(October 11th – 14th 2019)

1st par

Cape Disappointment State Park at Illwaco WA

We took a long weekend break to travel to Illwaco – Cape Disappointment State Park for a little fun and prospecting. This area is known for black sand beaches that contain flour gold and we are prospectors at heart, so a perfect match.

We arrived at check in time around 2pm and picked our camp site #165.  It was located within easy walking distance of the beach head trail.  After getting our tent set up, with the bed made, we took our first excursion to the beach. The first thing you see is piles of driftwood lining the beach.  The tide was about the midpoint with plenty of beach showing, so we began our search for black sand.

Just for fun, Rudy brought his copper dowsing rods for the exploration and we started our walk down the beach.    Some believe that when the rods cross, it indicates either water, or some other magnetic anomaly. So, when the rods crossed, we took a sample of the black sand.  He then did a 360 degree turn to see where it would lead, straight to the East and into the beach bank of driftwood was a thick layer of black sand.  Our choice for a dig site for the weekend.

Saturday and Sunday were spent at the dig site, classifying the sand to remove roots and wood chips.  We filled a pair of 5 gallon buckets at a time, loaded them in our cart and took them back to camp to empty into 18 gallon tubs in the bed of our truck.  Over the 2 days, we made 16 trips and filled 3 tubs with the black sand.  The weather was very nice for October, just partly cloudy with some sun, very little wind and it only rained for a little bit on Saturday night.  The rest of our time was spent hiking, taking photos and sitting and enjoying our camp fire.

Monday morning we woke to another nice day, but time break down camp and return home.  Had the truck packed and ready to leave by noon and a relaxing ride back home.

We highly recommend Cape Disappointment State Park.  It is a beautiful park with many amenities. Hiking and biking trails, a good history of the area, just beware of the raccoons.  We tent camped this time, the sites all have a nice picnic table and fire pit with a heavy duty built in grill.  There is water nearby with flush toilets and shower.  They also have full RV hook ups with power and smaller sites for hikers and bikers.  We give them 5 stars and look forward to a return trip.

Stay tuned for our next journey, we will explore the processing of the black sands we collected this trip.


  1. Patty Drew on October 30, 2019 at 12:17 am

    We love you guys! Always loved gold-mining in any form. We live right next to the Superstition Mountain in AZ. Lots of “gold stories” live here. Interesting about your ‘flour gold’….keep up the interesting dig 🙂

    • swensens on November 16, 2019 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks, love you too, Some day will have to visit you and check out your digs

  2. Richard Machinski on October 31, 2019 at 8:10 am

    Well did you get some gold dust? …;-)

    • swensens on November 16, 2019 at 9:24 pm

      A little, still getting things set up for major processing.

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