Do you remember the 1980s hit TV show “The A-Team”?
“If you have a problem, and you can find them, maybe you can hire ... the A-Team.”
The Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association (LDMA) has a special force, an elusive team of gifted and devoted individuals itself, all with special skills that enable its team to strike fast, take care of the situation and look back and say, “I love it when a plan comes together!”
What is this elusive team? It is Team Endeavor. This team comprises LDMA Lifetime members from all around the country dedicated to helping revitalize and maintaining LDMA Camps and Properties.
Each member has a set of skills that enable the team to move in, achieve the goal and move out fast. They are not paid with dollars, but the pride and satisfaction of accomplishing the mission at hand.
If ever you recognize a Team Endeavor member, please thank them, and let them know you appreciate all they do.
Just like the TV show, a call was posted in need of a few good people.
North Carolina’s LDMA Vein Mountain Camp caretakers Bryan and Vonda posted on the camp Facebook page a need for “Operation Wood!”
Mission – Operation Wood:
Wood – Remove Camouflage
Wood – Fell Dead Trees
Wood – Barn Wood
Wood – Gem Sluice
Wood – Bench it
Wood – Campfire
In this case a bounty was being offered for Team Endeavor to converge on the camp. The payment? A delicious meal and time to sit around a nightly campfire to fellowship, laugh and share stories (with an occasional “shuck and jive”) after a long day of work.
Camouflage is when you hide, disguise, conceal, mask, screen, cover up the presence of something. Mother Nature did this naturally. If you’ve been to the Vein Mountain Camp, you probably know that Muddy Creek runs through it, but you probably haven’t seen much of it.
Along the banks of Muddy Creek, Mother Nature has been using the “camouflage” of brush, some very “prickly” to make access to the creek very challenging. The creek is beautiful and peaceful as water is always flowing and tranquil. If you’ve wanted to dredge in the creek, you must enter in one open location and try to fight through the overburden areas to get into new unworked areas. That sucks (or not)!
Along with the cleanup of the camouflage, with recent winter storms, there has been a lot of debris that has flowed throughout the creek that needed to be cleaned up — trunks and large branches of trees that get caught up along the way.
Over time there have been trees that have died, but with the recent storms, the root systems have weakened, and this created booby traps (safety issues). Team Endeavor chapped up and attacked with chain saws, strategically felling (dropping) the trees one by one, so they could buck them up.
All this carnage was then relocated to confined stacks, waiting for a friendly bonfire trial.
While one division of Team Endeavor dealt with the camouflage another division had the mission of “Gems in the Barn.”
There is a local lumber mill in the area. It produces a product called “barn wood.” It’s rough unfinished lumber, great quality wood at a fraction of the cost of regular grade lumber.
What was the purpose of getting a truck load of this barn wood?
LDMA members and local owners of Up the Creek Prospectors, Jack and Donna Walders, will be supplying gemstone buckets that can be purchased at the camp office. Buckets will range from kid-size $10 buckets to a larger $50 bucket. All proceeds go to the camp to help fund future projects and maintenance.
Some of the barn wood will transform into a “Gem Sluice” for members and guests to process the gem buckets. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s fun to take a break from gold mining and get your gem on.
North Carolina has a wealth of native gemstones, including aquamarine, beryl, citrine, emerald, garnet, moonstone, rose quartz, ruby, sapphire, smoky quartz, staurolite, topaz, tourmaline, and many others. Back in 1973, the state of North Carolina declared emerald the state’s official gemstone.
Over the years, many members have found gemstones on the property. Large and small pieces of topaz, emeralds and more. Most think they are just another “rock” and byproduct of running material and try not to think of how many hundreds and even thousands of dollars you had in your shovel, sucked through a dredge, pushed out the back grizzly of your highbanker that you then spread out and walked all over, pushing back into the ground. Don’t think about it.
With the extra barn wood left over after building the gem sluice, there was one more very important objective to conquer: the need for some camp benches. Especially needed during National Outings, camp events and when the camp fills up, there is always a need for places for members to sit down.
The benches can be moved from different camp areas as needed — around the nightly caretaker campfire, to around the Burger Hut, across the road to the panning shed, and even down to the main bonfire area. Remember it’s rough barn wood, so be careful as it may leave an impression on your backside when you get up from your sit-down.
To complete the mission, Team Endeavor was treated to a delicious meal (and I’m not talking about MREs —Meals Ready to Eat) of pork chops, green beans, stuffing, rolls and, to complete the meal, delicious chocolate cake. Tummies were filled so then came the mandatory debriefing period.
Team “E” relocated to the new barn benches, which circled the camp fire pit that was prepped with some of the wood the was bucked up earlier. Putting behind the mission, it was fellowship, friendship, family, and shuck and jive time. Tired, sore, but filled with passion and achievement, this elite team was truly a blessing for the LDMA, Vein Mountain Camp, and all the members and guests that visit the camp in the future.
Thank you Team Endeavor for showing up and making things happen. You are always amazing!
If you would like to be a part of Team Endeavor, please let a LDMA camp caretaker know, or send an email to LDMAinfo@goldprospectors.org.
Work projects are being scheduled for 2018 and 2019.
As always, thank you to all our members that “Ride For The-Brand.” I hope to see you around the campfire or playing In The Dirt soon.
Dominic Ricci is the Executive Director of Operations for GPAA/LDMA and can be reached at 800-551-9707, ext. 163, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.