The hidden years in Canada 38, the juniper bush

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Wednesday 15 April 18:33



The Juniper bush

‘I left my car a little passed dead deer valley exit ,’ said Ken. ‘The road was a dirt road and then became a cart track towards the river. I put a couple of cans of beans in my backpack and locked the car up. Then I dropped down the increasingly steep path until I heard the gurgling river. So this is where my uncle had spent his final weeks. I took a good look around me, the vegetation was one-sided and juniper was rampant, as the old boss had said. My father would have been proud of me, I saw what he would have seen right away, it was sandstone with very one-sided vegetation. An effect on plant growth that corresponds with minerals and ores, saturating the plants with trace elements and only let the plants that are more resistant survive.

I panned a few hours and had more gold dust gathered, than in all the days before at my cabin. I relocated to a half mile upstream and following the flow hours I spent a few hours panning the same amount. It now became afternoon and I went quite a distance upstream, there were now two streams as if a two-pronged pitchfork got together. Both fed the stream where I sat panning. I tried a couple of hours one arm and had hardly any appreciable result, this was not the arm that contained the vein, I was looking for, the vein that was ‘dusting’ away.

A few meters up the second stream, I immediately got some gold dust and other light minerals in my pan. I laughed to myself and thought that Uncle Joe had probably done the same some time ago in the same place. So I walked off and panned the river every half hour to see whether or not gold dust would come in it. When the sun went down, I ate my canned beans, cold, I was tired of all the expectations and scrambling over rocks and stones. I looked for a secluded place and went to sleep.


The sun woke me, my environment was sterile, not a bird sang, after a time in the bush you notice such things. I took a good look around me, there were hardly any beetles and at the logcabin of Uncle Joe, you had a lot of ants, but here were none. The Indians who had hunted here and had given the name to this area, had been focused on deer, but they might as well have called it ‘no animal valley'.

The whole day and the following I searched and I panned and I studied the area. I realized on the third day I would have to go back to the car and come back better prepared, with more supplies, I would have to make the trip again. The return hike surprised me, unnoticed I had become half day's march removed from the car and it was already dusk when I got back to my mother's car.

‘Ken,’ I asked, ‘was there no life at all there?’ ‘No, he said,’ absolutely nothing.‘ ‘How did it end,’ I asked? ‘I sent a little bit of gold dust in because it would stand out if suddenly I would have a lot and a gold rush is begun in no time. The gold content was good but I read in the analysis  that there was also silicon present in the samples. So I collected rocks and hacked at the river bank and I panned for a few months, moving daily further away from where I had left my car. In early autumn, I found little nuggets of gold but also copper oxidation. Meanwhile, I had become feverish, I knew, it lay just around the corner but it did not.


When the day came that I had passed the vein, no more dust came  into the pan, let alone small nuggets every once in a while. I went to the last point where I had gathered most within the shortest time. I had been fixated on the river. The area burst of juniper bushes and the 'saltbushes’. Oh, sometimes, Karma lends a hand, and thanks to the work of my father, I knew that if you cut off the ends of the branches, just a few little bits, that can have an analysis done, to show any trace elements. They are shrubs with roots that go well 30 meters deep. I cut what ends off and collected some rocks that were lying around the bushes. The stones weighed heavier than you would have expected and I suspected that there were ore cores in them. The rest of the afternoon, I knocked in claim posts and I tracked back to where I had left my car.’

‘Does it take much longer, the story?’ asked Don? ‘No, we're almost there,’ I laughed, ‘and then I have a suggestion.’

San Daniel April 2015

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