Sunday, May 6, 2012

Panning for Gold

Last fall during a weekend vacation, my husband and made a trip to central Indiana to try something new, panning for gold. Yes, there is gold in Indiana. A glacier, just one glacier we learned, brought gold down during the ice age and it stopped in the middle of Indiana. We were too late in the season last year and didn't do any panning, but did purchase a pan and scoped out a spot to come back to. Last month, we went back and today, I'm going to tell you about my experience. Let me say that we don't plan on getting rich doing this, but we found it to be a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Above, you can see me doing some panning. I was totally unprepared for what I would be doing and wore long jeans and hiking boots. What I didn't know is that I really needed to be in the water to be able to do it correctly, as my husband is doing on the right. He had a much easier time panning in the middle of the creek that I did from the edge.

This was again, more of a reconnaissance mission to see if we had the equipment that we needed and to see if we really knew what we were doing. The good thing is that we were alone in our part of the creek, so if we weren't doing something right, no one saw us. Although, there was a guy downstream from us that was from Nashville, Tennessee and he was taking the search for gold a little more seriously that we were. My husband told me to keep looking for black sand. "Black sand, huh?" I really felt like I was wasting my time. Then, as I panned away the sand, I saw a dark shadow appearing in my pan. So, I washed away more of the sediment. "Well, I'll be damned," I said. There in in the bottom of my pan was a little conglomeration of black sand, just like he said. "That's where the gold will be," he told me. Black sand is heavier than brown sand and gold is heavier that black sand. Hence, the panning away of the the sediment until you get to the black sand.

Since this was just a day trip and we had a long drive home, we panned for about two hours and then headed out. I'd like to say we hit the mother lode, but we didn't. We did find some really small pieces of gold and I wish I could show you a picture of what we found, but gold in this area is as small as the sand we were washing away. The photo below is not mine, but from someone else's gold find so you can get an idea of the size. The gold that we found was about the size of the smallest flakes in upper right corner this picture.  

We aren't giving up. We had so much fun on our trip that we're going again in a few weeks. What could be better than spending the day out in the fresh air, getting a little exercise and maybe finding a little gold?


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