View Full Version : Eureka moment for stubborn prospector

18th August 2010, 11:50 AM
This guy found the "headwaters" of the Klondike. He gets to retire early!:

"Shawn Ryan was sure he could find the source of the Klondike gold rush. After many years of digging, he now has a ‘See, I told you so’ moment"



13th March 2011, 04:09 PM
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I would have liked to see this.

I assume he is a Canadian.

17th April 2011, 10:03 AM
i apologize for the disappearance of the formerly free article at the above link. I should have copy/pasted some of it. I'm assuming it was popular so they moved it to the subscriber section... grrr... >:(


17th April 2011, 11:00 AM


17th April 2011, 11:03 AM
Some colourfull background on Shawn from 2005.


Morel Story Shawn Ryan and Cathy Wood and Friends

About a year ago I went up to the Yukon with David Arora, author of Mushrooms Demystified, to take a look at what was predicted to be one of the biggest morel mushroom season since the commercial pick began. The piece about the hunt for morels is out now in the New York Times style magazine...

Once, in trying to beat the crowd to a fire, Shawn and another crew leader made a deal to cut an ATV trail, promising that neither would jump the gun and pick ahead of the other. But cutting the trial was slow, and cooperation broke down. Two pickers ran ahead of the rest of the crew. They came back to report to their buyer that the mushrooms were beyond abundant, and the buyer abandoned the treaty and rented a helicopter. Shawns group shared in the overexcitement, and rented a chopper, too a big one that could hold 14 people. Once in the bush, they realized that the pickers had only scouted the edge of the burn there was nothing at all in the middle. They flew in a big camping set up, but given the paucity of mushrooms they couldnt afford to have the helicopter come back and bring them out. So they had to walk out the whole way carrying camp supplies for fourteen on their backs.

I get bits and pieces of Shawns history. His father was a miner in Timmins, Ontario, didnt want Shawn to work in the mine, encouraged him to go into the exploration side. At fifteen, Shawn got interested in trapping, snaring foxes, martins, mink. But he was poaching on another trappers line, and eventually he was caught. He said, youre the worst poacher Ive ever seen, youve been causing me a big pain in the neck, and now you have two choices. I can turn you into the authorities, or you can work for me. The other guys were on him oh, you hired a poacher. But they were jealous because a lot of people had been wanting to trap with him, learn what he knew, because he was an expert, old time trapper. But Im the one who got to do it, spent four years with him, learned everything. I was very lucky, I was able to do that in high school.

Cathy: It didnt make him popular.

After his time in Winisk Shawn moved to Fort Albany, where he worked as a teacher in a school for native kids remanded there by the court because of their bad activities. He was supposed to teach them native crafts, help get them in touch with their culture. So he showed up at a meeting of provincial authorities. They were shocked to see him. They had been trying to get somebody from the school to appear before them for months, but nobody every showed up. They had lots of questions to ask, but Shawn couldnt answer them. He had simply come to discuss his proposal to teach a gun safety class to the kids.

Ya mean theres guns up there? he remembers the guy saying.
Sure, theres guns, Shawn replies. Guns are basic to native culture, they never go anywhere in the bush without their guns.
Well, how many guns? asks the provincial authority.
Oh, I dont know, about four, more or less, says Shawn.
Under whose control are they? At first the question baffles Shawn, then he understands it.
Oh, no, no, he says. I meant four per person a shotgun, a 22, maybe something with a scope.


Ryan built his prospecting plans on an important insight. He reckoned the Klondikes dirt remained untouched by glaciers during the last Ice Age, and that a massive soil sampling program, properly done, may provide telltale clues of where gold lies buried...

Ryan isnt just an industrious prospector. Hes also a shrewd businessman. When he strikes an option agreement, it usually includes strings that require his team to be hired on as a contractor during future exploration work.