I'm Holly Jo, I was the "Gold Girl" tour guide the last 3 years at Porcupine Creek in Haines, AK. Two years at John & Parker Schnabel's Big Nugget Gold Mine and one year at Dakota Fred's Porcupine Creek Gold Mine. Not sure what I will be doing this year as the Gold tours at Porcupine Creek are not offered any more...and I kinda got fired.

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Surprise Visits by Princess, the City Mayor, and TV Celebrities of Gold Rush

Joe, Kat, & the Fireweed Waitress celebrate another successful
surprise visit from Princess as she turns to leave Haines, Alaska

The Grand Princess made a unplanned visit into Haines on August 13th, 2013 because their dock slip in Skagway was occupied by someone else.  We locals were delighted to get the extra business boost since the season is quickly coming to an end and many jobs will be on hold till May 2014.

Taylor Joy telling guests all about hammers
Guests dig Dave Pahl's 20ft hammer
Another sign that summer is ending is when our summer interns fly the coop.  Hammer museum intern, Taylor Joy left two weeks ago leaving Michelle to finish her last month in Haines all on her own.  Don't worry Michelle, we tour guides will help you.

I really enjoyed the Hammer Museum's Interns this
summer, Michelle and Taylor were great fun, so young,
and very, very smart!

Rainbow Glacier Adventures very own photo intern, Brooke Foreman, has left our little tour guide family for the south.  She wrote a final blog that highlights her summer in Haines, appropriately with great photos.  

RGA photo intern Brooke on one of our Gold Rush tours
meeting Dakota Fred.  She is fun and very capable in all
things digital... books/photos/video/blogs.

The surprise visit with our City Mayor happened when I had taken a tour group to John & Sharon's Extreme Dreams Art Gallery.  We stopped at the local's watering hole on the way back from the 5 mile Mud Bay Road trip.  

Extreme Dreams Art Gallery tucked away at Chilkat State Park

This lucky group got to drink the cold, sweet, naturally purified mountain water I call the "Fountain of Youth" and while we were there our Town Mayor stopped to fill her water bottle before she went to preside over an Assembly Meeting for the Borough of Haines, Alaska.  The guests thought it was a unique encounter to meet her since most of them live in places where they don't normally rub shoulders with their government leaders.... oh and they loved our delicious water too.

Guests meet Haines Mayor, Stephanie Scott (holding a
blue water bottle) at the "Fountain of Youth"
I had a spectacular visit from a sweet Texas peanut farming couple, The Colemans, at the end of August.  They had come on my Gold Rush to Porcupine tour last summer and we visited Parker Schnabel's Big Nugget Mine during the month of August 2012.  
This year they came back to Haines, Alaska just hang out with me!  WOW ~ I felt so honored....and a little stressed that I would not know how to impress them.  What would I do with them?  How could I top our visit to the gold mines of Porcupine Creek where we all left a little richer with Gold?!

Karen & Tommy Coleman, my Peanut Farmer friends
from Texas with me at Chilkoot Lake

I decided to take them to the prettiest place in Haines (in my opinion), Chilkoot Lake.  I showed them where Joe & I married exactly 3 years ago on the side of the Chilkoot River with bears, eagles, and ravens at our wedding....along with mosquitos, fisherman, and spawning salmon too.  It was a true Alaskan wedding.  

A hungry brown bear eating salmon near the fish weir of
Chilkoot River

We also stopped at Picture Point so they could capture a famous Haines, Alaska photo shot.  They enjoyed hanging out as I showed them Haines, Alaska, but the highlight of the tour was when we happened to find the "celebrities" of Gold Rush.

Fort William Seward looks pretty even on the cloudy days of
When we drove through downtown Haines we noticed Dakota Fred's car at the local pub, Fogcutter.  I asked Karen & Tommy if they wanted to meet him since they were fans of Discovery Channel's TV show Gold Rush.  They said, "Sure!"  When we got into the bar it was packed with locals.  I had never seen the bar so full of people at 5 in the afternoon.  What was going on?  We found Dakota Fred and he told us.

Tommy & Karen meet Dakota Fred at a gun raffle in

Fogcutter Bar was holding a gun lottery.  20 guns to be exact.  You had to purchase a $20 ticket of each of the 20 gun drawings you wanted to win.  If you won you got to pick out the type of gun you wanted.  My gal friend, Angie had a winning lottery ticket and she picked a rifle....that's a nice bear gun. 

Dustin Hurt was also there trying to win a gun

Fogcutter Bar is centrally located so it seems to get good business.  In fact, one morning on my Gold Rush to Porcupine tour we were headed out to Dakota Fred's Porcupine Creek Mine when we passed the Fogcutter and I was telling people that is where John Schnabel hangs out in the mornings.  They all laughed at the implication that John drinks in the morning when all of a sudden, around the corner walks John Schnabel....headed straight for the bar.
 "Hey, there is John Schnabel!",
"Pull Over, Pull Over, Pull Over!",
"Wow ~ You weren't kidding!",
the voices of my guests cried.
"He isn't a hard core drinker folks," I explain as I pulled over the van,
"the "old-timers" go there to have coffee and conversation in the mornings."
I don't think they heard me as a bleary-eyed-star-gaze had come over all of them and they were piling out of the van in hot pursuit of John.

Big Fan who was so happy to meet John
John Schnabel stopped on Main St by big fans of his

John is always surprised at how popular he is with the public

I grabbed a bag of gifts to give John Schnabel that I had been carrying around for a long time.  I had a guest earlier this summer named James Bake from Toledo, Ohio.  He came bearing gifts for all the Gold Rush celebrities.  It took me a few months to have the gifts with me at the same time I ran into John Schnabel, but this was the day.

So right there on Main Street I presented John with the gifts and told him about this big fan of his, James from Ohio.  James gave John a cup and the hoodie was for Parker.  John was pleased at the kind gesture and said he would give the hoodie to Parker when he returns from the Yukon.

Our biggest Gold Rush fan of the summer
James Bake of Toledo, Ohio with Dakota Fred back in June 2013

Out at Porcupine Creek it appears the Big Nugget Mine is closed up for the season.  The leaves on the ground prove we are in our one month of Fall.  The mountains have almost lost all their snow.

Leaves Falling at the Schnabel's Big Nugget Mine

Porcupine Creek is surrounded in beautiful mountains

It has been a wonderful summer getting to know the Dakota Boys & Melody.  It has also been a real pleasure seeing Dakota Fred's assistant Jen Sheets and the film crew....all great people and Haines will miss them (especially me).  I sure hope they all come back next summer......but we never know.

Melody ~ Dustin ~ Dakota Fred gave excellent gold panning
tours to Porcupine Creek this summer of 2013.

Melody taking the time to say hello to our guests

Them be REAL MAN HANDS finding that gold!
Dakota Fred's tools

Jen Sheets is the all around can do gal of Porcupine Creek.
I don't think they could have had such an
awesome summer without her.

Now, gold tours are not over just yet.  We still have a few days left so if you are in town, come out with me to Porcupine Creek and be our last guest for 2013.

Go to Rainbow Glacier Adventure's site for the number and call

Fields of Fireweed are found all over Alaska and the Yukon
late summer.
I had a few request's from readers of my blog.  First, people want to know what I do in the winter months with no more tours to guide. Go to this link and watch a video to explain what I am into.  It is the New Gold Mines of Today!

This is my NEW Gold Mine opportunity

I also had a request to write my Fireweed poem on my blog.  I say it on my tours explaining the significance that Fireweed has for locals (all Alaskans/Yukonians really).  When Fireweed turns to seed (white cotton) it means we have 6 weeks till our first snow fall.  I learned a fun poem when I was a Tour Director for Holland America's Alaska/Yukon Land Tours.  It went like this.

When Fireweed Turns to Cotton

The Summer is Almost Forgotten

So Plane Tickets Best be Boughten

Because Pay Checks will be Stoppin

Fireweed Cotton

~ Happy Panning!

1 comment:

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