The hidden years in Canada 82, Dead horse gold

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Friday 03 July 13:30

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Dead horse gold

‘That could wel be,’ said Bev, ‘it looks like it, just hold on to my pan .’ Don held the  pan in the light and looked at our first found wealth, while Bev rummaged in her bag and searched for something. ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘here I’ve got it and she held up an empty plastic squeeze bottle. ‘Of the dishes,’ she laughed, ‘pay attention, this bottle is being given a second life as a vacuum cleaner.’ She filled it with water squeezed some out, then held the thin opening over the shiny bits and they flicked inside, sucked in with the water going inside. She held the bottle up side down, pressed it hard and then repeated the process. ‘So we won’t lose the particles,’ she laughed. ‘You're a wonder you're an incredible miracle,’ I exclaimed, ‘how do you know all this, and do not tell me you got this from the library.’ 'I did,' said Bev, ‘the Encyclopedia Britannica, under: gold panning.’

‘How would you do it differently,’ she said, ‘you can’t pick it up with your fingers and neither with tweezers ... and who has got them on them anyway, that's all a fuss,’ Beverly was the only one who had come prepared. ‘Speak oh great Bev,’ said Richard who probably had the same thought as me.’ ‘We have two pans,’ began Beverly 'and we form two groups and will take turns panning, we’ll go upstreams. So we’ll first look for good spots, bends or obstacles in the water, such that slows  momentum down and then try a few pans. It is impossible to excavate the bank, although Don was probably right that gold can settle there when the river burst its banks because of the melting water.‘

We walked for hours through the water with the sun beating down on our backs and I felt free and thrown into an adventure. I suddenly understood much better what had happened to Ken. What Bev had found out about panning, Ken was able to recognize in the plants. That was another coincidence, his uncle had spent years as a miner and his father worked as a biologist, who knew that certain plants thrive better in proximity of certain ores. That gave an incredible advantage. Nature is so infinite that you must search on the basis of a strategy. You pan and a lot goes through you, you feel the connection after a few hours with the men who left their homes in the Klondike days to accumulate wealth. North to Alaska came up to me, a song that described the life of the men in those days. There must have been some hairy  scenes in those days and that had been in 1890 or so, my memory left in the lurch, it had only briefly been discussed at school. Suddenly the penny dropped, around the same time that Deadhorse had been founded as a village. Founded by adventurers who had wanted a better life.

Beverly called us back to reality. ‘We have to get together,’ she said. ‘We already have covered quite a bit of the river and the yield is minimal. I think we will have to try a few more places in the river. Look around you where these places are best according to you, which offer the most opportunities. and then if we find nothing within half an hour we have to leave the mainstream. Then we’ll go back a bit to a sidestream and then we will see if we find gold at the mouth of it. Moreover, it is almost dinner time and within a few hours it is dark. ‘ ‘So,’ asked Richard? ‘Half an hour of  panning,’ Bev summarized it all, ‘then leave everything for what it is and  if we still encounter gold then we’ll continue there tomorrow and then we’ll draw a few pans from the side stream. Then we know after a few tries if we’ll start tomorrow at the side stream or not. Then we only have short time to go back to the car and make camp. Darkness falls quickly here and you only have to look at the high mountains and you know that the sun will soon be gone. ‘

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So we were half an hour later at the mouth of the stream rubbing elbows panning. Hoe quickly does  one acquire a habit? As if we had done nothing else or whole life, we scooped some sand from the river bottom and washed it with slight movements back and forth. The last bit of water we left in the pan and let it swirl around just to flush the collected debris from the grooves and spread it out on the bottom of the pan. In Don's saucepan a little nugget emerged that one could pick up with two fingers. the largest particle of the whole day. ‘ Bingo, ‘he cried,’ I have the gold hand, I attract gold. ‘ We looked at him with surprise, as we had never seen him so excited before. ‘Good work,’ Richard said, ‘Now we never have to work again,’ it was meant to be funny, but there was some envy in his voice something ugly.

I realized that if we made camp, we had to speak seriously about gold and what we would do if we really found gold in quantities that were interesting. All in one kitty and share it or every man for himself? It did not matter to me, but then I had not found anything.

 

San Daniel 2015

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