Saturday morning, 10 am. By this time tomorrow, Silvio will be standing ankle-deep in the Brewster with a group of novice gold panners.
The Gold Panning Workshops begin this month, through Smugglers Notch Resort. Tomorrow, Silvio takes a group of Smuggs guests and employees, as well as two local families, for a trial workshop to get some feedback on his chosen approach and fine tune it, as needed, prior to teaching the first official group.
Some careful preparation went into this. For example, Silvio acquired some black sand from the river bed over the past few days. “Black sand is what you get in your pan when gold panning. It is actually a mixture of magnetite and garnet,” he explains. “I will put small flecks of native god in this sand so that each participant can see how it shows up.”
In other words, participants will see how gold actually appears in the pan before scrutinizing the bottom of the river to find their own. “Fool’s gold will show up in the pan,” Silvio continues. ” These are minerals that mimic gold at first sight. I want participants to be able to tell the difference right from the start so that when they begin gold panning during the class, and later on their own, they will be very efficient and it will be a satisfying experience.”
During this trial run, and subsequently during the formal workshop, each participant will walk away with a clear understanding of the gold panning process. Also, they will get to keep the gold flecks Silvio placed in the sand for the initial demonstration.
The Gold Panning Workshops begin this month. Silvio’s friends Jeremy Dale, of El Zorro Restaurant, and Douglas Wilson will assist. Both are seasoned gold panning enthusiasts. Stay tuned for more details or contact Smugglers Notch Resort (800-419-4615) for a schedule and fees.