After finding the peacock ore, which I described in part 1, I knew the copper staining rock had not been on the creek bed long. There wasn't enough of the rock showing for that zone to have been exposed long. I asked Stella about the general area, since she'd grown up in there. She informed me much of the area used to be under small glaciers or snow year round, but over the past 40 years the higher altitudes had been clear of snow all summer long. Now it made more sense to me. The primary reason no one had thought to claim there area is few people would have seen the copper staining on the rocks below and understood enough to climb up and search for what it meant. Also, not many people in general hike in that area, and those that go up this valley are usually higher on the green slopes hunting for sheep not rocks.
As we were talking, Stella remembered an old story Uncle Tiny had told her about in the 1960's, which she had forgotten until that moment. Memories are funny that way sometimes. They can't be triggered until the right word or event brings them back. Stella wondered if perhaps the claim we found and were now on was related to the story. She said, Uncle Tiny who was born and raised in Alaska had a friend in the 1940s who had staked a very large claim. His friend believed he'd found the largest copper mine since Kennecott Mine. Of course, the miner hoped to find gold too, but then World War II broke out. The miner, like so many other men, were drafted and sent off to war. Most of the mines in Alaska closed during the war and never reopened. Around that time, the Glenn Highway was put in to facilitate military transportation. Sadly, the miner who went off to war, died there. His claim was never reestablished. Most people believe nothing can be found so close the the highway system that has not previously been discovered and mined. Ironically, this man's claim had been known, then it became essentially lost.
As I started traversing the section lines to place our claim markers, I began finding old 4x4 wooden posts. These posts were not dimensional lumber. They had to have been made off an old sawmill. There were occasionally rusty square nails found within the posts, not today's galvanized nails. Michael, a carpenter by trade, explained these types of nails hadn't been made since the 1950's. The posts were also exactly where they should have been for an old claim to be staked. Then we started finding more pieces of old wood ranging from 3x4 posts, to slat material, to thin old crate material or box tops. We've also found pieces from two different tobacco tins, proving we stumbled across Uncle Tiny's friend's old copper claim.
An Alaskan Author, Prospector, Homeschool Teacher, Ordained Minister,
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