We didn’t have any weekend plans, so yesterday we spontaneously decided to take a drive out through the gold fields – back on Bonanza, Quartz Creek, Sulphur, Eureka, Dominion, and Hunker Roads.

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Fireweed, Yukon’s flower. People say you can tell how many weeks of summer are left by how many flowers have yet to bloom at the top of the stalk.

It was a really smokey day. There are lots of fires burning in Alaska right now so the conditions must have been right to push the smoke in our area. 20160716-DSC_0002

For the last couple of weeks, we’ve had beautiful sunny days, with blue skies. During the day the thunder clouds start building and by supper time, we’ll have a quick rain. A couple of times these storms turned into little monsoons! On Thursday it was building for hours with lots of rumbling, and then it dumped marble sized hail on us. My tomato plants don’t seem very impressed. After each storm the temperature drops about 10 degrees.

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Here is the head of the Ridge Road trail near King Solomon’s Dome. It has a 360 degree amazing view, but was smoked in a bit today.

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If you aren’t familiar with the placer gold mining we have around here, gold is found in the dirt and gravels from ancient river beds. It can range from small nuggets to flakes and almost flour like little specs. Anyone can stake a claim and find gold by using a gold pan, but most miners do it on a bigger scale using heavy equipment, big wash plants or trommels, and gigantic sluices to separate the gold from the rocks and dirt. Separating the gold relies on the fact that gold is 19 times heavier than water, so they try to catch the gold in riffels and mats while washing away the dirt.

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This gold miner is using big conveyor belts to move the top dirt out of the way of the dirt with gold in it that he’ll process.

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We have pretty wildflowers growing in the most unlikely places, like on the road.

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Swimming hole with an old crane and line to swing on.

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Top of an old dredge

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Because gold mining is so reliant on water for separating the dirt from the gold, active mines usually have access to a creek for water, and then may build a reservoir pond to hold water for them to reuse, and often will have a series of settling ponds so the water is clean when it is released back into the river (rather than muddy).

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Tons of cool mushrooms around. I’ve gotta learn which ones we can eat.

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History everywhere

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I’m going to guess this water piping was used for power generation. Likely for the dredges.

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1937

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Old cabin beside the water pipes. Old electrical lines here too

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Another old cabin in the woods. It had power wired up inside too.

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Old garage beside the cabin

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The tin on some of the roof and garage walls was just flattened tin containers. Inside they used flattened cardboard boxes for wall boards and insulation.

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Of course I went in!

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Cardboard boxes were addressed to the Yukon Gold Corporation in Bear Creek. Most were eggs, meat, milk, and margarine.

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Small hole in the floor. Cold storage? Wasn’t really very deep though.

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Newspaper from the Vancouver Sun was part of the flooring. Couldn’t make out the year.

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Back to the far side of the garage building.

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Looks like someone dumped their burn barrel recently looking for treasures.

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And just found a lot of rotten, rusty old cans.