Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gold In Them Hills!


My kind of gold - fools gold!  One of the streams we had our bat nets set up over had sparkly gold flakes mixed in the sand on the bottom of the stream.  Brandon found a sizable nugget, which, when I smooshed it in my palm, crumbled into the flakes shown above.  It's possible that we could have found real gold nuggets in the stream, because there are old gold mines sprinkled throughout northern Georgia.  Several local landowners have told us the history of their properties, which started as forty acre gold claims.  As their great, great, grandparent's neighbors gave up on their claims, they would purchase the land, expanding their land holdings.  Some of the people we have met have the original deeds that were issued from the government, proving that none other than the Cherokee has been on their land outside their families.  

With this picture I was trying to capture the reflection of my headlamp on the the gold flakes under the water.  When I would try to pick them up with my fingers, most of the time I would disturb the sand and lose site of the flake I was after.  I need a gold pan I guess.   

It fun to play in the creek after dark because I can usually find all sorts of critters that seem paralyzed in the glare of my headlamp.  This crayfish, which was nearly six inches long, must have recently molted because when I picked him up his shell was soft and squishy.  It sort of grossed me out because I'm used to them having a hard body, so I dropped him real quick.  I hope he isn't self conscious about his soft shell now.  

The site we set up tonight was challenging in so many ways.  Have you ever accidentally gotten a spider web in your mouth?  I don't recommend it.  Not only did we have a long walk through a spidery forest with all our gear, but the vegetation on the banks of the stream was so thick that Brandon had to assemble our poles and pulleys in the narrow stream channel just so he could stand up in a bramble free location.  It was so muggy in there!  My boot sprung a leak and quickly filled with water, but it really didn't matter since after a few hours it rained, hard, on us for about a half an hour and we ended up soaking wet anyway.  Then the rain stopped and we got to spend the next three hours cold and dripping.  I can't believe that I have been whining about the heat, and can now complain that I was cold!  Plus, we had to eat Subway sandwiches for dinner, again.  This will be the last site of the season, so I'm glad it's going to be a memorable one so I don't miss catching bats until it starts again next summer.    

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