"You can Find Gold Nuggets While On Vacation In Alaska"," Several historically productive gold mines have created facilities to bring in prospectors and tourists to see and experience the remote gold country of the Alaskan wilderness and find their own nuggets.
The mine owners provide the necessary equipment and help so that everyone finds some gold.
There are a number of operators beginning to offer this type of unique recreation, including the Moore Creek Mine in the Iditarod area, the Gaines Creek Mine and several others.
Visitors have the opportunity to potentially find some very significant gold while experiencing the breathtaking beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.
On the other hand, mine owners gain a new and unique source of financing for exploration of their property and other operations.
In June of 2006, I had to opportunity to visit and sample the primitive Alaskan mining experience for myself - I went to visit the Moore Creek gold mine.
There is no practical access to the mine, except by air.
From there, our bush pilot, Mike Stewart, was able to transport us and our gear from McGrath out to the mine in three trips.
I have never flown in a little single engine plane before, so this was a real first for me.
In such a little plane you really get the feel for how fragile the plane is and how the dangerous outcome can be if you have any problems.
It was so strange to me that it was never dark the entire time I was there.
Evening campfires were held in what seemed to be essentially full daylight.
One night I went to bed at 11 pm and the sun was shining through a window in my tent right into my eyes - that's something I'd never experience at home.
were in or around our camp.
The only bears we saw were viewed from the air in a plane.
The facilities at the Moore Creek Mine are very comfortable with large cots and two men assigned to each roomy tent.
Tasty and hearty meals were provided each day by camp cook Bob Herschbach, Steve's cousin.
Arrangements are such that this does not impede the ongoing tourist operation.
The Moore Creek property has been only lightly explored for in place lode-gold deposits and may hold significant potential.
While it is generally believed that the most likely locations for any gold bearing resources still in place lie within the Monzonite pluton on the hill above the mine and the volcanic rocks adjacent to it, other possibilities were being considered.
The group I went in with was a really great bunch of guys, but as for me, my luck was as bad as its ever been.
I dug at least 50 targets - all trash.
The next day, another guy from the group crossed at the same point, turned left went about 10 feet and found a 2 ounce nugget - that's just the way the ball bounces.
On the other hand, Glen, one of the other guys in our group, really had the lucky hand - he got more than a pound of gold during the week, including 5 pieces over an ounce.
He told me he was digging around 4 trash targets to every one gold target and that was far better results than I achieved.
Lucky"" - His luck for the week was pretty much the exact opposite of mine.
I did a bit better there and I recovered one third of an ounce of gold with the high banker - so I at least had some nice Alaskan gold to bring home.
The odds for a spectacular big nugget find may be less, but the gold more sure.
It was the trip of a lifetime for me - a beautiful and very isolated, unspoiled country different from any I'd ever experienced.
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