“The velocity of this water coming down is going to move these big boulders where that gold has been sitting maybe underneath that boulder,” said prospector Bob Paul. “So it’s going to break those boulders loose and break that gold loose that’s been hiding underneath there for years.”
“I slipped and my chest waders caught the water and filled up, almost dragged me down the darn river.”
White added, “All the water is pressing through the cracks and knocking stuff through as it flows.”
Mother Nature may have boosted your chances of hitting the motherload, but the process of finding gold takes equipment and a lot of patience – especially when most of what you’re looking for turns out to be fool’s gold.
Having good equipment like a shovel, a sluice box and a pair of waders is really just the first step when getting out onto the river. You’ve got to be very careful because with such high water; these full rivers can be treacherous.
“I slipped and my chest waders caught the water and filled up, almost dragged me down the darn river,” Bob said.
The same force that makes these rivers potentially so dangerous, is the force that’s tumbling boulders and exposing areas that prospectors in years past would have had no way of reaching.
“It makes it kind of a game. You’re trying to beat Mother Nature where she’s hiding that gold at,” Bob said.
The challenge of finding what may just be a few flakes of gold, if any at all, after hours of work, is part of the appeal for prospectors like Bob, Angie and White.
“Everything that glitters is not gold, Tarzan,” White said.
It takes a keen eye during every step of the process, as well as knowing exactly how not only the gold, but everything else around it filters out.
“If you don’t set it up right, your not going to get the stream that you need,” Angie said.
Hours of setup, digging through mounds of dirt – all for that Eureka moment.
“That little siren goes off in your head when you find it,” White said, “and gold fever starts right after that.”
Angie and Bob Paul joined the Central Valley Prospectors just a few years back – all as just a hobby.
“We found two good sized nuggets – I guess you could say, and he made earrings out of it.” said Angie next to her husband Bob.
And just like his father, for White it’s more than just about the crisp mountain air, but that lingering idea that maybe, just maybe it could be him that cashes in on that next big nugget that keeps him coming back.
“I didn’t really understand it until later,” White said, “so after I retired I thought, you know, I’m just going to go deal with it so I found this club, and you know I really enjoy it.”