Gold Panning The Klondike

klondike goldrush

Many people spend heaps of cash on a regular schedule in an effort to strike it rich.  Casinos, lottery games, scratch tickets all promise a better life once you’re an instant millionaire.  The desire to be filthy rich isn’t a new concept, or a new dream.  Since the days we placed value on tiny, metal disks, mankind has been in pursuit of wealth.

This past summer Q and I followed in the steps of the pioneers of the great Klondike gold rush.  The largest the world had ever seen, would be prospectors migrated from all corners of the globe to this remote location in Canada’s most north-western territory.  Most found little to nothing.  Few actually hit the mother load.

klondike goldrush

Reaching Dawson City Yukon, we were eager to find some yellow rock!  But to ensure we knew how to actually pan for the special mellow yellow, we headed out to Claim 33, where for a nominal fee they teach you how to pan, and you get to keep the gold you’re taught with as a souvenir.

Our teacher, which I can’t remember her name and I’m so mad I didn’t write it down, was amazing!  Panning for gold is still active in her family and she showed us nuggets found by her husband in a nearby river. We were stoked to begin and sensing our excitement, she grabbed our pans filled with dirt and we headed out to a water trough set up on site.  Now believe it or not, there is a technique which I was surprised to learn.  Apparently gold is 19 times heavier than water.  Who knew?  When the pan is tilted slightly and dipped (not plunged) into the water, all the sand, gravel and rocks float away but the gold sticks to the pan like a magnet.  If you tilt the pan too much or plunge to hard even the gold will eventually fall out.

klondike goldrush

klondike goldrush

Once we were certified gold prospectors we headed over to Claim #6, a Yukon government-owned claim where you can pan for free.  The best part?  If you actually find any gold you get to keep it.  We had been told how the week prior a German tourist had found a $2000 gold nugget at this exact location.  We’re still unsure whether the government planted it there to keep the tourists coming in droves or whether this particular lady had a horseshoe up her… well you get my point.

Q and I spent 4 hours digging and dipping and we were drenched.  We started at the water’s edge, and as instructed with our back towards the flow of the river.  We were told to be careful as these fasting moving rivers are frigid any time of year.  By the end of the day our legs were submerged in the river and we were now sitting in any position that made us comfortable but was not necessarily beneficial to panning gold or keeping our self safe.

klondike goldrush

As cold and disappointing as it was (we never found any nugget, not even a spec of gold) we had great fun.  Note, it is addictive though and in the silence I often wondered whether a bear would step around the corner, not aware we were there because we were quiet.  So I was nervous as hell.

To visit Claim #33 and #6 take the famous Bonanza Road to approximately kilometre 10 for the first claim site and then follow down the same road to kilometre 18 to the latter destination.

~ True North Nomad

Have you been lucky enough to win a lottery?  Have you ever panned for gold?

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22 responses to “Gold Panning The Klondike

  1. How interesting that you are writing about Gold Panning on the same date I have posted about the DESCENDER; Panning for Gold is a terrific Descender metaphor!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never been panning for gold, but I have watched the show “Gold Rush” for many years. They pan for gold to test an area. That would be lots of fun to go up there and pan for gold ourselves! What an adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Doing something different like that is great! I might have to think outside the box a bit when it comes to holiday activities cos it is so tempting to just do the same stuff you always do but in new places…rather than trying out a new activity. Nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You made me walk the Memory Lane. In our Lappland was also a great gold rush about the same time as yours. We have just the same story as you, only the country is different. And I panned with same results as you. My husband got a nugget so small it was hardly seen on his fingertip.
    But it was so fun, I couldn’t stop even the mosquitoes ate my ears, but I wanted to find GOLD!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic story! The people who really got rich from the Klondike rush were the service providers – ie the ones who sold and maintained the tools for the miners and prospectors, or the ones who sold them rations, ammunition…you get my drift. We have friends in Australia who use a metal detector to prospect in the outback too! Seems it’s the same all over the world as you said.

    Liked by 1 person

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