The girls wanted to go to Salmon Arm for a lobster fest, so Mike and I decided it would be our opportunity to do a little prospecting. We dropped the girls off in Salmon Arm and headed back to Kamloops. We were interested in looking for a placer claim on the Tranquille, and decided to check out the panning reserve.
To get there, head towards the Kamloops airport along Tranquille Dr. Continue past the airport and past the golf course. When the road forks, keep to the right and go over the train tracks. Reset your trip odometer to zero here to make finding the turn off out the trail head easy. Exactly 1.2 km from the train crossing, you’ll see a turn off on your right. Follow this a short distance until you come to a small parking area. Or get directions from Google here.
After spending the night listening to frogs and trains running by every fifteen minutes, we headed down the trail at daylight. I wore waders and boots, much to my dismay, not knowing how far a hike in it was. The first half kilometre we were eaten alive by mosquitos. We’ve been to a lot of creeks and rivers, and I can say in all honesty I have never been confronted with as many of these little varmints as I have here.
There’s an orange gate marking the trailhead. It’s usually closed but hikers can get around this gate on the left. This is a linear track. During many parts of the year, you can expect to come across large puddles and portions of the trails slightly flooded due to beaver activity in the area. Make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear, unlike me wearing gum and waders, and be prepared to come across these soggy sections. About 1.2 km in you’ll come across a fenced area with a covered picnic area. This area is maintained by the Kamloops School District and each spring groups of children come here to release salmon fry into the river. If you continue another 1 km down the path, you’ll come to the dam that is used to control the flow of water in the river.
There are lots of rattle snakes in the area, so be careful! Expect to see lots of birds, varied landscapes and if you’re lucky (or unlucky) some gopher snakes too! These are harmless, non-venomous snakes, yet often get up to 5ft in length. As they do look similar to rattle snakes and can imitate the rattling sound, it’s best to just give any snakes you see lots of space just to be safe.
It was about 2 kilometres in that we found our spot. Using our bucket classifier we started digging into the bank. We only had to dig down a foot or so, and we would hit water. After filling several buckets of pay, we started panning out our cons. Mike was the first to pan down, and much to our delight, he had a couple of small flakes.
We continued panning and classifying buckets for the rest of the day. The digging was fairly easy and there wasn’t a lot of large rocks to move.
All in all, except for the mosquitos and long walk in and out (especially at the end of the day) we managed to get some gold. Surprisingly, we did not see any other panners the entire trip in and out. We managed to get about a 1/2 gram each for our 6 hours work. Not bad for a panning reserve!
Here’s a shot at some of our gold.
We haven’t been back to Tranquille since our trip, but I would like to back and explore this region more. Next time, I will bring lot’s of mosquito repellant and an ATV. Long walk in!