Monday, April 28, 2014

“There’s (still) gold in them thar hills!”

Yes, there is!  I had no idea…the California Gold Rush began in 1849 for heavens sake! After one hundred-sixty plus years I thought for sure the gold had all been taken from California Gold Country.

“The blacksmith dropped his hammer, the carpenter his plane, the mason his trowel, the farmer his sickle, the baker his loaf, and the tapster his bottle. All were off for the mines, some on horses, some on carts, and some on crutches, and one went in a litter.”  (On the reaction in California to the discovery of gold at Coloma, January 1848)

Our younger son Gary has been a gold panning enthusiast for awhile so when the opportunity presented itself to actually run a gold panning operation California Gold Panning he and his Vivian jumped at it.  He said sayonara to his job in Monterey and they moved lock, stock and barrel up to gold country. . .and they are having a ball.


GET and I stopped for a couple of days in Jackson on the way back from Lake Tahoe and were soon learning new terms like sluicing and classifiers.

Getting “booted up” is the first order of business.  Even with boots on, mucking around in the running creek, you will most likely end up with wet feet!DSCN0230

GET contemplating whether or not he is going to get “booted up” and start panning.  (This day he was content to observe.)


Because of the rain the creek was running pretty fast.


First comes classifying which is digging from the bottom or edge of the creek and “straining off” the big stuff.  Then pouring the excess water out of the bucket:  (looks like a colander to me)


Then the remaining stuff in the bucket which looks like a bunch of dirt is fed into the sluicer which is set up in the running creek, in this case Woods Creek.


Finally what remains in the sluicer gets panned! Hopefully there is gold in the pan and at Woods Creek you most likely will be successful. . .no not that big nugget but real gold!  Lots of hard work but fun.DSCN0245

Disclaimer:  This is a very elementary description of the process and not to be taken as gospel or complete since I wasn’t paying real close attention.  I was wandering around in the rain taking pictures!!

Can’t get enough of our Spring California Poppies!


In the rain the boulders and moss were shiny.


Tried to get a clear photo of the rain dripping from the twigs but wasn’t too successful.


Gnarly tree trunk!


Pretty cool retaining wall.  I wonder how long it has been there?  Maybe since gold rush days?


I wonder if these boulders are as distinctive when they’re dry.


The grass seems to like growing in the running water.


Enough wandering around by Woods Creek and back to the subject of gold panning!  Grubstake Gary (he really prefers just plain ol’ Gary) thinks EVERYONE should come up and take panning lessons at California Gold Panning. . .not a tourist attraction of panning in a trough like this:

gold panning in trough

Gold Panning. . .a good thing!DSCN0223

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1 comment:

  1. So good to see you enjoying yourself and finding ever new stuff to do...
    First, in my case, is convincing my husband that getting off tourist haunts may be a good thing. In his case, he enjoys good restaurants more than anything else.