Clear Creek Panning Class
August 29, 2009

by Jim Long
As appearing in the September, 2009, issue of The Gold Nugget


On August 29, 2009, a group of Gold Prospectors of the Rockies club members met at about 9:00 a.m. on Clear Creek to put on a gold panning class for members who have never panned before, or had panned a little with little to no success, and wanted to learn more about the basic technique.

Seven newer members were present. They were taken through the basic pointers of how to first identify a place to go panning, the basic equipment need to get started, and how to read a stream once they got there. Then we started with digging material on site and demonstrating how to classify it down to workable material, then painstakingly showed each person how to liquefy the material in the pan, slowly move the lights off the top, and pan it down to the gold bearing heavies. When we were finished, each of the new folks had found gold in their pans. It was great to see the look on their faces when they spotted the very first pieces of gold that had never been touched by human hand until they found it through their very own efforts.

Chuck Cowan, Andy Doll, Gary Hawley, and Jim Long were the teachers who shared their expertise in order that these folks could learn how to properly pan. Of course, practice makes perfect and they were encouraged to take material home in their buckets and practice panning until they become very comfortable with it.

Then we demonstrated the next step for the average prospector, the operation of a sluice box. Gary Hawley, Joe Fortunato, and Chuck Cowan were able to provide all of the attendees the opportunity to learn how to find a good spot to put your sluice box, how to properly set it up, and then demonstrated how to run the material at the proper pace. When all that was done and some material run through the sluices, the cleanups were then demonstrated. Both sluice boxes actually had good amounts of gold in them and everyone was impressed with how much color was found.

Andy Doll brought his river rocker box and had set it up in the creek and demonstrated how it worked to all those who were interested in that approach to prospecting as well. I did not get the chance to see Andy's cleanup but if he didn't have gold in that rocker box, I will eat my gold pan!

All in all, it was a very pleasant outing and all who attended had a good time, and found gold while we were at it. I finally got out of there about 3:30 p.m. and was plumb worn out.

My personal thanks to all the teaching members above who gladly pitched in to help demonstrate the art of recreational prospecting. You guys were all great! All the newer folks were exceptionally appreciative of the time and opportunity provided.

Photos 1 and 2 are by Jim Long. Photos 3, 4, 5, and 6 are by Andy Doll.

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