Cripple River Chronicles — August 3, 2012
8/9/2012 10:59 PM
CRIPPLE RIVER CHRONICLES
6TH EDITION 3 AUGUST 2012
By Arctic Annie
Greetings again from the Cripple River Gold Camp! The last few days it has really rained some, cleaning the air of imaginary impurities, as the air is pure enough here as it is. Great duck weather, as they have oil on their feathers so the rain just rolls off them like, well, like water off a duck’s back. Prospectors however, not being blessed with feathers, have to wear wet weather gear. Our chow hall, especially at meal time, has looked like a mobile flower garden for the last couple of days as rain gear comes in all colors, blue, yellow, green, tan, gold, orange, dark maroon, and even white to name a few colors. With prospectors coming in all shapes and sizes and you could give each one a flower name, and start a brand new unique flower book. If you did it might sound like this: Look, there’s a blue and black Cute Karla they are up and shining early, and like places warm and food related, while the same colored Dandy Dean variety is out and about all the time, and there’s a purple K.O. also called a ‘wood-chick’, this flower blooms mostly in wooded areas, while the orange to gold Roaming Joe is found everywhere in camp. The Bouncing Bonnie tries to camouflage its blossoms, while the Happy Helen also a blue and black flower, but much shorter than the Karla or Dean, is usually found near the Big Bob buds, which are green. The Lilac Linda is unusual as it is such a deep dark purple it looks black. All these flowers appear at Cripple River, and especially like the Chow Hall at lunch time! Some are quite camera shy. Note to all those “flowers” wearing camouflage---your camouflage isn’t working too well as we can still see you! You look like walking chunks of Tundra! (Sorry about that, just thought you ought to know!)
Hardy people are still working the beach and the outer camps are going about their business of getting gold. Some tired out people who are here for the eight weeks are taking this time to sleep in a little and re-coop their strength, and classes to improve you gold prospecting skills and knowledge are always popular, as are nightly games in the chow hall, the most popular meeting place in camp, and also home to the Cripple River Lending Library.
We have enjoyed a two week visit from the infamous David Boo Coo Haas from San Antonio Tx., where he was born and raised in the country, of course back then nearly 80 years ago almost all of Bexar (pronounced Bear) county was country! (And for you history buffs Texas was pronounced Teh-haus in the 1800’s going back to when this great land won its freedom from Mexico and was an Independent Republic, and not a state. Now, what you all have been waiting for , the interview with dear Boo Coo, he starts out “After seventeen years my coming back to Cripple River was quite exciting, I was surprised to see that the old buildings built in 1986 are still standing, even the outhouses. It brought back old memories, some quite touching, about the old days up here with George and the old gang. The new additions are unbelievable. Cripple River is an exciting place but you must take into consideration the weather can be harsh at times. My expectations were to go fishing and swimming, and I went fishing, but I decided not to go swimming! Fishing for Salmon was boring, I got tired of catching one fish right after another, too much work! Every time I took one off my hook and cast out, another darn fish would bite! Who needs that?” While here Boo Coo performed on stage on our Friday Night Revue, a show that Linda Grace sets up and rehearses, he sold in the Friday afternoon sales event held in the chow hall from 1:30 until 4:00p.m., and delighted in harassing the camp manager during the several morning meetings. Boo Coo has a unique way of making his presence known wherever he goes. When asked how he got his name he solemnly explained that he was the last child born to his parents out of five and that he was born ten years too late. His dad said, “This is plenty, actually too much---Boo Coo”---as it was during the depression. His dad, who traveled some would call back home to check on his family and ask how the little Boo Coo was doing! “My father was German but spoke French, and I didn’t know I had any other name until I started to school.” I met this man a few years ago and he hasn’t changed a bit! Boo Coo left for the lower 48 today, but those people who met him here for the first time will definitely remember him! Good luck to you Dear Boo Coo and entourage, and best wishes for a golden future until we meet again!
The Silver Salmon are coming, the Silver Salmon are coming! Wrong, they are here! Seven Silvers were caught yesterday, and the average size was 22” or so. This is not nearly the record which is a 26 pounder caught in 1976, but these fish fight like little bulldogs, and if you like salmon they are supposed to be extremely tasty. Now our fisher-folk here in camp hope to set a new record for this fish, and they are quite willing to do their best at this task. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it! So good luck to our anglers, and remember the man who caught the “Big One” supposedly used a bright pink lure. The Pink Salmon are still running strong, and fishing is quite extraordinary here this year!
Good news, the weather improved, Perry Massie led his famous fishing trip to the Sinuk River, and the Beach Glass Trip to Nome found a nice amount of glass, in all colors including some red and cobalt blue. The beach mining has been good, but the storm filled in some holes, and the prospectors had to shovel out the light sand fill from the waves called “fluff”. Thankfully this “fluffy sand” is not packed tight and heavy like over burden, but it still is in the way of getting the gold and must be removed. A little more work to get to that gold. On the rare days when the beach is closed for a time as the waves are too bad to get a foot valve in, there are bad weather boxes on the river so you can dig up the gold bearing sand on your claim and take the material to these boxes to run. And remember there are almost 2500 acres of gold producing land up here to prospect on, and find your very own “Glory Hole”!
The material I worked last week had some gold in it, but now its down to smaller gold and black sand, the Honey Dew Stage---you know the give it to my honey and say “Honey you do this , please” I enjoy finding that rascally gold, and processing the material, but that last picky step drives me bonkers! Off to find more gold! So until next time, May your life and the bottom of your gold pan turn golden!