Summertime Gold Panning
September 2016 by Chris RalphI have smaller pans for cleaning black sand concentrates, big pans for taking large samples, pans with corners for pouring out materials, and pans with lots of special riffles. This variation is why I have so many pans—they each have their specialty.
I could see lots of quartz, both loose on the hillsides and in the numerous small prospect diggings. There was a small gold rush here more than a century ago.
I remember in the couple of years after that 1997 flood, prospectors around California did very well, taking ounces of gold from places that had not yielded any gold for years before that.
These days they employ the use of metal detectors and carefully scan the shattered rocks, hoping to hear that sound we detectorists love to hear.
Time is a commodity which if traded would dwarf the price of gold. Nobody has enough of it; we can’t make more of it; and whether squandered or spent wisely, once gone, it’s gone forever. To find gold we have to spend time.
This fine gold that is so common is probably the most notorious for eluding our riffles and mattings.
The research I did for “Gold in the Slate Creek Basin” (September 2011 issue) found me chasing a channel out of the LaPorte territory headed towards the old mining town of Brandy City, California.
Without knowing or even thinking about it, I had put together a map that showed me a pattern of the ancient Sacramento River channel. I also had a distinct picture of where the ancient channels of several other creeks and rivers were running.
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