Monday, October 7, 2013

The Gold Rush of '13

I woke up Saturday morning with two things on my mind.  Riding my bike and panning for gold.  Yes.  Panning for gold.  My brother told me about the last time he visited my city and he and his girlfriend went down to the river and found gold!

My brother and friends
They had seen a national news story devoted to the subject and wanted to try it out for themselves.  When they went to a rock and gem shop to buy a gold pan, they found the shelves empty except for one pan.  Turns out there is a mini gold rush happening in our burg and while the river banks aren't lined with prospectors, a friend tells me that when he canoes down the river, he sees plenty of hopefuls squatted down and shifting gold pans in their hands.

A "shifty" pastime
Not owning a pan, I had to wait to call the rock and gem shop to make sure they had gold pans in stock.  It was important to buy the  gold pan at this particular store since I knew that this establishment was at the end of a scenic bikepath that ran straight from the river to the store - a round trip distance of 13 km. (8 miles).  Not only could I look for gold but I could enjoy riding through a forest that was painted with the colours of fall.

The store had a plethora of gold pans in varying shapes and sizes.  Ones made of plastic, steel, nylon, stainless steel and space age materials.  Octagonals, rectangles and the traditional round pans were stacked in heaps at the back of the store.  The cashier said that the profit the store makes comes from selling gold panning equipment and not rocks and gems.

Before travelling up the trail to the store, I had discovered a likely spot - a sandbar jutting out into the North Saskatchewan River, very close to the bike path that follows that watercourse.  So it was with excitement that I flew down to the river to stake my "claim" on the riverbank.  Appropriately as I began to sift through the gravel, our city's paddlewheel river boat steamed past my chosen spot giving the scene a old-timey feel.

It would be nice to tell you that within minutes, my pan was sparkling with gold nuggets.  After half an hour of dredging material from the riverbed, with an aching back, I was about to give up when I happened to glance into the murky mess in the pan and thought I recognized tiny specks of gold about the consistency of flour.  Sure enough I had struck gold!  In another hour and with gold selling at $1,320.60 an ounce, I figured I had enough to buy some bubblegum.  Maybe I'd buy that one that comes in a small cloth bag.  You know the one.

No comments:

Post a Comment