It’s the tempest that haunts him, 50 feet of swift-running glacial runoff that gives the title of “Gold Rush: White Water” a run for its money — but Dustin Hurt isn’t giving up. “McKinley Falls lured me to all of this, and I wanted to tackle that, and I haven’t yet made an approach to tackle that,” the “Dakota Boys” miner told Looper. “I think that’s the difference between when I started and now. That I thought I would be able to just jump straight into that, but it’s a bigger job than I thought it was gonna be. So I think for the payoff, I think that’s going to be the big waterfall that I haven’t been able to attack.”
Hurt, together with his father Fred and their team members, have learned a lot in their years of prospecting and placer mining in the Alaskan wilderness. While McKinley Falls haunts him, that doesn’t mean Hurt hasn’t considered it from every angle possible. “Someone tried to dig it, and got a bunch of gold out of part of it. And they didn’t get to finish it because there was flooding and they got wiped out after three years of prep,” he told Looper. “Luckily they drilled a tunnel — that we’d live in most of the season — that they diverted water through. They threw 250 men at it. It was a big endeavor, and then they got flooded out and didn’t rebuild. I now own that waterfall and I’d love to get after it, and I think that’s going to be life-altering. Just haven’t made enough gold to actually go ahead and get after it.”
“Gold Rush: White Water” airs Fridays on Discovery and is available to stream on Discovery+.