One activity that I find relaxing is panning for gold. While the results are about as elusive as boar hunting with my bow, it is terribly exciting and fulfilling. The process is easy enough, and materials are cheap.
Today I took my daughter with me to Thurman Flats area in San Bernardino, CA. It is one of the first points of interest on the way up highway 38 going to Big Bear. Thurman Flats is considered a local secret, as there are wild blackberry bushes all over the place for anyone to pick when in season. The area is absolutely beautiful, with lush green bushes, wild flowers, and a creek that is shallow enough for kids to play in safely. The creek has many branches of streams that flow away, and come back together, creating a picturesque scene that is soothing to the soul. Up top, there is a picnic area with bbq pits, gazebos, and bathrooms to hold a small event. The parking is ok, but can fill up on the weekends.
This trip we did not collect berries(they were not in season), but instead came to play in the creek, and pan for gold. My daughter loves this trip, and calls it “walking in nature”. We loaded up the truck with a packed lunch, digging toys, survival/camping items, and my gold pans.
Now you don’t need much equipment to start panning for gold, pretty much just a pan, a bucket, and a little sniffer to suck the specs of gold in your pan. I also like to use a little clear pill bottle to keep the flakes, as the container doubles as a little show piece for the coffee table. One other item that I find time-saving is a classifier, which just helps get all the large stuff out of my pan. The most important item to bring with you is patience, and a love for the outdoors, because most times your just there to collect memories.