Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day Gold Panning

My brother's family came down this last week and we all went camping this weekend. We went out to the Quartzville Recreation Corridor and found a decent camp spot a bit before Yellow Bottom Campground. It wasn't perfect for camping with two children aged 9 months and 1 year (son and nephew respectively), but it was a pretty good spot overall. Nearest other campers were around a bend in the road and the river was pretty nice where we were. Only real drawback was some idiots that kept racing a quad up the road.

Hint, most peoples' idea of camping doesn't involve listening to you roar past their camp every 10 minutes, especially as darkness approaches and kids start going to bed. Next time I hope they bring a fishing pole instead...

The trip started a little late on Saturday. My brother and his girlfriend didn't make it to our place until around noon, but worse still - I forgot the keys to the trailer. I was ready to head back, but my wife volunteered to go back a ways and try my mother to see if she was going to make it out to meet us, and if so, could she stop at our place and grab the keys. She ended up going all the way back to the house. I owe her.

Big time.

After a while of socializing and playing with the kids I popped down to the creek to do some panning. I could tell the near side wasn't going to be any good, but in an effort to avoid freezing started there anyway. I was right. Loose gravels, not a speck of color, almost no black sand, etc -just wrong in every way. So I braved the cold water up to near my armpits and crossed over.

Eureka!

Okay, maybe not eureka, but tons of black sand and a little color in every pan, including one little sesame seed sized chunk. "Chunk" may be too big a word, but it felt good seeing that flash in the pan while working it down. Not long after my boy started fussing, so I crossed back over to relieve his aunt and uncle.

My wife arrived not too long after and I put up the tent-trailer, hooked up the electrics, turned on the gas and made sure we wouldn't roll into the river (not exactly in that order). The next day I did a little dredging in the morning without much luck. Later that afternoon I showed my brother how to pan for gold. He wanted to try the near side, but after several unsuccessful pans agreed to make the crossing.

On the other side we started having a lot better luck, especially the beginner's variety. I taught him where to look and he went and found it... He started working some cracked bedrock and started finding nice little flakes in every pan, flakes that made my sesame seed look small. He even pulled a decent little picker out of one pan. After seeing his first few pans I started working the area too and my first pan had two nice flakes and a lot of tiny stuff. It wasn't the Mother Lode, but it really was a great spot...until our wives got bored... I only managed a pan and a half or so from the good spot before it was time to pack up, but my brother had worked it for a little while and had some really nice gold to show for our two hours of panning.

I think we all had a pretty good time. The ladies got to lay in the sun. My wife took a million baby photos and a couple that may get entered into the ICMJ photo contest this year. The kids ate loads of Cheerios and rice pockets and got a ton of attention. My brother found some nice gold and caught gold bug. And I enjoyed some time in the sun on a gorgeous creek bank. Not a bad trip at all.

Next time I need to remember the keys and those yahoos need to leave the quad at home, but still a great time.

1 comment:

scottjolly said...

Cool entry, sounds like fun. I would love to see a picture of your underwater viewer...