Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Year - New Me - New Gold

It's been a long haul since my cancer diagnosis and subsequent stroke, but I feel like a new man.
I went through two radiation treatments -one internal and one external. Lot's of fun...NOT.
My PSA numbers are .4 (point 4) and my testosterone is up to normal male levels.
Wife and I have spent the last year getting our house ready for sale and after only 12 days on the market, we sold it at full asking price. We'll be moving to the big city (Lewiston) where we won't have to deal with all the snow here in the high country.
Once we get settled into our new place and move all my mining gear out of the storage facility, my first move will be to the Can-Am ATV dealership to pick up a 2017 Outlander Max 850 XT. It's the Cadillac of two-up machines.

I've got half a dozen new prospects to check out and we plan on touring the back country in style.
I'm really looking forward to a fun and leisurely 2017 mining season.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A brief outing at MNS.

I found some basalt bedrock at the water's edge with cracks large enough to drive my 12 lb pinch point bar into. After removing the bedrock chunks, I would sweep the pay material into the lowest portion of the cavity and use my homemade sucker tube to draw out every last bit of pay dirt.
My first sample pan appears below. 

 I had to grab a picture as this sample pan was the best I've seen come from Mother Nature's Sluicebox. This is also the first time that I've worked the water's edge. 
 I pulled a half dozen more pieces of bedrock and worked about 6 more pans before calling it quits for the day.
I'm gaining my Testosterone back but it's still slow going in the physical exercise department, so I felt I did pretty well for my first Autumn outing at Mother Nature's Sluicebox.
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

She's BACK

Mother Nature's Sluicebox has reappeared for another fall / winter season of gold mining on the Clearwater River. I spent a few hours checking things out the other day and discovered some interesting looking basalt bedrock at the water's edge. Next trip will have me hauling a 5' bar and other crack jacking tools.
Twisted my ankle coming out so instead of wearing rubber barn boots, I'll have to start wearing leather boots with some good ankle support. Ok John and Phil...time to HIT IT and GIT IT.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Back in late February I had my radioactive seed implant surgery. The first week of recovery was a little rough but tolerable. The second week of April, I started my 5 day a week - 5 week external beam radiation treatment. No big deal for the first three weeks, then came the side effects they warned me about. I won't go into detail but the February surgery recovery was pleasant compared to the radiation's effect on my internal plumbing. This is my first week without having to travel over an hour one way to sit through 15 minutes of radiation and then traveling over an hour back home again. I'm also so glad not to have any more hormone shots to drop my testosterone  levels to zero.  A man's got to have his testosterone in order to maintain muscle and I am one weak SOB right now. I've also gained over 25 pounds since surgery. I have been walking every day from 1 mile to 3 miles just to prevent any more weight gain. My only obligation is to have a blood test in a few weeks to establish my baseline PSA number and then quarterly blood tests to monitor any changes in PSA. Feels good to know that I don't have to worry about prostate cancer any more!

A few months ago, I bent up the last piece of aluminum I had in the shop to form up a 12" x 36" sluice box.
It's got 14" of slick plate, 6" of ribbed rubber and then 16" of ¾" raised expanded over carpet. My buddy was running a similar sluice last year in some fairly low flow current and he was doing pretty good.(see pic)

I know I won't have the strength to wrestle with large slabs of bedrock so my wife and I will be spending some time swinging our metal detectors over the numerous tailing piles in the area. She's got a Fisher Gold Bug (digital) with the optional 5"x10" DD coil and I swapped out my Tesoro Lobo SuperTraq for a Nokta FORS Gold+ with a 5"x10" DD coil and the optional 5" DD sniper coil. Her machine and my FORS Gold+ both run at 19khz so we'll have to maintain a little distance between us in order to avoid the machines from suffering 'cross talk', where one machine effects the other. I hope to regain some muscle mass and lose that extra 25 pounds  so we can get back to doing what we love to do...CHASE GOLD.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mining Town Landlocked by Land Slide

Imagine living in an old mining town with only one road in and out (no through roads).
Now how would you feel when a tremendous land slide blocks the road and you have no way in or out of town. It happened in Elk City Idaho last week. A hand full of locals are using their snow machines to ferry mail and medicines on old Forest Service roads. The local stores are quickly running out of food. My mining claims (now sold) were located on the Elk City side of this slide. This is not the first time a slide has happend at this location. The last one was about 4 years ago but this one is three times the size. I think the Idaho Department of Transportation should get together with the Forest Service for an easement to place a bridge across the South Fork Clearwater River before and after this slide area. An IDT road crew was on site clearing a few small rocks off the road and one crew member was filming the upslope area when suddenly all hell broke loose. A Facebook page has been established and you can view pics and the video HERE
This photo shows the slow progress of cleaning up, one week later. I can see dynamite being used to reduce the size of some of those larger boulders.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bazooka Power Sluice Conversion


For all you Bazooka Gold Trap Sluice owners who would like to run pay gravel outside of the creek, I am offering a step-by-step How-To Booklet with drawings and photos, showing you how to create this Power Sluice/Highbanker modification on your own Bazooka Gold Trap Sluice. All items are readily available at Home Depot, Lowes or your local hardware store.

My wife and I used my 36" Prospector model last summer on our Idaho placer claim and pulled 1½ troy ounces of coarse gold.

A week after we got home from our summer home (the claim), I suffered a stroke. This forced the postponement of my prostate cancer surgery and left me with double vision. Now, 4 months later, my vision is improving and I spend more time in my shop looking at all my mining equipment. The Bazooka sluice got most of my attention as I've been waiting for the Bazooka Gold Trap Company to come out with their version of a highbanker conversion for their gold trap sluices. After a year of waiting I decided to design something that would allow me to process raw paydirt outside of the creek.

I don't own any of the smaller (Mini, Sniper) or larger (Miner) gold trap sluices so my design is based on the Prospector series.

It is highly recommended that a gas powered water pump with a minimum of 72 GPM be used to power this unit. Battery powered bilge pumps (even 3700 GPH) will not work. Battery powered pumps are only 60-70% efficient, so even a 3700GPH is only pumping roughly 2400 GPH at minimum lift.

Honda makes a good 1½" gas powered pump and they also make a 2".
You can easily reduce the 2" to 1½" at the pump housing.
These booklets have pictures,detailed drawings and precise step-by-step instructions. A thorough Bill of Material list covers everything you need to buy at the hardware store. When you get back from the hardware store, you'll have this unit built in short order.

To download an electronic copy of my How-To Booklet, just click  HERE


US Army Pacific 1969-1971

Friday, December 25, 2015

Gold Ore Stamp Mills

Here is a scale model of a twenty stamp gold mill located in the history room at the Elk City Hotel in Elk City, Idaho. A local resident built this battery powered operating mill and the one pictured below.
The detail is quite good and it's fun to hear the stamps clicking and clacking. If you're in the Elk City - Dixie Idaho area, stop at the hotel and check out these historical models of days gone bye.