JUNE 7 - 14, 2009
For up-to-date information and reservations please contact Kim or Tammy at
Roaring Camp Mining Company, 13010 Tabeau Road, Pine Grove, CA 95665
Phone  209-296-4100   Website

A 49er gold camp with prospecting cabins and camping by the week,
gold panning gold prospecting, fishing, swimming,
All Day Adventure Tours and Saturday Night New York Steak cookout tours.
Open May through September.
The Magic of Roaring Camp has been beautifully captured by writer Sandra Manning.
After her visit to Roaring Camp she wrote Ragtag Rhymes of Roaring Camp, an extraordinary compilation of poems about Roaring Camp and its characters.

My favorites: "Young Wrangler Rodman's Luck" and  "The Pied Piper of Roaring Camp"
More links: 
My Article in the German World Magazine JulAug 2007 issue, pages 28 - 30 
Gold Mining Techniques explained
"Best Places to find Cash and Treasures" by the Travel / Discovery Channel 
The New 49ers 
Gold Prospectors Association (GPAA) 
Back at Roaring Camp!

After my encounter with "Pile #13" during my stay at Roaring Camp in 2008  SEE PART 2  I was determined to put my lucky number 7 to work this time. It all started well with June 7 being the check-in date. I then noticed, that I had signed in as # 7. Now all I needed was to grab pile # 7 and my luck should be sealed. I anxiously awaited the drawing of names and soon was on my way to claim - you guessed it - Pile # 7 :) I was one happy prospector! But it didn't end there - after purchasing some supplies from Tammy at the Trading Post, the receipt read $ 7.72. Had I just pushed my luck?! 
After a week of hard labor, my cabin neighbor Bill finally found a nice-sized 2.3 pw nugget among the last buckets of dirt. Well done, Bill :)
Veteran prospector Ben impressed me with his "Lab" (which he preferred to call "the mess") and I was thrilled to not only get a chance to test some of his tools, but also receive a demo of his hand-crafted "antique" dry washer.
Day 1 went quite well as a picker got trapped in my sluice box and more small pieces followed. So far so good. Yet, I couldn't help but glance over to Kathy & John, who innocently had claimed station # 13. 
Left: This group tried their luck with a sophisticated sluice box setup running from the trail down to the Mokelumne River.
Their efforts paid off as they found a small nugget along with small pieces of gold.

Below: Brothers James and Sam took a different approach. They decided to move 
an entire mountain by sheer manpower :) Meanwhile their Dad David awaited the arrival of the dirt-filled buckets, which he would then run through the sluice box by the river. Earlier that week, the three of them had worked the pile next to mine and cleaned it up in only 2 1/2 days! The pressure was on...
Fred Sr and Fred Jr tried their luck by running a wissbang operation along the river. They were about to give up hope, when only two days before leaving camp, small pieces of gold showed up in their pan. With renewed energy, and the help of old fire hoses courtesy of their employer Disneyland, this father & son team was able to retrieve quite a few nice pieces of gold.
And then there are those, who delegate  and rather watch others do the work...!!!
"295 days" by James V. Patterson
Buy it directly from the Publisher
Buy it at

To raise awareness about DUI, we attempted to create the non-profit
organization Prevent It Now (PIN)
Only with the help of two alarm clocks was I finally able to make it to one of the many activities organized by Roaring Camp: "Hike with Mike". At 8 am, a small group of early risers, including Mike's dog "Elle", headed up the Mokelumne River to a bend that promised gold deposits. Soon everyone was digging, hacking and panning between the rocks and boulders of the riverbed - no one felt too young or old to dive into this adventure. I got comfortable on a large rock and began making notes for this report. The miners around me slowly disappeared into their digging grounds and soon all I could see were the tops of their heads and hats.
While everyone was trying to get serious about their business, "Elle" had her mind set on finding playmates to play "Fetch" with her. And since none of us were immune to those big brown eyes begging for attention, she easily got her way :) 
This outing was a perfect way to start the day and I'm sure, everyone enjoyed it. Thank you, Mike, for showing us this beautiful spot.
Can you hear me now?! Mike trying to get our attention.
Globetrotters John & Kathy hatching a plan?
Chiropractors are probably among those who profit most in today's prospecting world :) 
Heather and her son Blaze sure look like they mean serious business :) I hope, you too got a chance to chat with Blaze at some point during your stay, because he's one smart kid, interested in every topic imaginable. 
Mike and "Elle" having fun!
"Elle" cracked everyone up when she appeared with this huge log to play "Fetch"
Lucky Fellows! Bill and Richard strike it big with their finds of a 2.3 pw and a 2.9 pw nugget. And who knew: Gold actually does make a man dance on his toes! The moment, Richard discovered his nugget, he performed moves even his wife had never seen before :)

Singer/ Songwriter Johnny Gonzales entertains the crowds at Roaring Camp.
Rick and his Grandpa, Roaring Camp Owner Elton Rodman
Dina (me) and Patrick
Richard and his wife - guess who has the nugget now :)
Lovely Tiffany
Bill always had something delicious cooking on his grill and generously shared the many goodies from his own garden
A soon-to-be gold sniffer? :) 
They all have reason to smile: Fellow gold miners Ben, Blaze and Vicky

It was my friend Jim's first trip to Roaring Camp and despite the hard work, he enjoyed his stay tremendously.

Jim and Marshall Neil pose with the
treasure found during that week
Men at work, covered in dirt!
Instructors Mike and Jack take a break
James and Tiffany watching the kids play
Dina (me)
The most delicious fried bread in the world!!!
This time around, many individual groups had formed at Roaring Camp
and they all tried their prospecting luck in the most diverse and creative ways:
The Beauty Bath...
Make sure to check out James' book
"295 days"
a riveting account of his experience in the 
Orange County jail and the life-altering 
consequences of drinking and driving / DUI.
Photo Courtesy of Fred Rehfield Jr.
Photo Courtesy of Fred Rehfield Jr.
Photo Courtesy of Fred Rehfield Jr.
Photo Courtesy of Fred Rehfield Jr.
Photo Courtesy of Fred Rehfield Jr.
Photos Courtesy of Fred Rehfield Jr.
Photo Courtesy of Fred Rehfield Jr.
Photo Courtesy of Fred Rehfield Jr.
Photo Courtesy of Fred Rehfield Jr.
Photo Courtesy of Jim Lahti
Photo Courtesy of Jim Lahti
Photo Courtesy of Jim Lahti
>> What?!
     for me??!!
Richard's Gold Nugget (3/8" - 2.9 pw)
John & Kathy traveled across the U.S.
for three months, following Hot Springs.
No wonder, they're forever young!
My shoes and pants have seen better days... :-/
How would they do, I wondered? I hadn't finished that thought when sudden excitement erupted from their station. Could it be, that pile # 13 was once again a lucky draw? Well, let me put it this way: Kathy & John (# 13), Richard (# ?), Bill (# 9) and I (# 7) got some really nice pieces out of our piles, with Richard and Bill finding a 3/8" nugget each. Despite the satisfying result, I cursed my pile more than once during that week. Because it had rained earlier, the soil had turned into rock-solid clumps, which I could only dissolve by either smashing them with my shovel or letting them sit in the tub.
Needless to say, that container was soon filled with silt and muck and at the end of the week, I had the "pleasure" of kneading through it. Maybe I should have bottled it to sell as "Beauty Mask with Real Gold" to the "Wives of Beverly Hills" > Makes You Sparkle & Shine, Guaranteed !  :)
Bill not only finished his own pile by Friday, but then helped me clean up mine too. Thanks so much, Bill :)
Make sure to pick up Tom Leftwich's new book

Gold Mining "Come Along for the Ride"
A journey encompassing 27 years of gold mining:
The HOW TOs, the Gidgets and Gadgets, the Inventions,
the Experiences, the Successes and Failures,
and the Humor, Characters and Stories.

Available at Publish America  and
Read my REVIEW on (at the end of the page)

Tom's articles are currently published in the monthly
"ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal".
inspired by Roaring Camp

This design for the official 2008 Flower Show Schedule for the Los Angeles Garden Club was inspired by the beautiful surroundings of the  Roaring Camp Gold Mine 
in Pine Grove, CA.

On July 20, 2009 I was informed, that the design 
won a Blue Ribbon and the Gold State Award in its class.

Thank you, Roaring Camp, for inspiring me :)
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