How I Caught Gold Fever
As appearing in The Gold Nugget, November 1996
by Don Ray

Being a new gold seeker kind of guy, and desiring a strong "Wow!" or "Eureka!" factor, I began my quest on the Internet. Not far into my pursuit, I became aware of the Gold Prospectors of the Rockies (GPR). I ultimately wound up at a store on West Mississippi run by Steve Cychosz called Colorado Gold Resources. I readily joined the GPR because Steve was offering a 5% discount to club members. I purchased two pans, two sniffers (plastic bottles with a plastic straw for sucking up gold from pans), and six small glass storage bottles.

Now, as a new club member and having $20.00 invested in gold prospecting equipment, I headed up Clear Creek Canyon from Golden, Colorado, and north to Mile Marker 2 on Highway 119 to a claim I'd been given permission to work.

I panned and panned, a little here, a little there, and then panned some more, up that ledge, down that bank, and then it happened! Something in the bottom of the pan didn't move as much as the other stuff did, and it was the right color! This was my first "E" in the word Eureka! Not to be dismayed, and in a race to beat the setting sun, I quickly returned to my last digging site and loaded up another pan, and retrieved five more pieces of gold about the size of a period on a printed page.

This little voice came to me. It was the propaganda I had heard or read earlier. It said, "A sluice box will retrieve many times more gold than a pan." The hook was set. Back to the store I went and bought one of Steve's sluice boxes. Why Steve's? Because it looked like it would capture more of those micro-mini-nuggets than the Keene box could ever hope to retrieve. Was the price a factor? Could be <grin>.

Now what? Back up the canyon to the private claim, put the thing in the water, and figure out how this sluice-box thing worked, all the while contemplating just how I'm gonna get down the hill without my brakes failing carrying all the material this thing is going to collect! Much to my surprise, the bottom didn't turn yellow at all, and my sluice kept falling over! Oh, if the club had only video taped this outing. I could have gone out and bought an ounce of gold just from the royalties collected from showing the new video, "How Not to Sluice!"

As of this writing, I'm still at my "E" for Eureka!, and the fun and experience has been well worth it! Shortly, I will be at home processing my concentrates, with my new mini-sluice that I built. Yes, now I have another device to retrieve what doesn't seem to be there. My mini-sluice, however, cost more than Steve sold them from his shop, but that's because I installed an "alchemy converter box" in mine! It seems to work this way: you put sand in it, add some gold, and when you finish, you have half the gold you started with! I still have to get the right water flow and sluice angle combination worked out. Oh, the trials a new guy has to go through once he has been bitten by the gold bug.

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