Todd Hoffman and Parker Schnabel have each started out this season of Gold Rush with unprecedented goals of 5,000 ounces each. To top it off, the two miners have placed a high stakes bet: whomever gets the most gold wins 100 ounces. That is a value of about $130,000!
Yet, this season has been one of unexpected challenges. Now, at midseason, what happened in the ominously named episode, “The Devil’s Finger”?
Todd Hoffman has been shot at, snowed out and has had his Fairplay claim severely reduced due to some legalities. Last week, they almost quit.
This week, things are optimistic as they are now mining the Jewelry Box. Out of the blue, Trey calls a safety meeting, but it looks like he is too late!
The safety inspectors arrive and they find a serious violation on the Hoffman claim, and let Trey know what is wrong in a two-hour meeting. It is called an Imminent Danger citation.
The big violation is that one of Hunter’s inexperienced gold rush crew members jumped onto the prowler, but failed to lock in his seatbelt.
The experienced members of the Hoffman crew are expectedly upset. James Thurber wants to punch someone, and Trey is ready to fire the inexperienced, and assumably cheap mining crew.
A furious Todd takes Hunter into a quiet area of the woods and away from the crew that his 18-year-old son was leading. Todd then proceeds to demote him to rock truck. Hunter’s team did accrue a fine of $30,000 and this cost is inexcusable.
As for mining, things are not going that great. The screens and the water pipes are clogged up because they threw in everything but the kitchen sink. The organic material now has to be cleaned out by hand, and Kevin is the lucky one that has to do this thankless job.
In the end, they wound up with 22.3 ounces of gold, which doesn’t cover the fine, let alone the fuel and other labor costs.
Parker Schnabel has a third claim that he has not been able to work on. The lean and hard-working team has yet to remove the overburden.
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Ken, the owner of the claim offers to help out Parker, and together, they get the permafrost removed with an excavator, as Parker broke the tracks of his dozer.
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Happy with the new claim, Parker christens it with the ominous name, The Devil’s Finger.
During clean up, Parker weighs in a nice weekly total of 185.3 ounces, while Rick’s cut is 63.6 ounces.
Perhaps the biggest change this week is that Parker Schnabel is actually optimistic about their ability to get to 5,000 ounces, despite setbacks over the week. Maybe working with Ken really helped Parker settle down.
Tony Beets spends the episode loading the bucket line onto the barge. Fans who love to watch big mining equipment and repairs are getting their fill this season with the Beets crew. As always, the Beets crew does everything big.
Perhaps the biggest jackpot this week that is exciting fans is that former Gold Rush star Dakota Fred is back with a new show called Gold Rush: White Water. Fred Hurt and his son Dustin will be mining inside McKinley Creek.