Funny Gold Prospecting: Story
As mentioned in Chapter 1 of my book, “Cheap Gold and Silver,” Brian (my husband) takes me on some interesting treasure hunting journeys. I decided to share the story and some of the pictures from one of them.
It was a beautiful Alaska day and Brian said, “Let’s go gold prospecting today.” Like the nut I am, I said, “That sounds like fun, let’s go.” You should sense something wrong with that carefree fun statement of mine. Here’s my reasoning; I’m going hiking in the Alaska wilderness with a person that always says, “The gold is up there on top of that mountain, across that river, I just know it.” This should be a RED FLAG for me, but I wasn’t thinking clearly that day. So we loaded up some equipment, lunch and headed out. Here is a picture of where we ended up (picture 1).
Picture 1. Gold Prospecting in Alaska. Brian standing on some slimy rocks in some very COLD water.
Do you see anything that concerns you? I do. Brian is looking into the fast flowing area of the cold water, trying to figure out how to get across it. Mind you, we already hiked through some alders, or should I say, “Tripped my way through the alder patch to this very spot.” Here’s the view just to the right of where Brian is looking which is down river. Take a good look at the red “X” in picture 2.
Picture 2. Gold Prospecting in Alaska. The gold is over there.
To my horror, Brian turns to me and says, “I want to go over there to do a test sample.” Immediately I asked, “What is wrong with where we are? We just hiked to this spot and I want to pan for some gold. Now we have to figure out how to get across that fast moving creek. Remember, I have short legs.” ”Easy,” he said. “We walk back through the alder, cross the bridge and then hike back through that other (thicker) alder patch. You won’t get wet.” I thought to myself, at least there is a bridge to use for the crossing. I already had my fill of water crossings for the day.
Oh, I forgot to tell you. Earlier that day, we walked down the river across the slippery rocks. No, I didn’t fall in, but there was a close call (my lips are sealed, I’m not telling on myself). So, we were wearing waders, which are NOT hiking boots. Can you say blisters? Yep, he got a few from this trip. I was smart enough to wear two thick pairs of socks. Cold river equals cold feet, if you aren’t wearing two pairs of socks. I’ve learned to prepare myself for his trips over the years.
Back to our story. We made it through the thick alders, and spit out where the red “X” is in picture 2. Picture 3 is taken from the red “X’s” location in picture 2.
Picture 3. Gold Panning a Test Pan in Alaska. The red "X" indicates the location where I took the second picture. I was standing there.
Finally, it was time to get down to business; test sampling a few areas for gold. I dug my dirt and sat down on a rock with a pool of water in front of me. I started enthusiastically panning. After about 20 minutes, Brian said, “Okay we’re done for today.” What, we have been hiking all around here today and when we finally get to “the spot”, it is time to leave. He had to convince me there was nothing there, so I would hike back through the alders to the truck. It took a lot of convincing, too. I had gold fever!
While looking at picture 3, notice the river to the right. That is the one we were walking in the middle of on top of slippery rocks. So yes, I have been up a creek without a paddle, but at least I had a shovel for a little stability. The creek on the left, flowing into the river, is the one we had to cross using the bridge further up – thank goodness.
This story should give you a sense of why treasure hunting in urban settings can yield more gold than going out to pan the stuff yourself. On this day, we didn’t come away with any gold, but we had a blast out in the Alaska wilderness chasing the shiny yellow metal. However, if I fell in the COLD water that would have been a different story altogether. Come to think of it, that has happened to me, but that is another story to tell.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting,
Author of "Cheap Gold and Silver"