Panning for Gold in Jamestown

1 month ago 20

JAMESTOWN, Calif.—Gold mining gave California its nickname, the Golden State. While mining nowadays is acold from what it utilized to be, gold fever isn’t wholly gone.

Along Highway 49 successful Jamestown, California, visitors cookware for golden successful Woods Creek.

Three generations of the Prebalick household talked to NTD, a sister media of The Epoch Times, astir however they person been moving California Gold Panning since the precocious 1970s.

Epoch Times Photo Nate, Terry, and Nick Prebalick successful Jamestown, Calif., connected Sept. 19, 2022. (Cynthia Cai/NTD)

The grandfather, prospector Terry Prebalick, moved to California from Minnesota successful 1979 erstwhile helium was moving for a printing property for a newspaper.

“I was retired taking my luncheon interruption 1 day, and I looked down successful the creek, and we were watching this aged antheral sitting down connected the creek panning—I’d ne'er seen panning before. And each of a abrupt he’s waving america down. So we went down and took a look connected the creek. He recovered a three-and-a-half-ounce golden nugget, which is astir the size of the thenar of our hand, close successful here. And it was beautiful,” Terry said. “Ran retired the adjacent play and bought pans and went gold mining.”

Terry learned the tricks of the commercialized from old-timer miners.

His astir memorable infinitesimal was erstwhile helium recovered 127 ounces of gold.

“Oh … I filled a cookware up astir that heavy of gold. And it was conscionable beautiful,” helium recalled. “The biggest nugget I had successful determination was conscionable nether 3 ounces.”

Back then, helium was capable to dive 8 feet underwater to excavation for gold. It took 2 days to cleanable retired the crevice.

Epoch Times Photo Gold successful a cookware successful Jamestown, Calif., connected Sept. 19, 2022. (Cynthia Cai/NTD)

He would merchantability the golden to marque a surviving and rise his family.

“I had bully luck successful immoderate of the days,” helium said. “[Some days you] devour fried ovum sandwiches, and different days you devour steak. You know, it’s similar life. It’s hard work; you got to work. It’s not going to leap successful your cookware for you. You got to enactment hard for it.”

He passed connected his cognition to his lad Nick, who passed it connected to his lad Nathaniel, oregon Nate.

“It’s great. I get to spot my lad and my begetter each the time. Everybody doesn’t get to bash that. This is the lone workout that Dad gets. He’d beryllium sitting connected the sofa otherwise, watching TV,” Nick Prebalick said. “I’m fortunate successful the mode that this is my office. It’s much meditative than thing for me.”

Now they thatch radical however to cookware for gold.

“So what we bash for our guests is to bring them down and springiness them a afloat acquisition arsenic an 1800s miner, basically. We usage a small spot much modern tools, of course, but what we bash is get them close successful the water, get dirty,” Nate Prebalick said.

Epoch Times Photo Nate Prebalick teaches Ilene Eng however to cookware for golden successful Jamestown, Calif., connected Sept. 19, 2022. (Cynthia Cai/NTD)

Nate demonstrates wherever and however to excavation and however to filter retired material.

“Any ungraded astir america is the worldly that we’re going to excavation up. We sift done it first, utilizing a instrumentality called a classifier, and that’s wherever we filter retired ample rocks,” Nate said.

They get escaped of each the other worldly and cod each the remaining sandy bits.

“Then we person a instrumentality called a sluice container we acceptable close successful the creek, and it filters it adjacent further. So we tin tally anyplace from 1 five-gallon bucket of worldly to 100 five-gallon buckets of material, and it’s going to sift it each down to conscionable 1 golden pan’s worth,” helium said.

This way, the container does 100 times the work, making the process quicker.

When lone golden is left, Nate uses his fingers to prime up the tiny pieces and enactment them successful a tiny jar for display.

Epoch Times Photo Gold successful a jar successful Jamestown, Calif., connected Sept. 19, 2022. (Cynthia Cai/NTD)

“A batch of modern miners usage what’s called a snuffer bottle, conscionable a small suction instrumentality to suck each this up. I don’t truly usage each that fancy equipment, truthful I conscionable usage my manus and the creek that I’m in,” Nate said.

According to Nate, the world’s largest crystalline gold—about 24 pounds—was recovered successful the creek.

“So there’s a anticipation to onslaught [it] incredibly rich. But for the astir part, we find precise tiny flakes of placer golden today,” helium said.

Placer golden is small chunks of golden floating successful the water. The country is known for lode gold, wherever the golden is people formed to quartz crystals.

Epoch Times Photo A quartz crystal vein sits beside Woods Creek successful Jamestown, Calif., connected Sept. 19, 2022. (Ilene Eng/NTD)

“That’s what the large summons point is retired here. Being capable to find immoderate golden attached to this quartz is what made this country truthful invaluable backmost successful the day. Between 1849 and [the] aboriginal 1900s, they pulled an estimated 187 tons retired of this area,” Nate said.

Despite truthful galore tons of golden being removed, Nate’s gramps estimates that miners person lone removed astir 15 percent of the golden successful California.

“What we find retired present is 22- to 23-karat axenic gold,” Nate said. “You tin lone get 24-karat golden … by chemically processing it. So retired here, it’s arsenic axenic arsenic it tin people be.”

Visitors tin publication tours to cookware successful groups for anyplace from an hr to 3 days.

The Prebalicks anticipation to support the household concern going for years to come.

Ilene Eng


Ilene is simply a newsman based successful the San Francisco Bay Area covering Northern California news.