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Gold prospecting in Jericho with the kids.

Updated on January 29, 2011

In 1968 I started a motorcycle business, it went very well and made enough profit for me to hire a manager. This enabled me to have the time to go prospecting for gold again, this time with plenty of off-road motorcycles to enable access to places even a 4 wheel drive could not go.

I also had a wife and 2 children now old enough to take camping, so going back to the gold-fields for recreation was easy as we already had the equipment needed to have fun and see a lot more of the area I had known so well as a kid.

Our gold prospecting camp site.

Unloading the bikes on the river flat at Jericho
Unloading the bikes on the river flat at Jericho
Second camping spot.
Second camping spot.

I had not been back to Jericho for many years, and decided to take my Ford F100 in to Jericho down the four wheel drive track with a load of bikes on board. We also took in a station wagon for the extra passengers, our friends and their kids as well.

With the bikes we were able to do short rides to some of the mines we could not reach quickly on foot, and to explore more of the upper Thompson river on day trips.

It took a while to manoeuvre the loaded pick-up and station wagon down the same old track, but without any trees across the road it was reasonably easy to get in to the river bank and set up camp.

We stayed a week this time and found many more diggings, tailings from several of the larger gold mines and full sized goldmine adits (horizontal mine entrances) large enough for a train to pass through.

Some mines are safe to enter, but NEVER go underground if you do not have a guide who knows the terrain well enough to keep you as safe as possible. Investigating old mines takes expertise and local knowledge as you will know if you read my other hub on the BB Quartz mine.

On the second day we had taken the main track past Red Jacket to Blue Jacket, yet another abandoned area that used to be a mining settlement. We spent a fantastic morning and afternoon panning for gold and collecting samples.On the way we came across a lot of old mining equipment, including a huge wooden wheel used to drive a 20 head crusher to crush the rock and release the gold.

On the way back, we found a smooth and fast track and I opened my big bore two stroke motorcycle's throttle for a short thrill on an open stretch of track.I was a long way in front of the others when I came hurling in to a corner only to find most of the road missing!

I somehow got the big Kawasaki to jump over the smallest part of the wash out, and had time to warn my friends as well. We laughed at our narrow escape, then I looked in the hole in the track and underneath was a cave about 30 ft deep.It was smooth walled and almost looked man made. Further investigation revealed it was yet another gold mine.

We came back to spend the day in this very safe and comfortable place to fossick and pan.for gold. We got a few colours in the pan as well as some gemstones and the kids got to go underground. The daytime temperature in the summer is quite hot, so underground is the ideal place to be on a hot day in the bush.

My son with his first fish

This one went back!
This one went back!

Children love camping! They lay on an air bed in the creek and travelled under the track though a tunnel the miners had cut and blasted through the solid rock when they moved the creek to sluice for gold. They fished for mountain or rainbow trout for dinner and usual caught at least two.

They went looking for animals and birds, and played ball in the water. In short, they all had a wonderful time, and so did the adults.We never leave the children without at least one adult in an area with goldmines.

A couple of tips:

  • Do not let your children wander on their own near these types of diggings, they could disappear down a shaft.
  • Watch your kids at all times in the bush and especially if they are swimming or playing in the water, it is so easy to slip and bump your head on a rock etc.

Hunting for gold around the old deserted gold mines, looking for exposed quartz reefs and panning for alluvial gold is one of the most enjoyable and relaxing activities for me.


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    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Your happy memories are my reward, thank you!

    • Ladybird33 profile image

      Ladybird33 8 years ago from Fabulous USA

      What a great adventure! Brought back a lot of memories for me too. Thank you.

    • Godslittlechild profile image

      Godslittlechild 8 years ago

      Sounds like you had a great time and made some good memories. Good hub!

    • hinckles koma profile image

      hinckles koma 8 years ago from nyc

      yet to go camping with my kids, something to look forward to.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I love reading true adventure stories!

      I am glad it was new for you. I enjoy other peoples adventures myself, especially if it is something I have not experienced.

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Great adventure and interesting to read about, as I have never experienced anything remotely close to this.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I wish I was as fit as I was when we did this trip. I have another planned, but it's gonna be a lot harder this time!

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 8 years ago

      This sounds like it was another great trip and adventure with the family. I remember when i was in boarding school(in England), just taking a walking trip to the New Forest in Hampshire was a thrill for me. Never had the opportunity to camp out though, but i wish i had. Was always too scared of bugs, squirrels and stuff, then.

      If i had known then. At least i'll have fonder memories now of such adventures, because i know deep down i have an adventurous spirit.

      Another nice hub Earnest.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Ah yes... it is about making memories!

      Thanks for reading DoodleLyn.. great hub name by the way!

    • DoodleLyn profile image

      DoodleLyn 8 years ago from Upstate New York, USA

      Great hub. Reading this brought me back to our camping days with my daughter and niece. What wonderful memories we formed around those campfires and hikes. Isn't that what it's all about...making memories.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Irohner, I reckon that will make them retain the good memories. Can't beat catching your own dinner!

    • lrohner profile image

      lrohner 8 years ago from USA

      My kids and I spent a whole lotta time camping when they were younger. And they actually were catching dinner? Even better!

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thank you wordscribe, the kids do love it don't they? My kids loved looking for gemstones, fancy rocks, bits of quartz, talking to the animals or fishing they had a ball..

    • profile image

      wordscribe41 8 years ago

      Great hub. My kids love camping, can only imagine how much they'd love it with the lure of a nearby gold mine. Not to mention my son's love for motorcycles. Thanks for the entertainment!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Yes yes yes such fun times and they will never be forgotten....Loved it too...still do just harder these days for this old body...Thanks for a fun trip...:O) Hugs

    • bala99 profile image

      Bala Subrahmanyam Vishnubhotla 8 years ago from Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

      Family, friends, bikes and a camping trip! What more would you need? Good one Earnest!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 8 years ago from United States

      It's so great to hear about these adventures. Fun to think about.

    • profile image

      IĆ°unn 8 years ago

      Earnest, this was quite interesting. It's nice to hear about your family experience.

    • UK Wordsmith profile image

      UK Wordsmith 8 years ago

      Nice one Earnest. I have simlar memories of friends and kids, albeit in England - on the south coast of Devon to be precise. The summers seemed to last longer then ..................... ah well.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thanks BlondePoet we did have a ball and so did the kids.

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 8 years ago from australia

      Wow 1968 well I was not born yet lol so I never saw you there. Wow camping is heaps fun, mind you I have only been once, I took my hair-dryer got laughed at, as there was no electricity of course hahah. Great hub Earnest (hugs)