Gold prospecting in Jericho with the kids.
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.
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
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
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.