Cripple River Chronicles — Fourth Edition — July 20, 2012
8/13/2012 2:54 PM
CRIPPLE RIVER CHRONICLES
4TH Edition 20 July 2012
By Arctic Annie
Greetings from the Cripple River Gold (and everything else) Camp! This has been an interesting year here in camp, and with lots and lots of different activities to choose from; there seems to be too much to do at times. You must pick and chose how to spend your time when at camp for your best benefit! Most people are here to gold prospect or at least learn the basics of prospecting and the ins and outs of individual mining equipment, but not everyone! So there are additional activities and classes for the people who haven’t been bitten by that pesky and highly contagious “Gold Bug”. Or at least haven’t been bitten yet! Be Warned it can bite you anytime!
The ‘Perry Massie’s Famous Fishing Trip to the Sinuk River’ was canceled today, as the Cripple River was too high to safely cross with an ATV. Water wings and snorkels are not yet standard equipment on our ATV’s, and the seat cushions do not become flotation devices either! We have a camp made river ferry, but it only crosses one ATV at a time, so it is too time consuming to take 25 ATV’s across, maybe later in the week, at least here’s hoping. This far north, just below the Arctic Circle, you live life closer to the edge, so to speak. Our gold camp, which is very comfortable living indeed---a thousand times better than anyone ever had in the old gold rush days, is still primitive compared to your home in the lower 48. And up here we are living a real life adventure, for a short time, that many people only dream about. With that adventure comes real life dangers to be aware: of high river water, bad weather, unfriendly animals you let yourself get too close to take pictures of, not watching your trail and wrecking your ATV on a sneaky big rock---, to name a few. Notice I said be aware of, not afraid of, because if you pay attention to the information given, use common sense, and don’t try to be a show off, this is a great fun place to spend a summer! And the getting the gold isn’t bad either!
My Beach Glass Trip to East Beach left on schedule yesterday at 9: a.m., as we crossed the Penny River, not the Cripple, and it was a good day for Bering Sea Beach Glass and rocks! A small group of brave people followed Bonnie Ofchar down the beach, I followed at the back as “Wagon Master” and when we reached the levy, Bonnie and I changed places. I led the group of ATVers through town so they could see what roads to ride on and what roads to avoid. You may ride across Front and Bering Streets, but not down them on ATV’s!
Most people from camp come in for the Beach Glass Trip on the Camp’s giant trucks! Easy-peasy! After an hour and a half beach combing and picking up tumbled glass, interesting driftwood, and rocks etc, it’s off to town for lunch maybe visit the museum or go shopping. Then back to camp! A young walrus was seen sitting on the beach, and he posed for pictures for the ATVers, his mother was not in evidence, which was a good sign.
Sam Rua’s Tuesday Beach Combing Trip that starts on the other side of the Penney River also was held again this week, and this ever popular trip is very well attended. A Camp truck drops the people off, and everyone walks for about a mile or so looking for rocks and driftwood, or the occasional piece of beach glass even. Then the truck picks everyone up and brings them back to camp! Later, back in camp, Sam identifies the rocks that people have found. If you are not sure if you are a rock hound here’s how you can tell for sure: Take a bag of marbles with you. Every time you pick up a rock you leave a marble in its place. When you have lost all your marbles you are officially a “Rock Hound!”
James Stanton from Twin Falls Id., is a relative new-by to the G.P.A.A. having joined just two years ago, but he has seen various tidbits and shows about the Cripple River Camp on the Outdoor Channel. “So I decided to give it a try! I came for two weeks this year, it’s my third trip to Alaska, the first was to a fishing lodge, the second was on a reconfigured yacht turned fishing boat and now here. I’m still deciding about camp. I’m going metal detecting, Friday to Arctic Creek. I have prospected some in Idaho and Wyoming. I enjoy rock hounding and fishing and hunting, but I don’t enjoy the outhouses in camp. I understand why we have them, but they are primitive.” James has been fishing here and has caught about 30 fish. Not bad for a new prospector in camp! Good luck on the beach and up river Jim!
Fishing is still very good, with everyone doing fine, however one poor gentleman did bring hot fish into the trading post again to be vacuum sealed, and Bonnie quickly but gently showed him the door post- haste, and told him firmly to return with his fish when the salmon was stone COOOOLD! No more exploding fish for her, Please!
Now we have had lots of request for a couple of Chip Yorde’s recipes, so here they are:
Yummy Jell-O and Cottage Cheese Salad
16 ounces Cottage Cheese 1 11 oz Mandarin Oranges
1 C. crushed pineapple 1 5 oz cool whip
1 3 oz orange or other flavor Jell-O
Drain the oranges and pineapples completely, make the Jell-O following the directions on the box. Combine the cottage cheese, pineapple and mandarin oranges together with the Jell-O, stir well; and then fold in the Cool Whip. Refrigerate overnight! Serve and enjoy!
Doug Moore from Montesano Wa., is a new member of our all volunteer crew here in Cripple River. He is assigned to Camp Operations. Doug has been a member of G.P.A.A. for five years, and here he is in Alaska. He hasn’t had much free time, as crew is kept pretty busy, but he has done a little beach prospecting, and has found a small amount of gold. “My time here has been enjoyable, it was really hard work at first, getting the camp set up and all, but all of the crew works hard to get the camp open on time. A lot of extra effort was put out, due to the bad winter which put a lot of pressure on everybody. One thing I’ve really enjoyed is the fishing; I caught and released a six pound pink salmon male last night. I’m waiting for the Silvers to come in; it should be really fun to catch them. My brother Lloyd came up for one week, and we had a nice visit, we went fishing together, it was great. It’s been an enjoyable time this summer, my girlfriend Sally is back home taking care of the garden as we planted a really big one as I wasn’t planning on coming up here this year! She is a real nice person, and is working with our dog until I get back, she’s probably also working on a ‘honey do list’ just for me!” Yes Doug, I’m sure she is, and I’m just as sure my honey Jim has one ready and waiting for me back home too! Bet my list’s longer!
Now, for some good old fashioned advice, several people have been locked in their hooches over the past several weeks by loving but well intended spouses. In one case the better half of the couple decided to sleep in a little, the other one went out and about gold gathering and not yet having some of Chip’s great coffee---forgot and flipped the door latch over into the ‘locked’ position! When the sleepy head finally gets up they find out they are unable to leave their hooch! They then pound on the door, and open their window and shout for help until a good Samaritan passing by stops laughing long enough to let them out. What the “lock-ee” says to the “lock-er” is not always printable! Much rarer and not as funny (to the person at least) is getting locked in the outhouse, which happens when the latch in not put in the “down” or “in use” position firmly. If the wind is blowing or you slam the door hard the latch can drop into the locked position trapping you temporarily inside! Again necessitating hollering loudly and pounding on the door to summon help! (And no we do NOT have classes on proper outhouse use!) The man who was locked in this year strongly suggested I not use his name in this newsletter if I valued my---well just say he will remain un-named. Think about it would you like your name on the internet as the man who locked himself in an outhouse? Soooo, even on the simpler things in life, be careful!
With this Chronicle the summer at Cripple River will be half over, and it doesn’t seem possible. I still haven’t made it very far out of camp; I seem to just be too darn busy being busy to get away! Enough of that nonsense, that’s why you go to a gold camp, to prospect for gold! Maybe next week I’ll have some nuggets in my pockets when I write, so until then, may your life and the bottom of your pan turn golden!