EPISODE 555  PART 6   AUGUST  21 TO AUGUST   26, 1958                WORST JOB I EVER HAD

alan skeoch
March 18,2022


August 21, 1958

Robert’s hand is now discoloured which  is  a sure sign of infection.   First Aid  kit is little use at this point.  We must get him out.
So began the long hike to our canoe at the river and then motoring five miles upstream to our base camp where we sent an SOS
call.   Plane arrived  and  Robert Hopkins was no longer part of our crew.  Bob flew out with Robert to see he got proper medical aid.

I am not sure if Hunting Technical and Exploration Services (Huntech) has insurance coverage.  Apparently young people have less

value when compared with older persons with high saluting degrees.  Never gave that much thought. I am not valuable I guess. But that is just hearsay.  I do not want 
to test this hearsay talk from around the campfire.  Have no intention of cutting myself like Robert.  That is what everybody says before 
a catastrophe.

Walt and I spent day cutting line south 1,000 feet and  east 3,000 feet to a new anomaly.   With only three of us progress  is going to be slow.

We were startled to discover an old trappers shack deep in the bush.   About as primitive a building as can be imagined….Pyramid  shape.
The trapper must have used this  as a very temporary home because it was  really only a pile of logs leaning into each other.

  Sort of a place to crawl into when all-around is deep snow.   Just room for one man and a dog maybe.

Distance Travelled   7,400 feet

We came across this trappers shack in the middle of nowhere.   It must have been used  for overnight habitation.  Hardly liveable.

August 22, 1958

Bob Hilkar returned by float plane bringing good  news.  I passed  my Grade 13 departmental exams …enough to gain
entrance to University of Toronto.   All the money earned  on this job will just pay for my entrance fees.   Around $400.

  To tell the truth I am not sure why I am going to University.  Can I do the work?  And then what?  

NOTE: The President of Victoria College, University  of Toronto invited each new student into his office to ask them

why they chose the university.   I was speechless.  I had no idea.  Just moving along with the flow. Tongue tied.
How could Dr. Moore ever understand what a lifetime of prospecting would be life?  My real reason was to find a
girl my age to marry.  Now both those answers must seem stupid…but both true.  Quite a contort between
the trappers shack and Victoria.  

Victoria University, Toronto - Wikipedia

Walt, Bob and  I retraced our trail south to the farthest anomaly. Bad news!   Our cable joining the two Ronka coils broke which  meant
that all the walking to get to the site was wasted effort.  We returned to camp and  soldered he broken section back together.

Came across an abandoned beaver dam.   Looked like it have been abandoned for a long time but it still managed
to dam up a large basin of water.  Amazing little creatures.  Seems empty.  Trapped maybe…or hiding from our crew of three.

Distance travelled   25,000 feet

August 23,  1958

Another attempt to run the Ronka over the southern anomaly failed when the big cable got severed  where it joins  the console.
This  was not easy to repair.   The break in the cable meant we had to retrace out steps once more.  Hours and hours
of wasted time.  

Walt and I did manage to cut a little more of survey line to the east.

Distance covered:  25,000 feet walking and 7,500 feet of new line cut

August 24, 1958

Canada's eastern boreal forest could become a climate change refuge

Rain!  Wonderful rainstorm.  No work on the anomalies.   Our survey situation is getting serious though for we are running out of time.
We plan a big push tomorrow and  will try to finish the entire area in next couple of days.  Must do  so because a relief plane is
due on August 27 when our Base Camp on the Groundhog River will be abandoned and  a  new base camp built on Kapik  Lake
far to the west.  We will get there by air with all our gear.

We had a bit of a laugh in the evening when Walt salted all our tea thinking he was  adding sugar.

August 25,  1958

Somehow between 7 a.. and  7 p.m. we managed to finish the remaining two anomalies.  Not easy to do but then again nothing on
this  job has turned out to be easy to do.   In spite of it all we felt nostalgic  as we sat around the campfire knowing that this camp
would exist no longer.  No one said very much really.  We just sat there feeling we were leaving a home in spite of all the adversities.

Distance covered:  44,700 feet  (almost 9 miles)

August 26, 1958

If I had  to pinpoint the worst day  on the job it would be today, August 26, 1958, when we abandoned the eastern fly camp.  There were only 
three of  us now…Bob Hilkar, Walter Helstein and me.   When this  camp was  set up there were four of us and we made three trips
into the camp with gear and food from caches along the way.  Time was short.  Plane coming to Base Camp to evacuate so we

  had to triage.  Only carry out the essentials such as the goddamn Ronka (apologies to Mr. Ronka) and piles of other things.  Much would be

abandoned such as all remaining food and extra tools.

 To get out was going to be difficult so we began to pile absolutely essential
gear in three piles…one for each  of us.  “Discard  everything you can, boys.” said Bob.  So we did…the discard pile contained  rope, food,
Robert’s backboard, books, some cooking gear, even spare clothing.  In spite of that the piles we had to carry were back breaking.
The tent in particular was a load in itself because it was still wet from the rains.

  Put the 40 pound Ronka coil on top … then start to bitch about the weight…how many
four letter words do I know?  More than when I started this job that’s for sure.
This was  only part of the load.  On top of the rectangular pack was placed one of the Ronka hoops made of wound copper wire…a super heavy load.  what we left
behind will never be found  for no one will return to the eastern anomalies since the readings were low compared with the western
anomalies.  Then again maybe the trapper is not dead and will return to his trap line late in the fall and  find what remains of or  cache.
No, the bears will get there first.

(not proud of my behaviour that day)

I  am not proud of my behaviour this day.  My load  was  so big that each step was a problem.  Would  I make it to the river?  I became 
convinced that my load was  much heavier than Bob Hilkar’s and I said so.  “My load  is unbearable while yours  is  light.”
“Why don’t we switch  loads then?”, said Bob.  We switched.   I was wrong…terribly wrong.  His goddamn load included the wet tent…heavier
than my load.  He was our point man so I could  not see his face but I felt he was grinning.  He knew how heavy the tent had become and
was glad to switch.  I  could hardly start to whine again so had to grin and bear the situation.  Forget about the word  grin.  The pain
was  excruciating.   The end result was  hard to believe.  My load had been tied  to a sturdy metal pack frame.  By the time we reached  the river
that pack frame had bent into a circle and had to be discarded.  The other pack  frames were also ruined.   Somehow we all lived through
the trek.   Bob Hilkar did not say much but the look in his eye was an ‘I told  you so’ look.   

Our bad day was  not over.   When  we finally reached Base Camp  #1, we found it to be a shambles.  The black bear had returned
only this time he ripped  his way into our sleeping tent.   Nothing to eat in there so his or her decision was  a  mystery.   Any food
left in the camp was gone except for the canned goods some of which had been crushed but not opened.

Distance covered     15,000 feet   (nearly three miles)



EPISODE 556     PART 7,  AUGUST 26 TO                  WORST JOB I EVER HAD IN MY LIFE

alan skeoch
March 18,2022

August 27, 1958

I woke late tonight with a funny feeling.   Did not know why for a few moments.  Admired how the moon lit up the inside of our tent.  Then a cloud passed  by
blotting out the moon.  Only it was not a cloud.  it was the bear…he was on the other side of the tent wall…maybe three feet from my body encased
in my sleeping bag.  His  shadow blotted  out the moonlight.   I held my breath.  Then his  shadow just moved  down the tent wall and out of our
lives.   He stole no food  that night.  Probably he could smell us and I am told bears  do not like the smell of human beings.  Our smell was particularly
strong that night.

In the morning we tore apart Base Camp #1 and  packed everything on the dock and  shoreline.  Late in the afternoon the Beaver float plane arrived and was  
loaded for the short hop to Kapik Lake a  few miles to the west where we set up our new  Base Camp.  What a difference.  The new camp is  nestled in climax forest 
of birch  and poplar trees high on a hill where fresh  wind blows.  We were out of the swamps.  

A strange thing happened the day we left Base Camp #1..   Something not really  relevant but strange all the same.  Our makeshift dock began  to attract great clouds of
deer flies.  Deer flies are nasty creatures that like human  flesh and human blood.  Chevrons on their wings. They had  been torturing us every day since our arrival.  Yet this
day, August 27, 1958, they were  not biting.  Instead they were clustering in pods under the dock.  Wedging themselves into a great pack of their brethren
and dying all pressed together.  Hundreds of them, maybe a thousand.  Made no sense but it is a clear unusual  memory.  We did not try to dissuade them  from this  mass suicide.

We had a new employee arrive to replace Robert Hopkins.   Mack Deisert is  a tough man who is familiar with heavy tools.  For a time he worked  underground
in the gold  mines of Timmins.  Why he no longer was a full time miner became evident as we talked around the camp fires.  “There were all kinds of  ways to
high grade gold from the  Timmins mines.  Lunch pails worked  for a  while but stealing gold that way was a little too obvious…small amounts  under fingernails or in false  teeth specially
made by local dentists.  Some gold was smuggled out in shoe  heels…sounds stupid  I know but remember just an ounce of gold  was worth money…high graders  got 50% of the face value of gold.  Lots of buyers in Timmins.  A miner or a shift boss sees a streak of raw gold
in a hunk of rock…not common but occasionally  appears…he  slips a chunk in his pocket then  gets to a place where he hammers the chunk and get smaller piece with more gold…then has to figure how to
get it out.  A wink to a foreman might do  it.    Most of the high grade gold is ground down right in the mine.  A miner comes upon a vein with raw gold…  he just chips  out a chunk
knocks of the crap and keeps a bit of gold for himself. Small pieces are easy to hide.  Some say millions worth of high grade gold hidden and  sold in Timmins.  Miners today  are checked by security guys
every shift.  Big signs in the mine condemn high graders.   Those  signs would  not be up if there was not a problem.  Illegal  gold…common knowledge  about 
who to contact.”  Mack seemed to know a lot about high grading gold…maybe he got caught and that was why he took a job with us.  Or he was bull shitting a good
story around  a campfire.  Whether his stories were true or not , Mac was certainly an  entertaining character.  

 To Mack a blazing Axe was  child’s play.   He was unlikely to hurt himself for he knew
the consequences  of a wilderness injury.

Our new fourth man  was  Mack Deisert standing on  the pontoon while the pilot clears up  a few details, perhaps  related to money.
Mac was quite an entrepreneur.  No fucking around with him.
Mac  arrived  just as we were moving to Kapik Lake with all our gear…August 27, 1958

Supper was special.  Fresh food.  We dined on veal cutlets, string beans, potatoes, tea and ‘fresh bread’.   Our bread was soon stale…dru  
or mouldy…god bread got very 
crusty as time wore on in camp.  Mouldy  bread  was garbage.  The only way to soften dry bread up was a French Toast concoction we made regularly…water, powdered milk, a couple of
eggs while they lasted, some butter and a hot frying pan.  French  toast could be stretched out and become a bush lunch when lathered with
peanut butter.   It Got to taste really good.  We could do the same thing with porridge.  Hot in the morning.  Then a slab of cold oats as a jelly like lunch
If firm enough the cold  porridge could also be lathered with peanut butter.   All this was  washed down with tea boiled in a
fruit can tin with a wire looped over so the billy tin could hang on a stick over an open fire.  When we  ran  out of real tea  we used Labrador tea, a
local plant whose leaves were fuzzy on the bottom. Easy to  find. Questionable alternative. No alcohol on the job.   Beer would weigh 
far too much anyway.

August 28, 1958

Rain…wonderful  rain.  So  we got a day of rest…well not quite that for we had to get our new campsite ship shape.  Kapik Lake is not
big, just enough room for the Beaver to take off and land.  “What’s that over on the other side?” “Looks like a canoe.”  Sure enough, some
person  had abandoned  a canoe on the lake.  No sign of a cabin so it might have been a fisherman or trapper.  We rescued it. complete with
paddles and had  transportation for leisure evenings to tour the little lake.  Maybe this was here for fly in fishermen.   Maybe Kapik Lake 
was full of fish.  Little good that would do us for we had no fishing gear.

Kapik Lake was inhabited by some strange mole like creatures on one of the little islands and a family of Loons
who serenaded us regularly.

Maybe Kapik Lake was one of those fly in fishing lakes that rich  people use which came complete with a cook to fry up
whatever they catch.  Our use of the lake was far less fancy.   Rich fishermen, if hey arrived while we  were, would have
been flabbergasted at our basic diet of porridge.  I cut these carrots our of a local paper after the job  was over.  Made
me laugh.

Our Kapik Lake Campsite

Kapik Lake aerial photo taken by  Huntec Canso aircraft

Walt put the tea bags in with our pork and beans tonight which gave us all  a good laugh.   Then Walt asked “Do you want to
to know how to speak Eskimo?” and proceeded to teach us the language which I think he made up as he went along.  Then again
he did work as a diamond driller at Rankin Inlet. 

August 29, 1958

Walt and I cut line south 221 degrees. Easy work this time because the big trees shaded out the brush.  What a luxury…we could slap our
axes on one side of a big poplar then the other and move by easy  line of sight.  Summer was over suddenly and the trees were changing colour
The bush forest was becoming a land of red and gold.  The down side of this season change was  the arrival of cold  weather.  All summer
we had been complaining about the hot  sweaty days.  Now we complained about the cold.

Distance covered   12,000 feet (easy day)

August 30, 1958

Rain again.  Spent most of the day in our  sleeping bags.  I planned  my short term future.  University bound.  Thoughts of the University of Toronto made 
me very nervous.  Dad was  a tire builder and mom was a seamstress.  Most my other relatives were farmers.  So the prospect of  a university education
was novel and made me nervous not that I told anyone.   My good friends Russ and Jim would be doing the same thing and  were probably nervous as  well.
Money made on this job would pay my first year fees of $400.

Our radio weather report warned of heavy frost tonight so we started to assemble our new air-tite wood stove.  The hole in the tent left by the bear was the exit 
point for the stovepipe.   The big birch trees in this  climax forests means we have lots of excellent firewood that splits with ease.   Comfort!  And the smell
of the wood  stove is like the best perfume imaginable.

The only bad  news today was that our fresh  meat had already gone bad.  It would not pass the nose test.

September 1, 1958

Cold  … really cold all day.  Just above freezing which meant the raindrops on the forest leaves were like little ice daggers penetrating our clothes.We 
spent the day extending Bob And Mack’s trail to the northern anomaly.

Distance covered   33,000 feet

September 2, 1958

Another long hard  12 hour day.  We finished blazing our trail to where we figured  the anomaly was  located then did the survey with the Ronka and magnetometer.

My gum rubber boots have holes big enough for my socks to poke through which means I am working every day in wet feet.   Each night we pull off our boots
and  peel down the wet socks then massage our feet.   Bad feet would mean no work.   

Distance covered”   37,000 feet  (about 7 miles)

September 3, 1958

Another brute of a storm night and day.  The tent is  billowing in the wind like a great hot air balloon.

September 4, 1958

Bob and I finished  the north anomaly with both the Ronka EM unit and the magnetometer.

In the evening Walt and  I stalked  a crane in the shallows of Kapik Lake then stayed  out on the lake to watch  the sun set.  Magnificent.

Distance covered    33,000 feet

September 5, 1958

We finished cutting trail to south anomaly ten did reconnaissance survey with the Ronka EM unit and the magnetometer.   No conductor
was discovered or confirmed.

Well, we  are in food trouble.  All our staple foods have  been  consumed…bread, meat, potatoes,  fruit and butter.  So we have to make do with
what we can concoct which tonight constituted a can of peas and  carrots, big pile of  rice topped with bacon fat gravy and followed by cookies
for dessert.

Mack and Walt really entertained us  with fascinating stories of the ‘high graders’ operating in the Timmins gold mines…Dome Ming Company and  MacIntyre Mines, etc.

Distance covered   32,000 feet

September 6, 1958

Stayed awake all night as lightning flashes and  thunder made  sleep difficult.  Very dramatic.  We kept the wood fire burning most of the night and as a result
felt really cosy in our tent.   In the morning I began packing my rucksack for the job is nearly over.   Trans Canada Airline has Viscount air service to Toronto which
sounds exciting.   This was my last day as  cook so  I made a large stew of whatever odds and ends  I could find including the bacon rind on our slab of pork
sowbelly.    Not such a bad  dinner.   To give it a little more body I slipped in a  cupful of rolled oats.  Inventive.

September 7, 1958

Tragedy struck today when  we came upon Walter Helstein unconscious  on the trail with an alder spike driven through his hand.   We think he was
lying there for an hour or two with this very serious wound.   We revived him and helped him get back to our campsite where the wound was
washed and bandaged.  Walter took some  sulpha pills to numb the pain.  Not sure if that works.  Pain is severe.  We were afraid this  would happen
for Walter had  a habit of stepping on moss covered windfalls rather than stepping over them.  Slippery rotten windfalls are dangerous. 

Walter has  been with us for the whole summer which surprised us all for he seemed  too old and too out of shape for the kind of work we were
doing.  But Walt persisted and turned out to be a joy to work with.   He is 40 years older than me yet we worked as a team blazing trails that
criss crossed some very nasty parts  of this wilderness.  We radioed  for an SOS service but failed  to make contact.  Weather is bad with
heavy cloud cover.

A terrible picture but maybe that makes it more authentic. Walter was badly  hurt.

We  left Walter in the tent for the day  and set out  to find our last underground conductor.  We failed to find it.

Distance covered   34,000 feet

September 8, 1958

Walt was in severe pain all night. Moaning. By morning his hand was swollen and red fingers of  infection were apparent.  When the Beaver arrived Walt and
I boarded.  Walt was stretched out in the back.   Both of us were finished.  As soon as we landed at South Porcupine Walter was taxied to the Timmins hospital.
Sad.  I doubted we would ever see each other again and  wanted to say how much I had enjoyed working with him.  There was not time for farewell though.
The taxi was waiting as soon as  we got tied  to the dock.  I  could see the pain in  Walter’s face as he waved good bye.

There are some people that are unforgettable.  Walter Helstein is one such person.   We worked together in one of the toughest jobs I have ever had and this picture of Walter will give you some idea of what
that job was like.  Look Closely  Walter is standing in water…over his boot tops.  His blazing axe in his hand and  his tea cup  tied to his braces with the stub of  a cigarette in his mouth.   Much of our summer was
spent in such conditions.   After his tragic accident I never saw him again but heard  that he spent 8 months in the hospital. 

Although this picture  does  not look like I was enjoying myself.  And  much of the time i was not.  But actually I was quite proud  of myself.
I had survived and done my job faithfully with just two temper tantrums when the job got unbearable.  Walter never threw a tantrum but
instead  laughed  at me along with Floyd  and Bob.  Actually I came to love the job…to love the battle with nature…too find I could  survive
in the worst of conditions.   My success in this job led to another six years working for Hunting Technical and Exploration Services.
In  retrospect the jobs were a great privilege…something that few human beings will ever experience.  

Our Kapik Lake camp…by this  time I had fallen in love with the job complete with the trials, loneliness, failures, successes and
even the Spartan food.   There is a term for that condition…”Bushed”   I remember as if it was yesterday as the plane circled the
lake coming to get us out.  That circling meant the end of the adventure.  But I did not want it to end.  Such an experience  could
never be replicated.    Maybe we should just send Walter out.  He needed help urgently.  Maybe the rest of  us could continue
searching for  anomalies  until freeze up.  Thoughts only.  I knew it was over.   No more carving trails to places where human feet ha
never trod before.  No more comradery around a night campfire with stories, obscenities, laugher.  No more contact with any of
the crew ever again except for Floyd Faulkner who next summer insisted on calling me by the affectionate term , Fucking Al.

By the end of the summer Walter and I had  walked and blazed 206.3 miles on our own
trails through the bush.   That is almost the distance  from Toronto to North Bay.  Hard  to
believe?  Even today, March 27, 2019, I find  it hard to believe myself.

The clerk in the Airport Hotel hesitated  when I  asked for a room for the day only.  Little wonder…two months growth of hair and beard, pants 
patched with Canvas, Gum rubbers with my socks poking through holes and a  packsack that looked like  I had been living rough for a long time (which’
is true come to think of it.)   Had my first real bath of he summer and then called  Timmins airport to reserve a flight this evening.  Next was a little 
tricky.  I asked CN Express  to ship my baggage back  to Toronto.  Why Tricky?  Because a big part of the baggage was the skull and antlers
of that bull moose  we found on the bank of the Groundhog River.  Phoned  home…mom and dad surprised.  “Be home tonight.”
Then got a shave, haircut and  a big ice cream sundae.

Bob and  Mack arrived shortly after 12 and we loaded our equipment in the Land  Rover. which had  been stripped of all easily detached
equipment…hub caps and spare tire.   Bob  drove me to Timmins Airport where I got my first restaurant meal since July.  Huntec had 
promised to cover room and board for the duration of my employment with them.   No luxury involved, that’s for sure.

I boarded the Viscount just as the sun was  beginning to set on the western horizon. “Would you like a Peak  Freen biscuit and glass
of lemonade, sir?”  Wow!  This was  going to be a great flight.  I nursed the lemonade for a long time and just nibbled  at the shortbread…loving
them both.   Now,  decades later, I can still place myself  on that Viscount rolling and lifting into the sunset.

We landed at Sudbury, then North Bay and  finally Toronto about mid night.  What a greeting.  Russ Vanstone, Red Stevenson, Jim Romaniuk and
my brother Eric  along with mom and  dad.  Eric  had a huge hand printed  sign saying “Go back, Al.”  Jim Romaniuk asked about the
lonely hearts letters.  “Let me have them Al, Might find a girl friend  there.”  “Try the girl from Florida with the pencilled note…she’s ready to
move up here if you send her the fare.”   Russ drove us all home to our place where mom and  dad 
had prepared  all  kinds  of food.  After that I fell asleep in a real bed.

September 9, 2019

Dr Paterson phoned early in the morning.  “Can you come to the office, Alan, maybe help with the results…there are things we need to know urgently.”
So everyone was gathered around the aerial photos hoping I could remember where the top anomalies were located.  I am not sure how much
help I could provide.  “McIntyre Mines  want to know right away.”  That comment reminded me that our summer living rough was really a big secret.
I really could not spot all the anomalies where we got high readings but did the best I could.   Dr. Paterson was very serious and professional…a bit
intimidating.  I am not sure that he knew my job had been swinging a blazing axe most of the summer.  I certainly did not say that.  I did put a word
in for Walter Helstein hoping that the company would help  out or totally pay his medical bills.  Not sure what happened to Walter but heard by
the grapevine that he never fully recovered. 

 There was one
nice outcome of that last meeting.  Dr. Paterson looked  me in the eye and said, “How would you like a job next summers an operator-Technician on
a job we have lined up in Alaska?”  

Now after reading this account, would  how  would  you have answered Dr. Paterson?

my answer was short and simple.  “Count me in.”

What about the BUSHMAN’S THONG?  Good question, keep reading.  You may think it is some  kind of underwear but that thought
is about as far from the truth as possible.   Who is proud of underwear? I am  very proud of my Bushman’s thong.

MARCH 2019


P.P.  “From 1950 to 1960,…127 mines were discovered, of which 40 were credited to geophysics.” (P.6, Paterson)

 In March 2019, just as I was transcribing my journal memories from the Groundhog River job, a book arrived in our mailbox.  Dr. Norman Paterson, my boss way back in
the 1950’s and1960’s had just written a book titled “MINING GEOPHYSICS: A CANADIAN STORY…The people and events that made Canada a global leader in mining exploration
in the 20th century.”  ($20 plus $12 postage, published by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, 2019)   It is a wonderful record of those heady days
between 1957 and 1975 when big changes were happening in the search for orebodies within the rock mantle of our earth.  Personally…I  was flattered  to be included here
and there in the book for I had no idea at the time that we were on the cusp of scientific  breakthroughs. I was  a very small part of the story. Was Dr. Paterson even aware
of the difficulties we faced translating theory into practice?  Of course he was.  He did lots of field work.


Walter Helstein spent eight months  in the Timmins Hospital…from September 1958 to March  1959. At one point amputation was considered but Walt, true to form, was just
too tough to lose an arm.
Floyd Faulkner became the chief field man  for Hunting Technical and Exploration Service. He retained  his gruff manner behind which was a great sense of humour
Bob Hilkar returned to Calgary
Robert Hopkins returned to Elliot Lake
Mack Deisert stayed  and  married in South Porcupine
Alan Skeoch returned to Toronto as a first year student at Victoria  College, University of Toronto.  For the next six summers
alan worked for Dr. Paterson and  his assemblage of top geophysicists.  Alan became an historian with a specialty in 
Economic History eventually doing an  M.A. in machine  design.


Nothing happened.  All those anomalies were ignored even though some of them were very promising.  The client, McIntyre Mines. concluded the area was  too
rough for a diamond drill crew to operate so  the project was  abandoned in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  I am unsure of its  status today in 2019.


DR. Paterson tells  some of the humorous things that happened in those days.  My journals  hopefully reveal even more of the human face of mining exploration
.  Some details may make you laugh, others will make you cry. Still others will make you say ‘he must be kidding’.  Truth?..it all happened.
 It was a very personal Odyssey for me.  A privilege really.   Alaska, Ireland, New Brunswick , Timagami,
Niagara Falls, Chibougamau, Marathon, Paradise Lodge,  Merritt BC, Yukon Territory…not as a  tourist but as a person probing the surface of the earth and  marvelling
at the characters I met.


I was  a Rover Scout, the senior part of the Boy Scout movement.   Some Boy Scouts were and are badge collectors. There was only one badge of honour
that excited me.  It is called the BUSHMAN’S THONG.   My journal detailing the Groundhog river job was submitted  and I got my thong.  I am not sure
the official readers of my application really believed everything written in my journal.  There was some scepticism.  But what I have written did actually happen
and my Bushman’s Thong still hangs on my old scout shirt.


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