Posts Tagged ‘Gold panning’

Hillbilly John and I made our usual trek northward to the Western Mountains of Maine on the first week of September which has been customary for us for over the past several years. This year Hillbilly John’s daughter Melissa and her boyfriend Mike accompanied us. It was their first time out dredging for gold.  It was also their first time visiting Maine. The weather was nice, it was warm and humid and it looked like we were going to have some nice weather for the labor day weekend. We arrived in the later part of the afternoon, we set up camp, jumped on the quads and headed out to the spot we planned to dredge in to look it over and put together a solid plan for the following day. We had a location picked out that we have dredged before that we had gotten some nice gold out of. We had been driven out of the spot before by the weather. We get to the trail and there is this sign posted on a tree that reads no all terrain vehicles beyond this point. What a bummer now we have to make a new plan. I had another location in mind, something that was relatively simple to get to. This place was down river on the East Branch of the Swift River. The first spot we looked at was reasonable. The following day we got up had some breakfast, packed up the 2 and a half inch dredge/ high banker combo and hit the trail, it was time to test the location out. We got there set up the equipment and we were Prospecting.

Hillbilly John and his daughter Melissa tending the sluice and Mike on the nozzle.

Hillbilly John and his daughter Melissa tending the sluice and Mike on the nozzle.

The weather was with us, some clouds passed over but over all it was a sunny day, we dredged until late afternoon, it was time for a clean up. We shut the dredge down and started washing the concentrates into a container, I looked down at the ribbed matting and I saw gold, so far so good. We cleaned all the concentrates out of the sluice and then we panned it down, we found numerous flecks of gold in each pan. The spot looked really good. We went back to camp had some dinner and then started getting the gear ready for the following day, we started assembling the 4″ dredge by putting the pontoons on the frame. We loaded up the trailer and prepared for an early start in the morning. Before turning in for the night it started to sprinkle and then it stopped. We turned in and before I fell asleep it started sprinkling again and I could hear thunder, and then came lightning. I could see it’s flash through the ceiling of the tent, which I find to be very peaceful and calming. I drifted off to sleep later to be awakened by the sound of pouring rain and thunder right over head. It must have been raining for a while at this point because when I went out of the tent to use the bathroom I stepped into ankle deep water just outside the door. I went back in to sleep, but just lay there for a while thinking  so much for the weather being with us, after all this is the first week of September in Maine. The next thing you know I am opening my eyes and it is starting to get light and the good news is I don’t hear rain on the roof of the tent. I got up and got dressed and went outside, it was foggy but at least it wasn’t raining. Hillbilly John was up and Melissa and Mike were still in their tent. I got some coffee on and started to fry up some bacon. It wasn’t long after that that Melissa was up and out of her tent. The eggs were done and breakfast was now ready and Mike finally joined us. If you are going to be dredging you need a good solid breakfast, you need lots of energy to move rocks and boulders. We saddle up and headed out with Hillbilly John leading the way towing the trailer with his quad,  Melissa and Mike were in the middle in the Jeep and I was in the rear making sure we didn’t lose anything. We had about a 3 mile commute to the parking area where we would have to leave the trailer and the Jeep and we would have to make several trips to get all of our equipment in on a narrow trail. Once we got every thing in we had a rather small ledge that we had to lower everything down to the river. Hillbilly John and I finished assembling the 4″ dredge and then I assembled the 2 1/2″ dredge for Melissa and Mike to use. After getting the equipment set up we donned our wet suits and we were ready to go. We worked together as a team, I was on the 4″ nozzle while Mike was on the 2 1/2″. Melissa tended the sluice for Mike and Hillbilly John was tending for me and moving rocks and boulders. We were working around a good size boulder. I worked the left and the down river side while Mike worked the right side. I could tell by the material that this location had been dredged before, the question was how deep and how far was it to bedrock or the clay layer. After about 1 1/2 to 2 feet I started to hit hard pack which was a good sign to me. I was excited and working like a mad man trying to get the rocks out of the way. I was throwing the rocks to my left, my peripheral vision is impaired due to my mask and I didn’t see Hillbilly John walking into my line of fire, I threw this rock about the size of a base ball and hit him right square in the bread basket. It’s a good thing he had on his wet suit it gave him some protection. Mike and Melissa were doing great for their first time out; they made a good team. The weather wasn’t to bad, there were scattered showers throughout the day with some patches of sun and it was fairly warm. We prayed that the weather would be with us, if it just rained at night I would be happy.Dredge We worked at a frantic pace all day, it was getting late and it was time for a clean up. We were quite eager to see what we had in the box, we ran the dredge for a few minutes clean just to wash the material a little better, just to get rid of some of the junk. We then throttled down on the dredge, Hillbilly John got in position with the plastic bus pan to catch our concentrates, I raised the rubber mat at the top of the sluice box and removed the first set of riffles. To my surprise I saw the most gold I had ever seen come across the ribbed matting. Man you got to see this I said to every one else, look at this we got gold!!!! We got us a good spot. We picked all the gold off that we saw with tweezers and continued our clean up, grabbing up every bit of gold we could before it hit the end of the sluice. We finished the clean up and panned down the concentrates. We found gold in just about every pan, the gold was small but we had a lot. If we are getting this on the surface just imagine what we will get as we get deeper. We had spent about 14 hours on the river that day and then the clouds rolled in. It was nearly dark by the time we got back to the camp sight. We ate dinner and then we relaxed by the campfire, it started to rain. We took cover in our tents and went to sleep. I awoke several times throughout the night to the sound of pouring rain. Day light came and it was still raining. We were huddled under the canopy hoping for the rain to stop but it wasn’t letting up so  we decided to go into town and get breakfast, we would at least be dry for a little while and get a good hot breakfast. Before going into town we  went to Coos Canyon Rock and Gift, Hillbilly John wanted to get a spiral pan to help us in our clean out efforts, hand panning is very labor intensive. We got out of the car and we could hear the river raging through the canyon. We had gone in to see Rosey, she was out of new spiral pans but she had a used one out back. Hillbilly John said he was interested in seeing it, She went and got it brought it out, it was an older model but in very good shape the battery was dead so Hillbilly John said that we will come back later and if it works he would buy it. We went into town and went to a local diner, breakfast was great we were dry and warm and I didn’t have to cook. Afterwards we went to Wal – Mart I wanted to get a rain suit so I did, Hillbilly John got a battery charger, he figured he would need it for the spiral wheel. We got back to Byron, still raining, we could hear the river raging from our camp site Hillbilly John thought that we should go and check on our equipment I agreed an put on my new rain suit . We took the quads, the rain was pouring down I could barely see with the rain hitting me in the face but at least the rain suit was working that was $14.00 well spent. I was worried the whole way there wondering what we were going to find or not find. Fortunately the day before we had pulled the 4″ dredge up onto dry land and securely tied it off  because the weather was looking pretty ominous. The other dredge was not tied and the motor was in a plastic Rubbermaid bin on the bank of the river. We got there and I was very hesitant about looking. Hillbilly John was the first on the scene and I had to ask how did it look, looks like everything is there he replied so I then looked for myself. The river was up on the bank and it had washed the 4″ out into the river and thank GOD we tied it off or else we probably would never had found it. The river was just inches from the Rubbermaid bin. We hauled the 4″ back in to land and drug it farter up the bank and re-tied it. Everything else we moved farther up on the bank. We were lucky again, it seems to be the same old story here, we are usually short on time, every day that we have really counts, when we lose a day or two it really puts a damper on our plans. But this is all part of the adventure and we are gluttons for punishment we will be back for more! Later on that day we went back to Rosey’s and Hillbilly John purchased the spiral wheel. We went back to the campground and it was virtually empty the rain had driven everyone out, we were talking with the owner of the campground and he told us that a couple of prospectors had lost their dredges and they hadn’t been found.

The following day the sun came out, the river had receded enough and were back to dredging. Our hole had been loaded up again with rock and gravel, but it wasn’t to long before I was in the hard pack again. Even though the sun was out it had cooled off a lot. We could see a couple of prospectors down river heading our way, when they got close enough I could see that it was Harry and Waynette Bragdon, my wife’s cousin. I had been looking for them and they for us but on this day they were just out prospecting and found us by accident. They had their sluice box with them and set up near us. As I said it was a lot cooler so I took many breaks to get warm and we took turns on the nozzle, I would take a turn, then Hillbilly John and then Mike. We kept the material flowing through the dredge all day long.

Hillbilly John takes the nozzle

Hillbilly John takes the nozzle

Mike gets ready to take his turn on the nozzle.

Mike gets ready to take his turn on the nozzle.

Melissa is trying to stay dry for a change.

Melissa is trying to stay dry for a change.

Hillbilly John getting warm on the rocks.

Hillbilly John getting warm on the rocks.

It was a great day on the river, we got some nice gold, we ran the concentrates through the spiral wheel and it worked good but we were tired of being cold and wet. The following day we packed up the equipment and decided to try something different.

I live in an area of New York state where gold is not prevalent, I am not saying that there is no gold here, it’s just hard to find where gold has been found before. New York State has a law on the books known as the King’s Law of 1775 which states that any gold found in New York belongs to the state even if you own the land. I find this to be absurd for we don’t have a King. At any rate I believe that this law has kept anyone from recording any gold finds. In my area of New York I have heard of legends of gold finds. I have always figured that we should have glacial gold present seeing that our neighboring states of Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut have glacial placer gold present.  There has been a lot of lead mining in this area and I have read a good many of the geological reports of these mines in the area and all had a very small amount of  gold  present. There was not enough gold to be profitably minable, so I wonder if any of that gold may be in the tailing piles or was it melted down with the ore.

Hillbilly John and I have been on a quest to find gold in this area so that we may have a local spot to gold prospect in, we still enjoy traveling to distant locations but it would be nice if we had something close enough for when we have just a day or two to prospect. We decided one day to go to Ellenville NY and do a little prospecting on the Sandburg Creek. We went in by the base ball field and we were behind the high school foot ball field. We each did a couple of test holes, digging a bucket each screening the material down to 1/2 inch and then panning it out. Hillbilly John was the first to find a speck of gold. As I was screening I found some pottery shards, looked like from an old crock, we found lots of lead (galena). I finally found a piece of wire gold down at the bottom of my bucket. In the past I have test panned other streams in the area and came up empty, as little as this was we were elated to have found 2 little pieces of gold. I suspect that there is gold in the Shawangunk Mountains, not because that there is a lot of magnetite but because of the sulfides that are present.

We test old mine sites, gravel pits, river beds and any glacial till that we may come across. I have tested some in my own back yard and found very fine gold, like powder. I was once poking around some old limestone mines up in Kingston and what caught my eye was about a 4 foot layer of sand that was loaded with sea shells sandwiched in between 2 separate strata. I didn’t have any thing with me so that I could take a sample but it is something I will explore in the future. The search continues. If you suspect that there is gold in an area test pan it, what’s it going to hurt and who knows you just may find yourself a honey hole.

Map of New York highlighting Ulster County

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When I saw the pyramid Pro Pan I thought that would be a great piece of equipment to add to my inventory. I thought that it would be great to use in places that you can not use a dredge or a sluice box. Places that only panning is allowed or even in a location that the water is low and running to slow to operate a sluice. I thought that it would be a great item that you could use in those hard to get to locations that you may have to hike into, its light weight and fits in a backpack. I was in a location that only panning was allowed and there was some very nice gold and panning is just a very slow method, I was thinking I need something that I can move a lot of material in a relatively short period of time. I had seen the Pyramid Pro Pan on the net and also advertised in a magazine there were claims that it could keep up with a sluice box. I figured this would be just what I need. I found some videos on YouTube and saw it in action, looked good. I told my wife that I would like one for Christmas so she got me one and I finally got to test it out over the weekend. I dug some material, classified it down to half-inch, and filled a five gallon bucket. I ran the material through the Pyramid Pro Pan and it only took up to at most ten minutes. If I had to pan that bucket it would have taken me hours, the better part of a day. I ran a second bucket right on top of the material I had already run. It was easy to operate, clean up was a snap, I just pulled the plug and emptied the concentrates into my pan and finished it off. I had flour gold. The location I was in has abundant flour gold and if this thing will catch the finest of flour gold it will definitely catch the larger gold as well. I am very pleased with the operation of this pan and I was not disappointed in the least bit. I highly recommend the Pyramid Pro Pan.

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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.

I was 5 years old when I was first bitten by the gold bug, although the gold fever was dormant for many years this is how it started for me. My grandmother Alice Canon was an avid rockhound and gold prospector, I had always taken an interest in her rock collection and her gold that she found. One year about 1970 my grandparents took us,my family dad, mom,  sis and me to Byron Maine for a gold prospecting get away. We stayed in a pretty rustic camp, which I thought was awesome. Now my memory of this trip is sketchy but one thing I do remember for sure is that I was in the back of my grandfather’s ford bronco riding down this dirt road, it was really more like a trail, I can remember trying to drink a can of soda and when I tried to take a drink we would hit a bump and I would spill the soda all over my face and down the front of me, to be honest with you I think my grandfather was doing this on purpose he got a big kick out of it hahaha. We drove to the end of this road and parked, we got out and we forded a river, the East Branch of the Swift River, on the other side was an old rail road bed which the tracks had long been gone. We followed this rail trail down river, I couldn’t tell you how far I couldn’t judge distance very well at that age, but it seemed like a long way to me. We finally reached our destination, my grandfather said this is it and down over the bank sat this curious little camp in the middle of nowhere with a meticulous garden alongside the river. My Grandfather announced this is Carl’s’ place and we walked on into his humble camp. My grandparents introduced us to Carl Shilling The gold miner as they called him they also refered to him as the old prospector or the old hermit. Carl was and still is a bit of a local legend when it comes to prospecting. Carl had been living in that location roughly forty years when we met him that day, he had migrated to the United States from Germany. Carl was in his 80’s at this time.We were not the only ones there that day, there were a few others there as well, but they were out in the middle of the river panning for gold, they were green horns. I remember Carl shouting out to them asking ” Did you find anything” they just shook their heads and replied “no.”  I could see them panning and not having very good luck, so the next thing you know Carl is heading out to their location and he gives them a demonstration, he takes their pan and shovels some material into it and he starts to pan and he works it down and he is pointing in the pan saying see there it is there’s the gold.He did a few more pans and came up with gold every time. Then he brought them back to the shore and he told them you really want to find some nice gold come over here, he brought them to a location on the bank and he told them here dig here, dig down about four feet and that’s where you are going to find the best gold. He came back over to visit with us. My parents, grandparents and he spoke for a while, I don’t recall what they spoke of but I am sure it had something to do with gold, and if my grandfather had anything to do with it I am sure they talked about fishing. I do remember one story that he told it was about a certain bear that had crashed through his house and I believe that he said the roof, to get to his stores, it was bacon or something. He invited us into his cabin. Upon entering the first thing you noticed was a large American flag hanging on his wall and I remember him saying that this American flag was his most prized possession and he loved the United States and that this was his country and he said it with such feeling and conviction that you know he ment it. We had left Carl’s camp,and I had left with a lasting impression, one that forty some odd years later I still remember. I had often thought of the old miner living on the East Branch of the Swift River. How he lived out in the wilderness, no electricity, no television growing his own vegetables, hunting for wild game, I thought he must have been one rugged individual living out there through those hard Maine winters all those years. I also thought he must have found a great deal of gold. The rest of our stay in Byron was a good one I enjoyed the rustic cabin we stayed in, it was very comfortable we had fun, it was a great family experience. The years had passed and I would visit my grandparents, I would spend time going over my grandmothers rock collection and admiring her gold from various places and talking about the old miner up in Byron Maine. If you care to read more about Carl Shilling you can find more of his story in a book by C. J. Stevens called The Next Bend In The River, Gold Mining In Maine, This is a very informative book with a lot of information about prospecting in Maine, you can find this book at www.appalachianprospectors.com in our on-line general store.

These photos were taken by my Grandparents George and Alice Cannon between the years 1967 and 1970, they had frequented the area much.

Intersection of Dingle Hill RD and Buckfield Hill RD

View of Carl Shillins camp from the rail road bed

A view of Carl Shillings camp from the rail road bed

Carl Shilling's camp along side of the East Branch of the Swift River

Side view of Carl Shillings cabin

The front of Carl Shillings cabin

The camp we stayed in, located on Weld Road

School house Byron Maine

Byron Maine

My grandmother panning for gold

My grandmother & friends panning for gold in the East Branch of the Swift River

Coos Canyon, Byron Maine

Swift River,Byron Maine

Coos Canyon in Byron Maine

Coos Canyon in Byron Maine

Coos Canyon in Byron Maine

My Grandmother Alice Cannon

My Grandfather George Cannon, he did more fishing than prospecting.

Thats me Prospector Jack

Demonstrating the proper place to dig and that is in the stream bed.

On our last trip to Byron Maine, it had been brought to our attention that a very selfish individual, one who knows the regulations of the state of Maine, chose to disregard the regulations and dig in the bank while prospecting for gold. It was said that this individual had dug approximately 20 feet into the bank in a nearby stream, he was not on the swift river. Along comes hurricane Irene dumps all her water on the region and swells all the rivers and streams in the area. In this particular stream where this individual had dug in the bank, all this flood water had undermined trees and fell into the stream and causing it to dam thus creating a huge mess. The land owner was not pleased at all. The land in mention is owned by one of the large paper companies who graciously allows recreational prospectors to prospect for gold. Needless to say the land owner was so angry they closed down the property for public use. May I also add that the state of Maine was none to pleased either. This kind of activity could cause the state to make more stringent laws concerning gold prospecting or shut it down entirely thanks to the actions of one selfish, carless individual.

GENERAL REGULATIONS ( Taken from the Department Of conservation State Of Maine Geological Survey Web site)

With the exception of areas administered by the Maine Land use Regulation Commission, gold panning activities in Maine do not require a permit as long as the following restrictions are adhered to:

    1. The activity is confined to sandy/gravely/cobbly unvegetated stream beds, with no disturbance of stream banks.
    2. The activity is limited to the use of gold pans, sluices of less than 10 square feet, or suction dredges with a hose diameter of 4 inches or less.
    3. Permission from the land owner must be obtained. Why? First, it’s a matter of common courtesy to the land owner. But also,trespassing on posted land in Maine can be a matter of civil law. The water in a stream is under the jurisdiction of the state; but the stream bottom and streambank- as well as the access across land to the stream is most likely private property (exceptions include public lots, state parks, etc.). If you cause any damage to that property, even if it is not posted, you may be subject to civil action brought by the land owner. You can avoid these problems by talking to the landowner ahead of time.
You can find this at: www.maine.gov.  type in ” gold in maine” in the search maine.gov.
If we all just follow these simple rules we can ensure that we have a place to prospect tomorrow. These regulations change from state  to state so always check with the state conservation department you wish to prospect in before you engage in such activity.

Just got back from a ten-day prospecting adventure in Byron Maine. It was a really great time and for me ten days was not enough time. We had started our adventure on July 17, this time I had brought my wife Doris my son Charlie who is 8 years old the little girl who my wife baby sits for Nora who is 7 and my parents Alice and Maynard. There were also other family and friends that  were meeting us at the camp ground, all had never prospected before. I had brought my sluice high banker dredge combo that I had mentioned in a previous post with me and I was very eager to try it out. I brought enough pans for every one to use of various sizes and of course shovels, buckets and so on. My jeep was packed to the hilt. My parents met at my house in New York, they live in New Jersey, and their vehicle was also packed. We left my house at 6am and arrived in Byron Maine at 2 pm, it was an 8 hour trip. We camped at Coos Canyon  Campground and Cabins.Doris the kids and I rented a lean-to. My parents rented a tent site with electricity. We unloaded the vehicles and set up camp as soon as I was done with that I was down over the bank to the river in Coos Canyon to do some panning. Doris went over to the cabins to meet up with her sister Kathy who was spending a couple of nights in the cabin with her husband and daughter. Meanwhile another group in our party had arrived, family of ours from Maine Russ, Sue and their two kids Mike and Katie. They had a tent site in between us and my parents. While I was panning I did find a little color that was a good sign. I went to check on how every one was coming along with setting up their tents. We also had some other friends from New Hampshire staying next to my parents wich they had gotten there the day before us. We were all settled in, we ate dinner and had a nice campfire. I made my plans for the next day. I don’t know about everyone else but I slept great. I fell asleep to the sound of the river’s waters cascading over the centuries worn ledge rock and awoke to the same with the sun’s golden rays beaming down through the evergreen canopy and the smell of the lush pines and hemlocks. I got up got a fresh pot of coffee going on the camp stove and made bacon and eggs for the adults. My wife Doris got up and made blueberry pancakes for the kids. Then I started making preparations for the day. For all those who were interested converged on our camp site by 10 am. A group of us headed for the river with the sluice box, pans, buckets and shovels. Doris and I gave some panning lessons, and then a demonstration on how a sluice box worked. Some people panned while others dug in the riverbed and ran the material through the sluice box. The younger kids got bored with it and spent their time with swimming and catching minnows. We spent a good portion of the day at it and then we did our clean up. Not much gold just a few salt and pepper size pieces. We gave the gold to Chuck my brother-in-law because he had to leave that evening and we will get more gold the next day. It was a good learning experience for those who had never panned or sluiced before. After the prospecting it was back up to our camp site for a bar-b-que. We all ate good and then it was relaxation and conversation by the campfire with some good coffee. The following day Doris took a group of people down to the lower end of Coos Canyon for some panning and crevicing and swimming for the kids. While Mike, my dad and I went up river to where the East branch of the swift river ran into the main branch for some dredging. We parked the jeep along the main branch and we had to carry everything across the main branch to the East branch, we each had to make a couple of trips. There were a few prospectors already there sluicing and panning of course I had to go see how they were making out, they were finding some color. One of them was from Michigan the others were from Maine. It took a little time to get set up I had to put the dredge together. It’s a two and a half-inch dredge/high banker conversion kit that bolts up to my sluice box. I had added some ribbed matting that I had bought at Coos Canyon Rock and Gift, Rosey the proprietor has a good selection of prospecting supplies. While we were in there Rosey had informed us that on that past sunday a prospector dredging on the East Branch had found a five eighths oz. nugget and a good number of nice sized flakes. She showed us pictures of it and I swear it was over an ounce of gold. Well any way we got the dredge together and up and running, My dad tended the box while Mike and I took turns at the nozzle and moving the big rocks. I was very happy with the performance of the dredge. At the end of the day we had color in our pan. Mike is 16 years old, he was leaving the following day so we gave him the gold to take home with him, He thought it was a cool experience.The following day my dad and I worked the same hole, we found a little gold not much I decided it was time to move. The hole was about as deep as I could reach with just a snorkel and mask.I had moved our operation further up the East Branch. For the next couple of days we had dredged in this spot and now it was me Doris, my son Charlie and Nora. It was fun The kids had a chance to work the dredge we found a little more gold. There were  a good number of prospectors in this area, some dredging, some panning and some others sluicing. some were experienced well seasoned prospectors and some were first timers. I had a good time showing people how to set up their sluice box and how to pan, I enjoy the camaraderie, I also enjoy in sharing in the excitement of those that are new to prospecting when they find gold. The following day we had stayed down by the camp ground, we were expecting some more family to stop in to see us. I did some sluicing in coos canyon while the kids swam. Doris sat on the ledge while making her jewelry. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shinning and we were all content. Kathy and Chuck found us, I put their son Scott to work shoveling while their daughters Erica and Gina enjoyed the water. They had brought a picnic lunch and drinks and that was greatly appreciated. I cleaned up the sluice found a small bit of gold and we went back to the camp site. I wanted to try yet another area so the following day I went to a spot on the East Branch for some sluicing. This spot had some nice looking ledge outcropping. Found a hole that someone else had been working, dug a few inches more and  hit bedrock. I started following the bed rock and this is where I found my best pieces of gold yet. Got a nice flake and several other small bits. We had one more day left I figured I should try the high banker out so that is what I did. I found some more nice pieces, I was very pleased with the operation of the high banker configuration. It figures though on the last two days I was starting to find the best gold. I should have started with this spot. Oh well next time. It was a great time and an experience I am sure the kids will not forget.