Authored by Dave McCracken of Happy Camp!
Congratulations to Grace Bennett who was honored as the Citizen of the Year in Yreka recently.
One of the last times I saw Grace was at a Collier’s Information and Interpretive Meeting and they were brainstorming ideas for the name for the new California Welcome Center name that will be added to Collier’s title. One of those suggested was Extreme California, because it is located at the farthest north in California!! We have such extremely fun outdoor recreation, extreme hiking, extreme biking, extreme mountain climbing. Just everything seems to be the utmost extreme fun! People come to Happy Camp for the extreme fun of gold prospecting and treasure hunting.
This week I picked up a book about a man, well known in Happy Camp for his gold prospecting fame. Dave McCracken, also known as Dave Mack, founded the New 49ers Prospecting Club in the old Kevershan Drugstore Building in 1985! Dave is a well known authority of gold mining and gold dredging and has written a number of books on the subject.and videos.
The book that he has written @2012 is different from the previous instructional books. Extreme Prospector by Dave Mack is an exciting book about his adventures as a modern day gold and treasure hunter. The back cover blurb compares his adventures to Mission Impossible Action Stories, and suggests that the fact he has survived them all will leave you wondering if he has a whole army of guardian angels watching over his shoulder.
True to form, the book is dedicated to Dave’s friend and mentor, Sam Speerstra, who is likened to the fictional character Indiana Jones.
The introduction starts out with Dave and Rob Towner working along the bottom of the Klamath River with an 8 inch dredge. When they started moving a large boulder that neither Dave nor Rob could move themselves, you kind of hold your breath. Such action in strong currents can be hazardous. This occurred a number of years ago, so I’m sure logically I know they survived, but the telling of the tale keeps you hoping they do make it from this emergency!!
Dave talks about experiences growing up in a Navy family as the son of a submarine commander and homemaker with two brothers and a sister. Building a rowboat in the living room of their home enabled him to start a lobster business. That likely led to his being scuba qualified at 13 years of age. Due to his passion for boats and the water, his mother suggested seeing a Navy recruiter to see if there was any kind of diving program. There wasn’t. As they were leaving, the recruiter said in passing, there was a “Navy Seal” program-toughest, meanest men on the planet.
Dave’s account of the harrowing experiences of training is amazing. His class started with 58 men and only 8 survived to graduation. Reminded me of my husband’s helicopter pilot training when they “washed out” as many as they could You never knew if you’d be there another day let alone to finally get “your wings” and became a Warrant Officer! But piloting a helicopter training didn’t include drown proofing. only crashes!
At any rate, there were high adventures in the Seals, jumping ship and swimming against the tide to get Suzy Wong’s phone number, for instance. The adventure didn’t end when he left the mlitary.
He tells of being pursued by Royal Canadian Police, diving for rich diamond deposits in crocodile infested waters in the Amazon, and venturing to the far corners of the world to seek the gleaming gold nuggets and priceless gemstones.
In between he has information on gold, of course, the economy, and responsibilities of being the leader of a team; to the recent work up on the Rogue River, and back home on the Klamath.
Extreme Prospector by Dave Mack is available in hardcover at the New 49er Prospecting Club on Davis Road and also on the Internet.