Gold prospecting - Panning for Gold in Tennessee
My first trips out into the Mountain streams:

Well, as soon as I learned that there was gold in Tennessee, I just had to go find some.  I sat at home and saw the shows on the Outdoor channel, like Prospecting America, Gold Fever, and others, and decided I had to join the GPAA. 

That was in January..  I got my cards in February.  I was now a member and could go out and do some prospecting, and find some gold on my own.

I figured while I was waiting for my gold panning kit to arrive, that I would make the drive down to GA to the Crisson Gold Mine in Dahlanaga (or however the heck you spell that)
We picked up a couple of bags of their concentrates.  I thought, gee, this would be a great way to learn the basics.

I took them home, and we sat  on the back porch (enclosed and heated mind you) and bought a cement mixing tub from Lowe's.  $12 bucks or so.  Ok, so we sat there panning, now that our pan got here.  We took turns, and panned and panned.  When we got done, we put the gold back in the dirt and panned it again.   This was how we learned to pan. Well, between that and the panning video that comes in the GPAA kit.

Ok, now we were ready to head out to the streams and find that gold!  We can pan out that stuff from the mine lickety split. No problems.. always get all the gold, so we're ready to go.  I looked at the GPAA book, and it showed the areas where we could prospect, and in the area we went to, you didn't need a permit to pan for gold.  We had picked up a couple of extra pans and some other things at the Crisson mine in GA.   

It is now late March.  The water is like ice.  Boy,, should have brought some thick rubber gloves.  We had been watching the gold shows, so we had a bit of an idea of where to look in the stream to find some gold to pan.  We drove out along hwy 64 in the south end of the Cherokee National Forest.  We found streams along the road that we could stop and park, so we could pan.

This first place had a great looking little creak running through.  We walked under the main road, and upstream a bit.  We started shoveling into our classifier and into our pans... 
About 3 hours went by, and no gold.  We moved on further east, and found another good looking stream.  We panned and panned....  no gold.

The second trip out, I took a drive along the same road, and went all the way up to coker creek.  People talked about coker creek, and a place called Doc Rogers Field.  I wanted to see where it was at.  We found it after seeing Whites Mining Supply.  They are now closed, but he was very helpful and full of information that helped us out.

The next weekend, we headed out and ended up along hwy 64 again... Dhu.. 
Ok, in my defense,,, I saw a creek on the way back from coker creek that just looked like an awesome place for gold!   I had to check it out.
So, we went to this stream, and boy it was a hike getting back up in there.  The rocks in the stream are now covered in a real thin coating of some of the slickest moss you ever saw.....  yup...  I slipped.  I fell,,,  I broke my knee!  OUCH!!!

I didn't realize it was broken at the time.  Sure, it hurt pretty bad, but I didn't think it was that bad.  We panned and again, didn't find any gold.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that just because you want to find gold, and the area looks good.. it doesn't mean there is going to be gold there.  Remember, I was new back then.  Some day, I will head back to the same places knowing what I know now, and see if it was just newbie stupidity that caused the strike outs.

Also, it is important to wear some knee protection when you are prospecting.  You can get knee pads at wal mart or hardware stores from about $5 bucks on up.  I like the ones Walmart has that have a clear plastic/rubber piece in front of the pad. (Extra cushioning)

I found gold every trip after, since I have been prospecting.  It is just a matter of learning the basics, and go where gold has been found before!

My third trip out, I went to Doc Rogers Field, because Mr. White, and others said there is pretty good gold in there. Yes, I found gold!!!  but that is the next story to be posted.

Thank you for reading. I hope this helps someone out that is just beginning.


TN Gold prospecting feature articles:

  • Gold panning - My first and second trips out.  A good story about what NOT to do.
  • Gold in Alabama 
  • coming
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  • Keeping legal - Get permit information here. (They are free!)

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