Saturday, August 29, 2015

Oh how wonderful it is to be a miner

You wake up before the sun comes up; throw on your favorite pair of jeans, that jacket that fits you just perfect and your trusted work boots, while still rubbing the sleep from your eyes. Its pitch black out and there’s a chill in the atmosphere that hits you as you step outside of your cabin onto the porch and breathe in that fresh mountain air. As the air reaches your lungs and you begin to breathe out, you are instantly awakened. You climb into your trusty old pickup truck and drive several of miles down a dusty old road to your spot. You grab your gear out of the bed, with only the dim rays of the fading cab light to help you see. You grab your helmet with the lamp to light your way, your pick axe to help you chip away at the rock, and head towards the mine. You’re full of excitement and expectation for what you hope to find today. You’ve got that good old fashioned gold fever that so many before you have had. Daydreaming of striking it rich and yelling “EUREKA”!
Mining is a very tough job; some say it’s the most dangerous job around; digging holes in the earth, looking for coal, ore, gold, minerals and other valuable treasures; being deep inside of a mountain with no air vents, light, or even the company of another human being, with only a 3 inch light on your helmet to light a small fraction of your immediate surroundings for hours. It’s quiet, eerie quite. You willingly put your life on the line for a chance to hit the glory hole.

Being a prospector seems to be a dying profession, a dying breed, really. It’s hard, back-breaking work that’s labor intensive, dirty and exhausting. The dust gets in your lungs. The dirt ends up in places where the sun don’t shine. Yet this work is also therapeutic, grounding and extremely rewarding all at the same time. It’s rewarding not just in the pay, but that feeling of putting in a good, honest, hard day’s work. You get up early and come home late.  It’s quite unlike the hustle and bustle of the city and that all too typical desk job in which you sit under fluorescent lights, straining your eyes at a computer screen, with your shoulders in a permanent shrug of tension all day long. You don’t get one breath of fresh air all day. What kind of life is that anyhow? But that would never have suited you. You’re right where you need to be. You’re doing exactly what you were made to do. It drives you. That sense of adventure. Oh how wonderful it is to be a miner.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fire on the Mountain!

One of the things us "mountain dwellers" have to deal with here in paradise is the threat of wild fires.  They can come at us from many directions, as well as causes, here in the woods.  Sometimes it's a careless human being, like an un attended campfire or a spark from a chain saw or dirt bike.  Sometimes it's Mother Nature, herself, that's the cause - from a lightning strike during a thunderstorm, for instance.

No matter what the cause, it's a pretty scary scenario, for sure!  We here in Big Bear live with it every day of every year from Spring through the first snow fall.  We are very fortunate that we have the fire fighting resources that we do have, responding at a moment's notice from the first wisp of smoke seen either up close or in the distance.

There are watch tower's like Butler's Peak on the far west end of our valley that looks out over Big Bear Valley - as well as towards the Lake Arrowhead and Crestline areas.  This lookout is manned by volunteers that scan the horizon looking for smoke or other signs of fire throughout the fire season.  There are also concerned citizens of the the valley that will report even smoke they see from someone's barbeque or fireplace that looks out of place.  The various fire departments in our valley will always check out every report, even if it only turns out to be chimney smoke or barbeque smoke.  It's always better to be safe than sorry!

The United States Forestry Service (USFS) has their own fire personnel and equipment, as well as the state of California (Cal Fire).  Often times all agencies will work in conjunction to put out a fire, with other fire departments throughout the state sending their own engines and volunteers to help with the fight.  Not to forget to mention the water dropping helicopters and fixed wing air craft that help - including the DC-10 VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker).

We all truly appreciate the efforts given by all when it comes to putting out fires in our neck of the woods.  This is only a very small bit of information regarding these heros' and the work that they do, giving unselfishly of their time and safety to come and keep our mountains safe.  Without their help, our paradise would probably not be so much of one.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Greedy aliens

Did you know that gold came from meteorites that pummeled the earth about 4 billion years ago? Crazy right? Yeah, I agree. To think that a lot of our precious metals came from, literally, out of this world, is baffling.
This is a fairly new theory that stands on the fact that many precious metals are attracted to iron, which is what the core of the earth is made of. So, they believe that if the metals were already here when the earth was forming, it only makes sense that they would have ended up (been sucked into the core of our earth like a magnet attracting metal) in the center of the earth, not have been left on the surface of it. Iron attracts metals like tungsten, iridium, platinum, nickel and of course, gold.
Think about it, that ring, necklace, earring or bracelet you are wearing, essentially came from outer space billions of years ago.
The craters on our moon suggest that it too,

took a beating at the same time our earth did. But then wouldn’t there be gold on the moon as well? I guess science is still developing and we are constantly learning. Only time and further information and proof will tell. That would be pretty cool though, right? Hey, let’s go mining on the moon!
Researchers have calculated (if this theory is correct) that about a half of a percent of our earth’s mantle was added from meteorites. Therefore, only a percentage of that half a percent would have precious metals in it, right? That doesn’t seem like very much but it’s a big world…… or is it a small world? I guess it depends on how you look at it.

So maybe our most precious resources are from here, maybe they are not. But if they are from outer space, then that leaves us with the question, where do the meteorites come from? And here’s another curve ball for you: some people believe aliens are not only real, but come here in search of our resources like gold. That wouldn’t make sense if they have an abundance of it out there, right? Unless aliens are greedy….. which means we’re not so different after all.
Something to think about! Who knows?