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Hallelujah Junction, Nevada
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John S. White
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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 05:06    Post subject: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

I just got back from three days collecting quartz crystals on the top of Petersen Mountain, Hallelujah Junction, Washoe Co., Nevada. The "mine" is about 25 miles from Reno. This has been a fascinating experience and I would like to share some of it with FMF followers. I was part of a group of about a dozen collectors, one of whom was Tony Potucek who will, I hope, provide many more photos. I was only able to take photos the first day because the wind and dust at the mine made my camera unusable after that.


1. .JPG
 Description:
View of Mt. Rose (10,785 ft, 3,287 m high) from my motel in Reno.
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1. .JPG



P1020591.JPG
 Description:
Leaving Reno and heading North.
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P1020592.JPG
 Description:
Still heading North
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P1020592.JPG



P1020595.JPG
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First stop where the group gathered and left some non-mountain climbing vehicles behind.
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P1020595.JPG



P1020594.JPG
 Description:
Our group of collectors, eager to get going.
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P1020594.JPG



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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 05:42    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Continuing


P1020596.JPG
 Description:
Just left the paved road and heading toward Petersen Mtn. in the distance.
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P1020596.JPG



P1020598.JPG
 Description:
One of the steepest parts of the road in the distance. Here is where we leave the valley floor.
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P1020598.JPG



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 Description:
At this point the road is so steep that each vehicle must wait until the one ahead of it reaches the top in case someone has to back down.
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P1020600.JPG



P1020602.JPG
 Description:
View from the road approaching the mine.
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P1020602.JPG



P1020604.JPG
 Description:
You can see some of the road ahead in the far distance, and part of the mine which is light brown in color
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P1020604.JPG



P1020605.JPG
 Description:
Approaching the mine.
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P1020605.JPG



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Don Lum




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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 09:41    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Mr. White,

I enjoyed your pictures and looking forward to more from members of the group.

Regards,

Don

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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 09:56    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Love field trips, John.
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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 10:28    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Think I see Paul and Noel in the group shot? Hot as summer here in NC right now and I am openly jealous. Would love to see more photos from whomever took some. Been wanting to do that trip for a while...

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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 10:53    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

vic rzonca wrote:
Love field trips, John.


Yes John, please do not make us wait tooo long! :-)

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Tony L. Potucek




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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 11:13    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

As John White mentioned, we had a great trip to Petersen Mountain, which was arranged by Scott Werschky working with one of the owners, Paul Geffner. The steep part of the road leading up to the top of the mountain, where the claims are located, is where Forum member John Cornish slid backwards on the wet clay and tipped his truck over a couple of years ago. Gotta pic, John? The pictures cannot convey the steepness of the terrain. When there is wet weather, no one goes up or down the road.

To Scott and Paul and the other owners, I would like to thank them for the hospitality. On with the show.



086 safety meeting on site.JPG
 Description:
Safety meeting on site before digging led by Paul Geffner.
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086 safety meeting on site.JPG



094 Ken Roberts, Neil Prenn & Ian Merkel.JPG
 Description:
Ken Roberts, Neil Prenn and Ian Merkel checking fresh ground for pockets. Ian worked for the consortium of owners and was a great help.
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094 Ken Roberts, Neil Prenn & Ian Merkel.JPG



097 Paul Geffner, Scott Werschkey & Noel Dedora.JPG
 Description:
Paul Geffner, Scott Wershky and Noel Dedora on site conferring about the dig.
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097 Paul Geffner, Scott Werschkey & Noel Dedora.JPG



098 prone Werschky working pocket with John White.JPG
 Description:
A prone Scott Werschky and John White tag teaming a pocket with quartz crystals.
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098 prone Werschky working pocket with John White.JPG



100 Ken Roberts working pocket.JPG
 Description:
Ken Roberts working a pocket.
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100 Ken Roberts working pocket.JPG



102 Foster Hallman working excavator.JPG
 Description:
Foster Hallman, former owner with over 4 decades of experience on Petersen Mt., running the Hitachi excavator.
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102 Foster Hallman working excavator.JPG



104 John S. White with personally collected amethyst quartz xl floater.JPG
 Description:
John S. White scored early with a fine amethyst quartz floater. Don't let the name on the box fool you. John is not pure except in knowledge! Ha, ha!
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104 John S. White with personally collected amethyst quartz xl floater.JPG



105 Ronna Jewett, disoverer of the mondo best pocket with quartz.JPG
 Description:
Ronna Jewett, discoverer of the mondo best pocket holding a small quartz from her find. The pocket exceeded 4 feet (1.3 m) in depth by the time it was finished.
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105 Ronna Jewett, disoverer of the mondo best pocket with quartz.JPG



110 Paul Geffner with Ronna & Jerry's best quartz.JPG
 Description:
Paul Geffner holding likely the best specimen from Ronna's pocket & a significant quartz from Petersen Mtn. Undamaged and not repaired!
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110 Paul Geffner with Ronna & Jerry's best quartz.JPG



111 Ian trying to reach Ronna pocket bottom.JPG
 Description:
Ian Merkel attempting to reach more specimens from Ronna's pocket. Jerry Rosenthal, who worked the pocket with Ronna is standing next to Ian.
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111 Ian trying to reach Ronna pocket bottom.JPG



113 Jerry Rosenthal with quartz scepter.JPG
 Description:
Jerry Rosenthal holding one of the quartz scepter specimens from he and Ronna's pocket.
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113 Jerry Rosenthal with quartz scepter.JPG



114 Ken Roberts & Brett Keller in a lighter moment.JPG
 Description:
Ken Roberts and vintner Brett Keller in a lighter moment of digging quartz crystals on Petersen Mountain.
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114 Ken Roberts & Brett Keller in a lighter moment.JPG



115 Neil Prenn intent on a find.JPG
 Description:
Neil Prenn intent on digging quartz in a pocket.
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115 Neil Prenn intent on a find.JPG



117 Geffner and large scepter quartz.JPG
 Description:
Paul Geffner holding a large quartz scepter from a pocket.
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117 Geffner and large scepter quartz.JPG



118 bottom of Ronna pocket with qtz xls still present.JPG
 Description:
The current bottom of the mondo Ronna pocket worked by her and Jerry. There are some quartz crystals showing in the sericite-rich clay.
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118 bottom of Ronna pocket with qtz xls still present.JPG



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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 11:58    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

More photos of the Petersen Mountain, Nevada quartz dig.


123 Ian Merkel watching Skirkanich expose a large quart head.JPG
 Description:
Ian Merkel and Nick Skirkanich exposing a nice large quartz crystal point.
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123 Ian Merkel watching Skirkanich expose a large quart head.JPG



124 proud papa Skirkanich with his quartz specimen.JPG
 Description:
Proud papa Skirkanich holding his newly found quartz specimen. Scott Werschky coveting his find in the background.
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124 proud papa Skirkanich with his quartz specimen.JPG



126 another quartz pocket.JPG
 Description:
Another exposed quartz pocket. Once surrounding granitics were pulled back, these pockets could be detected by gray to brown to blackish clay containing quartz shards. Probing with wooden chopsticks was key to extracting specimens with no or little damage. However, some pockets were totally crushed by tectonic activity prior to collector activity.
 Viewed:  27935 Time(s)

126 another quartz pocket.JPG



127 Ian Merkel, a pocket & Scott Werschky.JPG
 Description:
Ian Merkel, an exposed quartz pocket, and Scott Werschky. Ian is a senior geologist working at FMI-Climax's Henderson mine (Mo) in Colorado, and Scott is a noted mineral dealer known as Mr. Round Mt. gold boy.
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127 Ian Merkel, a pocket & Scott Werschky.JPG



128 Ken Roberts with a good quartz.JPG
 Description:
Ken Roberts, veteran mineral dealer, with another quartz find.
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128 Ken Roberts with a good quartz.JPG



130 another exposed pocket with chopsticks for scale.JPG
 Description:
Another exposed quartz pocket with wooden chopsticks for scale. Many sceptered quartz are head down in the pockets, possibly from the weight of the scepter head drawn down into the clay by gravity. Quartz crystals on the walls of the pockets are typically unremarkable and are simple hexagonal columnar specimens with "normal" terminations. It is interesting to note that many pockets only contain one or two nice crystals and the rest are insignificant in comparison. Ronna's pocket was large enough to prove to be an exception.
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130 another exposed pocket with chopsticks for scale.JPG



133 disappointed John Veevaert & a happy Nick Skirkanich with his score.JPG
 Description:
John Veevaert on the left is expressing his "disappointment" to mucho ebullient Nick Skirkanich upon Nick finding another fine quartz head. Dan Kennedy is in the background, finding a lot of humor in the moment.
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133 disappointed John Veevaert & a happy Nick Skirkanich with his score.JPG



137 proud papa Scott Werschky & his quartz scepter.JPG
 Description:
Proud papa Scott Werschky showing his keeper amethyst quartz scepter that he had just extracted from his pocket.
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137 proud papa Scott Werschky & his quartz scepter.JPG



138 motley crew of Tony Potucek, Ken Roberts & Neil Prenn.JPG
 Description:
The motley crew of Tony Potucek, Ken Roberts, and Neil Prenn enjoying a brief respite during the quartz dig. Photo by Scott Werschky.
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138 motley crew of Tony Potucek, Ken Roberts & Neil Prenn.JPG



140 Jack & Floyd digging an excellent amethyst point.JPG
 Description:
Portland, Oregon father-son collectors Jack (left) and Floyd (right) enjoying the dig. Son Jack found a very clear amethyst scepter point in the pocket, undamaged, and the point of the scepter in the amethyst head could clearly be seen. Floyd is one of the owners of Jackson Crossroads in Georgia.
 Viewed:  27933 Time(s)

140 Jack & Floyd digging an excellent amethyst point.JPG



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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 15:24    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Great post John and Tony; many thanks for sharing the experience with us with your excellent photo's. Looks like a really fun day was had by all - the phrase " rabbits in a sandpit" springs to mind. The quartz crystals aren't bad either...!

Cheers, Mike :-)

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PostPosted: May 14, 2014 16:12    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

I'm purple with envy! Thanks for posting some wonderful photos.
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PostPosted: May 15, 2014 04:43    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Some more photos.


P1020607.JPG
 Description:
The safety lecture before being allowed to enter the pit.
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P1020607.JPG



P1020618.JPG
 Description:
The trackhoe, without which we would not have collected very much. Approximately every half hour or so Foster scrapes rock off of some of the walls of the pit, usually exposing a lot of pockets.
 Viewed:  27640 Time(s)

P1020618.JPG



P1020619.JPG
 Description:
Foster is a genius with the trackhoe. He not only scrapes the walls of the pits, he also removes a lot of the rock rubble at the foot of the walls and he opens access to the walls so that it is easy to walk up to them.
 Viewed:  27655 Time(s)

P1020619.JPG



P1020608.JPG
 Description:
Finally, we get to collect!
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P1020608.JPG



P1020610.JPG
 Description:
Tony working a pocket.
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P1020610.JPG



P1020611.JPG
 Description:
Here you can just make out some small pockets that have been cleaned out near the top of wall. Most are small and occur in a variety of shapes.
 Viewed:  27644 Time(s)

P1020611.JPG



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PostPosted: May 15, 2014 04:59    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

And more.


P1020612.JPG
 Description:
Scott Werschky working a good pocket.
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P1020612.JPG



P1020613.JPG
 Description:
Crystals as far as one's arm can reach. If the pocket continues then Foster will remove more of the rock covering it.
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P1020613.JPG



P1020614.JPG
 Description:
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P1020614.JPG



P1020615.JPG
 Description:
My best pocket, the one on the right, and the crystals found in it.
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P1020615.JPG



P1020617.JPG
 Description:
A small pocket.
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P1020617.JPG



P1020621.JPG
 Description:
John Veevaert supervising.
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P1020621.JPG



P1020622.JPG
 Description:
John still supervising!
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P1020622.JPG



P1020623.JPG
 Description:
Mining and sharing stories or jokes. My last photo because my point and shoot camera got buggered up with dust because of the strong winds. The vertical white streaks on the rock are from the scraping by the trackhoe.
 Viewed:  27622 Time(s)

P1020623.JPG



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PostPosted: May 15, 2014 05:11    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Fantastic John! What can be more exciting? Thank you for sharing. I look forward to seeing some of the cleaned specimens.
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PostPosted: May 15, 2014 19:48    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Pictures are only part of the story so I hope FMFers will forgive me for adding some lengthy text that may help to explain what the pictures illustrated.

Some observations:

This amazing quartz locality sits near the top of Petersen Mountain, Washoe Co., Nevada. While the elevation of Petersen Mountain is given as 7857 feet (2395 m), the mine is said to be about 6500 ft. in elevation.

I believe that I was the only collector who had not been at the mine before (apart from the young boy, Jack). One of the more experienced collectors told me he had collected at this site some 20 times, and most of the rest had been there often.

The rock in which the crystal pockets occur is a granite or a granodiorite, extensively fractured from a combination of tectonic forces and weathering, which is why the track hoe can so easily scrape off layers of it a little at a time. Pockets appear to be completely random, although the veteran collectors claim that the best chance of finding them is "following the quartz," which occurs in seams. This did not appear to be a constant. When one encounters a pocket it first appears as a relatively small spot in the rock that consists of quartz fragments, perhaps some feldspar fragments and brown mud, and usually it looks damp. This debris is easily removed using a wooden chopstick so as not to damage any crystals as the pocket is penetrated by removing this loose debris. In the two pockets in which I found crystals, the largish crystals (about 9-10 cm across) were just sitting in the pocket in this rock debris like a hen sitting on her nest. They were not attached to anything and could be easily lifted out after much of the rock fragments were whisked away from their sides. I did not find any large scepters but I have been told that when they are found they tend to have their heads lower in the pocket than their stems. Such pockets can either neck down quickly and be quite small or they can open up to large sizes. The one major pocket discovered while I was there ended up being about 4 feet deep, and well over a foot high and wide. A large number of great scepters unattached to matrix were removed from this pocket, plus an astounding fat scepter sitting on a quartz base with some other quartz crystals. By far, most of the scepters had no matrix and all crystals were usually at least partially covered by mud when removed.

Most of the crystals found here are smoky in color, but much of it seems to grade to a pale citrine, and some goes to amethyst but these are always zoned and smoky areas tend to dominate. Broken scepter stems are frequently seen, and these are typically in the form of hexagonal columns. Adjacent pieces can usually be fitted together but the scepter "heads" may not appear. One feature of these stems, in particular, is that most often the breaks occur along crude planes that are parallel to rhombohedral faces on terminated crystals, supporting the theory that quartz does, indeed, have a relatively common cleavage in this direction. For some reason this alleged cleavage is very common at this locality, while at others it is seldom seen. Scepters are very common, and they take many forms. In some the terminations are but a few mm wider than the stem, while others have extremely large and complex heads that sit on stems no more than a few cm thick. These are the specimens that are most highly coveted. I am very hopeful that someone will post photos of the amazing pieces that were taken from the large pocket alluded to above once they have been cleaned. In general, cleaning involves little more than scrubbing off the mud. but some pieces have fine-grained mica firmly attached.

In all it was a great experience and I am very grateful to all of those who made it possible for me, in particular Scott Werschky who persuaded me to do this, Paul Geffner who was a gracious host, Ian Merkel who directed me to the pockets that produced my best finds, and many, many others who helped to make the whole thing wonderfully memorable.

If I have misstated any important details in my account above I hope that one of the other participants will jump in and make appropriate corrections.

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PostPosted: May 15, 2014 21:32    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

I'm fascinated!

Martin

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PostPosted: May 16, 2014 01:27    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

John thank you very much for showing the report.

It is fortunate to work this site, congratulations to those who have been there.

Best regards!
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PostPosted: May 16, 2014 05:41    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

A couple of specimens cleaned up.


P1020631.JPG
 Description:
Smoky quartz
9 cm high
The best large piece that I found. I am hoping that some of the other collectors will post photos of their fine specimens
 Viewed:  27274 Time(s)

P1020631.JPG



P1020629.JPG
 Description:
Smoky quartz with a citrine stem
5.5 cm
Small but my favorite specimen. It has a citrine stem that passes all the way through the back and is doubly terminated.
 Viewed:  27280 Time(s)

P1020629.JPG



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PostPosted: May 22, 2014 08:56    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much John and Tony for sharing your adventure up on Peterson Mountain with the rest of us!!!

As per Tony's request, here is a copy of the infamous flipped truck poster I made up after living to tell the tale.

All the very best,

John



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PostPosted: May 22, 2014 09:37    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Nice addition to the thread John. How badly was the truck damaged? Did you try again to negotiate the hill?
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PostPosted: Jun 04, 2014 07:51    Post subject: Re: Hallelujah Junction, Nevada  

Hi John and All,

The truck suffered some bruises and scrapes, thankfully I did not! I had a $30 part fail which robbed all vacuum from the system creating a domino-effect where I lost traction, power, brakes, etc. A fun unplanned ride at 1:00 am let me tell you... NOT!

We used the tiny 555 Dozer and two Come-Alongs to right the truck (a one time shot as the dozer was on its last leg and only had power to come down and not to go up the hill). It was dicey, but we got 'er uprighted and down to the base of the hill where I began a couple days worth of new fluid (brakes, engine, trans) and parts replacement. Once done, I set my sights for the top of the mountain again and soon was in camp with a heck of a story to tell...

Ah, the romance of mining!

Oh ya, while it ain't pretty, the truck still runs with 455,000 miles on it!

Have a GREAT day everyone, take care,

John
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