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Saturday, January 1, 2011

What IS a claimstaker anyways?

For those of you who are curious, and for those of you who don't know, I made this blog for you. A claimstaker is a rare breed nowadays, most often confused with prospectors, miners, surveyors, mountain men and crazy folks (yep it's true! you have to be crazy to love this work).

If you have ever heard the term to "stake a claim", it probably has roots in this profession. Basically, it is a branch of surveying that none of the registered surveyors would want to do in their right mind. Let me explain.

So when a mine first starts up, what they have to do is get some guy (mostly geologists) that says, "Hey! I think there is gold here!" And then some investors turn their head, thinking to themselves, "Wow. If that hits gold, we'll be rich guys!", so they gather a bunch of money (and hopefully a few other players) and they go out and look to a landman to see where the property rights stand (among other things). The landman then hires on a claimstaker to go out there and claim the land for them with a bunch of 2X2 posts and location monuments.

We use (and have used) sweat off our brow, 4-wheelers, donkeys, mules, grit and determination to go to the most random locations and to state these claims. We build maps to run off of, we survey with fancy GPS units and hoof it until we finish the jobs. Sometimes we are rushing against competitors in the same area. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows. Most times it's windy. In the summer, the sun beats you down. But every once and awhile, you climb that perfect mountain, on that perfect day, and find god in your work.

We haven't gone without criticism for our job. But I've never been so close to nature as when I run lines with my dad. It's hard work, but it's liberating.

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