The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

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Terry
Posts: 2766
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:53 pm

The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

Post by Terry » Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:13 pm

THE GOLD STRIKE AT CRIPPLE CREEK

A recent trip back to our old camp refreshed my memory of the exciting days when we first discovered Cripple Creek.

We’d been prospecting an area on the outskirts of what is known as Soldiers Secret for a few days and were picking up the odd nugget and just making wages. But as was our usual way we were pushing out further and further into new country in the hope of finding a decent patch.

The country there was extremely rugged with very steep hills and numerous creeks. Most of the country was schist with thousands of knife like protrusions sticking up ready to slash the tyres of the unwary, making it necessary to do most of the searching on foot.
I also had my trusty Postie Motor Bike fitted with knobbly tyres that could pretty well go anywhere, although it was a bit of a ‘B’ in sand because of the narrow tyres.

One morning I had headed north with the bike and came across an old track that had been pushed through with a Dozer, but by then had almost disappeared; it had been made originally to get through to a windmill about 10 Klms away.

I went back and got my mate Nigel and we went to investigate in his ute and came across where someone was getting a bit of gold. Not long after that the chap turned up and looked less than pleased to see us. He started then on a story that there had just been only the odd piece found there and we should be looking around Soldiers Secret as someone had recently found a 16 oz slug there. But I could see that his heart wasn’t in it; his story may have put a tourist or suchlike off, but I’m sure he could see that like him, we were full time prospectors (no doubt his worst kind of nightmare) and we weren’t likely to be put off by a yarn like that. But being genuine prospectors who observed the unwritten law of prospecting, we said we would keep well away from him as this was his find.

Next morning we were out early and stopped to have a look at some promising ground about 3 klms from where we had met the other bloke. Nigel headed off in one direction and I the other and I had only walked a hundred meters or so when I walked into the middle of a patch, there were signals everywhere. Without taking another step I picked up a dozen or so small nuggets and it became quickly obvious that there were thousands of small nuggets here.

We moved our camp to the spot and made sure we were well out of sight; not that many people were likely to come along this track, but we weren’t taking any chances. We ran our vehicle down to the mill so it looked like our tracks were made by someone going to the mill or just taking a short cut. Then we carefully pulled our vehicles off on some hard ground and brushed away any tracks that may be visible. This may seem to be going to extremes, but when you’re earning your living by what you find, you have to play your cards close to your chest, as new patches are very hard to find. You can go for months just getting the odd nugget before stumbling onto a new patch, and then, only if you’re very lucky.

There followed a couple weeks of exciting if somewhat tiring days; other patches were soon found and there seemed to be an endless supply of small nuggets. No doubt you’ll find it hard to believe just how hard it can be bending and digging often up to 400 small nuggets a day with the heat beating down and a million flies annoying the hell out of you. – Most of the nuggets were half a gram each or smaller.

The need for fresh food forced us to do a trip to town about 200 klms away and not wanting to take our gold with us we buried it in the creek; (can’t tell you exactly how because it’s on a need to know basis, and you don’t really need to know) by then we had about 80 oz.

While we were in town it started raining, resulting in us making a mad rush back as the van and the gold were in the middle of the creek. (The only place we could get a bit of shade as the days were very hot.) When it rains in that country it often pours down and the creeks start running. But our luck held and we made it back in time; all-be-it after a hairy trip back over some real snotty country.

It was about then the place got its name; Nigel had hurt his back putting him out of action for a couple of days. Then a day or so later I hurt a knee or something inspiring me to name the place Cripple Creek.
We finally upped stumps on that first trip with a nice parcel of gold made up mostly of small nuggets.
I still have a sense of expectation when approaching Cripple Creek country, it’s hard to explain but there is something special about the place; to me at least

There are several more stories to tell about Cripple Creek one these day.

© T.E. Piggott

Heather

Re: The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

Post by Heather » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:00 pm

That's a wonderful yarn Terry. You had me in from the start and I laughed and smiled all the way to the end and waiting in anticipation to see if you beat the rain back to the creek. My, gold hunting is a secret mens' business. Only one question: there's more than one way to bury gold?

So glad you managed another trip to Cripple Creek - so aptly named.

Heather :)

Terry
Posts: 2766
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:53 pm

Re: The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

Post by Terry » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:05 pm

Thanks Matt and Heather glad you enjoyed it.

And yes Heather there are some very cunning ways to hide something so it remains almost impossible for anyone else to find – or at least you hope so.

There is always a lot of humour attached to that lifestyle – a bit of swearing occasionally as well.

Matt
I get a lot of pleasure telling these yarns and reliving what were exciting times back then and what really makes it enjoyable for me is that people like you not only enjoy the stories but understand what it’s really all about.

I still have hopes of living a few more chapters in the future – might even get to share a cuppa under a shady tree with you one day.

Terry

Heather

Re: The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

Post by Heather » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:24 am

Aah, there's more than one way to "hide" gold - I get that. I thought you meant there was more than one way to dig a hole! :lol:

Bob Pacey
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Location: Yeppoon

Re: The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

Post by Bob Pacey » Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:13 pm

great story Terry very enjoyable.


Bob
The purpose in life is to have fun.
After you grasp that everything else seems insignificant !!!

Terry
Posts: 2766
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:53 pm

Re: The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

Post by Terry » Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:32 pm

Hi Heather there probably many ways - it's not how you dig, but where.

Thanks Bob it's always pleasing to know these little stories are enjoyed by some at least mate.

Terry

Ron
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:55 pm
Location: Blue Mtns.

Re: The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

Post by Ron » Sat Sep 27, 2014 10:05 pm

Another good yarn Terry, always enjoy your tales mate, they are told by one who has been and seen!

Cheers
Ron

Terry
Posts: 2766
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:53 pm

Re: The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

Post by Terry » Sat Sep 27, 2014 10:53 pm

Thanks Ron

As I've mentioned before it's great when someone enjoys what you've written, be it a poem or a yarn.

Thanks again mate.

Terry

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alongtimegone
Posts: 1200
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:05 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

Post by alongtimegone » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:09 am

Great story. I enjoyed every sentence. What was an ounce of gold worth at that time?
Wazza

Terry
Posts: 2766
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:53 pm

Re: The Gold Strike At Cripple Creek

Post by Terry » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:57 am

G/day Wazza,

Glad you enjoyed that mate.

I can't remember exactly, as it was about 10 years ago.
But it was probably worth somewhere in the vicinity of a $1000 an ounce from memory but I could be wrong.
It turned out to be a really good year for us. When it got too hot up there we headed a bit further south and
got onto another patch down there, nowhere as big as that one but nice just the same. The gold was much bigger there including an 8 ounce piece I picked up. - those were the good old days, it's getting much harder now.

Terry

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