By Matthew McCully
Three locals out hunting for gold may not have hit the jackpot, but they happened upon an unlikely treasure on the shore of the North River near Sawyerville this past fall.
A pair of ostrich eggs!
Well, not exactly, but that’s certainly what they look like.
St. Francis Manor residents William Lyon and his wife Monique set out with neighbour Brian Rice one day for some gold prospecting.
That’s right, the precious mineral is more prevalent in the area than one would think, Lyon explained. Not enough to get rich in an afternoon or two of panning and sluicing, but definitely enough to pique curiosity and keep hunters on the trail.
“It’s to get us out and get some fresh air and sunshine,” Lyon said.
The three miners form a great trio, he added.
“He’s (Brian) the boss, I’m just the driver, and my wife makes the lunch,” Lyon recounted.
Rice, who has an interest in geology, is in the know about gold leases in the area.
With his experience and the Lyons’ sense of adventure, the team has enjoyed several outings in the area.
Rather than just panning for gold, Rice uses a metal detector. But according to Lyon, they have faced a few skeptics. “You know what you’re gonna get? Bottlecaps!” Lyon was told.
Even so, a detector can find copper and iron, and it in fact, has found gold before.
“Not that we get much,” Lyon said, but they bring the rocks home and pick out the gold flecks and add them to a little jar.
“North Hatley has a lot of gold places,” Lyon continued. Until just a few weeks ago the hunters were out in search of gold, stopped only by the winter freeze. Everything is now on hold until the spring, Lyon said, although he does have four buckets of gravel from the brook in his car.
He brings it down to the basement of the manor to sluice. It should keep him busy for quite a while. It takes over two hours to get through one bucket, Lyon estimated.
“At the end we’d be lucky to get enough to see it,” he said.
But the hobby does keep life interesting, and it opens up the door to other rare finds.
Lyon, a lifetime member of the Compton County Fish and Game Club, said that this past fall he, Monique and Brian Rice were out around Sawyerville mining for gold. They were unsuccessful on the gold front, but Monique did happen upon two very interesting looking rocks.
Enter the ostrich eggs.
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