/" title="Home" class="logo">Fine Art Nature Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Talkeetna’

Gold Mint


Alaska can be a very inhospitable place so it never ceases to amaze me at the toughness of the Alaska miners.  The 1870’s saw the first gold rush to south east Alaska in the Harris Mining District of which the town of Juneau was the center of.  As the new century approached gold deposits were being found further north including gold on the beaches of Nome.  These findings initiated a true gold rush to Alaska which in turn built the cities that we have now.  It is important to note that without the gold rushes, the American West would have settled at a much slower pace and the development of this country would have taken an entirely different route.  Additionally the gold made the U.S. one of the richest nations on earth which provided the impetus for our government to become a leader on the world’s political stage as still a very young nation relative to the European countries abroad.  There was a heavy price to pay for this gold though as new starry eyed miners noted that the summer was rather short and the winters, well they come fast and hard, especially in the mountains.

Gold Mint Valley


According to paper work filed with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources J.B. Hatcher is credited with the discovery of the Gold Mint group of veins in the Hatcher Pass area.  Two veins, an upper and lower were located and the upper was worked by Hatcher for a time.  Somewhere along the way Hatcher sold out to Mr. Doyle of the Doyle Mining group and he proceed to build a stamp mill and tram lines to both the upper tunnel and the lower tunnel for processing.  The lower vein is reported to have yielded $50 to $100 per ton in gold (~ 1910).  The mines went idle again in 1931 following the stock market crash until May in 1938 as America was pulling herself out of the Great Depression.  Mr. Fred Johnson resumed operations in the Gold Mint group with the hope of work and the gleam of gold in his eye.  With three aerial trams utilizing five hundred pound buckets on up to 1800 feet of cable, a good working crusher with 10×12 inch jaws, and a 54 inch pelton water wheel generating power he went to work on the lower vein.  The camp consisted of a bunk house, cook house and other small buildings that were considered in good repair.

Today, you cannot find any of these items in the Valley below the Mints, but you can find solitude, golden sunsets, roaring falls, and alpine lakes and tarns.  Oh, and some pretty decent climbing is rumored to be in the area….



I headed out into the Talkeetnas’ to scout some photographic locations and I think I may have found some.  The weather has been hot and dry and the hike in was a boiler but by the time I got up top some minor thunderstorms had moved and it started to rain.  No big deal, set up the tent wait it out.  After the weather several of these were out to play.  This lasted for about an hour before I was smack in the middle of a REAL thunderstorm right on top of me that lasted for about an hour.  No harm no foul, but that lighting was, um, really, really close…