Stories I have written

A paystreak to remember

Adventures of a neophyte dredger at Slate Creek

Panner searches for gold

An encounter with the big cat

Prospecting trip to Little Secret

Boating prospect trip

Hiking with Wilson

A pay streak to remember

I've made many a trip up the south fork of the American River near my house and every trip has its memories. Once I came upon a family of five river otters who chatted at me for hours while I watched them play. Of course when I took my daughter upriver to see them they had moved on, however a beautiful tarantula spider replaced the earlier scene.

Now, let’s move on to the art of finding gold where many a man and woman have trod before. I've been up the north side of the river many times because it’s an easier boulder-hopping hike than the other. As you all know from experience the other side of the river always looks like a better gold catch when you are finding little gold on your current side. The gold strike started about three weeks ago when Randy and I ventured up the south side for about three-quarter miles. We first stopped at an inviting place in the rocks and found some small stuff, which kept us busy for several hours. A prospecting guy (Alex) from El Dorado Hills passed by and said he thought the gold was better further up about one-quarter mile so I followed him in the shadows leaving Randy behind. Lo and behold… he was right! I immediately found sizable gold with a few pickers in the first few pans. As it was getting late I found Randy down stream and the first day ended. Now I was on to something. I think the old-timers called it a gold strike!

The next trip three days later was comprised of me, Peter and Larry (my first retired partner). We started moving boulders just at the waters edge, working together getting down to bedrock as one hard working team. Lo and behold many a flake was pouring out along with small pick able nuggets. We kept digging in our uncovered bedrock trough area all day and the gold kept on coming for everyone. About three o'clock the river came up and that ended our day as the gold bearing area was covered under about a foot of water. As we were leaving I came across a five-foot long crevasse full of loose gravel. Peter and I sampled the gravel and it seemed to be full of flakes, then before we could do another pan, the river rose and covered the area.

I dreamed about that spot all night and at first light the next day Ora,(my spouse) Angel (our dog) and I hiked to the spot and panned all the gold out before anyone else could get to it (since the strike was almost in my backyard I thought I deserved to pull it out first). The group (Dale joined us) made about six trips to the same location in a three-week period and worked about five spots in a forty-foot area right at the waters edge and all found our best panning gold ever. Most of the time we stood in a line waiting our turn to fill a pan. We also agreed to take lunch at the same time thus no one would get more time in the hole while others were on a break (now that's real friendship). I had one pan from a perfect little uncovered bowl that had about one pennyweight of gold.

The streak has seemed to have run out the day we took Randy and Tom along. They say we seeded the place and now it was gone or was never really there ! Now as we look across the river from our worked out strike we think it looks mighty good over there, we think maybe there is another gold strike in our future. Folsom Lake is now way up so the spot on the river is currently under about 15 feet of water, to be protected until next winter. One can only hope that there is still more gold to be found.