My prospecting team was geared up and ready to begin our first real gold expedition February 6, 2020, but due to heavy rains and high floods we had to stay indoors. After the floods receded , we planned another date for February 8th, 2020. After waking up that morning in high hopes of venturing to the hills, it started snowing. However, we welcomed the snow and was ecstatic to see it and on a whim, a couple of us decided to head for those hills anyway and proceed with our plans.
We headed to North Greenville to pan the Little Gap Creek which is a small tributary of the North Saluda river. Temps were below freezing and the snow was beautiful but it did not put a wedge in our plans nor did we have to deal with mosquitoes or any other pesky insects like flies gnawing at our bones, just a bite from old Jack Frost.
As for me, the beautiful wintry scene held my attention and it was hard to concentrate on the expedition itself. The fast moving creek carving it’s way through the mountain was peaceful and mesmerizing. I could be happy putting a cabin in there somewhere and living the rest of my days in utter bliss. Let me show you my favorite photo I took.
Typically, panning for gold in these conditions require getting your feet wet and we were not geared with the Neoprene rubber boots or high waders, which by the way are on the shopping list now. We did a little panning in the stream on rocks and tried to stay dry as much as possible, but it was impossible to escape the water completely. We then decided to fill a five gallon bucket with mud we dug out of the creek. We dared not disturb the ecology of the land, and stuck strictly with getting the mud from inside the water.
I didn’t realize the work involved in panning. The digging, the sluicing, and the actual panning itself is quite a workout but you don’t think about it as being a workout as much as you think of the fun of what you’re doing. However, you do need good balance to stay on those rocks, or else you are going for a nice cold swim. During the panning process, we did find flour gold. We packed up the back packs and headed home as the snow got heavier for sake of making it down that mountain safely. When we got home, we set up a little station on the back patio and finished sluicing the mud we brought home. Those little gold specs will eventually add up and thankfully, we had the right gear to snuff them up into protective bottles.
It was not a waste of time to pan in our little area we discovered, and will be returning once the rains settle and the floods recede once again. I am excited about going back and hiking the creek again…