Time to catch up on reading, lapidary projects and binge watching TV. Stay home. Stay well.
Welcome to the GemologyOnline.com Forum
A non-profit Forum for the exchange of gemological ideas
It is currently Fri May 29, 2020 4:21 pm

All times are UTC - 4 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 115 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... 8  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:06 pm 
Offline
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:52 pm
Posts: 576
Location: N Dakota
I used to read a fair bit and I found a guy that could spin a yarn like no other.
Patrick McManus, had several books out and ran a last laugh in a field and stream magazine.
He could tell some whoppers!

_________________
Dan


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:21 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Quote:
spin a yarn


Hey, I didn't realize that was a trans-Pacific saying. My Dad used to say that a lot. Funny the similarities you find, even before the world was so linked by social media. Canadians are like Australians - especially those here in northern Australia - with their tendency to place "Eh?" on the end of a sentence, even when it's a statement not a question. I felt right at home when I was over there :)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:38 pm 
Online
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 9:42 pm
Posts: 839
My cutter in Thailand has told me all sorts of stories over the years - scuba diving for treasure on ships, ruby mines in the mountains, tourmaline mines in the same, $95k pieces of jade, etc. etc. I kind of doubted the stories until I ran into someone at Tuscon. She had a nicely cut CZ, and when I mentioned I liked the fantasy cut, she said "yeah it was done by this crazy American who lives in Thailand." Turns out it was the same guy. She had visited him years ago, and verified the stories - even brought out a NYT article with a picture of the big chunk of silver coins she had sold at an auction for him -- yup, treasure he found on the ocean floor.
when I grow up, I want to be like him. :-D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:16 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Quote:
My cutter in Thailand has told me all sorts of stories over the years - scuba diving for treasure on ships, ruby mines in the mountains, tourmaline mines in the same, $95k pieces of jade, etc.


Don't be shy, share one or two with us :D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:56 am 
Offline
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:52 pm
Posts: 576
Location: N Dakota
Barbra just brought up a mining area Im familiar with Pala, CA. Oh it has lots of pretty tourmalines and other gems. My experience here was in the area around Temecula, just north a ways.
Mining in this region isn’t all it cracked up to be, there are several things that make this one of the worst areas to mine in. As crazy as I have been going into situations that are known to be hazardous to my health this is one place I won’t go back to.
Most if not all mining here is load mining. Very limited placer work goes on here. So when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Grab your pick and tools, hard hat, lamp, Scott air monitor and disappear underground for a few days.
Dave was doing some work on a horse ranch nearby and got permission to check out some old shafts. He was having a run of bad luck lately and had just returned from an extended stay in the Hospital after being bit by a Mohave green while clearing rocks from a pasture. He decided now was the time to do a little shaft searching. He heads off to the old mine with gear in the truck. Not but a couple of hours after entering the shaft, California decides to shake a little. 2 days later I got a call from Dave. The first tremor had caved in about 20ft of shaft behind him but a large slab kept the side of the shaft near the entrance from filling in completely. After several hours of removing debris the second tremor hit and added to what he had already removed. It also bounced a wheel barrow sized rock off his ribs and broke 3 and continued to roll over his ankle. But it also moved enough of the caved in rock that he could dig and squeeze his way along the side of the shaft by the big slab towards the entrance. Not knowing if more would cave in or another tremor was on the way Dave dug and crawled for most of the next 20 hours. The worst was having to move the larger rocks back along the crawl space with the broken ribs to make room to move forward. After getting past the cave in he couldn’t tell if it was clear ahead or not, the lamp gave up. So he just rested for a couple hours. Finally a bit of light started to enter the shaft as the sun came up and he walked out the last 200 feet. Of course when your luck goes south it tends to stay that way for a while, the scout had a flat tire. He just drove it on the flat the tem miles to the ranch, where they put on the spare for him and he drove back to the hospital to tape up the broken ribs. The ankle was bruised but not broken. All this and the only thing he found in the mine was an old broken pick and lantern from maybe the 50’s, and the box from the explosives. He couldn’t say for sure if there was ever anything there to mine for. The quartz veins were small and not very mineralized, the total depth into the mine wasn’t 800 feet.
I returned to the area with Dave after a couple of weeks healing up. Mostly to pick up stuff and move on. We made the short drive to see the mine and take a look at the one he didn’t get to. More of the entrance had fallen in during our absence, but the other mine shaft just a mile away was destroyed. The timbers had buckled and there was no entrance. As we stood there just letting that sink in, a fat little brown scorpion crawled up and over my boot. Dave says “ I’ve seen enough, lets head to Reno Im feeling pretty lucky”

_________________
Dan


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:25 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:00 am
Posts: 1265
Location: Wylie Texas but in Alaska for a while
Sorry to hear about all of that, but it sounds like it could have been much worse. Glad he is still with us and on the mend from everything.

My mother tells a story of clearing out a barn with a friend after her father passed away. They found some old dynamite, with crystals on it. Not knowing better, they put in the car and drove over gravel roads to the sheriff office.

He took one look at it, and cleared the office. He would not transfer it to his car, but on lights and siren and escorted them out of town to an open area. He gently took the box and put it far in the field, and fired one round from his gun into it, and it went off.

He said that if they found some more.... to call and he would come to them......


Old explisives can be very unstable. At least it was in a mine, and cool. This was in a barn in Missouri, with hot sumers, for 20+ years.....


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:28 pm 
Online
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 9:42 pm
Posts: 839
Lefty wrote:
Quote:
My cutter in Thailand has told me all sorts of stories over the years - scuba diving for treasure on ships, ruby mines in the mountains, tourmaline mines in the same, $95k pieces of jade, etc.


Don't be shy, share one or two with us :D


Well lets see - his spine has a problem because he bailed out of a plane during the Vietnam war. He saw some areas that looked like they might have rubies in them from the air (he was a pilot) and decided to look there when he mustered out. That is the place he found the ruby mine. For a year or so he had it to himself until some biologist happened upon rubies when they were looking for birds, and within a year the place was crawling. But he kept people away from his find with "Caution Mine Field" signs.
When one (very large) ruby was found in his mine one of his employees stole it and tried to sell it in a nearby town - but the guy he tried to sell it to called him up and he got it back. He sold that one and had enough money to live on for a few years and to send a few local kids to college.

He can go on like that for hours. Wish I had it taped.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:39 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
That's why I've never mined underground, came close enough to being killed in a hole less than 5 feet deep. And you're right, Murphy's Law does seem to take over, the exact same thing happened to me - as my mate drove me to the nearest ambulance station we got a flat tyre on the way. Had a spare but it still slowed us down.

Quote:
They found some old dynamite, with crystals on it. Not knowing better, they put in the car and drove over gravel roads to the sheriff office.


Boy, they were lucky to make it there in one piece! Very unstable stuff.

Quote:
Well lets see - his spine has a problem because he bailed out of a plane during the Vietnam war. He saw some areas that looked like they might have rubies in them from the air (he was a pilot) and decided to look there when he mustered out. That is the place he found the ruby mine


Did he give you a location? :) That's one thing I'd love to do, find a virgin gem deposit.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:29 pm 
Offline
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:52 pm
Posts: 576
Location: N Dakota
In all the years my grandfather mined coal he never used dynamite, he always used black powder. When they started to do bridge work and build the dams in this part of the country they always called him in to do the blasting under water as well. Black powder is way more controllable than dynamite, you can shape your charges, and it doesn't sweat nitro glycerine.

_________________
Dan


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:11 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
My dad had a small gold mine but I think he always used gelignite. Blasting powder was commonly used here in the old gold rush days in the 1800's. I wonder why they moved away from it? Maybe just because nitro explodes with more force and you need less?

An old bush yarn - The Loaded Dog.

Image


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:10 pm 
Offline
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:52 pm
Posts: 576
Location: N Dakota
Most small miners I know that can blast, use dynamite in areas to remove large amounts of waste rock to get to areas of higher grade material then use different methods of removing payload. The biggest charge I've seen set was 5 quarter sticks drilled in 10 feet to open a staging area for 3 tunnels. The center plug was first and the 4 outer plugs second. It did a nice job of keeping waste in manageable sized chunks for removal. He always followed a strict routine of blast in the evening and recon in the morning. Gave the tunnels time to settle and breathe.

_________________
Dan


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:03 pm 
Offline
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:52 pm
Posts: 576
Location: N Dakota
It's almost July, that means new stories! Write em up, post them when you are done. Some of you may not like the next one much but it's a fact of mining even today. My story for July is " Claim Jumpers".
:smt071 :smt053

_________________
Dan


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:04 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
I've got one as well that I'll write up when I get back from the labradorite dig.

Image

Image


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:12 am 
Offline
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:52 pm
Posts: 576
Location: N Dakota
Summer of ’99 Dave and I had been working the N fork of the Calavares river. It was quiet and out of the way, like 45 minutes of logging trails after the road ended out of the way. The place we would go to for down time as much as any real prospecting. There were little Brook trout and an occasional cut throat in almost every pool, but only one or two might fill an 8” fry pan. Most places you could hop back and forth across the river and only get your ankles wet. For us it was perfect prospecting country. Steep hills down to the creek that ran on bedrock and built up gravel bars and pools. We had walked up and down the creek at least 3 miles in both directions. Met our closest claim owner downstream at one point and visited a few hours. Nice group, did small dredgings and had been there for some time from the looks of the deep pools suctioned down to bedrock. They kept a clean camp, and had built a storage cubby into the hillside for equipment you didn’t want to haul in and out every time. We swapped phone numbers in case someone were to get hurt there was a chance someone might be close and could help out. Then left them to their digging and didn’t see them for weeks. We continued our prospecting about 3 miles upstream finding enough gold to pay for the gas and keep us looking. Never filed a claim on it it just wasn’t that great. We had a good weekend of rain so decided to gt serious about a gravel bar close to the neighbors claim. Trudged in with intentions of running sluice boxes for a couple of days. Water was up a bit and the boxes were running really well so we put a bit more effort into the digging than usual. Next morning I got up stiff and sore and sat at camp a bit waiting for that second pot of coffee. Dave smelled the brew and wandered up from the creek for a cup. As we sat planning our next move on a large boulder we wanted to dig under we could hear the neighbors pumps kick on. Didn’t think much of it at first but then they were weekend warriors and this was a Wednesday. Decided we would go down and see if we could borrow a 5’ bar to pry the rock with. As soon as we came in site of the camp we knew something wasn’t right. There was trash all over, equipment piled up and the cubby door looked to be off the hinges. We just backed out quietly and called the number they gave us. Left a message and waited to see what was up. Got a return call an hour later and said sheriff was on the way. Dave spoke with them for a minute and we moved up the creek trail a hundred yards more and closed the back door. These guys had made a second trip down for equipment about the time the sheriff blocked the road out. 2 got met at their truck but the 3rd guy decided to slide out the back door. Dave broke the shovel handle across his shins as he stepped past the tree and the sheriff got to carry him up the hill to the rest of his companions. We got a visit and a thousand questions from the sheriff who wasn’t sure if we were part of this or not until I convinced them to call back the claim owners and that worked out better. Our neighbors showed up that evening with some new hinges and stored most of the gear away. They brought us a bottle of Apple jack that we shared with our story of the day. Sad to see that still goes on but it will. The good thing was no one got shot. All three of the thieves were armed, as were Dave and I, but the shovel worked quite well. I thought it was too bad he couldn’t have done a face plant on a large rock as on his way to the ground. Instead it was just soft pine needles.
After all that we packed up our gear and headed home. We managed enough gold to pay for gas and beer. Decided we would look for a new spot someplace else on the next trip.

_________________
Dan


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Tales of the Roaming Prospector
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:49 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Sad but true! There's always someone around who will thieve your gear/jump your claim and the potential for things to get ugly, especially when you're that far from civilization. Even on an actual mining field - ask QLD Barry about Reward/Graves Hill. Lucky it didn't turn into shoot-out! :shock:


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 115 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... 8  Next

All times are UTC - 4 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Gemology Style ported to phpBB3 by Christian Bullock