A couple of weeks ago, Steve and a took a mini-break in Gold Country. We have a big, much-needed and deserved vacation planned for later this year, but we’re both tired and stressed and thought a quick 3-day weekend would help tide us over until the later trip. Besides, some friends had been recommending the Mine House Inn, a bed and breakfast in Amador City, for a while and the innkeepers are retiring in October. We figured if we were going to go, we had to go now.
Black Chasm Cavern is most well-known for the rare helictite crystals that form there. Helictite crystals are very thin and, instead of growing up from the bottom like stalagmites or down from the top like stalactites, shoot out from the walls of the cave and are most likely formed by hydrostatic pressure. They are apparently quite unusual and definitely pretty cool.
Of course, while in Gold Country, we had to pan for gold. I was a little amazed at all the equipment Steve brought with us. He even built a periscope-type thing to allow him to see clearly underwater so he knows where to scoop up the dirt and rocks that are hiding the gold!
We went out to the Mokelumne River late in the afternoon Sunday to try our luck. Unfortunately, we still had to whip out our credit card to pay for dinner that evening as all we found was pyrite. Later that night, Steve found what would’ve been a much better spot for panning on the map. We’re keeping the location secret, though, so we can go out again next time and strike it big.