Life off Interstate 84 - Idaho

The BondyWeb in Mountain Home

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size


(19 April 2014)  My name is Tim Bondy and the owner of this website.  As of Jan 1st, 2014 we moved to a different domain.  Please head over to the Bondy Blogs Website at  Different address, different system but same type of great articles, photos, stories and information. 

You are here: Mtn Home Outdoor Rock Hounding and Gold Panning No Gold Panning on Gold Panning Hike

No Gold Panning on Gold Panning Hike

E-mail Print PDF

From Westside Creek Gold Panning and Rock Hounding Trip

I found the perfect unnamed creek bed for some gold panning that was likely unexplored by very many people. The only question in my mind was “would there be enough water in the creek to pan for Idaho Gold”? My plan was to hike off-trail along the ridge line that bordered the stream. Then I would drop into the deep canyon and pan my way down about ½ mile of this creekbed. Ooops.

So What Went Wrong
With this hike fully planned out on Google Earth, USGS Topo Maps and inputted into my Garmin GPS unit I headed up into the mountains west of Fall Creek. I found cheating a little by hiking along a NFS trail for a short segment before getting on the lower reaches of the planned ridgeline was a good idea. Once off the trail, the going got steep and bushy.

It didn't take long to realize my route wasn't as open and easy to hike as it appeared during the planning stages. The heavy undergrowth, downed trees and the steepness made for a “10 steps up, 5 steps down routine”. So I changed my plan and headed for another NFS Trail that would makes things easier but put me in a place that would make my descent into the canyon more difficult.

From Westside Creek Gold Panning and Rock Hounding Trip

It turned out there wasn't any hard way down into the canyon. The heavy undergrowth and steepness made it impossible. Long story gold pan never saw the light of day and stayed buried in my backpack.

What Went Right? Plan B and Rock Hounding!
Seeing as I was standing on the upper reaches NFS Road/Trail 130 A3 I switched my focus to rock hounding. Plan B was taking the easy trail back to the truck on Fall Creek Road. The road cuts along this trail showed a crazy mixture of big chucks of pure white quartz, smokey quartz and feldspar.

Is this Idaho Gold?

We (me and my dog Addie) headed down the narrow road. I found some cool rocks but nothing to get excited about UNTIL! The bottom side of one rock was covered...more like “coated” with a coppery colored substance. It certainly appeared that I found either raw copper or I was holding a piece of rock covered in gold! I found a few other pieces just like it as I headed down the road. Read on to find out what that stuff was.

The Hike in General
This was quite a fun hike. While the off-trail portion was exhausting at times, the unspoiled views and scenery more than made up for it. Walking back on NFS Road 130A3 gave me views I would have missed if I headed back into the steep and brushy off-trail route I had planned.

From Westside Creek Gold Panning and Rock Hounding Trip

Considering I was on a NFS Road that apparently is suitable (and legal) for motor vehicles, one would think I'd encounter at least one person. But I don't think I even saw any tire tracks much less and footprints. The reason? There are a few downed trees blocking the road. This certainly makes hiking “the roads” much more enjoyable.

What was “That Gold Stuff” Coating the Rock?
Once I got home and examined the “stuff”, we discovered it shined up from a dull copper color to a semi-shiny gold color. This was certainly a good sign. Was it time to make a mining claim and get rich on some real Idaho Gold?

No! I'd have to have proof I was holding some real gold and to do this I headed down to Stoeckers Jewelry store in Mountain Home. I know these guys are rock hounds and gem hunters so I thought they might be able to identify what I was holding.

Long story, short! The mystery material coating that rock I found was “Mica”. But I heard Mr. Stoecker headed up NFS Road 130A3 on Sunday afternoon. Wink

Stats on this Non-gold Panning Exploration and Rock Hound Hike
- Coordinates of a random spot located in the middle of the canyon I wanted to pan: 43.471683, -115.405295
- Distance Hiked: 3.75 miles
- Vertical Gain/Loss: 1,185 feet

Gold Panning Comments?
Looking for a place to gold pan? Know a place where I should search for gold? Want to hit some Idaho gold streams with me? What say you my fellow hikers, ATV'er and/or rock hounders...leave a comment or use the Contact Us form.


Comments (0)
Click to leave Tim Bondy a comment or question
Your Contact Details:
[b] [i] [u] [url] [quote] [code] [img]   
Please input the anti-spam code that you can read in the image.

Dedicated Cloud Hosting for your business with Joomla ready to go. Launch your online home with