Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Breckenridge: Mountain Town Where We Try Our Hands at Panning Gold

Last year, we were unsuccessful in paying for our vacation with Gold Nuggets, but that doesn't mean we weren't willing to try again.  Let's be honest; my husband is rather cheap so if he thinks there is even a slim chance that our vacation could be free thanks to a little gold panning he's willing to give it a shot.

For this year's expedition, we tried the "official" Breckenridge Historical Society's site and not some tourist site.  As an added bonus, the cost was 1/3 the cost of last years trek into the creek.  If for no other reason than the Mountain Man who ran the Lormax Placier Gulch welcomed us into the Prospectors Cabin with the phrase "Dude" I felt that maybe we might stand a chance of actually going home with golden nuggets.

Not only did we get to tour an official prospectors set up and see firsthand the tools of the trade of gold mining the mountain streams, the Mountain Man took us to his favorite spot and showed us the tricks of the trade.  We learned to dig out the creek bed and go beneath the surface; there was swooshing and moving of water and silt in the pan and of course we felt that unlike the crowded spot we tried the previous year that this year we were in a pristine environment for finding that hidden gem; the allusive golden nugget.

Mr P and Mr C were intense; they were on a mission to find something, anything that would put them on the map as official gold diggers.  Miss A announced early on that she wasn't holding out much hope and that more than anything she was a little concerned that the clouds looked like rain.  ( I tried not to envision Pooh and holding an umbrella and marching about saying,  "Tut Tut it looks like Rain!")  Miss M wasn't easily swayed from her task either.  If anyone looked legit in showing us how to find wealth in rocks, it was our guide.

Alas it was not our day.  We did however get a great history lesson in how the Blue River in Breckenridge was the site of some amazing mining during the 1880's and how the miners used water under high pressure , scoured the hillside and collected the dirt and sediment to recover gold deposits.  All of this using hydraulic power they created in the 1860s.  Amazing.

While we might have let the Mine empty handed we did learn a lot and had a chance to get our hands into the soil and water.

To finish our trip to Breckenridge, we took a Gondola Ride up to the Base of Peak 8 and had a picnic lunch and watched the crowds.  It is amazing how many people there are in such a small amount of space.  Makes us really appreciate our stay in Keystone.  The girls found a patch of Snow/Ice not too far up the mountain and we decided to trek up there and get a picture of this wonder of winter in the middle of July.

The most humorous part was that the kids had no trouble climbing up the hill of snow, but Miss M did a 'bottom slide" a fur piece down the mountain.  Much to her siblings delight.  Thankfully, she saw the humor as well.  Then since we were already "dirty" we took a trek around Swan Mountain Road to feed the chipmunks.

Another great day in the Rockies...but then aren't they all!

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