it didn’t pan out

October 17th, 2009


We spent the weekend in Auburn, Ca learning about gold country history and trying our hand at prospecting. We had our best luck with the guaranteed gold-flecked bags of sand that we bought for $2 a piece at the gold museum, but the goldless shores of the American River brought us great amusement. Enough amusement that I’m willing to go back to sit about on the shores panning when I retire. I figure it would be more worthwhile than dumping my last pennies in slot machines and there is something zen about sitting in the water shaking rocks into the stream out of your pan. Oh and we’ve already made the major investment in plastic pans and shovels.


Our strategy was to send the kids exploring up the river to find where the locals were panning. Short of finding well-to-do looking locals, we simply dug and panned following the trail of bigs rocks along the riverbed. My Aunt Patty and cousin Kelly are in town, and as she is known to do, Patty bought the best stuff – a pick. Will quickly abandoned his pan and shovel to pick at rocks. Amazingly, we all still have the digits we started with.


After panning, Friday, we took in a comforting dinner at a local brewery, before heading back to the hotel for what my children will probably remember as the highlight of the trip – the hot tub! It was the last place we went before bed and the first place we headed in the morning.

A stamp press – to smash the ore and accelerate the natural process of freeing gold from the veins of rocks.

Saturday we followed an ancient docent around the city learning about local history. We checked out the local farmer’s market, played in the stream, collected acorns, and then bought an arrowhead at the Big Pow-wow. We’d have more memories of the Pow-wow had Sylvie not fallen victim to an overfilled poorly placed soap dispenser and ended the afternoon doused in pink soap. (God’s way of telling me she needed a bath?)

Sylvie’s free pomegranate. People just give her things…

What we saw of the pow-wow before the soap incident.