Tonight’s episode of "Gold Rush" finds fan favorite, Parker Schnabel leaving his beloved grandfather, John, his mother and father, and the Big Nugget Mine behind for greener or hopefully, more golden pastures in “The Frozen North.“
As he makes one final trip up to Big Nugget. During the fall, he met with veteran miner, Tony Beats to acquire virgin ground in Scribner Creek. As he arrives at Big Nugget, he gathers all he needs to get them going in the Yukon. He takes whatever he can get, because nobody will be doing anything at this mine any longer. As he spots his grandfather’s vintage scale, he remembers how John meticulously weighed those nuggets.
Back in Haines, he meets with his parents and John. His father is disappointed that he did not come to him first to discuss this. Gold mining is expensive and Parker decided to forego college for now in search of his fortune in the Klondike. His mother announced that they would borrow from his college fund, and send him to Dawson with a jar full of gold. John handed him a mason jar of 100 ounces of gold for his startup; a loan which John knows he will repay. Parker wants to refill this jar at least eight times. Right now, the jar is worth $160,000, and he knows he can do a lot with this amount.
Three weeks later, he preps his convoy for the trip north. Rick Ness, who was with him last season, will be along. Gene, the foreman and a few others will lend their expertise. As Parker stops by to say so long to his grandfather, he asks if he can take the old scale with him. John knows that when Parker uses it, he will always think of him. John has all the confidence in Parker’s aspiration and ambition. This is his project, and he hopes that what John said about the eagle leaving the nest and succeeding on his own will be his dream come true.
As they drive 600 miles to Dawson city, it is 20 degrees below zero as he meets with Tony Beets. First, he must drill to test the land. He does not have a drill, but Tony does and will help him out with it. As they take the three-hour drive to Scribner Creek, they come upon an ice sheet formed by a glacier. There is no way they can drive through this. They will have to wait until the Highway Department digs it out.
In Phoenix, the Dakota Boys are on a mission to acquire the rights to mine Cahoon Creek, high in the mountains, miles from Porcupine Creek. Fred believes that this is the source of the gold in the area. Fred and Dustin just know there is gold in them thar hills. They get a veteran pilot, George who swears his plane can ascend and descend on three-hundred feet, just about the room they will have in Cahoon Creek. So Fred and Dustin measure that distance on the runway to check it out. It went fifty feet passed its destination, but George tried again and made it in less than three hundred feet. The landing was bumpy, but on the money. Now Fred knows that they can travel to and from the mine by plane.
In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Tony and Parker are at the largest industrial equipment auctioneers. Parker needs a wash plant and bulldozer and hopes to use no more than $100,000 for them, leaving him with some operating and food money. Tony suggests he concentrate on the dozer first; they can always make a sluice box while in the Klondike. At the auction, the dozer he wanted, sold for $120,000, but not to Parker. Tony was glad Parker pulled out when he was over his head, and two days later, he may just have a solution to his problem. They went to visit a Klondike miner who has a dozer and a wash plant he can no longer afford. Lo and behold, it was Todd Hoffman. Parker bought Little Blue for 25-ounces of gold, with no guarantees. With only two-thirds of his gold left, he made a deal with Todd for the D-10 dozer; one hundred ounces on July 1st, when Todd comes calling for his gold.
Now Parker really has to hustle. With only 75-ounces left, a need for operating capital, a so-so wash plant and a dozer, he never even laid eyes on; can he find enough gold to fulfill his obligations?
Dustin is on a mission from Porcupine Creek to Cahoon Creek with all the heavy equipment he can move there. Dustin found an old wagon trail, but it ends in a ravine with possibilities of avalanches all around. Take that trail; and die!
Parker and Gene are on their way to Quartz Creek to check out the dozer and wash plant; to move them to their destination. Little Blue that has been sitting under snow and ice for the winter. They attempt to start the dozer, and sure enough it starts right up. With the equipment, ready Tony shows up with bad news; the road to Scribner is still blocked and there is no way to get the drill there at this time. If they cannot use the drill in the next week, Tony will no longer have it available. Tony told Parker, although he did not want to tell him; to go home. Gene, Parker’s most experienced worker went home to Alaska to weigh his options, and Rick is second-guessing everything. Parker is in over his head and second-guessing himself too, but has raw determination.
Dustin and Willie are attempting to find a way to Cahoon Creek. Dustin needs to find a section narrow enough to build a bridge. As they trek on foot, they find a cable that someone already set up. If Dustin can rig a cable car to this, there just may be a way. As he tests the cable, it hold his weight, now for the next step.
Parker decided to find an excavator and tear that glacier up himself. He hot wired one of the Hoffman’s old excavators and when Tony found out this info, he readied his drill. Parker drives the $100,000 excavator towards the ice sheet, on his left is an 80,000-foot drop. Without ice cleats on the track, the excavator becomes a fifty-one ton ice skate as the episode ends with a real-life cliffhanger on "Gold Rush."
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