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Friday, November 1, 2013


The “Discover” channel has done it again.  First they get me totally hooked on “The Deadliest Catch,” now they have given me “Gold Rush” fever.

“Gold Rush” is in its fourth season and I cannot keep from watching.  The first season was all about this bearded dude Todd Hoffman, his father Jack and crew, mining for gold in Alaska.  It was intriguing because they did not know what the frig (Todd’s favorite word) they were doing, but they did not let that stop them. 
Todd and Jack Hoffman

From that first year the show now covers three groups of miners.  Along with Todd’s gang there is this cranky old dude Fred Hurt and his son Justin (The Dakota Boys), and an eighteen year old kid Parker Schnabel.

  It is impossible not to like these three crews.  The Hoffman’s never quit, and Todd’s dad Jack who is about 75 years old is tough as nails, plus nothing, and I mean nothing bothers him. 

Fred Hurt
The “Dakota Boys” have an interesting father son relationship.  Justin listens to the “Old Man” but they will fight and cuss each other all the while their mutual love and respect is obvious.

Parker Schnabel is the teenage rock star of the show.  He learned everything he knows from his 92 year old Grandfather who only retired from mining two years ago.  Parker is a clone of his Grandfather who is wise, tough, and caring.  The love these two have for each other is clear and touching.  Parker has a work ethic reminiscent of what conquered our frontier and made this country great.
Parker and is Grandpa

Every week I keep waiting for one of these groups to strike it rich and find tons of gold.  Each week it is disappointing as it seems mining for gold is not that easy.  In fact it is hard…really hard.  The conditions are rough, supplies are hours away and equipment constantly breaks down.

Every time something breaks down, the weather turns, or a bridge is out I think, “that’s it, show's over, there is no way they can go on.”  Most people would quit, but these guys suck it up and find a way to repair the un-repairable, survive the weather, or just build a new bridge.

For all this you would think they would find gold and go home rich.  In fact, last year the Hoffman’s found about 1.5 million dollars of gold.


However they spent five months of backbreaking labor.  They leased their mining ground for 20% of their take and their equipment, fuel and miscellaneous costs had to be at least 500 thousand dollars.

Do the math; $1,500,000 minus $500,000 expenses, less 20% and they have $800,000 to divide among ten miners.  Eighty thousand dollars for five months is not bad, but the work is fierce and dangerous, the hours are 12 to 16 hours per day.  They are living in the woods and away from their family, and there is no guarantee that they will make any profit at all.

This year, the Hoffman’s are trying their luck in the jungles of Guyana while the Dakota Boys are sticking to Alaska and Parker is trying new grounds in the even colder north of the Yukon.

I am rooting for them to strike it big, but I expect they will be lucky to scrape out a little more than their costs.  Gold fever keeps them all going, but the only one that is really finding gold is the “Discovery” Channel.  
They strike it rich every week and I watch them do it.


  1. i don't watch it. but i have a brother in wisconsin that has begun panhandling for gold on weekend trips and vacations.

  2. Gold Rush fever it is! I have just signed a deal taking 10% ownership of a reclaimed gold mine - exciting it is!

  3. @ TWG - they could probably make about the same panhandling.

    We still have some gold mines working around here (NorCal), too. The working conditions aren't much better.

    There are also a few recreational miners [sic]/

  4. Our son loves both of these programs and is constantly urging us to watch them. I guess I should be interested since my great grandfather owned a gold mine and once found a 23 pound nugget.

  5. I've never watched--maybe I'll give it a look!! When is it on?

  6. I never caught gold fever, but I once was into Deadliest Catch. I'm over that now....sorting crabs eventually gets boring. Watching them get hit in the head by 100# chunks of falling ice was pretty cool, though.

  7. We only have over the air TV so never have seen either of these shows. But glad to know you are enjoying them - if they've been on for four years a lot of folks must like them.

  8. I used to watch this show every Friday night. Now my interest has waned. I might tune in to see how Parker is faring. But the Hoffmans are not my cup of tea. There's something shady about that crew. Too much goes on under the table, I think. Like they are raking in more than they let on. Fred acts like he's living in a frontier town in the Old West. But it's not an act.

  9. We've been followers of the last two seasons, shaking our heads at the lack of real leadership in the Hoffman crew, and melting at the wonderful relationship between Parker and his Grandfather. This year I'm struggling to find a reason to keep watching. I don't care for the "jungle gold" version, it's hard to believe that could be a money-making proposition for a crew, not to mention far more dangers than when they were in Alaska. We shall see as the season progresses. We loved Deadliest Catch, it was the contrasting personalities and family relationships that made it good. In my mind, Gold Rush hasn't reached that standard. I find it very hard to like Todd Hoffman.