Family finds Yukon Gold

As if it wasn't enough baggage heading into the bush with a toddler and newborn twins, Nika Guilbault also had a film crew in tow.

"I make them babysit, too," she said with a laugh, speaking to KTW just before the February premiere of Yukon Gold, the Canadian mining docu-series her family is featured in for the second time.

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Kamloopsians will remember Guilbault as the woman who made headlines after confidently birthing twins in her truck on the way to Royal Inland Hospital from her native Sorrento a year ago.

"Life in general has been a whirlwind of a birth for them and it just hasn't stopped," she said.

Just four months later, Guilbault, husband Chris St. Jean, their three-year-old daughter Zyla and the twins were in Stowe Creek for their third season mining gold.

The couple bought the remote gold mine in 2012.

"We paid a whole lot of money for it and really were hoping to make something of it," she said. "That first year was a really tough year for us."

Guilbault cut her teeth doing hard labour.

She grew up farming and started working in the oil patch at age 18. Never the type to shy away from a challenge, she set her sights on operating heavy machinery.

"I worked really hard, worked my way up," she said. "It's always men up there who are working. They have all the truck-driving jobs and all the good jobs. I wanted the good jobs."

Just after getting her class 1 driver's licence, she went into mining.

She and Chris decided to purchase their own site after meeting on the job.

The couple lived in their sled trailer for a year in hopes an opportunity would come up and, eventually, one did.

"Every year, it gets better," she said. "There's some years you just wonder what the hell you're doing.

"We've tried a lot of different things and we just keep working toward something bigger and better all the time and hopefully finding some really good gold one day."

It was during their second season in Stowe Creek producers from the History channel reality show approached them.

Guilbault is the first lead female miner to appear on Yukon Gold.

Interest from the channel came from a desire to look at the dynamics of a professional mining family, the day-to-day struggles of Chris trying to support his loved ones and Nika as both mother and miner.

Their 18-hour days aren't the typical nine-to-five.

"There's lot of families in mining, but we were one of the only ones at the time with a young kid and just the two of us trying to pull things off," Guilbault said. "A lot of the miners grew up that way. That's how they started back in the day."

With new additions -- baby Hunter and baby Nevada -- this season was a new ball game.

The crew spent 10 weeks filming the family, chronicling the hardships of the laborious mining season, battles with mother nature and getting by in the middle of nowhere.

Guilbault said the summer was a blur and, she too, will be sitting down to watch the show -- if only to remember what happened.

Yukon Gold airs Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on History.

© Kamloops This Week



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