Well I finally got out and did some gold mining this summer a couple of weeks ago.
My 11 year old nephew was up from Iowa and staying at my parents place. In addition to the usual stuff like going on a glacier cruise And taking him fishing on my boats for trout,Halibut,etc flying with my dad in his supercub etc. etc.we decided to take him gold mining.
Since Crow creek mine in Girdwood is such a nice place with it's beautiful views,easy access and old mine buildings to look at we figured he would enjoy learning to pan for gold.
We arrived at the mine at ~9:30 am driving up from Soldotna. We set out with our gold pans to do some sample panning.
After some confusuion at the pay booth with what it would cost for use of my highbanker we were off. (It seems every year there is always a lot of confusion at the pay booth. Especially when I mention I am a GPAA member and get a 10% discount. I would think they would learn to train these young gals on their fees a little better.)
After a hike down to the creek we started panning and I gave everyone a tutorial on how it is done. My mom hadn't been panning in years and can always use some panning tips. We weren't finding much so decidedd to try a hidden area we worked last year and hunt around for some good paydirt in that area.
I finally got a few flakes in my sample pan so we decided to break for lunch and pick up the highbanker.
After eating a nice picnic lunch in the parking lot we loaded up my double wheeled wheelbarrow with our gear and head back in.
We parked the wheelbarrow on the side of the trail and headed in to the hidden spot we wanted to work carrying the gear the final distance.
It took a few tries to prime my pump but had it working good in short order.
We got a plan going and had the 2 boys and my mom digging while my fiancee handed me the buckets out of the hole and I was feeding the highbanker and keeping it in order.
We did a couple of cleanups and then decided to pack it up and head to the Double Musky for dinner.
We got back to the main trail and some dork wad had taken my wheelbarrow. Me and the nephew went further up the trail looking for the slimebag who took it without much luck.
We got back to where the others were and found out my Fiancees boy had gone to the parking lot looking for it.
We waited a short while and decided to hand carry all the gear out with everybody carrying something.
As we neared the parking lot the kid was just returning having found my Wheelbarrow near the front entrance.
We dug and worked for 2-3 hours and found a bit of gold. 3 pickers some flakes and some fine gold. Not enough to make any money but it was more about the experience and fun than anything.
All in all a great day in the Alaska wilderness and beautiful sunny weather to boot.
Just an FYI this pic is from my 10" cleanup pan. I do not recommend those cheap black pans for anything else.
My favorite pan is the Proline Professsional pan in a green color.