Yesterday, February 10, 2020, we headed back up to the hills. It had been raining and we decided to go to a different area in Cleveland, S.C. off the Cherokee Foothills. We panned another tributary of the South Saluda River called the Wildcat Branch Creek. Again, I cannot stress the beauty of our mountains and it’s right in my back yard. This is what I love about living where I live.
It wasn’t too cold, in fact, I had to shed my coat and surprisingly, the water wasn’t too cold either. We stayed in the confines of the creek only and kept our expedition wet. We had to hike upstream a bit and found a nice spot with lots of overhanging trees that helped keep the rain off of us. The rain was light to begin with but eventually got heavier. Our excursion was cut short because we had to hike back down and cross over the creek on rocks. We didn’t bring mud back with us this time, however, just before packing up, my son took a step in the creek and misjudged the water depth and well you can figure the results of that.
While we laughed about his mishaps, he continued to pan a few minutes longer and I stayed on the creek’s edge doing my own edge panning. As I was observing some rocks and reaching down to pick one up, something slithered over my hand nearly sending me into the water as I screamed like an eight year old. The little snake nestled up against the rock and I took my phone out and snapped a shot. I looked at the photo zooming it in and saw it was not a snake at all. We thought it was odd that snakes would be out of hibernation already, but before zooming in the photo one would think that the slithery wet monster was indeed reptile. But after close examination, I knew immediately it was not a snake nor a Caecilian. In fact, I’ve never seen anything like it and at this point have deemed it’s existence unsubstantiated. If you know what it is, please leave a comment below.
The little creature was not going anywhere, so I moved away from him and upon doing so, I spotted shiny material in the water’s sand possibly just washed down from some flooding earlier but regardless, it was there and it came home with me. It was bigger than flour gold, not quite a nugget, but perhaps a picker in which I owe my gratitude to the little slitherer.
As you can see in the above zoomed in shot, my day was not wasted at all. I smiled all the way down that mountain and all the way home. But we escaped the fast fall-off of rain raising the creek to the point it was almost impossible to cross over but we did it. I have the fever and have fallen in love with panning. My team and I are excited about mining for gems as well. It’s all about the rock and all those wonderful treasures God created and hid inside our earth. If you really want to be blown away and catch a few WOW moments, get out there and learn what’s beneath us or hiding in the water. It’s God’s treasure hunt for us to enjoy.