'Gold Rush: Alaska' features Parker exploring options outside Porcupine (VIDEO)

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Yet again, the Hoffmans think they may be on the gold, but Todd may be down another miner when his oldest friend decides he has had enough of going out and digging up nothing.

Tonight, as the Hoffman crew finds their first dig site in the Canadian Klondike exhausted, the team rushes to try and find a new dig site. But, it may be that they are overlooking what is right under their feet.

Thurber begins doing random test pans around the site, finally doing a test back at the first cut.

“Hey, Todd,” he says, “I went up to the first cut, and I panned, and I found gold on the deck.”

“Where?” Todd asks, bewildered.

“On the deck. Right there behind that bedrock,” he says again.

Thurber’s find seems to contradict what Todd has learned about bedrock. Gold sinks through gravel, until hitting bedrock, typically creating the richest pay streaks at bedrock—where the Hoffmans stopped digging. What they did not realize, however, that water can go into hairline fractures in the bedrock. Over time, the water freezes and expands, creating fractures large enough for gold to drop into—creating new pay potential. If this is the case on the first cut site, the Hoffmans could actually find that they are on real gold and save their thus unimpressive season. Still, Greg has had enough of the Hoffmans’ promises and pipe dreams.

“Here’s the deal,” he says. “I’ve got two options. Either I stick it out here and hope that that second cut is gonna put a bunch of gold in our pockets, or I can go home and try to scratch something together.” Todd, being the nice guy he always is, understands, and offers the money to get his oldest friend back home to his family.

“I’m down, but that doesn’t matter to me,” Todd sighs. “I fight really good with my back against the wall.”

Parker, on the other hand, is exploring options, visiting the Klondike and the Tamarack Mine. After failing to meet the needed gold for the season, the future of the Big Nugget mine is in jeopardy.

RELATED: 'Gold Rush: Alaska': John Schnabel, not the Hoffmans, living the true American Dream

The teen has never actually visited mines outside of his grandfather’s site. “I’ve never seen an operation outside of Porcupine,” he confirms.

Tamarack is one of the biggest operations in the region, and is owned by Tony Beets. The operation runs dirt 23 hours a day, every day.

“I’ve never seen that much gold in the pan,” he tells Tony.

Tony laughs. “You gotta to get out more.”

“If things don’t work out at Porcupine, I might crawl up here, beg Tony for a job.”

“As long as you don’t chase my daughter,” he laughs, then, more seriously, says, “If he comes up in the spring and if he’s serious, if he pans out, good for him. If not, too bad for him. If he wanted, he could learn, or whatever. He could hang around, see things, learn something. Good experience in all different kinds of equipment.”

Parker seems starstruck.

“He says he gets two to four ounces an hour. I’m digging in the wrong creek, man. If I want to play with the big boys, I’ve got to get up here where the big boys play.”

Stay tuned.

The latest episode of Gold Rush airs tonight at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel. Also, fans of gold mining may want to stick around for the premiere of Bering Sea Gold at 10 p.m.

Background: Discovery Channel hoping to strike it rich with 'Bering Sea Gold'

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Video: Discovery Channel, Gold Rush

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