It seems that this past season of Discovery Gold Rush, all of the miners on the show had had a troubled road ahead of them. Many friendships were tested, and some could be considered severed forever. The few free-spirited men that mine gold in Alaska are strong-willed, but the hardships they’d endured, evident in the past few episodes, truly tested their determination and common dream. All of the three different crews of Gold Rush Alaska, as seen on the Discovery Channel, struggled to maintain a steady operation in search of the elusive and precious gold.
Gold Rush Alaska’s Youngest Miner, Parker Schnabel
To some, it may seem all to much for a high school boy to take. MSHA had shut down Parker Schnabel because of something as simple as lack of paperwork. His grandfather had been running the mine for decades before him without any such problems.
It also seemed that his grandfather John Schnabel, a legendary gold miner in Alaska, had had much better luck in his day of running the mine. Parker was struggling just to cover his exorbitant daily operating costs and break even. The seventeen-year-old boy had to fight to gain his experienced crew’s respect, but his sharp, young and creative mind came up with an excellent plan to establish some sort of profit sharing plan for them to keep them motivated.
Before the end of his tough season on Discovery Channel Gold Rush Alaska, and before heading back to high school, he made the impulsive effort to go show off his $55,000 bar of solid gold to the striving Hoffman crew. Already on edge and snappy with the Discovery Channel cameramen and producer of the series, Parker was anxious to see where he stacked up against the Hoffmans, but to his sudden disappointment, Todd and Jack refused to share their current total gold count as of that point with the overly confident young miner. Parker has great respect for the Hoffman crew, and they for him, but the tough times and discouraging paydays had all of the miners irritable and with snappy attitudes.
Jack Hoffman’s Behind-the-Scenes Mission
It was divulged in numerous episodes that Harness was dealing with back pain and reliant on surgery and medication. However, Jack Hoffman remained silent about his personal hardships on the Discovery series. It became apparent that besides Harness, Jack had been struggling with his back pain also before they began appearing on Gold Rush. Having been kicked in the face by a horse and a subsequent jaw replacement, Jack had dealt with pain in the past. But his degenerative spinal ailment came back to haunt him as he was beaten and jostled on his quest for gold. Operating the 400 excavator lead to serious consequences for Jack’s body, but it wasn’t just the debilitating back pain that was slowing him down.
Jack admits he has been addicted to morphine, and he hadn’t realized how much his body actually needed it. In a take that didn’t make the Discovery Channel, Jack makes a commitment to get off of the drugs and begin to lead a more independent life. It is quite amazing that such an elderly gentlemen took the gamble to go to Alaska and embark on the risky endeavor of gold mining, but that he did it with the condition of his health surely puts him in a whole other class of men.
James Harness Voted off Gold Rush Alaska
After the 2012 season of the show, it was disclosed that James Harness most likely won’t return for the next season of Gold Rush. Todd and James had began to have a bit of resentment towards each other during the climactic episodes of the season, but others in the Hoffman crew shared the common feelings of being betrayed by the able mechanic. Harness had spent a few days relaxing with his new girlfriend while the guys needed him most, but it all seemed to go downhill from there. While the Hoffmans and the rest of the crew continued to battle the Alaskan elements in quest for the goal of 100 ounces, James had disappeared and left them hanging. While they needed him to devise a new water filtering system, he was out taking some time off and enjoying life. When he returned, the guys felt that his commitment had all but vanished all together. During one final meeting with James, the guys discussed their feelings and his lack of dedication, and he was ultimately asked to part ways.
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