Gold Panning for Fun and . . . That’s About It

I unfortunately have no pictures of this, but this past Saturday I headed out with the fam and some friends to go hiking and GET RICH . . . or at least, PAN FOR GOLD, which is the same thing, right?

The hike was a ton of fun. Just a half mile up to a gorgeous 90 ft waterfall called Angel Falls, which looks a little like this:

Cool, huh? TRC and DC had a great time. The weather was nice and cool, not too sunny–great stuff. We then hiked down and drove a little way to a part of the stream that’s supposedly RIDDLED WITH RICHES. Or at least, people have occasionally found a bit of gold now and then. We spent a couple of hours panning, and found . . . a single flake that was too small to even really capture in a vial.

There goes my savings plan for TRC and DC’s college education.

Panning turns out to take a lot of time, effort, and patience. You dig up a pan full of dirt (places behind large rocks are apparently notorious for sucking in gold), and then take it to the river and swirl that pan for all you’re worth. The gold–being so heavy–sinks to the bottom, and you swirl out the lighter stuff. Meaning big rocks. And you swirl and swirl and swirl and swirl some more, until you’re left with this fine powder. Most of it is reddish stuff, there’s some iron stuff, and then–hopefully–some gold stuff.

Take it from me: there’s a lot of swirling involved. I imagine it must be easier in places with a higher concentration of gold. I’ve decided that Bryces Don’t Like Panning for Gold, though. I liked being outside in the river, but I’m not planning on quitting my job to go prospecting.

Still, always fun to do new things, and I might do it again sometime. It’s as good an excuse to be outside as fishing is, though you’re not likely to take home more than you would with a reel.

Any of you been panning? Had more success? Please share!

3 thoughts on “Gold Panning for Fun and . . . That’s About It”

  1. My dad is a gold miner, for fun and a sizeable collection of tiny, tiny flakes after years of panning. He gets serious with a highbanker and a dredge and all that stuff. (Though, I don’t think he’s been in a while.) It’s amazing how tiny the flakes can be and still be captured in a vial, and how they add up over time.

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