September 20, 2008

There's Gold In Them There Hills

The kids and I took an afternoon road trip to Dahlonega, GA to the Consolidated Gold Mines. We spent the afternoon exploring a (roughly) 120 year old gold mine and panning for gold. Our guide was a real live gold miner. He says that he holds 3 world records for gold mining as well as numerous other achivements. He told us that Dahlonega is the largest gold mine east of the Mississippi and was the site of the first gold rush in America.The mine was closed down in 1906 due to the price of gold not being high enough to make the miners any money. This mine was closed for 80 years before a mining family from Kentucky bought it and decided to open it to the public for tours rather than try to make it a working gold mine again.
The tour was very interresting and actually kept the kids attention for most of the 45 minutes we were underground. At one point we were the equivilent of 7 stories under ground. There was water seeping in through the walls of the mine because we were below the water table. Therefore, there was a small stream of water running all the way through the mine.
After the tour we were allow to pan for gold, and we actually found a few really small nuggets in each of our pans. The miners will help you with the panning if you need it and then they will take your gold nuggets and put them in a little test tube with water and cap it tightly for you to take home. This was a great way to spend the afternoon with the kids. We all had a great time and would love to visit the gold mines again.

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