Our destination was a small unnamed creek drainage about 2 miles south of the Phifer Creek Campground on the Middle Fork of the Boise River. I checked out plenty of maps and mining claims in the area and was pretty sure the area I chose was a legal place to explore and pan for gold. Unfortunately the steepness of the land and abundant underbrush made my panning spot too difficult to even attempt getting to. But the ride to this area was quite wonderful. The skies remained bright blue and there was no wind.
We decided to take a ride up the Middle Fork Road as my wife had never seen this area. It wasn't long before we found a spot to relax along side the river. As with a lot the Middle Fork of the Boise River, the shallow pools are crystal clear with blue/green tinge to them. We considered taking a swim but without proper clothing, we decided to stay dry and just enjoy the views.
We headed upstream on the ATV for about 10-15 minutes before we decided to stop at another shallow fishing hole. While not as scenic, we enjoyed our stay on this rocky beach. We also decided to pull out the two gold pans and experiment. Within about 15 minutes we got the knack of gold panning and actually found some gold but nothing worth keeping.
We continued upstream along the Middle Fork Road toward Atlanta but most places we found would have been difficult to access...15-50 foot high river banks climbs that were near vertical. Still, the Middle Fork is just a plain beautiful river at this time of the year. The brush on the hills of the river canyon are just starting change colors to a reddish brown color. In a week or two, the Middle Fork might be in its full Fall colors?
It was time to head back home by the James Creek Summit Road into Rocky Bar. Our ATV ride on this wonderful Fall day amounted to about 45 very scenic and relaxing miles. Winter isn't too far away and this means getting back to the Owyhee's where we can continue to explore Idaho for an additional two months.
Gold Panning Adventures?
I doubt I will get fully involved in a hobby such as gold panning but with gold prices sitting close to $1,000 an ounce, I figure I might as well combine exploring with something that may pay the cost of the trip. We bought a gold panning kit at Cabella's Sporting Goods store for about $30. As you can imagine, it's neither professional equipment nor something that would support anything more than an occasional panning adventure. But if you are the talkative type and know where we might be able to find some gold in a relative easy place, I'd like to hear from you...I know, "when pigs fly".
See more pictures from this trip
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