Gold Prospecting ~ Equipment, Books & Supplies For Sale Online

***Please Note: If you click on a link or click on one of our pages, you will have to click the back button to return to this page. That includes our photo albums.

This is a work in progress as we make journal entries from our 30 years of adventures.

After The Winter Ponderings

It's been a looong winter here in Oregon. The grey skies and rainy days lend themselves to lots of armchair prospecting. One of my new discoveries for that activity is this website that you can join: Click Here
Great folks over there who unselfishly share their pictures and outings. As a result of one of their postings, I recently made a trip over to the coast around Brookings, Oregon. I sampled several beaches where the black sand was showing. I actually found some very fine gold almost everywhere I panned. I got lots of panning practice in as a result of all that black sand. I must get a fine gold recovery system, maybe a blue bowl? It felt a bit strange, panning for gold on the beach but it was a real hoot to see the tiny specks of gold showing up. Any day prospecting or any day at the beach so being able to combine the two was a fine day indeed.

We are pulling up stakes here in Sutherlin, Oregon come June. Just like the early miners, we're looking for richer diggins. We have been house sitters for three years in a row for these folks but they have decided to sell their place. It's just as well as we had decided to move on. We have followed our inner compass over all these past 30+ years so we'll moisten our finger, stick it up in the air and see what direction the wind is blowing.

Storytelling 101

As you might have gathered by now, we are frustrated storytellers (aren't we all). I mean, if you are here reading our blog, I am thinking that you are a frustrated storyteller, too.  As such, we are always looking for ways to hone our skills. We had the privilege on Friday of attending an hour long lecture/class with Michael Morgolis. Michael is a storyteller and he teaches others how to tell a powerful story. He has a series of free videos that you can watch and when you sign up to receive these videos you'll get a copy of Michael's book for FREE. This book has been downloaded over 11,000 times. The book is "Believe Me" It is a storytelling manifesto for change-makers and innovators.  Your can learn more here "Storytelling"

Below is an email that we received from Michael yesterday. It spoke to us and I thought it might speak to you as well. All the best.

"What if you could build a tribe of true believers for your brand, cause, or product?

So that it's not just you, working your ass off, trying to get your message the attention it deserves? Because if you had a tribe of true believers, they would spread the message for you.

You're not alone. In fact, marketers, entrepreneurs, change-makers, and creatives just like you are looking for the same solution: and it's much simpler than you might think:

->It all revolves around the story you tell<-

You have to tell the story about who you are and help people see you.

Check out this amazing FREE video and learn why storytelling is KEY to your reinvention.

It doesn't cost a thing, so there's nothing you could possibly lose. Don't wait to get started!

->Re-story your future, starting now<-

Your tribe is looking for you, and they want to hear what you have to share...


PS: Sign up for the entire series (it won't cost you a dime), and get dozens of incredible tips on reinventing yourself using storytelling.

-->Go here now to get the free video series<--

Looking for the summer

Well, I don't want to wish my life away but we are sure looking forward to the warm days of summer. We have finally gotten around to inputting our journal entries from last summer and the summer before. Last year our computer quit working and so we didn't have a way to work on this until we got back to Oregon and the year before we stayed too busy. We are determined to get this blog all caught up. We lost all of our photos from 2010 when our computer quit. Friends have retrieved some of the photos from email but alas, the others seem to be lost forever. Anyway, as we read through our notes it makes us yearn for those long, warm, summer days on the river somewhere. Oregon has long, gray winters, at least where we are. We only awoke to sun 4 days during the month of February. We are having a great time going through 30+ years of journals.

Early Days on the American River

Here is a story from one of our early adventures: Ever hear of the old adage, "Gold is where you find it?" Charlotte and I had been mining up and down the river and up and down Shirttail Creek in 1980 thru 1983 or so. We had found some decent gold, occasionally, extravagant gold. We had one and two ounce days. During those years, we had noticed several parties dredging around an enormous boulder at the mouth of Shirttail Creek. We had been having our success by using a grip hoist, a winch, that could pull 6 tons straight. We had lots of chain and cable chokers and had learned to tie onto boulders and either tow them out of our hole or at the very least, roll them out. We left the American River for a creek in the high country for three dredging seasons. Then we took an 18 month housesit in the Applegate area up near Colfax. We had kept in touch with our old friend Ron and had a little free time on our hands so we teamed up to take on the boulder project that you can watch below.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Sutherlin, Oregon
It is pouring down rain here today. My mind is dreaming of warm days on the river somewhere. We are headed to Port Townsend, Washington tomorrow to visit Jay and Mary Ann. Should I take my new Fisher Gold Bug Pro metal detector with us so that we can do some treasure hunting? I was dreaming of beach combing in southern California this morning..... warm sandy beaches..... ahhhhhhhhh. I've been reading the History of Placer County and it always gets me going. I believe one could fiind some good gold up on the wild & scenic North Fork of the American. We used to find easy gold at the foot of the Booth Trail out of Iowa Hill.

To see a slide show of more of our gold mining photos click below......

We are in the process of inputting our journal entries from last summer. This page will read in consecutive order beginning with the earliest date.

Monday, June 20, 2011
Sutherlin, Oregon

Larry: We are headed out for the long summer. We have to leave with camping gear and whatever we'll need for two months away. There is barely any room for my partner! Where will the trails lead us? What surprises await? It's vital to stay in the present. Today is the only real venue for our adventures. Yesterday is past and tomorrow isn't available. What does today hold? What treasure is waiting to be uncovered? This is where faith comes in. Fear always lurks in the shadows just looking for a chance to leap out and grab you. Faith is my shield because it trumps fear every time. Well, let's "head em up and move em out". Our first stop is Bullard's Beach in Bandon, Oregon. We are headed back to the "goldfields" of California by way of the Oregon coast. I want to try my Fisher Gold Bug Pro detector on the beach. That will be a whole new experience for me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Sixes River Camp Oregon

Larry: It's overcast with peeks of sun but cold and breezy. Overall, a very nice dry camp right on the river. I'll crawl the creek today to check for the promise of gold. It was VERY noisy around here this morning so we slept in after all the racket subsided. Coffee mugs cupped in our hands  for warmth. We are chasing the sun with our chairs. The sun feels great on my back. We are settling into the notion of down time. It feels good to sit and read or do crosswords with no agenda. We're camped at the old townsite of Summerville. No sign of any structures but a scattering of rose bushes, fruit trees and flowers. It's humbling to see how rapidly signs of human habitation can disappear. That gibes with my essay on the transitory nature of your human "being".

My essay on the transitory nature of your human "being"

I was thinking of this just a few weeks ago as I was writing in my morning journal.......
The Brevity of Life.... my life span of 70+ years and counting are complete in my memory with the exceptions of the first couple of years and a few fragments since then. So looking back I can see the long trail that tells my story. On the other hand, my children didn't know me until they were born so there's a 22 year chunk of my life missing in their awareness, not to mention the 30+ years since they left home and began their own lives. So in their memories, my life spans about 20 years and even those years are incomplete because of my working hours and sleep.

Now I realize that is all normal but what struck me last night when we were reminiscing about Sherry's life (Sherry is Charlotte's younger sister that just passed on) was how little we are able to claim of her time on earth, how much of her story was missing for us. Then I backed it up a generation or two and realized that over time, our time on earth disappears. So that begs the question, what is left? "What's it all about, Alphie?" I believe we are incarnated to learn and create. Our interactions with others is part of that learning process; we learn from each other, they learn from us. The lessons are what lasts - the impact we have on each other, both "good or bad". So.... I'm comforted by the knowledge that our time is well spent and valuable, even when outward appearances don't seem to indicate that.

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Sixes River Oregon

Charlotte: It sure would be nice to have some sun and less wind. I see a little blue sky every now and then. Good morning God! Good morning angels! Good morning Sherry! I miss you so much. Larry says that he is going to put on his wet suit and and snipe his way up river......brrrrrrr. I think I'll just chase the sun. We keep moving trying to catch a little sun when it's not behind the clouds. We have a nice little camp here. The first thing we did when we arrived was make our little nest. There are a couple of other campers here but they are off prospecting, too. We haven't really talked to anyone.

Saturday, June 25, 2011
Harris Beach State Park, Brookings Oregon

 Larry: I should say SUNNY Harris Beach! This is a very full, very busy campground.  It is quite a change from the Sixes. Our Sixes trek left us with wanting to return sometime. I made it quite a distance up the creek looking for bedrock. I actually found some gold in one crevice. I want to come back and explore a lot further up river. There were several people working into the bank and bucketing their gravel to river sluices. We never really talked to anyone.

We BBQed steak over coals last evening - baked a potato and had a salad. It was a nice evening of sitting around the fire.

I want to learn more about the gold in Oregon. I don't really know much about it but I know they found some big nuggets in southwest Oregon in the rush. We'll head up the Chetco River out of Brookings to do some exploring today.  Then we are headed back to California to see if we can find our riches.

Sunday, June 26, 2011
Harris Beach, Brookings, Oregon
High Fog

Larry: Our trip up the Chetco River was a bust - blocked road, no bedrock and sooooo we came back and went to the harbor - Farmer's Market, beach time and a nice nap. There were some prospectors up the river though.... working piles of gravel. I want to do more research about the gold prospecting history of this area. Think I'll go do some beach detecting and see what I can find. It restores the soul to be near the ocean; rythmic waves, birds, smells and sweet downtime. We were awakened this morning by a raucous, cacaphony of crows! My heart is turning toward California and the gold country.

Charlotte: This is a very crowded campground! We drove up the Chetco to where the road was closed - lots of gravel and very little bedrock but we hear there is lots of bedrock beyond where the road was closed. It sure looks like a nice river to float. We have fallen in love with Brookings. Went to a local hang out for breakfast and visited with several people. Went to the boardwalk at the harbor after we got back from the Chetco. Visited with Martin and Niki who were selling BBQ sauce that he makes at the Farmer's Market. Heard from several folks about the great fishing in this area........ ling cod, salmon and rock fish. Visited with a little veterans group at the market and then we went to the beach by the lighthouse and sat for hours. Drove back to the picnic area at Harris Beach and spent another couple of hours just watching the waves, the people and a fishing boat with divers. We are having a leisurely morning after all of yesterday's activities.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Chicago Park, California
Tofte Ranch Front Porch

Larry: It is very pleasant on the front porch this morning. We had a very long day of driving yesterday - 470+ miles! It was too far for 1 day. We are back to help Arlene with garden and ranch chores. The gold this summer will determine if we return. We really want to spend our summers prospecting. There's plenty to do around the ranch so I'll be busy here for awhile. It seems a long time since we left Sutherlin - more than a week. This last week has been good for us though. Serious down time and serious beach time makes all seem well. Actually, everything is well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Toften Ranch
Foggy and cool
Larry: Had a real rain storm yesterday! It's leftovers are cooling us this AM. However, it's supposed to be up in the 90's by this weekend. I planted 4 rows of sweet corn, a long row of cukes, peppers, asparagus and onions yesterday. It felt good digging in the dirt. I feel a bit lost here at Arlene's. No specific reason other than uncertainty about our summer - gold or no? how long we'll be here? where will we go and when? But that's the future and I need to stay out of it! "Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made."

Thursday, June 30, 2011
Grass Valley, McD's

Larry: Meeting someone to sell some plates we brought south, then a little shopping and back to the ranch. I planted beans, melons and lots of beets yesterday. A cool day literally. Got two raised beds prepared for planting. Took Arlene to the airport last evening.

Friday, July 1, 2011
Tofte Ranch

Larry: I dripped the raised beds and the far garden, planted chard, beets and carrots in the raised beds, and golden hubbard squash in the far garden yesterday. And repaired garden drip lines. I think I'm all caught up! We got $20 for the plates, did some shopping and had lunch at Round Table. All in all, a busy day. Oh, I planted pickling cukes, too - two rows. I'm anxious to hit the river below Shirttail. Then a one day'er below Windy Point to see how our bodies hold up and perform. If either locale produces gold we can always return. Then a one day'er down into the wild and scenic either Pickering Bar or Mumford Bar.

Friday, July 2, 2011
Tofte Ranch

Larry:  Another glorious day on the farm. Hot sun, rich soil, plenty of water. With a small increase in my retirement income things are looking up but we are still short by a few hundred $$$ so come on gold. An ounce a day is all I ask. Actually, I'd be happy with 2 - 3 pwt a day - I'd be ecstatic at 10 pwt, I'd be ballistic at 1 oz. Then there is Hickory Farms this fall - what with me managing, we should be about to generate a bit more income.

Charlotte: My mind is going everywhere this morning..... Texas, prospecting, southern California, back to Oregon.

Sunday, July 3, 2011
Tofte Ranch

Larry: Another beautiful day! Wow! All these days of sun are amazing! We are totally alone here this morning. The tenant stayed somewhere else last night. We reserved our train passage to Texas yesterday! August 21 to August 31, round trip from Irvine to Longview. Then we'll boot scoot back to Oregon in time for our 30th reservation in Brookings. Whew!

Charlotte: All alone this morning. I had a long night. I kept waking up thinking of Texas and Sherry and I was so sad. I thought of Larry and MJ and how time slips away without us hardly noticing. We just mark out time - day to day by staying busy. We made our train reservations yesterday. We leave for Texas August 21st - casting our fate to the Universe. I cleaned up the patio yesterday and weeded in the garden. We have been having some hot days.

Monday, July 4, 2011
Tofte Ranch

Larry: Happy B Day America! We are enjoying another day being totally alone. We are enjoying our blessed solitude. We are such hermits at heart. I set sprinklers in the yard and planted radishes yesterday.

Charlotte: OK, when are we going to go prospecting? Discussed possible outings this morning. North Fork of the Middle Fork - Rainbow Bridge - Pennyweight  Trail - Windy Point - Robinson Flat so we can hike into the canyon. Trying to figure out our plan for the summer.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011
 Tofte Ranch
Sunny and HOT already

Larry: What a concept? Wake up to sunshine every day! Last day alone - we pick up Arlene this evening. I'm a bit blue these days. The gardening work is satisfying but there just seems to be something missing this year. My heart is not in it for some reason. I'm grateful for our room and board for sure and for my physical ability to perform the chores around here. I enjoy hard labor.

Charlotte: We have put in some long days around here. We want Arlene to be really surprised with the progress. We have made good progress outside and inside. Welcome home Arlene! We are planning our first expedition.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Sunny Tofte Ranch

Larry: Got Arlene home. Just a bit over a month left here. My California gold rush will be abbreviated at best. I'm intimidated by the stark shift/reality between planning/dreaming about a gold outing and actually pulling it off. When I'm sitting in cool Sutherlin planning a hike down into the wild and scenic North Fork for instance, I'm sitting on the sofa, not climbing up and down cliffs in 100 degree temperatures with 50# on my back.

Charlotte: My mind is busy with prospecting videos this morning - ideas for our website - dreams of gold - narrating our old stories. The ideas are coming so when are we going to follow through.

Thursday, July 7, 2011
Sunny Colfax, McD's

Larry: Headed for the river today. Check out the mouth of Shirttail and the bend below the bridge. Finished my garden gates and installed them. They look great. My hard work is paying off around the farm and my body. I'm tolerating the heat better and my waist line is shrinking. I had a vision of terracing into the bedrock just above where Bob and Hubert stuck it rich - we'll see!

Charlotte: It was really hot yesterday. It is good to be headed to the river. It feels like visiting an old friend.

Friday, July 8, 2011
Sunny Grass Valley, McD's

Larry: Our river trip was a bust, gold wise, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway. Charlotte insisted on making some videos early in the day. I was deeply fatigued and it caught up with me after a dozen buckets or so of gravel hauling to the river box. Saw many rafters come through - the river is very high for this time of year. It was good to sit on coffee rock once more. I was a bit dismayed at my lack of stamina yesterday but then I'm not as fit as I should be for such physical exertion. You can see a video of our river adventure below. In retrospect I wish we had made a film at the end of the day to show our small take for all of our labor but we had lost our enthusiasm. It was good to get in the river and work for awhile but one always has high hopes.

Charlotte: I am percolating but in the doldrum. We went down to the Yankee Jim Bridge yesterday and worked several buckets of gravel but only a little color. I had our new little flip camera and I was alread to film the great gold discovery but didn't even seem worth the effort after all of that work. I am beginning to wonder if we are "snake bit". We were pretty much worn out by lunch. Sat up on our landing for several hours and visited with folks; rafters, prospectors and people just driving through the back country.

Saturday, July 9, 2011
Tofte Ranch, Sunny

Larry: Preperation day for our next scootcher. Off to the gold country wherever we wind up. I am trying to combine my dream trips with reality. It's so easy to be bop down into the wild and scenic while I'm lounging on the sofa in Oregon. It's quite another to accomplish it in real time!

Charlotte: Clear and cooler. We are off on another scootcher tomorrow. I am almost resistant to thinking about anything in depth. I am even having trouble wrapping my mind around what we need for these trips. Am I still in mourning for Sherry? Maybe it's a good thing - maybe it's healthy. Our computer won't turn work - it won't turn on. That was upsetting to me yesterday because of our first movie project. Is it all a state of mind?

Sunday, July 10, 2011
Auburn McD's

Charlotte: Headed out on a gold mining expedition. It feels good to be headed to the woods. We have put in some long days at the ranch. We are both tired. We have accomplished a  lot inside and outside. I am in an unusual place mentally. I am just here - I don't feel much about anything. I was feeling lost yesterday because of my limited access to a computer. I just don't feel very much enthusiasm for anything. Does this mean I am depressed? I can't wait to get to the woods and just sit there.

We have an exciting itinerary: Headed to Foresthill and then we'll take Mosquito Ridge Rd. down into the canyon. We are going to take a short detour to check out a creek on the back road to Michigan Bluff - we did pretty good there years ago. Then we'll head to Rainbow Bridge and hike into the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American. Our plan is to camp at Talbot campground which is 5 miles beyond French Meadows. It it is full we may go back to one of the campgrounds on the lake. Our plan is to prospect there on Monday and then move up to Robinson Flat on Tuesday and Wednesday. Well, Larry is so anxious to get somewhere that he isn't even going to write this morning. Head em' up, move em' out!

Monday, July 11, 2011
Tofte Ranch, Sunny

Larry: Well, a 203 mile scootcher to no avail other than we got to explore new country and see and beautiful cinnamon bear. Drove up the back way to Michigan Bluff and couldn't find my gully. We were going to check out a gully where we found some pretty good gold back in the '80's. Things had grown over and didn't match our memory.

Then, the North Fork of the Middle Fork was crowded. It was really warm down at the Rainbow Bridge and so lots of folks were at the river. We could barely find a  place to park - some folks looked like they were camped along the road. So, we drove on up to French Meadows and Talbot CG. We found a pretty good stash of firewood there so we loaded up but the river didn't have any bedrock showing and there were only camp spots right next to the river in dense trees. After seeing a large bear on the way in we decided that we would like to camp where we could hear and we wouldn't have been able to hear anything above the roar of the river. We have noticed that all of the metal bear boxes are very impressive in all of the campgrounds except this one. This campground doesn't have any bear boxes!

Charlotte had a great map so we decided to take the back way over the mountain to Robinson Flat since that was the shortest route. We drove and drove and then suddenly rounded a bend and we were stopped by a large snow drift in the road. Turned around and headed back down the mountain and back the way we came to French Meadows. Made it all the way back to the Robinson Flat turnoff on Mosquito Ridge Rd. and headed up over the mountain by that route. Again we drove and drove and just as we were about to top out..... you guessed it..... another big snow drift. We reluctantly began to get the message.... Robinson Flat was off the radar!? We finally tucked our tail and headed back to the barn. Stopped off in Foresthill to check on the road up the divide and they said it was impassable because of deep snow. We were greatly disappointed. Today, we are headed up to the Yuba country - Ram's Horn? Once more reality trumped our dreams.

I'm more rested today so that's good. The bear sighting was fun. A very healthy black (cinnamon) bear ran across the road right in front of us and then meandered into the woods. We stopped and frantically searched for the camera but only got glimpses through the heavy forest.

Charlotte: We never managed to get to Robinson Flat - July 10th and the road is still blocked by snow! We drove all day. We saw a lot of beautiful country though and a beautiful, fat cinnamon bear. They told us in Foresthill that there is still 3 ft. of snow at Sailor Flat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Yuba River
Sunny Union Flat CG

Larry: A great night of rest snuggled in our nest. C didn't sleep as well but I sure did. Coffee while watching the sun rise. Simple pleasures over time add up to a lfie time of joy and happiness. We'll scout out the North Fork of the Yuba today. If we find potential we'll stay til Thursday - otherwise we'll probably fold our tent and go back tomorrow.

Had fresh asparagus and beef stroganoff for dinner last evening - quite a feast! My over-riding challenge this summer is my residual fatigue. I suppose I could blame it on my age? or my lack of fitness? or?? I just wear out most quickly than usual. Charlotte keeps reminding me that I have just put in some pretty hard days around the ranch. Maybe I need a break for rest?

Charlotte: We are here in this campground because this appears to be the only area on the rive that is not claimed up. This area is open for panning and sluicing. The river here is really rolling so it's quite loud. We sat like zombies after we first arrived - dozed in the warm afternoon shade after a lunch of sandwiches, chips and beer. It was several hours before we even got up to put up our tent. We took a short hike up the river but didn't see much potential. Had an early dinner and then sat around the fire..... ahhhhhhh, sitting around the fire is always really nice. We were in our tent before dark. Didn't sleep very well - achy arms and hot flashes. Our bed is really comfortable though and it smells really good in the forest.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Sunny Convict Lake on the Yuba

Larry: Stopped by Convict Lake on our way back to the ranch. Stopped and looked at Rams Horn - old deja vu memories of when me and some buddies spent a weekend gold prospecting there and found some good gold. What is the verdict? The North Fork of the Yuba is pretty much claimed up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011
Tofte Ranch

Larry: Back to the farm for a few days - regroup and try again. It's very peaceful here on the front porch in the early morning - a little mist on the pond, bird activity, singing red-winged blackbirds. Had a full moon last night and a pack of coyotes came right past the house yipping away. Where's the gold? I am truly blessed to have my health, my companion, my life. Thank You!

Charlotte: No real prospects on the Yuba so we came back to the ranch. We have 27 more days in northern California if you count today. We are going to work around here for a few days - mostly weeding. I am just here. Maybe that's a good thing since I have no apparent agenda. I must remind myself that gratitude raises our vibration. I am grateful for my companion. I am grateful for a really good night of sleep. I am grateful for this morning. I am grateful for the peace and quiet we have here in the country - most of the time - except for yipping coyotes.

Friday, July 15, 2011
Tofte Ranch

Larry: Woke up to the familiar bellow of a new calf. Weeded the raised beds yesterday. I'll do more weeding today and build a gate for the far garden. Feels like we're just marking time here. It feels like it might be our last season here. And our last season in Sutherlin? I know that begs the question about where we'll be next summer but wait! that's a whole year away. Today is sufficient. Today I'm here, healthy and alive. I am grateful for my many blessings.

Charlotte: A morning alone on the ranch. The grass is really greening up with all of Larry's watering. We worked in the flower beds yesterday and got quite a bit of weeding done.

Monday, July 18, 2011
Colfax, McD's

Larry: Not much to report for the last few days... just ranch work every day.... same old, same old. A beautiful day to prospect down at Yankee Jim's - it's cool and sunny - a good day to be alive - a good day to find some gold. Breath in, breath out, life is good. May the gold flow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Tofte Ranch

Larry: Well, another frustrating day on the river - at least gold wise. We must always remember that these outings, like life, aren't about the gold. With that perception in mind, we had a wonderful day. We creviced downstream from the bridge and found some fines. Then after lunch I suited up and crawled a section of Shirttail. I couldn't  believe how VERY aerobic that is. I got as far at the house rock before I just gave out. I really expected to find some decent gold, too. We met a very interesting fellow at the bridge. He was camped out there with his grandson. Mark detects old tailing piles and had some great stories. He also had some very impressive gold to show for it.

Charlotte: We spent an enjoyable day on the river - a few specks of gold. We met some nice folks from Iowa Hill. They were rafting to Clementine. Good morning Sherry. We had a little ceremony for you at Shirttail yesterday - Shirttail was the first place we were ever all 3 together. If you are here I hope you were pleased. I miss you so.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Colfax McD's

Larry: Go forth and find a slug of gold at the mouth of Shirttail! I have to admit to a certain level of discouragement. I'm not even wanting to write about this or think about it much any more. What will be, will be. What am I supposed to be learning from all of this?

Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tofte Ranch

Larry: I hard day of feeding the river box at the mouth of Shirttail with very little to show for our efforts. I truly feel snake bit. I never really appreciated all of the gold we found down here in the early 80's. We just thought it was a common thing. I mean we would go days with very little gold but then we'd have a good day to make up for it. Nothing like this long dry spell. I can see the distinct possibility that we will never return to the Yankee Jim again - that yesterday was our swan song. I'm feeling more and more drawn to Oregon.

Charlotte: We worked hard yesterday and all we found were a few fines. Unbelievable! We were certainly blessed back in the day to find all of that gold! We cannot imagine how much dredging has gone on down at the bridge during the last 20 years?! I am really looking forward to our time alone on the train with nothing to do.

Sunday, July 24, 2011
Auburn McD's 

Charlotte: Spent most of yesterday at the Empire Mine baby sitting Jay and Mary Ann's little dog Ernie. It was really hot. We kept chasing the shade. Larry has a cold but we are headed to the mountains again tomorrow. He says he'd rather be camping and resting while he has a cold. It will be a good place to rest and be in nature.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
 Robinson Flat

Charlotte: We arrived on Sunday to a campground full of search and rescue people. they pulled out in the early afternoon and we have had this whole campground to ourselves ever since. Larry has been resting in the tent and sitting a lot ever since we got here. I have been doing the chores and taking care of him. I was awake for several hours during the night with my night fears and thinking of Sherry. I finally went to sleep after the moon came up. We had a delicious dinner of potatoes and onions with salad and Hebrew National franks. I have taken several hikes up through the woods. There are still lots of big snow drifts here and there under the trees. I hiked up to the top of the ridge and could see down into the canyon to French Meadows. The wildflowers are beautiful. I have absolutely no projects or planned projects for maybe the first time in years. This morning I am just holding.

Tuckaway Morning

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Tuckaway Farm
Yoncalla Oregon

There is fog in the valley this morning. We are spending a few days at Tuckaway. Our time here has been idyllic. I am sitting in the kitchen looking out the window at the barn and meadow. The other window is a kaleidoscope of birds at the feeder. A good bed, good food, good company, Good God!

We have been busy planning our scutcher for next week. Bullard's Bar Beach is our first stop and then we are headed down to the Sixes River for some gold prospecting. We'll get down to Tofte Ranch around the 25th.

"This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls."

John Muir (1838 - 1914)

Gold Bug Adventure

Had a great time yesterday. Headed up to Sweet Home, Oregon yesterday to get some experience with my new Fisher Gold Bug Pro Metal Detector . The folks that own the shop where I purchased it held a training up on a river - didn't know there was gold in that part of Oregon. I actually learned alot! It was pretty rugged country but beautiful - lots of trees and steep country. Seems like the best gold is always in steep country! It remined me alot of the California rivers - big gravel bars and all.

They hid a pile of coins in a field across from the river at the end of the day. I managed to recover $1.33 which was more than most of the folks. I was very happy with the performance of my detector. Now to get to some real treasure hunting in a week or so.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
High Sierra Camp

Larry:  We mostly write in our journals in the morning with our coffee so we are recapping the day before. We spent a very enjoyable day at our old diggins. Actually, found 15 to 20 grains!ground sluicing a little spot. I don't have a scale so I don't know for sure. It's always fun to splash water up on the bank and then spot gold that has been washed out. Hey, it is just fun to actually see more than fines. Gold certainly tinges our experience up here. It's great anyway but it's always more fun to find gold.

We made a trail down to the creek from our original camp. I'm in awe of our physical abilities 28 years ago. I recall making several trips out of this very steep canyon with all of our mining gear before 8 - 9 AM! so that our friend Mickey wouldn't feel obligated to help. We raced up the mountain with loads! Lots of good memories up here - I cleaned out Jerry's boil hole yesterday - found one tiny piece. I cleaned out most of the holes I could find on that bank - not much. I creak and groan in the mornings but then after a cup of coffee, my muscles and joints get going. Is this what old age feels like or am I still out of shape? Probably a combination of both. I think I'll run the river box today - clean off some high gravel and a mystery boil hole or two.

Charlotte: Cool & clear. Finally got some sleep. I had a couple of dozes until it cooled off and then the moon rose. It's interesting - before I was afraid of a bear showing up and now I am afraid of the alarm going off. Thank you God that we have an alarm so we will have some warning if a bear does show up. We had a dinner of warmed over lasagna (heated in a skillet), avocado and onion. Have enjoyed a leisurely morning in camp - coffee, journals, reading from "In The Flow of Life", protein bars, apple and peanut butter, bathroom time and readied camp for the day. We covered the car with the big blue tarp, silver side out, so we wouldn't have to come back up at mid-day. It gets pretty hot around mid-day and that is when our car will be in the sun if we don't move it. It's in a great spot for morning shade and afternoon shade - it's only that mid-day sun.

The BIG news! We finally found some gold - small but never the less you can pick it up with your fingers. We hiked up to our old camp and then cleared as much of the old trail as we could find. It was pretty rough going in places but I am guessing it didn't take us more than two hours, but time can fool you up here. What I think I have discovered about us - WE THRIVE ON CHALLENGES. We get some pay off out of exertion - hard physical labor. We don't know how to do easy or maybe that just doesn't interest us at some level. Maybe we expect the rewards, like gold, to be hard and so it is? We don't expect to look down and find a nugget or find a boil hole with an ounce of gold. Have we really changed that much since we used to make our living from gold?

What are we getting out of putting ourselves to the test, all of this exertion? Well, we are certainly getting more fit but there is more - I have noticed that one of the favorite things that we say to each other is "Well, we did it!" climbing out of canyons, finishing a really long day at Hickory Farms or finishing a big project at the ranch - what is that about? What are we doing here? What are we doing in these mountains? What are we doing on this life journey of ours? It's so beautiful here.
Monday, July 26, 2010
High Sierra Camp

Larry: A fairly restful night of sleep what with the sense of security that our bear alarm gave us. We also sat 4 glasses of ammonia out on our perimeter - something suggested in one of the brochures. Covering all bases as we have seen big bear sign. The skeeter population is diminished for some reason. We had the whole afternoon - evening to ourselves! The claim owner checked in on his way out of the canyon, headed home for a few days. He had found a nice pwt nugget. It gave us encouragement. I'm sitting here this morning thinking about Jerry's boil hole (my son found a goodly amount of gold in a boil hole years ago). I'd like to really check out that bank. C asked me last night if I actually enjoyed camping? What draws us to the woods? We relish the solitude up here. Being present with God in the form of the trees, the rocks, the water, the silence, the wild life (we saw a very healthy coyote last week), the birds, the night - stars and moon, being alone with each other. So, yes, I still enjoy our camping experiences. Although, we both agreed that a PU/camper combo would be sweet.

Charlotte:  A cool clear morning. A long night. It was warm and I kept having hot flashes. We are all alone here. It is very pleasant this morning and there are very few mosquitoes. We went by way of Target yesterday on our way up here to get repellant. We forgot our glasses in the car and so asked a lady if she could read the ingredients since we were looking for eucalyptus Repel with Deet. She said this is so funny - you stop me to read a repellant container and I am a biologist and my specialty is mosquito control - Wow! Did researching repellants on and off all week bring us an expert? We were having a challenge deciding what was safe to use for long term. We got a whole education on repellants. Now we have something for our skin and something stronger for our clothes.Think of the odds of that happening? How many biologists specializing in mosquito control live in Placer County or Auburn? If we had been 15 minutes earlier or later? If we both hadn't left our glasses in the car? She asked if we just wanted to keep the mosquitoes from biting or did we not want to see any? We have been wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts but those little buggers can bite through.

 Picked up groceries, got gas and had lunch at KFC with plenty left over for dinner last night. I think we got to camp by 2:30. We rested awhile before even starting to set up camp. I even took a nap in my lawn chair. It was especially warm for the high country. Thank goodness for the breeze. There were lots of military jets flying over. We wondered what was going on. We used the new high powered repellant on our clothes - no mosquitoes. We'll have to have more than this morning test. Wow! It sure is quiet this morning. We must take time to appreciate our environment and the gift of being here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010
Tofte Ranch

Larry: Headed back to the high country this week. We have a handy - dandy bear alarm from Alaska. I intend to crawl a lot of the creek and detect the high banks. Take it easy and listen for nudges. We got a big shot in the arm as my back disability payments from the VA for hearing loss finally came through. It takes a little of the pressure off about having to find gold. I want to enjoy the camping experience, sit and read, be present. It surely feels great to have some money in the bank. It gives me a sense of peace about finding gold or not. I've spent a good week here on the farm. The gardens are virtually weed-free and growing dramatically. It soothes my spirit to grow things and I love the ascetics of orderly rows free of weeds. Today is for packing up and driving up to the high country after a leisurely morning.

Charlotte: A morning with clouds but they are going away pretty fast. It is supposed to be 94 in Colfax today. A week of camping in the Sierras - easy - be still and listen - we will have some still time this week. Gold prospecting - hobby or vocation? We are making no predictions about the gold this week. We have certainly found lots of gold in this creek years ago.... but maybe it has really been worked in the meantime? I'd like to go work in our old diggins. I am ready to hit the road. Let's get packed up and go.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Tofte Ranch

Larry: Yesterday was a rare day of not checking in with my journal. We arose early yesterday morning and left for Shirttail. Hiked almost up to Indian and spent the day sniping. We had to take our boots off and roll up our pants to cross the creek. All of 3 grains! There is tons of very fine gold and lots of black sand on the bedrock but it would take some kind of concentrator to work it. It was a really hot day but I was in the water. Charlotte panned but spent time in the shade often.

What happened on the way back to the bridge is another story and very important lesson learned. I know now it was because we didn't drink enough water. It was really hot but there was a breeze. I spent most of the time in my wetsuit in the water so when we got ready to head back we didn't fill the empty water bottle which meant we only had half a bottle between us. I hoisted my heavy pack and headed up the the very steep trail to join the main trail. It was really hot when you got up in the trees away from the river. I got really winded. About 1/3 of the way back, I totally lost it. I had to sit down. I was dizzy, couldn't seem to catch my breath, nauseous and had no strength. C was rightly worried and persuaded me to let her take the pack - I'd guess 50 pounds worth. To my amazement and tinged with guilt, she hauled it all the way to Shirttail. She just sucked it up and did it even though she was nauseous, too. She finally told me she couldn't stop with me any more because she had to keep going - she couldn't sit down and rest anyway with the pack on and her legs were going to give out if she didn't get going. She said she'd come back for me after she dropped the pack off. I limped along behind her, resting often. I wasn't too far behind her and as soon as I got to Shirttail I broke out our filter pump and got us some water to drink. The only shade we could find was below a blackberry bush and it was boiling hot in the sun. We think we were both suffering from heat exhaustion. We had only taken 2 bottles of water with us - big mistake! We should have refilled our water bottles at the river before we started back! I am very proud of my wife. I could not have made it back with my pack.

Charlotte: What to say about yesterday? Our most difficult hike, ever, mentally and physically. Thank goodness it wasn't any longer than it was. We arrived by 8 AM and after a short break headed up river. It was already pretty warm on the trail and there were those pesky "no see ums", flies that swarm around your eyes. We found a steep trail down to the river just beyond Salvation Creek. Larry didn't drink much water all day because he was in the water and he said he wasn't thirsty - big mistake! The other mistake - never, never be without water on the trail. We didn't fill our water bottles before leaving the river to head back. DUMB! What were we thinking?

Larry was in trouble almost immediately after we had climbed back up to the main trail. He kept having to stop to rest - not like him. This trail has lots of climbs and descents and he was having to stop about every 100 feet. I got sick to my stomach pretty fast after we were back up on the trail and there was no access to water until we got back to Shirttail. About half way out - although at the time I thought we were closer - I got really worried about Larry. He insisted I wouldn't be able to carry his pack but I insisted that I try. Once I stood up with it on my back I knew I couldn't sit down again. It was all I could do to stand up. It was all my legs wanted to do to carry it up and down the hills on the way back. Larry kept needing to stop to rest. I finally said I had to go on or I wouldn't make it. I told him I would go as fast as I could and come back for him. I couldn't go very fast because I didn't want to lose my footing and fall off the trail.... pretty steep down to the river. Thank goodness Larry wasn't too far behind me. After we got some water and rested for awhile we felt quite a bit better. We took our boots off and crossed the creek and found some good shade on the other side where we rested some more.  Larry was actually able to haul the pack from Shirttail back up to the car. Thanks goodness.... because my legs were so shaky I don't know if I could have made it. We had a large jug of water in the car and one ice cold beer. We sipped the water and shared the beer. We revived fairly well, which was surprising, and headed back to the ranch. What is the lesson? Drink lots of water on hot days even if you don't feel thirsty.