucket full of sniping equipment, a couple of picks, as well as several detectors. On our way to check freshly uncovered bedrock, we wanted to make sure we had what we needed.My son had his Minelab X-Terra 705, a machine he's got about 600 hours on detecting for coins and jewelry (and he's done very well!), a machine I gave him a few years ago, but he's never used it to look for nuggets, so this trip would be a new learning curve for him.The 705 is a machine that Minelab put a lot of extra technology inside for the price-point at the time, and it had sniffed out nuggets in the past, so I knew it would do the job on shallow to gold bedrock that wasn't super hot.To leave camp that Saturday morning, we ignited the throaty roar of the diesel and left camp slowly, as in August the super-dry roads in camp are blanketed with fine clay dust that mushrooms a cloud of dust that goes everywhere.When we hit the main forest service track, we opened it up a bit more, but the washboard condition of the gravel roads wouldn't let us go too fast without shaking the truck to its core.Next, we hit the paved highway and made excellent time.It was a glorious, windless day. The sky was completely cloudless, the ceiling of air a perfect cobalt blue, the pines and firs a deep green that contrasted beautifully with the flawless blue sky.After seventy minutes, we finally arrived at the mine, this after leaving the highway then slowly navigating a logging road, one heavily rutted from recent haulage. The road included what the locals call "punchouts", places where the roadbed has been pounded through by logging trucks that leave dangerous soft sections. If you hit those sections at speed, the front end of your truck dives down deep and fast and you experience the "punch"! Then you come flying out. If you enter too slowly, and not in 4-wheel drive, you get stuck, so it's an ongoing challenge.At the mine site, the owner was chatting with the vacuum truck crew, the group cleaning the bedrock for the next couple of days. After his meeting, he told us where we could work away from the vacuum crew, but he also wanted us to check their progress to see if any gold was being left behind. We did from time to time, and we directed them to spots where they'd left some gold.To work the bedrock effectively, I made sure my son had a magnetic wand to deal with the never-ending bits of steel from the excavation. Moreover, with the bedrock super-hard once again (like last week), the magnet would clear the surface signals so the softer sounds of gold could be heard.We fired up our detectors. I chose the Gold Bug Pro as I love the digital meter on shallow bedrock as an aid to ID'ing the gold. Moreover, for any iffy signal, a quick swipe with the magnet usually solves the puzzle, or some quick pick and magnet work either tells the tale or requires more investigation. Furthermore, in several cases where the meter read lower than gold, the nuggets were sitting among pieces of magnetite (ironstone) that skewed the digital reading, but once the magnet had removed the ironstone, the gold signal was nice and clear.While I was collecting a nice catch of nuggets, my son was having some frustration with his detector due to all of the bits of steel, but he kept at it and at last he found two nuggets with the 705! Well, the dam burst after that, and he showed some innovation as well. When he'd get a signal that was strange, he'd quickly switch to discrimination, and if he got any positive response, he knew it might be a nugget. He kept toggling back and forth over the next couple of days to verify signals, and it worked out very well for him.The bedrock we worked was often broken in sharp slabs, so we had to be very careful while walking over and through those troughs of iron-hard bedrock as the footing was bad. To slip would be to get a nasty cut, and luckily, we avoided any injury until the second day my son did a nice circular slice around his finger when he reached too quickly into a crevice to check out a signal.In the bedrock, there were slabs of clay stuck to the sides of the troughs either where the excavator had broken chunks of bedrock out or where we used bars to pry apart sections. That sticky clay held the gold! Sometimes, after locating a target, we could see the gold stuck to the clay and only had to pry it out.I scanned a section of bedrock where there was a deeper hole. The excavator had hit a soft spot within that super-hard bedrock, and at the end a bedrock rise, there was a small pile of channel stones. I got a cracking response that turned out to be a six gram nugget! We kept at it until it started to get dark, and by the time we headed up to the mine boss's trailer, we'd caught just over an ounce of nuggety gold.The next day, I let my son go solo, and I only hung around to give him tips if needed. However, he did well fine tuning his own system of ID'ing targets by toggling back and forth from prospecting mode to discrimination. He kept gathering a nice collection of targets in the little orange bucket he threw his signals into. (Rather than take the time to visually ID each target, he'd throw them in the bucket so he could pan them all out at the end of the day.) As well, when he'd get a broad signal under the coil (which often indicates a concentration of flake gold), he'd scoop that dirt into the bucket as well.As darkness closed on that last day, he panned out the dirt in his bucket. He'd caught half an ounce of sassy gold! That included a three gram nugget he'd found through determination. He was detecting a flat chunk of bedrock that held lots of steel signals, but he kept swiping them off with the magnet. Then he got a good sound right on the edge of the flat bedrock where it dropped off into a pocket of water. He worked the signal with his pick until he popped it out, and that was how he found his nice nugget! Without removing the steel shavings that produce such a nasty racket in the headphones, he'd likely have missed the nugget.So, we got a 1.5 ounce bounce for those two days, but golden memories of a hunt together that will last a lifetime.All the best,Lanny
  13. Wow! Lots of rain. Great pics and video! All the best, Lanny
  14. Lake Placers #4I knew there were signals in the bedrock, and they sounded sweet, so I headed off to gather tools. We had a small sledge back in the truck, an assortment of rock chisels, and the Estwing pry-bar, the one that has the pointed chisel end on the bottom, and the flat L-shaped head on the top. Moreover, the “L” can be used to scrape or be used as a chisel as well to hammer into a crevice—absolutely beautiful little tool.Having rounded up the tools, I hustled back to the site. The most amazing part was that once I started to chisel out bedrock chunks, the original bedrock was indeed solid, but there was a natural cement of fine-grained, crushed black slate that had been running with the gold in the stream channel that created a perfectly camouflaged matrix, the matrix rock hard as well. In this way, Nature had hidden the original crevices perfectly.Using hammer and chisel, I worked my way down well outside the edge of the signal’s midpoint. I usually had to go down two to four inches to get below the signal, but then I’d insert a longer chisel and reef on it until the piece of bedrock and matrix popped out. Sometimes the piece would flush up in the air just like a game bird! (It makes sense now why my partner was on point like a bird dog.) After the first nugget flew, we made sure to block the flight path with a large gold pan. We couldn’t risk losing any nuggets in adjacent cobble piles.After recovering the nugget-rich matrix, I took the chunks and carefully tapped on them until they started to fracture and crumble. (As the matrix and the bedrock were of the same hardness, I never knew where the piece was going to fracture.) Having reduced everything to small pieces, I passed them under the coil to pinpoint the gold-bearing ones.After tapping away to remove the remaining residue, the gleam of gold was unmistakeable. Moreover, all of the nuggets had wonderful character, nothing flat, featureless or hammered. It was incredible fun liberating a dozen of those long hidden multi-gram nuggets.Did I smash any fingers while reducing the chunks? Absolutely. Did it hurt? If a fingernail goes black and falls off later, would that qualify? Regardless, the gold adventure was well worth the effort.In another instalment, I’ll talk about detecting the test-piles farther up that same placer claim and what I found in them.All the best,Lanny
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