Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thar's gold in them thar hills

hat tip to Friz Freleng (R.I.P.) and Warner Bros.

Can you just picture Yosemite Sam shooting both six shooters. And Bugs chuckling and saying "What a maroon." And today we have the same idiots lusting after the shiny metal thinking they'll be the next Bill Gates.

Canadians tell us that there's a bunch of the stuff in the eastern side of the state here. Only problem is it's a mile down deep. Humm exactly how do they know that? Do they have super x ray vision or something? Maybe all those years of mining uranium has given them super powers. It's funny I seem to recall a tad bit of history on the subject. Of the thousands of glassy eyed Rockefeller wannabes that put every cent they had into going north to Alaska to claim their fortune only a very small handful struck it rich. And you know who made more money than miners? The people here in Seattle who sold them all the equipment to do the job. It took nearly a ton of provisions to make the trek over mountains and into the gold fields of the Klondike. We even have a museum here called the Klondike gold rush museum dedicated to that era.

I get a bit of a kick out of watching Goldrush that new reality show. Watching a bunch of guys (don't get me wrong I'm sure they're sensible somewhat intelligent people on their home turf) turn into glassy eyed gold fever idiots is somewhat amusing. Dad there rushing in to dig holes everywhere is about what you'd expect from green horns. Just about every move they've made is a rookie mistake. No systematic approach for these guys. Interestingly enough if you're tooling along interstate 70 in Colorado and peer to the hills along the route you will notice holes and mine tailings doting the landscape. So I have to wonder if some poor slob got the fever and grabbed a shovel because most of these hill carvings are very small.

And a last thought on all this before I depart. Just what is gold really worth? It's used in manufacturing, gold fillings and jewelry but as an every day commodity we really have little use for the stuff. And beware of the gold bubble. My place at the height of the housing bubble was said to be worth one quarter million dollars. Yeah right! I saw the same thing with gold back in the 1980s. What had once been worth a price of around $40 soon shot to nearly $900. People lined up to dump their coins and jewelry at the nearest shop. I only wonder how many shops went under when the price plummeted and who got burned.

To read our latest local gold rush: Gold in eastern Washington

Don't think we'll be seeing too many backyard prospectors there as it was reported to be a mile under the earth but you never know.


The Blog Fodder said...

The price of gold at $1700 makes a lot of old mines worth reopening. Actually even reworking the mine tailings with modern technology. And it isn't likely they are using $1700 in their feasibility studies, more likely half that.
If they follow the rules, gold mines do not wreck the environment. Enforcement is the key.
And a mile down is not unheard of.

Demeur said...

All well and good if our environmental laws were followed but in the last 12 years I've watched as they've been gutted especially in my own profession.

BBC said...

Gold is a mystical thing to many of these monkeys, they put a lot of stock in shiny shit.

Times have changed, you just don't go out and dig holes anymore, because of claims, laws, and such.

Many properties that folks have doesn't include the mineral rights so even if there was gold under your land that doesn't mean it belongs to you.

We didn't have mineral rights on our sixty acres in Utah, they were owned by some outfit I'm fuzzy about the details of, but if they decided to come onto our land and drill or oil or natural gas we had to let them.

They would have had to pay us some pittance for doing so but big deal.

Randal Graves said...

I wonder how much I could get for a few ounces of gold Crayolas.

harry said...

B. Traven said it all in The Treasure of The Seirra Madre.

harry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BBC said...

Harry speaks with forked tongue, and out of both sides of his mouth.

Tom Harper said...

It would be funny if the gold turned out to be directly underneath the glitzy cutesy Faux-Bavarian town of Leavenworth (it's near Wenatchee).

To dig or not to dig?

S.W. Anderson said...

There are some places in NE Washington and N. Idaho where people have panned for gold with some success. It takes a lot of patience and more than a little luck, though. We had a story in the local paper a few years ago. As I recall, one guy went out and did that as a job, five or six days a week, eight or more hours a day, through the warm season. He made a few hundred dollars before it was over. That was a hoot, but not very lucrative considering the time and effort involved.