"Rocks in My Head:" a Prospector and Miner in the Making (Part 2)

(The venerable "Frisbee;" not the best substitute for a gold pan!)

(This is the second in a series of posts written by guest author Alan Brown of Dahlonega, Georgia.)

“There’s Gold in Them Thar’ Hills”Did you know that the phrase "there’s gold in them thar’ hills" was first coined on the steps of a north Georgia county courthouse? This was an admonishment to would-be 49ers not to leave the area because of the fabulous tales of riches in a magical place called California.

Where to Find Placer Gold

Having been born and raised in the general area, the individual who gave this admonition also looked at the situation with a realistic eye. He knew that eons of time and tide had conspired to spread the gold out over such a large area of the Appalachian Mountains that tracing it all to its origin might just be an impossible task.

I Would Be a Bald-Faced Liar

That being said though, it meant that if a fella kept his eyes open and paid close attention to his surroundings that he might be able (even to this day) to stick a little gold nugget or two in his pocket for the ride home. As it turns out, there are a lot places in this great country of ours where that statement still rings true.

I have to admit here that I would be a bald-faced liar if tried to convince anyone that I did not have this fact in mind when I pitched the idea for our move to Dahlonega to my wife and kids. Call it sneaky if you must, but simply enough it is what it is. Because once bitten, it seems the bite of the gold bug continues to grow and expand until you just have to do something about it.

Busted Again!

So, not long after settling into our new home, I found myself descending the leaf-littered, forested slope of our backyard down to the small stream that borders the back of our property line. Armed with a shovel and bucket, I was trailed by my youngest daughter Caitlin who just knew that there would be all sorts of fun creatures like salamanders and crawdads to find and observe below.

Gold Concentrates
Gold Pans

My loving wife Melinda watched the two of us with suspicion from the deck above as I called out to her, “We’re just going down have a little look around.” But I could tell by the look in her eyes that she knew exactly what I was up to. Busted again!

A Frisbee for a Gold Pan

Now, understand this, I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing... but that's never stopped me in the past. Trial and error is a major theme in my life. It all brought back to me memories of a little trip we had taken to the area some fifteen years earlier, when the boys were a good bit younger and so were Melinda and I!

This particular visit culminated with me up to my neck in a local river behind a huge boulder, trying to use a Frisbee for a gold pan. Melinda, who had warned me "you’re gonna drown yourself,” patiently waited out my foolishness from the safety of our car.

Also looking on (with great interest I might add) was an older gentleman with a sluice box working on the riverbank. I’d never seen a sluice before and I remember thinking at the time, “that old guy there really has it going on!”

There’ll be more to come from Alan in future posts. Until then, I wish you the best of luck out there.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: “'Rocks in My Head:’ a Prospector and Miner in the Making (Part 1)”

© Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2011

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com