2011 Charter Guests
Upon the invitation from Augie Krutzsch, Dennis Snow participated in a charter visit to the Krutzsch future Akau Resort site hosted by Betty Krutzsch-Johnson, Tony Johnson, and Augie. The Krutzsch’s provided room, board, and allowed Dennis to prospect for gold throughout the property of the Akau Resort site beginning June 29th ending July 12th 2011. Dennis traveled from San Diego California on Alaskan Airlines, arriving in Nome Alaska on the morning June 29th.
Housing was provided and the meals were home style. Meals included Alaskan salmon, Alaskan halibut, Alaskan halibut chowder, homemade bread, Alaskan king crab, top sirloin steak, fresh salads, homemade dressing, Alaskan tundra blueberry reserves, blackberry preserves, and much more. Dennis chose to prospect for gold with a metal detector and purchased a Tesoro Lobo Super Traq. Beginning in the afternoon of June 29th Augie provided a Honda 4 Quad all-terrain vehicle and a tour of the Akau property. Dennis chose a series of areas to prospect and by Monday July 4th found the first nugget. In addition to the gold 388 mining relics were recovered. By the end of July 8th Dennis had recovered 13 gold nuggets. “The Akau trip of 2011 will have a lasting impact on my life. Alaska is an amazing place, in a busy city environment our days are always dictated by a clock, in Alaska after a couple days you stop thinking about the time or time or the times”. Dennis Snow
Tips for Beginner Gold Prospectors
By Dennis Snow
Having no experience with panning or sluicing, I chose to use a metal detector. I did have some experience with metal detecting, but not for gold specifically. Because of my inexperience John Bucholzer of Legends Prospecting advised me to dig up everything that beeped. I did just that. There were basically three areas that I chose to prospect all within walking distance from Anvil Creek. After three days, almost 30 logged hours, and digging hundreds old rusted mining items I found no gold. By late Friday about 10:00pm I was completely bummed and nearly tossed the metal detector into Anvil Creek. Gold fever infected me so badly something Augie warned me to keep under control that I was not prepared for disappointment. I was utterly and completely exhausted from it. Gold fever within me was broken. Complaining to Augie, he simply laughed “and you thought gold would just be popping out of the ground!”
Taking a break from prospecting was really the best thing that could have happened. I was able to enjoy the Alaskan experience. Augie provided a tour of the surrounding areas and introduced me to salmon fishing. I’ve considered myself a competent fisherman participating in successful long range saltwater trips out of Southern California. Salmon fishing rivals anything I’ve encountered. They fight extremely well and have a distinct ability for throwing the hook. I lost four fish that way. I’ll be more prepared next time. Augie on the other hand could land them, bringing in a 13lbs silver salmon.
By Monday July 4th I missed the ride into town for an Independence celebration. I decided to give prospecting another try. I went back to the first area from the previous Wednesday, within a span of 20 minutes I found my first ever gold nugget. What a surreal surprise. The nugget was beautiful and relatively shiny. They come out of the ground clean. As beautiful as it was though the gold fever did not return, I was too spent from my experience from the days earlier. I dug right at 320 old metal mining objects before that first nugget. What I found so odd is that I went over the area before. Within another 10 minutes I found my second nugget. The weather was difficult at times and the wind was so loud I could not hear. The next day after a solid rain the night before I went out again and found a nugget almost immediately on the surface of the ground. The rain had washed the soil and exposed the nugget. All that hard work from the previous week was really paying off. Many of roads are made of old tailings and surface is extremely hard. From the camp I found an antique hand pick that Augie found in the tundra. What a difference that made. Bad weather rolled in again shutting everything down once more. There was a short break in the weather on Wednesday evening allowing me a chance again. I found the biggest one yet a full 1 ounce nugget shaped like the African Continent.
The big discovery for me came the next day on Thursday. One thing that I learned quickly about the property is that no matter where I prospected with the detector I found mass amounts of miner relics, mostly nails, rail road spikes; the small kind, and odd caliber rim fire casings. Where I found gold was no exception, the rusted relics were mixed in with it. Again after a short period on Thursday I found a small nugget, then a second, and a third within a span of maybe 40 minutes. The handy hand pick was too light for the depth and the small boulders I encountered. I hopped on the Honda hauled butt back to camp and grabbed the heaviest full size pick I could find and went back. After every beep had ended, I had found 8 total nuggets. The hole I had dug ended at about 4 feet deep and about 8 feet wide. When you discover gold like that you’ll find yourself digging at whatever capacity it takes. The gold fever was still under control I think.
For me the overall experience was very humbling and I developed the utmost respect for gold prospectors and miners. The work involved can hold to anything a wage job can muster. Prospecting can also be stressful if you are counting on finding gold to pay bills, although any money earning task is the same way. If I can offer any tips to aspiring prospectors I would divide them into two areas, they are practical and emotional preparedness.
- Make sure you have quality equipment. Know how to use the equipment. Practice first in your back yard. Prepare for the worst case scenario if your equipment fails.
- Maximize efficiency; in my case with using a metal detector a small hand shovel was not practical with the kind of digging required and the amount of digging. The right course of my success really began after using the hand pick. I could move faster and work more efficiently.
- Prepare for bad weather. Luckily I was prepared for that with plastic bags and quality packing tape to keep water away from the metal detectors housing. I found no gold during the beautiful sunny days. All the gold was found during the wind and rain.
- Have plenty of warm clothes, mosquito dope, toilet paper, food, water, and everything else your body needs to keep you prospecting.
- At all costs try to keep gold fever from taking over. Gold fever simply causes people to not think clearly. This is easier said than done. I’m fortunate that I did not find that gold while I had the fever.
- Be prepared for failure of not finding anything. Like anything of value the costs are high. Gold is elusive and rare.
- When you are on proven gold grounds work the ground as though you were working the hardest job you had. Never, never, never, quit……ever
- When you begin to find gold, relax! A quick story on Thursday July 7th in the area about 2 hours before I hit the 8 nugget hole, two men from Seattle walked right up to me, one holding a large pick/shovel device and the other with a Garrett metal detector. This was after I had found 4 nuggets. One of the men also had an automatic pistol at his side “for bears”. I had a revolver at my side “for bears”. The situation was obvious that we are all taken by surprise. I was startled and alone. Keeping cool, but firm I explained to them that they were on private property. We actually ended up shaking hands and having a good conversation with Augie. Bottom line, gold is money and when you are standing on dirt that has money buried underneath it, an overwhelming feeling of curiosity and greed can saturate your emotions. If you feel that kind of negative emotion taking over, stop; breathe deeply, relax, and pray if need be….just get rid of it!
Dream trip to Alaska
Last summer I was offered an opportunity of a lifetime to go and prospect at the Krutzsch Mine near Nome Alaska. I jumped at the chance and had one of the best trips in my life to the land of the gold beaches. I arrived in early July and was greeted by Tony at the Nome airport and we then headed towards the mine camp. Bob Sanders and I were staying at the site. The weather was normal for Nome, wet. But that doesn’t stop the prospecting, work and general excitement of a true modern day gold rush. We arrived at camp and were greeted by Betty, Augie and Tyler. We were assigned a comfortable room in the crew trailer and had a delicious meal prepared by Betty. Fresh homemade bread had been baked and the meal was excellent as all were for the next 10 days I was there.
We helped try to piece some equipment together and get things ready for prospecting out in the area surrounding the camp. We traveled to several sites with great promise in old tailings left behind by the original gold rush era miners. I took a Minelab Xterra 705 gold unit with me since it is easily packed, lightweight and a very rugged machine. The unit uses 4 AA batteries and gets about 20 hours run on a set. I also packed dig tools and a backpack to carry it all. When remote as the area is the backpack straps well to an ATV, carries food, extra batteries, snacks and water to and from the site very well. The 705 handled the highly mineralized ground condition well and with ease, the unit also has an iron mask feature that helps ignore many of the small iron bits and pieces and some of the hot rocks. Easy to use and very lightweight made for great hunting even in adverse conditions as with the mist and light rain all that was used was a rain cover. The next days were still rain and wind but we got out and started detecting and after the second attempt I had found a nice 1 pwt. nugget/quartz specimen. That really got the gold fever going so any chance for a weather break it was off to the tailings to check it out. I would find many nice nuggets in the time I was there including a 7.1 pwt. Piece that is of great quality and has eye appeal.
We watched Muskoxen in the morning grazing the mountain sides, watched fox come to the camp and scrounge for anything left for them. It truly is an amazing site and the miles of tailings also paid off when a high banker was set up which Bob did well with throughout the stay, real rich material for sure.
I stayed with my plan of detecting and most of my finds were on an old roadbed next to the tailings. It had been detected a bit before me but there was plenty to find and I was really happy with it.
My host, Augie and Tyler took me on an ATV trek through the tundra and out to where the scenery overlooking the valley to the Sawtooth range was spectacular. We ran out to the GPAA camp the last Friday we were there and had a hearty spaghetti meal and I was able to meet many of my friends on crew there.
My thanks to my great hosts and I will return to hopefully find more of the same.
The rooms are comfortable the food excellent and the hosts most gracious, you cannot find a better experience anywhere in Alaska, that was my 14th. trip to the state and it topped them all. The rush is on for sure and I want to get some more of that good Nome gold!!!