Archive for June, 2012

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Back in 2009 Hillbilly John and I had been prospecting on Buffalo Brook at Camp Plymouth in Plymouth Vermont. While we were panning for gold we encountered a young couple taking a walk in the woods on a Sunday morning when they enquired about what it was that we were doing, so we told them we were panning for gold. They were amused with that. The young man told us that they lived in the area but had never done any prospecting but he told us about a place near by called Five Corners where they knew that prospectors frequently ventured. He proceeded to tell us that back in the 1800’s some time that gold had been mined there. Well that certainly peaked our interest and of course I wanted to check it out. We had left for home and I thought about Five Corners all the way. I started researching Five Corners and found that it had been a bustling little town and that it once had a stamp mill there. A stamp mill is used to crush ore in this case gold ore. We just had to check this place out.  I located it on a map and discovered that we could drive to it. Over the past few years I had studied the topography of the area and I’d been itching to go there.

Hillbilly John and I was planning on a gold dredging trip to Maine but I had to cancel because of work I was suppose to have a week off, instead I had three days off. We, Hillbilly John, my wife Doris, my 9-year-old son Charlie and I, planned a trip to Five Corners Vermont for some gold panning. Gold panning is all that is allowed in Vermont unless you have a land owners written permission and then you can apply for a permit from the state. Unfortunately Hillbilly John had to cancel due to a bad tooth. I loaded up the jeep with our camping equipment, food and the gold pans. Doris, Charlie and I were off, it was a nice ride up through the Green Mountains. On the way we could see the wrath of hurricane Irene’s devastation that she had left behind. All the rivers had been tore up. It took us about four hours to reach our destination, Five Corners was probably a couple of miles off the paved road. When we arrived we found an empty parking area that had a small kiosk stating that this was Five Corners and a brief history of the once bustling ghost town. Three streams converged together, Broad brook and 2 other streams emptying into it. The spot looked great. By the looks of it hurricane Irene had turned the streambeds upside down. I had a look around and wanted to pick a spot to start in and it was hard to make a decision because it all looked very promising. I picked a location went back to the jeep and got out our gear. I put on my new chest waders and off we went. In my very first pan I found a small speck of gold. Doris was panning and so was Charlie. Charlie was getting bored with it and he wanted to check in at the camp site. There was no way I was leaving, I had found gold so he did a little exploring of the area and then came back for some more panning. I got him some good material, classified it and let him pan it out. Charlie found his first piece of gold and he was no longer bored. We panned until about 4:30 and then we packed it in, we had to get over to Coolidge State Park to check in, I had made reservations for a lean-to the week before. We arrived there and settled into our home away from home. Then we had to make a trip to the country store at Bridgewater Corners, we desperately needed bug spray and we were thankful that they had some. We went back to the camp site, made dinner and then later sat by the campfire enjoying some popcorn I popped on the camp stove. We turned in for the night. I had been woken in the middle of the night by thunder and lightning and what a spectacular sight it was. The following morning I had gotten up before any one else and I got the coffee on and the bacon and eggs cooking, when it was done I woke Doris and Charlie for some breakfast. We then made our way back over to Five Corners by about 9:30 am we were the first ones there again. We set up in a different spot this time on Broad Brook and spent half the day in that location and we did find color. I was having better luck in the spot we were in the previous day; on the way over there we ran into another prospector who was a geologist and he showed us his take from the day before and he had some beautiful pickers. He explained some of the geology and the history of the area then he told us where the best place was and not only did he tell us about it but he took us right to the spot where he was prospecting, we were very grateful for that. He was leaving because there was a storm rolling in, there was thunder all around us that day. Again we found color, it was great it is the kind of place I would love to hit with a dredge, but to bad that you can’t dredge in Vermont. It was about 5 pm when it started to get dark and the wind started blowing pretty hard, I figured it was time to leave before it started pouring. We packed in our gear and headed down the dirt road. Just a short drive down the road I saw another prospector so we stopped to talk with him, he had told us that a friend of his had recently found a very nice sized gold nugget and he pointed to the spot, then the sky opened up. We went back to the lean-to to wait the storm out, I had to cook dinner in the lean-to and it sure was good, the rain finally stopped we had our campfire. Charlie made popcorn this time, we chilled watching the campfire then went to bed while the campfire was still blazing and it was very relaxing and comforting watching the flames dance as we drifted of to sleep. The next day we got up had breakfast took showers and then it was check out and time to head back home. on the way I we stopped at Camp Plymouth, I had heard that the state had erected a sign there commemorating the Vermont gold rush, I wanted to take a picture of it. It was an awesome getaway and I look forward to doing it again. Vermont is a beautiful state.