There’s gold in them their hills: Gold panning, Bear River, Colfax, California, part 2

What is your passion? Do you find fulfillment from it? The Dirt Bags, as Jim and Jos are called by their gold panning community, found their passion and work hard at achieving it. They have an elaborate set up for gold panning, and, yes, they get dirty doing it.

In this post you’ll see how they find that sparkling treasure. As for me, I’ll stick with photography. Last night I chased my passion to the Marin Headlands–more to come on that outing. For me, each image is my gold and my passion.

There’s gold in them their hills: Gold panning, Bear River, Colfax, California

I like to shoot photos, Richard likes to image the stars and Kenny Nichols likes to pan for gold. It relaxes him, and gets him away from work and home. Gloria, his wife, goes along to get away and enjoy time with friends. Fortunately, we are among their friends, and I finally got a chance to visit them while they were out on a gold panning weekend.

Everyone has their own way to capture that precious metal. Some have elaborate machines (I’ll call them that for lack of knowledge!) and others prefer simplicity. No matter which they choose, it’s very physical. After a day of panning, the club members relax and enjoy duck races, evening board games and other activities.

Their weekend was dampened by the huge King fire that filled their campground with smoke. The fire, which was arson, has been raging for a week and a half and is only 65% contained now. When we were there, the smoke had just come into their area and hung heavily over the river blocking out the sun.

My pictures will show the smoke, and because of it, we didn’t stay long. But, we did stay long enough to get acquainted with the community and their passion for their hobby. One couple took a good deal of time with us, and you’ll see their pictures in the next post. Kenny wasn’t panning because he fell the day before and was resting. I’m sure he panned the following day.

For Richard and I, we are back following our hobby passions.