We soldier on.

At home we take showers for granted. In the bush it’s somewhat more complicated.

So how do you take a shower in the bush where you either freeze or get eaten by bugs? Well, we had a plan. First, Vic set up a sheet of hardboard for privacy. Then we threw a 5 gallon water tank on the fire to heat up. At the end of the day we poured water into a shower bag and hung it above our makeshift bathroom. Easy peasy!

My shower went like this; strip, get as wet as possible drowning as many mozzies as possible, soap up, rinse really quickly, dry off really fast, grab a can of Raid and spray myself all over all the time shouting “stay away from that! Dont you dare” then quickly dress and spray myself again. Then stand Really still and wait for the itching to start.

Later Vic said he lit a couple of mosquito coils and had no problems. Now, why wasn’t I that smart?

Dean had another plan. He had a small water on demand system and he and Gordie decided to use that. They tried to shelter behind Dean’s truck to get out of the wind. I happened to arrive to the camp as these two were running around in their undies freezing cold and trying to get a shower. Of course I gave them a hard time about it and Vic and I needled them for days after.

We had been in the bush for four days and hadn’t seem a living sole but ourselves. That evening, Gordie went to do his business in the bush and as he was pulling up his pants he heard toot, toot as a pickup went by. It was a couple of First Nation folks returning home from the big city. What timing, I loved it.

That evening we were visited by another miner who happened to be a geoligist. He gave us lots of usefull advise as to where to look for gold.

The following evening our geologist friend showed up again and shortly after was joined by another couple of guys whom I think we’re father and son. The older of the two was 83 years old and had mined in the Yukon before setting up a business selling mining equipment. He was an interesting guy. He said that he had taught the main guy from the show “Yukon Gold” how to mine. He also showed us some photos of 1 lb gold nuggets, probably worth about $20,000 each.

Another problem we had was getting up for a pee in the night. It was bloody cold out there so eventually we set up a communal pee bucket which we took turns emptying , and life was a bit better.

I was dreading taking another shower.

More pictures.

Prospecting

Well, we weren’t really prospecting. We knew the gold was there, we just had to hunt it down.

There are a few videos in this post and parental guidance is recomended. We were a bunch of guys in the bush, so the language got a little rough.

Most of the transportation to the claim was by quad and a side-by-side quad as it was about 1.5 km from our campsite. It was still really cold that morning but I had wrapped myself in five layers of clothes so I stayed fairly warm.

Before we started, Vic and I rigged up a tarp around the old outside biffy for some privacy. This was of course where you are most vulnerable to the mosquitoes so a few records for doing your business were broken.

Dean had brought down most of the equipment the day before, so all we had to do was hook up the water pumps and start digging.  We seemed to get into a rhythm quite naturaly: Gordie and Lyndon did most of the digging; Dean hauled the dirt to the conveyer; I shoveled it into the hopper and Vic worked the stick. The stick was important as you can see in the video. The dirt was wet so we had to break it up with a stick to keep production going. I would relieve Vic once in a while but didn’t quite have his technique. I think it’s all in the wrist. At the end of the day we had processed eight loads of dirt. Not bad for our first day.

The tailing pond, where the dirt was washed into was a playground for Dean’s dog Bailey. She was just like a little kid. Once she was out of the water she would stand shivering just waiting for a chance to jump back in.

I had started a fire as soon as we got to the claim. This job remained mine as I like to set light to things. (Evil chuckle). Vic had managed to drive the truck in (a video of him driving it out) so we had all our food available. At noon I threw a pack of smokies on the grill and we had a nice lunch.

We worked through the afternoon and quit about 3 pm. Time to head back to camp open a beer and eat some of the great food the ladies had made for us. Then sat around the fire drinking and telling lies.

We were in a pretty desolate area. They had just logged all the pine beetle damaged wood and it was way too early for the bush to grow back.

Before we turned in we lit a stove in the trailer for an hour, so at least we went to bed warm. I wasn’t quite as cold that night so things were improving.

Gold we found gooold!

Our brother in law Vic and Rosalie’s cousin Dean, own a gold claim way up North of Fort St James. They invited another brother law, Gordie and I to come along for a short ‘holiday’. I had been promising to go to the claim for several years but never managed to make it. But this time I went. Gordie also bought along his grandson Lyndon.

We were to be in Prince George on Sunday but Rosalie had an appointment on Saturday evening for an MRI to find out what the problem was with her arms falling asleep. We expected to get to Hope at about midnight. As it turned out, she was finished early so we were able to catch an earlier ferry.

We got to the hotel only to find out that I had somehow booked for the following night and the place was full. The manager though, had reserved a room for himself and gave us that one. Phew!

We arrived in PG at about 5 pm the following day. Vic had a 14 ft cargo trailer that we had to load so we set to work on that. The quad went in first then everything else.

The following morning, after several false starts, we eventually got away at about 9 am. The first 2 hours were fine as we were on paved roads. Once we got to Fort St James we stopped to top up on a few essentials like booze. We didn’t want to run out as we were going to be out of contact for several days.

For the next six hours we drove an average speed of 50 kmh over dirt roads. We got to the camp,site at about 5 pm. On the way we saw a couple of bears, one, a grizzly. We were at an elevation of 3,800 feet and the temperature was 1 deg C. It was raining and the wind was blowing. As Gordie and I got out of the truck, he looked at me and siad”WTF have we let ourselves in for.”

We had to unload the cargo trailer as that was to be our sleeping quarters. We got our cots and sleeping bags set up, and after that, we got a fire going had bit to eat and a few drinks and settled in for the night.

Now our ordeal began. It rained on and off throughout the night and the wind blew so hard it was banging the aluminum sides of the trailer to keep us nicely awake. The trailer wasn’t heated so we froze. Tomorrow we would make some changes and go for gold.

Here a few photos.

I was hacked!

As we all know, some miscreant hacked my blog site. Who in their right mind would want to hack me. I can see it if I was Hillary Clinton or some ginormous corporation. But me! What did I do beside upset a few people with my opinions. I don’t know what the world is coming to.

As you can see, this site is pretty raw because I’m learning as I go along. The content is the thing though.

As I haven’t blogged for a long time there is some catching up to do, so grab a glass of wine put your feet up and let me bore you. Some of this may be repeated as I don’t have access to what I did previously and at my age I sure can’t remember what I did.

We moved out of the condo and are now happily “living the dream” in the trailer. It’s been a bit stressful. I had my hand surgery as we were packing and am just finished hand therapy. Then I tore a ligament in my back which slowed me up somewhat. I’m taking shots for that (tequila) so I will be better soon.

Rosalie has a problem with her arms going to sleep. I think they’re just anticipating the rest of her body which seems to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. She had an MRI but they found nothing. We think it’s a pinched nerve so are taking steps to make her better. I keep threatening to trade her in but I think she’s past her ‘best by’ date.

It was pretty chilly when we first moved in in April but we had lots of heaters. We would sit in the sun room and watch downloaded Netflix movies. We were dressed in layers of clothing and wrapped in a blanket. Our first night I started laughing as it struck me funny at what we were doing. We’re both totally mad, I’m sure of that. The thing is though, we love it. I think our attitude is the epitome of this site, We’re older but we ain’t dead yet and we can still have a lot of fun.

I’ve had a lot of work to do and at times it seems daunting but I’m getting through it and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now that summer’s finally here I’m starting to slow down a bit and enjoy our new life. So far we love it, but this is only half of our trial year. We still have to see if we can live for six months in Mexico. I don’t doubt that we can, but who really knows.

Just after I wrecked my back the truck broke down. These two things decided us that we made a mistake when we bought the boat, so we sold it. I got the truck running after spending a day underneath it, something I swore 30 years ago I wouldn’t do again. Well, I am only 73 after all.
In a future blog I’ll tell you my gold mining story.