It rained hard last night. You heard the pounding on the roof and the gushing sounds of runoff cascading off the roof till the wee hours of the morning. You stretched, got out of bed, found your slippers, and shuffled down the hallway to the kitchen in search of the coffee pot. A few minutes later, the murmur of “Ah…” could be heard from the kitchen table and you embraced the warm cup in your hands.

A bright blue sky was overhead and the sun began to rise over the hill behind the house. Water droplets on the tree branches glistened in the sun’s rays and wisps of steam rose into the air, only to swirl in a light breeze. The air smelled fresh and clean and memories began to awaken as the coffee began to take effect. Your fingers began to tingle and there was this chime that went off in your soul.

You were out camping with your family a couple springs ago. It had rained hard the night before and you were sitting in a warm ray of sunshine that streaked through the trees, through the smoke billowing up from the campfire, and on to the rock where you were sitting. Everyone was still sleeping and the only sounds were the cracking of the fire, droplets falling from the soaked tree canopy, and the gurgles from the now swollen stream behind you. The coffee tasted good and the cup kept your hands warm.

That was a fun trip, you thought. There were bits and pieces of garbage that some pervious inconsiderate campers had left behind and the family took it upon themselves to collect it, burn what they could, and packed out the rest. Your daughter was by the stream and while bending over to pick up a can, she squealed! You ran to her, thinking she had got bitten or cut herself. You tripped, tumbled down the bank, and ended up in a heap on the gravel bar next to her.

“Daddy, are you all right?” she asked.

“Yes. Yes. Are you ok?” you frantically asked.

“Of course! Look what I found!”

Between her fingers she held up a gold nugget the size of an almond. Looked like an almond too, but with some added bumps and knobs, and had a funny tail. “Found it right there,” she proudly said pointing to the spot by the water’s edge. You hugged her and together ran back to the camp to show the others.

You had brought a gold pan, hoping to spend some quality time with the kids, and now was the time to get it out. With a large smile on your face, you remembered spending the rest of the day digging out cracks, collecting moss, and digging under tree roots. Everyone worked hard all afternoon, was extremely tired, sore and very, very dirty.

The campfire dinner was the best ever! Everyone was laughing, telling stories and having such a good time showing off the specks and flakes of gold they had found during their prospecting adventure. Of course, your daughter’s almond gold nugget was the big topic of the night, as well as your tripping and falling down the stream bank. Your son did several reenactments and everyone laughed when he said, “what if you had ended up in the stream?” That reenactment was hilarious! It was really good family time.

You remembered your daughter telling everyone she was studying the Gold Rush in school and talked about the 49’ers and those good ol’ times. She told of what she knew of the California Motherlode and that many said there was still more gold in them thar hills than they ever found. Her accent was funny, too. She said it was hard work and a rough life, and your son yelled, “Yea, duh! Look at my cuts and bruises!” Everyone laughed again!

As everyone helped pack up the truck and leave the following morning, you remembered the kids saying, “Daddy, Daddy! Lets come back again! When can we come back again? I want to find some more gold!” You promised them real soon. You thought to yourself, “I want to come back too! This was really fun!” That was a few summers ago. The family had gone out prospecting several times since, and you had caught the bug. You made the almond nugget into a pedant for your daughter that she wore almost every day. Your son had become stronger and was able to move larger rocks and carry buckets with more dirt. You had progressed from a gold pan, to a sluice box, and now to a highbanker (a pump-powered sluice box), and were able to recover more gold now. Now you were thinking of buying your own claim – someplace the family could call their own spot, their own gold mine.

The house began to stir and the kids came into the kitchen. Your daughter looked at her brother and said, “He’s got that look in his eyes again.”

He said, “I’ll get the stuff ready. I bet I find the biggest nugget this time!”

“Dream on! This will be my day! I’ll need a tow truck to haul my nugget back to town!”

They laughed. It was going to be another good mining day! People can feel it; that tug on their soul, the calling from their memories, that burning, passionate desire to go gold mining again.

The bitter cold is behind us and the snow is melting, filling the drainages with the turbulent waters that you know are bringing down more gold from the highlands – and you want some of that!

You want to be part of the new gold rush! Spend quality time with your children and teach them the benefits of gold mining. Take them to the mountains and give them a chance to find some gold. It is a thrill when they find their first gold speck, flake or nugget. Once they do, they will be hooked forever. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, if they are a wee bit lucky… they too, will jump for joy, click their heels, and shout “Eureka! I found it!”, and give their dad a big hug!

Charles P. Watson is the chief geologist at Advanced Geologic Exploration, Inc. located in Chester, California. He is an expert on gold exploration, mining, permitting, and a mining history buff as well. He can be reached at [email protected] or at Advanced Geologic locates and sells high quality gold mining claims. They also provide superior mining and geologic consulting, and can assist you with all your mining and permitting needs.

The gold rush is on! Contact them and claim your fortune!