When I was in my teens, old Bill Naatz told me about a stream north of Lake George where a man had panned out enough gold to make his wife a wedding band. It was all rumors, but to his grandson and myself, it sounded like the makings of a great adventure.
On our way to the AuSable River to fish for trout, we stopped by that creek near Crane’s Mountain to try our luck. We uses pie tins for gold pans and worked the sand and gravel behind every large boulder in the brook. With every swirl in the watery mix, we were sure a bright gold nugget would soon show up.
After a couple of hours of playing in the creek, we lost interest and concluded there weren’t any yellow flakes of gold to be found. Years later, we found out that the ancient Adirondack rock doesn’t hold any gold.
It’s rumors like that one that have cost folks a lot of money. Back in the late 1800s, a fellow was supposed to have discovered some gold between Wells and Indian Lake. It was actually a complete hoax, but his investors were sure they were going to get rich.
Using an old gold ring, he pounded out some flakes and small nuggets. Several people bought into the mine, but only one man got rich. Gold Mine Pass still can be found between East and Dug Mountains, not far from Speculator.
As they say, “All that glitters is not gold.”
There is treasure to be found up north. Diamonds — shiny, clear crystals that glisten in the sun — can be found in Herkimer County. Well they aren’t true diamonds, but they are easily found in the dolostone in the Herkimer and Little Falls area. These double-terminated quartz crystals are named Herkimer Diamonds, although similar gems can be found in Arizona, Afghanistan, Norway, the Ukraine and China. But only those found in upstate New York are Herkimer Diamonds.