(…and some latter-day gold bugs are out there scrounging for it)

California’s four year long drought is generating another mini gold rush.

It seems these extreme drought conditions have so lowered the levels of its creeks and rivers up in the state’s gold country that, yes, there’s gold to be had from this drought, and some latter-day gold bugs are out there scrounging for it, with some successfully gathering up several grams per week of the shiny stuff. That may not sound like much of a big deal but, with gold hovering around $1200 per troy ounce those grams can accumulate a good weight of it rather quickly…and for a nice return too.

The reason this is happening is because when those creeks and rivers are flowing at normal levels from wetter conditions, they carry a good amount of gold dust, and even small nuggets, leached out from whatever mother lode sources they come from. Those gold elements stay in suspension until their waters’ flow rates encounter a snag or other obstruction along their courses. These create eddies and pools, which slow those flow rates down so much, all that gold in suspension drops out to accumulated among the gravel and mud at the bottom of such eddy and pool sites.

Normally, such deposits are too deeply submerged to be readily accessible, even with scuba gear. But under such extreme drought conditions those pool bottoms now become relatively exposed and easier to reach, making simple panning or modest sluicing efforts worthwhile. Still, be forewarned. If you do get that itch to go prospecting for some of that bright yellow stuff, keep in mind that panning and even sluicing are not easy and more physically demanding than you might think. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee you’ll get anything out of that effort other than a sore back and aching muscles…for just a few tiny flakes of gold not much bigger than…dandruff.

But, unlike the original Forty-Niner prospectors, at the end of the day there’s probably a handy Motel 6 nearby where you can take a long, hot, soak, to relieve you of all those aches and pains. That’s assuming, of course, Governor Brown, hasn’t cut down the motel’s water ration…again. As they say…you just pays your nickel…and takes your chances. Meanwhile, you do get lots of sunshine and fresh air.

C’est la vie!