Yesterday was a fun day of exploring Girdwood after going up to the Crow Creek mining area. While at the mining area, I took a brief lesson in gold panning and then grabbed a shovel, bucket, gold pan and headed for the creek where gold was discovered in 1897.
The brochure states the largest piece of gold found in recent years was a 4.5 oz. nugget the size of a chicken egg and was found by a tourist. I panned for a while, even as it started raining and I thought about how hard life must have been for the gold miners of long ago. The rain was definitely the catalyst for my discovery of gold. I ended up finding nuggets and flakes of all sizes and weights…
… in the gift shop.
I was told all of the gold on display was mined on the creek, but the rain kept me from digging and panning further. I do think it would be fun to come back someday in a motorhome with a sluice box for quicker processing of the river bottom soil. I guess I’m going to have to do some research on buiilding a sluice box!
On the way out of the minining area I met Johnny, a local who was intrigued with my adventure and offered to buy me a beer at a local restaurant/bar. While there, one of his friends walked up. His name was Chris as well. Chris introduced us to other adventurers he met the day before – Hanna and Ingmar from Germany. Hanna and Ingmar have been adventuring for two and a half years. They met in the Netherlands and have explored approximately 35 countries since. They consider themselves ski bums and have been working at ski resorts around the world to pay for their continuous adventures. They recently flew into Anchorage, bought an old mini van and plan on exploring Alaska for a while. What a life! If you’d like to read more about their adventures, go to http://www.flowingworld.net and http://www.ingmarwein.com for blogging and beautiful photography.
Johnny, Chris, Hanna and Ingmar at Chair 5 restaurant.
As we sat around a giant plate of nachos, it turned out that Hanna and Ingmar knew someone that I had met at the hostel – Theo, a 21 year old adventurer from Portland. They had a couple of beers together the night before. Theo is adventuring in yet another way. He is hiking and hitchhiking his way around Alaska after spending over a month on a fishing boat in northern Alaska. Last I saw of Theo was as he headed up Crow Creek Rd. with his 50 lb. backpack to see glaciers and mountain goats. At a young 21 years old and not a lot of experience under his belt, I wished him well and offered him my Bear Horn, a pressurized air horn to scare away curious bears as I thought he needs it more than I do. Good luck to you Theo!
I must say, the hostel is everything I was looking for. I’m meeting many adventurers who are all on different journeys… Rowdy who rode his dual sport motorcycle from Michigan, Michelle who recently had a major back surgery and is testing her self-sufficiency, Keri who has been living in Jordan for a few years and is heading to Scottland to work on her PhD and Ashley who manages the hostel and has the opportunity to meet all kinds of people from all over. We discussed the possibility of a book she could write about all of the adventurers who transition through.
Today will be another day of exploring Girdwood. I noticed a few glaciers on the mountains to the north so my goal is to get some photos to share with you. Have a Great Day! 🙂