The weather has warmed up and we are in Alaska, so naturally we must go panning for gold!
The Eldorado Gold Mine.
Once there we entered the train station and then boarded the narrow gauge train for the mine. Our order of entrance into the train was as follows: Little Companion, me, sweet daughter, and two random men (you will see why this is important later in my story).
Our conductor was a' singing and a' playing along the way.
Little Companion and I were snapping pictures hugging, really not paying much attention to anyone else on the train. Here we are about to enter a permafrost tunnel.
Once inside we were given a little talk about permafrost and the techniques used to mine under this condition.
Most gold miners have not succeeded in striking it rich.
More on the mine operation...
On up the track to our destination.
At this point we were given some more information on the mining operation by the mine owner. She was very encouraging to the young ladies to not be afraid to pursue their dreams, even if that meant learning to use a backhoe.
They dumped the pay dirt and then let the water go.
Most of the nuggets are found at the very beginning. Probably why the owner is in that spot!
We were shown the panning process. This little lady will be headed off to the Philippines, at the end of the summer, to be a midwife. She is from here and has worked here for 4 seasons.
We were each given a little sack of pay dirt and off to the panning stations we went.
Look, there's my little girl!
The three of us combined what we found and off we went to the...
Daughter had our gold split into two necklaces and Little Companion and I were each given one. The gold we found was 22 karat and was worth about $72. That's fun!
Cookies, coffee, and hot chocolate were available as we waited for the necklaces.
Look, Little Companion and my sweet daughter are loaded up and ready to head back to the station.
Here is where the plot thickens.
If you remember, I gave the order of seating earlier. Notice this is not the same order. The order is now: Little Companion, sweet daughter, me, and the same two random guys. We had switched cars and were now in the third car back instead of the second with many empty seats behind us, and yet there we were 4 adults and one Little Companion all jammed into this seat.
Evidently Little Companion and I had missed something on the way out.
Come to find out these are two "random" wealthy Egyptians. One lives here and the other was his brother visiting from Egypt. One of the men had been talking to my daughter the whole way to the mine. They were very well dressed and groomed. Amazingly enough we were also offered the information that he was single, well not me really, I don't believe he ever took his eyes off my daughter.
There I was...
between Jackie O and Ari.
Well, he was very nice and held the door for all of us. We waved goodbye as we slid into our rental car and he and his brother got into their Mercedes.
We had a wonderful time and on the way back we finally saw a moose!
What a way to end the day.