Cripple River Chronicles — July 13, 2012
8/9/2012 10:53 PM
CRIPPLE RIVER CHRONICLES
3RD EDITION 13 JULY 2012
By Arctic Annie
Greetings again from our Gold Camp 12 miles west of Nome Alaska! The weather this week is what we old timers in the camp are used to — summery sunshine! Hurrah! Now maybe the more exotic wild flowers will venture out, they’ve been mighty shy the past year or two. Of course, we always have a plethora of colorful wild flowers with their rainbow of jewel bright colors to delight the eye, and make the inner person smile, but some of the more delicate ones don’t always grow well without a lot of sun! One of the ones I miss is a plant that blooms a dark blue green and is a member of the Gentian family (Gentian Violet is a relative with a purple blossom that has a medicinal use). This shy flower is only a few inches high, and blooms only in bright sun. If your shadow hits it, or a cloud blocks out the sun, the blossom will close up before you can snap a picture! It is that fast, and so is a challenge to photograph unless you are very careful! Who said flower photography is simple!
The salmon fishing continues to be great here, and the seals are here to visit the camp and “catch” a few fish too. Of course, when the salmon appear, the seals come, and when the seals come the whales show up so we have been entertained by the Orcas, commonly called “killer whales” who have come to our waters to sample the fat salmon fed seals! Many pictures were taken just last night as these whales came close to camp and into camera range. Moose sightings continue, along with reindeer and/or caribou sightings! I haven’t mentioned bird sightings because that would take much, much too long, as Nome is a birder’s paradise! Bird watchers from all over the world come to Nome in late April, May and early June to see nesting and migrating birds that come here from all points of the globe. The list of birds that can be seen here is truly remarkable!
Andrew Del Rosario and his son Tyler came to Cripple River Alaska from Honolulu Hawaii, to gold prospect for the first time ever! There is No known gold prospecting areas in our 5oth state. Sooo, both father and son, are perfect examples of total cheechakos. Since here both have had a great time, taking classes, beach glass hunting, fishing, (“we caught the first salmon ever, boy they fight hard and they are big!”), and they have worked the common operation. For the next two weeks, Andrew and Tyler are planning to go to the trommel, and some of the outer camps. To add to this incredible adventure, while in town looking for some Hawaiian food, Andrew met a man cooking in a restaurant, who went to high school with his wife Merle, back in Pahala Hawaii. Andrew called his loving spouse and said, “Sweetie, I have someone here who wants to talk to you.” It took the cook a minute or two to explain to his fellow high school-er of years ago who he was. Merle had no idea he had wandered as far as Alaska after finishing his education! Once the surprise was over the catching up on old times began! Andrew, as nice a person as you could hope to meet, was very open when he was asked about his trip to our Gold Camp; “I’ve met a lot of different people in a short time, made new friends with a lot of them including the crew, who are so knowledgeable and helpful. The first day here, I was almost in shock due to the weather, it was quite a change from Hawaii! (We have a lot of rain, but no cold! Ever!) And mining people were everywhere in heavy clothes! But we soon fit right in. I especially enjoyed riding in the 4th of July Parade with my son!” Tyler added, “I’m learning a lot, I came from a city environment, and I enjoy seeing the animals and the outdoors and the primitive type living, but the camp isn’t really all that primitive---you have electricity! I have loved being here with my father.” Tyler has enlisted in the Air Force, and leaves for basic training shortly after his return from this trip. Andrew is retired, and both father and son hope to come back again and next time bring Merle, loving wife and mother, with them on the Adventure of a Lifetime!
The southern most point in the United States is in Hawaii, and the northern most point is in Alaska, Point Barrow.
Today our Gold Camp is relatively quiet, the sun is brightly shinning, and people are out and about everywhere! The truck trip to the Trommel left at 9:00 a.m. with a load full of people out to run the high bankers for a chance for coarse gold, pickers, and maybe a nugget or two. Sam Rua’s Beach Walk for Rock’s and Jade left at 9:03 for the other side of the Penny River to rock hound and beach comb. And then last, but definitely not least, 9:05 a.m. Ron McKee, our camp Doctor, assisted by Sam Boucher, and Little John led the ATV trip to the Sinuk River for a day of fishing, picnicking, Jade hunting, driftwood gathering, animal sightings, and you name it. Just a plain old “it’s a beautiful day to get out of camp and shake off the cootie-itis! To use the proper medical term! And of course people are out staying at the new Creosus Camp, and the ever trusty Ketchmark and Dredge Camps!
Now for all those sharp eyed readers who notice I spelled Creosus different this week than I did last week, I try to put something in the Chronicles for everyone, and I know some people aren’t happy unless they find other peoples mistakes. So I include a few to keep all my reader’s happy! (Except for just a few perfectionists who are just too dang hard for anyone to please.) Why sometimes, when Mr. Webster doesn’t have the perfect right word, I help him out by giving him a brand new one! Soooo, not all my mistakes are mistakes, some are intentionals, so everyone is happy.
And speaking of mistakes, last week the Chronicle ran a news story that was not quite true, but was sorta true, kinda! It was the short one about a rock being found on the common operation that was identified by the Beach Crew as gold. That part was true. The rock, however, was not gold--- it was gold mica and iron pyrite in a lesser material. Which goes to show you that even experienced people can occasionally make mistakes, I guess that’s why we still have erasers on pencils.
I often get asked what we do in camp if we have a medical emergency, and this year we had one. We have an excellent camp doctor, with a fantastic nurse for his assistant, and many people with different medical backgrounds are here as in camp as well, and always ready to pitch in if needed. The National Guard and other agencies offer Air Ambulance Service when needed, and there are camp trucks able to do an emergency run to the Nome hospital at any time. Accidents can happen anytime, but we try to think safety, safety, safety as much as possible. So go out, have fun, get good gold, but be safe!
Animal Report: Cory and Lindsey Rudolph’s Musk Ox moved away, but our fox is still seen near camp on occasion. And the moose mother with her baby is still running around the Bowhead Creek area. A small herd of Musk Ox was seen up the trail a ways and may be headed our way. The Arctic Terns are still dive bombing people on the beach, as their eggs are hatching. Protective parents they will attack the highest point so hold one hand or a stick up in the air to confuse them, and please don’t run over their eggs or chicks! Note: If you see a young seal pup on the beach, DO NOT GO NEAR IT!!! PLEASE!!! It is not lost! The mother seal will place her pup on the beach so she can fish, and she will come back for it, UNLESS, you touch it, or chase it into the water. Then mother can’t find it, and the baby seal will die. Leave the animals here alone! Take your pictures and enjoyment from a DISTANCE! This is not a petting zoo, this is real life, and each animal’s life means as much to it as your own life means to you, so shows these little wild creatures some respect and kindness. Is a good photo worth their life?
Many volunteer crew jobs in camp can be dangerous, for example: the large equipment repair jobs, the heavy equipment operator jobs, the truck drivers who haul gas or propane, the trading post (our mercantile store) operated by two lady crew members, Whoa up there a dag-gone minute---did I just say trading post tending was a dangerous job? Yes indeedy I did! This week for example Bonnie Ofchar from Mi., was explaining to a fisherman who had smoked his fish that the fish had to be cold before being vacuum packed. This person listened then ignored Bonnie’s advice, as he knew better! He vacuum sealed his fish hot”, and boxed them up in a nice square box to get them ready to mail. The Next day it was brought to Bonnie’s attention that the box was now twice the size and round! She went to investigate, and opened this suspicious box, and the bag of fish exploded right in her face, filling her nostrils and the entire trading post with the smell of rancid fish! She jumped back about five feet due to the initial shock of the fish bomb going off literally in her hands, and she was verrrry unhaaaapy, to say the least. The trading post door was thrown open and the fish box was bagged and removed, but the smell haunted the store all day. Bonnie who had the smell literally in her lungs smelled fish for three days. The owner was tracked down and his fish was shown to him by Bonnie who opened the bag and said “smell this!” and thrust it at him. He sniffed the bag and jumped back three feet from the smell! Now not all ladies fish, but that doesn’t mean that ladies don’t know a lot about the subject. So listen to the “experts” and please no more fish bombs. Think if this box had made it to the United States Post Office. The FBI could be involved, and would you like to be known as the Cripple River Fish Bomber?
I may be able to get across the Cripple River and prospect some soon, so I’ll close for now, and gas up my trusty mechanical burrow, until next time may your life and the bottom of you pan turn golden!