Panning – by Brant Nyberg

Our friend & amazing photographer from Riverton, Brant Nyberg, shared this little gem about gold panning, a favorite pastime in Central Wyoming. My husband’s father, from the Lander area, was an avid gold panner himself. He seemed to particularly appreciate his son’s geology background when the hobby emerged, asking him for mapping advice and how to interpret geologic formations to optimize his chances of striking gold. He showed Levi & I how to pan once, sitting on overturned five gallon buckets in the garage… I have to admit that while the time sitting & chatting was nice in that moment, I wasn’t good at the patience and time it takes to pan. However, the thing that I do remember fondly is that it was time spent with Levi’s dad – and those days were rare and, now looking back with him gone, precious for my husband indeed. Brant’s writing took me back to that day, sitting in the garage on buckets, me cursing quietly the patience I lacked for swirling dirt and water in a pan and not knowing how precious that day would become in our memories… Thanks Brant for helping me appreciate it again…  

Brant Nyberg Panning

Panning – text & image by Brant Nyberg

Never mind that this section of creek had already been dredged three different times. You may notice the hillside on the right as well as the rock pile on the left. Both are tailings from large scale mining operations. More difficult to see is the third pile of remains on the extreme left side of the frame.

Never mind that no one in our group really knew the first thing about pulling gold out of a creek. We may have sounded like we did after watching our prerequisite 1000 hours of Gold Rush, and Gold Fever. We may have even looked like we did after purchasing a brand new pan complete with gravity riffles. But, that was the beginning and the end of our expertise.

Never mind that it was 90 degrees out and that my mom is almost 70 years old. You can see her downstream knee deep and well into her second hour of panning. The kids were already back in the 4-wheelers ready to head back to camp 🙂

Never mind all that stuff. We found color! Gold in the pan, baby. And it wasn’t even Gold Rush Days yet…