The Rampart Goldfields, Alaska
November 2005 by Ron WendtThe town of Rampart, on the Yukon River, was established as a supply point after gold had been found on nearby Minook Creek in 1896. Rampart has been known by various names including Rampart City, Manook City, or Minook.
Some assay beads disappear, collapse, hide under the surface, or spread out flat while being cupelled, just as the last tiny bit of liquid litharge is driven off. This is especially true of platinum, iridium and osmium, when attempting to re-bead the filtered residue from a parted bead.
My mother stands in the desert, a hot wind kicking up puffs in the sand around her feet. She’s staring hard at the rusted buckets, weathered boards and mine shafts scattered throughout the sagebrush, concentrating, and I can tell she’s not really here. Not here now, at least. She is here 65 years ago. And this is not a long-abandoned ghost town at the end of a dirt road in one of Nevada’s endless stretches of nowhere.
My father recalled fondly his early years of flying his Super Cub into the Preacher Creek watershed in search of game and gold, landing on wind blown ridges traversed by the giant Porcupine caribou herd that frequented the area.
Tired but satisfied after the first day dredging this season, I settled into my homemade oak camp chair. My eyes scanned the beautiful river, steep forested mountains and crisp blue sky, with the heat of the day fading.
Don’t bother eyeballing that rock for silver! Even if it’s high grade you’ll not see the familiar dime or quarter coin color. Native silver is almost as rare as brass ore. Well, if it’s so hard to find, is silver worth looking for? You bet! Just check the latest prices—and they may go higher.
Making matters worse, we could feel the truck moving very slowly down the mountain along with the trees and mud. It was an uncomfortable sinking feeling, as you might guess.
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