If you read our Eureka! We Found Gold! post, you already have an idea that we found some gold along the American River. The question remains, how much gold did we find? Well, you are about to find out, but first some additional information about how we found the gold.
The crack I chose to call my own had some features that looked promising to this novice prospector. It ran along the top of the boulders that were on the outside edge of a sharp turn in the river. The gold tries to move in a straight line as it rolls along the bottom of the river, so when the water was in flood stage it would try to flow over these rocks. As it bounced along the rocks, some would fall into my crack and make its way to the bottom after many years of floods and settling. Some of the cracks in these rocks had obviously been cleaned out by other prospectors, but this one had many signs that led me to believe it had never been touched.
Laini and Emmie the wonder dog helped me in my tough job of digging small bits of material out of the crack using very primitive tools. Many of the adults walking by my crack had odd looks on their faces when they saw a grown man lying on a boulder using a bent spoon (sorry Chas) from the Scholl Bus kitchen, along with a small blue sandbox shovel, to remove minuscule amounts of dirt from a narrow crevice. We were so dedicated in our endeavors that we chose to ignore the Rattlesnake warning signs that were well posted all along our digging route.
Slowly I dug deeper in the crack, and reached the end of my tools useful length. Sadly there turned out to be more dirt in the bottom of the crack than I could get out before we had to pack up and head out toward San Francisco. I plan to continue to work on that crack if we are able to visit this area of California again. Believe it or not, I was inspired by my crack to write a short poem, so here goes:
Today I work, digging in my crack,
The American River rumbling at my back.
Removing the sediment, millennia old,
Deposited by floods, dropped deep in Earth’s fold.
Missed by the miners of days long gone by,
This gold sat waiting back in 1849.
Each shake of the ground dropped it deeper still,
Until it sat in the bedrock at the base of this hill.
Passers by smiled and laughed at the sight,
But I paid no attention and continued my fight.
I dug in my crack, with a smile on my face,
This chance of a lifetime may never be replaced.
Now I see my hard work as it shines in my hand,
For the American River has left gold in my pan.
We had a lot of fun in this part of California, but more adventure awaited us in San Francisco. We had new friends to meet up with, and exciting things to explore on the California coast. Our gold adventures will not be forgotten, hopefully I will be able to add to our gold stash this summer as we explore other areas of the country.