The Park County Historical Society gold panning and prospecting trip was a day of learning and adventure. We all met at the Como Community Center, and drove east on County Road 15. We made our way to Tarryall Creek, on the north side of CR 15. We set up a canopy and table for use in the panning project, which was for the initial refining process.
At the creek, we inspected the water flow to determine the best location to use for the soil that we would pan. Bill Douthett, grandson of PCHS founders Harold and Lenore Warren, demonstrated the various steps of panning, so attendees could start to pan on their own.
Douthett has been prospecting in Park County for many years, and was able to tell us the various processes in mining, from panning and on up to dredging and hydraulic placer mining, all that were done during Park County’s long mining history.
As everyone was panning, Nancy Warren hiked the ridge to the north and found evidence of Native Americans who lived in South Park. We broke for lunch, and discussed how the prospecting had gone so far. The location was a beautiful site in South Park, not commonly seen, and we did see hawks hunting in the area, along with various rock formations, and historic structures nearby.
After lunch, we set up a sluice box on a tributary upstream. We processed soil through the sluice box, and then Douthett demonstrated how to wash the miners carpet removed from the sluice box. We then panned the higher concentrates after being processed from the carpet, finding the darker soil, which has a higher probability of containing gold or silver.
The group included both new panners and experienced prospectors, which made for a good mix of experience. Everyone had a great day prospecting in South Park, like so many have done before us. The weather was great also, which made the day an exceptional one. We plan on having another trip next year, so stay tuned. Visit us at www.parkcountyhistory.com, and on our Facebook page.