On Saturday February 22, 2003, a hardy group of prospectors met at Lions Park in Golden, Colorado. The group included Allen Mershon, Jeff & Donna Mosteller, and Larry & Shirley Weilnau with Dermit Halley, a friend of theirs. Allen was the person who told me about what was going on in Golden (thanks Allen!). The reason for this outing was because Golden was in the process of changing a very large area on Clear Creek between Lions Park to the Coors plant.
Changes included digging out the river channel in a number of areas. One of these was just behind the Golden Library. The channel had been dug out to about 20 to 25 feet down and the material was being placed along the bank of the river to provide a flat area for people to pull out of the river. Dirt had also been piled in a parking lot at the southwest end of Pioneer Park on the south side of the river.
The city of Golden does not allow any gas engines to be used in the area of the river, so we could only bring our pans and sluices. Also, this was an area where you didn't need to dig holes as all of the material was right on top--we just scraped the ground to get the material and run it through our sluices. Were we to decide to use the material in the parking lot, we would have had to haul our buckets to the river to process.
We met about 10:00 AM and had the river to ourselves--what a surprise! We talked with the heavy equipment operator from whom we obtained most of the information about where and how deep they had dug.
We then went to the parking lot behind the hotel, and got out our equipment, and began to set up. We sampled a number of different areas, set up our sluices, and began to dig. After processing a number of buckets of material, we panned down the concentrates to see how we were doing. Well, there was gold in our pans, so we set up again and started working some more. The day was about 49 degrees Fahrenheit with a light breeze, which made it a little cold, and the ground was hard and frozen. However, we worked away at finding more gold.
Then the weather changed. It became more overcast and the wind began to blow a little harder. We were wet and cold but most of the group continued to work and all had a good time.
The plan had been to meet again on Sunday but, with the weather promising to be worse, I did not think anyone would be going on Sunday.
We decided that this will be a great area to look at in the Spring, too!
Photo Credits -- All taken by Ken Barker
Larry & Shirley Weilnau and unknown fisherman
Larry & Shirley Weilnau
Bottom: Allen Merchon
Bottom: Dermit Halley
Bottom: Rick (kneeling) and Allen Merchon