Greywolf is, well I’m an logger/prospector/instructor/builder, born and raised in the Cariboo Gold Rush Country in the small town of Williams Lake BC.
Have been stumbling around the hills and valleys of this great place I call home for a little more than 50 years, started prospecting/panning back in 1976, found my first gold on Keithly Creek, just downstream from where Doc Keithley discovered gold back in 1859, and have be hooked ever since.
Started making my own prospecting/hand mining equipment a number of years ago, as I found that what was available on the market was a bit flimsy, well it was nice and shiny, not real effective and easily bend or broken.
So being fairly resourceful I gathered up the tools, metal benders and such needed, and began building equipment that would recover fine Fraser River gold as well as the nugget gold from the Cariboo Gold Rush Country.
I work out of my small shop at home, custom building all the components (by hand), that make up a Greywolf Highbanker, hoppers and sluice boxes are made from 8 gauge aluminum (1/8 thick), the riffles sets are formed individually from 20 gauge steel then welded together, then are given a coat of hi-strength industrial paint.
The equipment I make, is designed by myself, based on my experience with a lot of different trial and error designs, taking the best designs and throwing away the rest, using materials I know work for building equipment to be especially durable, easy to set up and operate, and most importantly, recover fine to nugget gold effectively…..
In this website you will find the equipment I make, and as things progress I will be working on some other products as well, stream sluices and gold pans, and if I am able to find Canadian manufacturers of prospecting gold mining equipment I will be adding those products to the catalogue as well.
In order to help out novice prospectors and recreational panners, as well as more seasoned folks, I have thrown in a number of pages of information on prospecting and placer mining that you all may find helpful, if you have any pressing question or enquiries feel free to contact me and I’ll be more than willing to try and help ya out.
I don't make claims that my highbankers will recover 98 or 99% of the
GOLD, because that would be MISLEADING and FALSE advertizing.
Of the makers of sluiceboxes and highbankers that do make these types of claims, I’ll ask you to do this, show me the results of your tests proving these outrageous claims. I haven’t even seen these companies to be able to produce a simple video on HOW RIFFLES WORK.
I can say this with certainty, my highbankers will recover most of the visible gold and a fair amount of the micron gold from Cariboo Gold Rush Country gravels and clays, then after classifying the concentrates down to respective sizes, simple panning of the 20 mesh plus, will recover the coarse gold, with further processing with a cleanup mini sluice will recover gold to roughly
200 mesh sizes.
You may want to check out the information pages and links
How to Find Gold
Reading a Stream
How to Use a Gold Pan
Acquiring a Free Miners Certificate
MTO Updates for Placer Miners
Recreational Panning Rules/Regs/Guidelines for British Columbia
How To Use Mineral Titles Online for the Novice/Recreational Panner
A Bit of Cariboo Gold Rush Country History
The following chronologic table gives the some of the dates, principals, creeks and events that helped shape the Cariboo Gold Mining District
1858 – Gold first discovered in quantity on the lower Fraser River, at Yale. Hills Bar one of the most productive bars on the Fraser River with over $2,000,000.00 in gold being recovered from its gravels, it was also the first test of the British Colonies rule of law been enforced, as the main population was made up of American 49ers, a lot of which were more than a little popular down south in California.
1859 – Gold seekers moving up the Fraser River found rich digging at the Quesnelle River, continuing up both the Quesnelle and Beaver Valley systems they found the bar diggings got richer. It has been said that Peter Dunlevy was the first to discover gold at the Horsefly River though the only record of this was in a book authored by himself and there was no official recording of this claim to fame. The tent city of Quesnelle Forks was pitched, and a short way up the South Fork, Dancing Bill found his gulch, though Bill and his brother would drown the following year crossing the river in a rowboat heading to their claim, never knowing that someday the Bullion Pit Mine would come from his find.
1859 – Gold reportedly found in good quantities on both the Horsefly and Cariboo Rivers and tributaries. With winter setting in and essentials in short supply most of the miners headed south, some did not make it and starved to death, others were given aid by the Hudson Bay and First Nations.
1860 – Doc Keithley, William Sellars, George Weaver and companions found Keithly Creek and others that yielded good qualities of gold. Most of the miners where finding gold in good paying quantity’s, but the pack trains for supplies was lacking and as winter set in most were forced to head south again, Doc Keithly and some others stuck it out, living in lean too snow huts and caves until spring, they fashioned hoses out of rolls of canvas and tunnelled in on the bedrock of the discovery claim preparing to be able to hydraulic mine come spring. There were some buildings at Quesnelle Forks with the promise of a Gold Commissioner to arrive in the early part of the next year..
1861 – William Dietz and partners crossed over Yanks Peak and Agnes Mountain and discovered Williams Creek, other strikes were to come as gold miner started to pour into the country side, Antler, Lighting, Lowhee, Cunningham, Kangaroo, Harvey, etc. The town site of Quesnelle Forks was now a busy center with a Gold Commissioner to record the claims, up until now the miners had regulated themselves with very little problems, though they had changed the size of a claim that could be staked from 25 ft by 25 ft to 100ft by 100ft the arriving Commissioners agreed to these suggestions quickly, realizing the enormous size of the Gold district and that the distance from civilization that it was only fair that the claims be allowed to be of such size.
1861 – Late in the season Mr. Abbott decided to dig down through the blue clay over which they had been mining a surface run, the clay ran from 8 to 12 ft in depth. Under this clay was the real wealth of Williams Creek. Working alone, as his partner had gone for supplies Abbott recovered 50 oz. of gold in 48 hrs. This was just a glimpse of what lay beneath their feet, it is rumoured that Abbott, while spending the winter in Victoria threw handfuls of nuggets in the saloons, breaking some of the mirrors, exclaiming it didn’t t matter as his claim in the Cariboo was so rich that the gold could be found in by the pound not flakes. He apparently died a broken and poor vagrant man a few years later in San Francisco
1862 – Billy Barker and Company were engaged with diggings below the canyon, at a depth of about 52 ft they struck the mother lode of placer mining. This was a good thing, fore as a day or two earlier Billy Barker had been forced to borrow $100 from Judge Begbie in order that he and his partners could continue to afford grub. Cameron and Co. were working a short distance away from the Barker claim and reached bedrock a couple of days later. The gold mining business was now changing from individual miners working alone or in pairs, to underground shaft mining that needed a company of men to operate, but some of the reported recoveries made it worthwhile, with up to100 - 300 oz per day in gold values extracted from a few of the better claims.
1863 – This was the highest recorded output of the Cariboo Gold Mining District with a reported $3,800,000.00 of gold production; this would amount to over 200,000 ounces of gold, 17500 troy lbs, or 8.75 tons of the stuff. In all likelyhood the amounts reported and the amounts of gold actually recovered are quite different. High grading was a common practice of the employed miners that worked in the mines for just basic wages, and the mine owners were not above falsifying reports and carrying off amounts of gold nuggets as bonus payments. Barkerville was becoming the fastest growing city in all of North America, with men and women traveling from all points of the world seeking fortunes and adventure, many found adventure, some found wealth, some turned back as they realized the wilderness of the Cariboo country was far more demanding than they were prepared for. Those that stayed went on to build towns and communities, some that lasted for a number of years and then where abandoned, to become ghost towns, some that grew to become the bustling towns and cities of today.
1864 – There where new discoveries being made as the prospectors continued to explore the country, there was gold in just about every creek in the country, though finding the Eldorado pay streaks that the individual miner could make his fortune with was a test of persistent effort and endurance. The Cariboo Wagon Road reaches Barkerville, with this Quesnelle Forks loses much of it’s prestige as the main city in the interior, though many people continue to live there and prospect in the surrounding country side for until the 1940s.
1865 -June 17th-July 29th -unparalleled yield of gold taken off Erikson claim in Cariboo. about $160,000 taken out in 7 weeks. That’s about 750 lbs of gold from one claim, interesting.
1868 -The town of Barkerville burns down in what became known as the Barkerville fire. Though reconstruction began the next day, the Gold Rush was dwindling. Prospectors were heading out in search of new undiscovered digging, some to the north west, where they eventually found gold in the Ominecia Region, some went on to discover the Atlin Goldfields, many hardy souls stayed in Barkerville and the Cariboo Region prospecting and working deeper gravels.
While the miners were finding gold in quantities of unheard of amounts it was good that they were, as the cost of transporting the essentials foodstuffs and other goods to the Cariboo was exceptionally high, meaning that the miners were paying astronomical prices for everything that was available, It was a tough, rough life and only the very hardy survived, most that stayed made a living and some actually struck it rich, but for most of the prospector of the 1860 to the 1960 it was the land and the way of life that made them rich, the gold was just a bonus.
The Goldminers of the 1860s
They found millions of dollars worth of gold, but most geologists and mining companies will tell you they only scratched the surface, the amount of gold taken out of the gravels of the Cariboo Country between 1860 and today 2010, is estimated to be only around 10 percent of the gold that is still hidden in the gravels, maybe just around the corner, under that rock or boulder, in the bend of the creek. So what are you waiting for, “There’s Gold in them there Hills”.