Sunday, October 9, 2011

Canadian Miner Hits Gold in Glacial Till (Part 1)

(Canadian gold miner Travis "X's" highbanker set up employs a LeTrap Sluice.)

Travis "X"

Despite the time and effort (and no little amount of frustration) it takes to write and publish "Bedrock Dreams," one of the main rewards for me is interacting with small-scale gold miners from around the world. One of my staunchest allies and mining friends in this regard is Canadian Travis "X." (No, his last name doesn't start with an x...I use that letter to protect his privacy.)

Gold Pans
Gold Panning Kits
Mining Equipment

Travis has a legal mining claim in the northern part of British Columbia (B.C.), a historic mining area I hope I can visit one day before I cross that final divide. The gold that Travis recovers was deposited by glacial activity, not unlike the glacial till gravels I recently talked about in my series on glacial gold in the Yukon Territory.

But hey...this post is about Travis' mining efforts, so I'll let his words and images "tell the tale:"

"Hey Jim, I just wanted to say that your last two posts were excellent, and if you had your donation section up I would have hit it again! Why did you remove it? Should I just buy one of your e-books instead?"

(Note: I'll be a bit shameless here and say that my donation button is back up and donations or ebook purchases are greatly appreciated by one and all.)

"Lots of Flake Gold"

"I also thought I would include a couple of photos from my last outing and was wondering if you had any experience with glacial till gold? The area I am working has lots of flake gold in the top 6-18 inches of till but nothing underneath. I tried digging a deep hole and it was barren until 6 feet down when I started to find fine flour gold."

"I flooded out and couldn’t continue but I would appreciate your insight as to what is going on here. The first pic is of the bench I was working and the second is my take from about 10 yards of material. The bench I am working is averaging around 1-1.5 grams of gold per cubic yard of material."

(The glacial flake gold Travis is recovering on his B.C. claim)

"Get Off the Creek and Look to the Hills"

"The area I am working is part of the historic Manson Creek/Omineca goldfield in northern British Columbia. It is not Manson Creek itself but rather another tributary to the Omineca River. As mentioned previously the gold I am finding is in the top 6-18 inches of glacial till in benches far from the current creek location. I have panned the creek itself but have not found any gold there. (Just goes to show you, get off the creek and look to the hills.)"

Wolverine Boots

(Note: Travis' admonition about looking higher up is a point I've made in numerous posts...don't say I didn't tell you so!)

"Another distinct characteristic of the gold path in the bench is that it tends to follow the larger boulders. I have attached another picture that shows a second bench I worked with similar results and the larger boulders that are present."

(The large boulders Travis mentions.)

Good Gold Ground

One of the things that struck me and that I mentioned to Travis was the color of the soil in the area he is working. I've seen this sort of laterite or Fe ground before in other gold areas (those without glacial gold) and typically it's an indicator of good gold ground. This is not a "scientific" observation on my part but a simple "eyeball" assessment from an old timer (that'd be me by the way!).

I also suggested to Travis that he continue "following" the flake gold since it appears to be a "recent" glacial layer or perhaps even a shifting of an older stream bed. I suspect (without any proof yet) that some small nuggets will turn up in this layer as well.

There's more to come from Travis, so stay tuned. Good luck to one and all in the meantime.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "A Second Look at Canada's Yukon: Great Potential for Small-Scale Miners (Part 1)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2011

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience it sure helps us youngtimers

  2. Thnaks Tony...I appreciate it. Jim