This has been quite a year for Parker Schnabel. Right before the gold season, he lost his beloved grandfather, John Schnabel, the man who taught him the old ways of gold mining. He wound up with more gold than either Tony Beeks or Todd Hoffman. And he brought along his adorable new Aussie girlfriend, Ashley Youle, who worked in the gold room, something that required more than a lot of trust in this new relationship.
Yet, his biggest challenge has been featured on his new show, Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail. Here he follows his grandfather and the gold miners of yore as he hike’s the grueling Klondike Trail.
As if gold mining was not difficult enough, the trail to get to where the gold was nearly impossible to traverse for gold mining wannabes. Over 100,000 people, during the end of 1800 attempted the challenging Klondike Trail. Yet, only one-third of those people actually made it. Between the frozen conditions and the bears, many perished before they ever picked up even one shiny nugget.
After some long conversations, Parker, along with the Gold Rush producers came up with the idea of hiking this historic trail. For Parker, it was more about following in the footsteps of his grandfather that he respected and the legendary old-time miners. So, Parker, foreman Rick Ness, former Schnabel rock truck driver and current wilderness guide Karla Ann, and old friend and cameraman James Levelle took off after the gold season to embark on this treacherous journey.
What started out as a journey of following the miners of the past turned out to be a mentally grueling challenge. He told People that normally when mining gold, he can get away and be alone. Yet, as this challenge meant that they were sometimes on the water and in close proximation to each other, there was no alone time to recharge.
As can sometimes happen, such close conditions can create conflict, and although Parker knew cameraman Levelle for years, the relationship between the two was destroyed by this experience. They have not spoken since.
“James and I got into it quite a bit. I just don’t really like the guy. I thought I did before this all really started. I haven’t spoken to him almost since it ended.”
Parker explains that this was totally a personality conflict between the two men.
“It had nothing to do with the TV side of it, our personalities just didn’t quite jive. It comes out a little bit on the show, but with something like this, it’s hard to get it on camera and that’s not my priority. But James and I had quite a few issues. I had a real problem with some of the things that he did.”
What about next gold season? It won’t be long until Parker, Rick, and the rest of the crew head back up to the Klondike to see if they can get more gold. Will Parker and his crew return to the same Tony Beets’ owned property claims that they mined on last season? Parker told Maxim that he is indeed returning back because they have already done the preliminary work on Tony’s land. Yet, it sounds like the go-getter Parker has more plans beyond continuing what they did last season!
“We have a few new things in the works. For the time being we are staying on Tony’s ground because we have done a bunch of stripping on it and have established ourselves there. With that said, there is definitely movement happening on other opportunities. I can’t give anything away but we are working on that. I’m looking forward to another season of mining and hope we find more gold.”
Are you watching Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail? What are your thoughts about this latest adventure with Parker Schnabel and Rick Ness on the Discovery Channel? What “other opportunities” do you think that Parker will follow? Do you think he will buy his own land?
[Featured Image by David Becker/Getty Images for Professional Bull Riders]