Anyhow, here's what happened. My friend, his wife, and I where working at a local spot I like to visit. I was digging into a bank where I seemed to be finding bigger and bigger pieces of gold the further into it I dug. My two friends where standing in the creek having fun practicing their gold panning technique when my one friends, John, looks up to tell me something. The problem is what he was going to tell me wasn't at all what he had planned on saying. All he could mumble out was B-b-b-b-BEAR!!! Not believing my friend since he had been joking around about that all day (a really bad idea!) I was slow to react and look up. As I lifted my head above the lip of the bank... there it was... a big ol black bear staring me right in the eyes from about 10 - 15 feet away. Pick axe in hand I backed up slowly and told my friends to climb on the big rock in the middle of the creek. I slowly made my way to them and stood there remembering that its best to group together and make yourselves look big when approached by a black bear. Luckily this one had no cubs and was actually very docile! It kind of looked at us for a period of time then went about its business shaking trees and eating leaves. It stuck around for 10 minutes or so pretending to be our pal before moseying on down the creek. I named him Joe the Bear.
And without further delay: How To Gold Pan and Gold Panning Lessons
It was a surreal experience! But a good lesson for anyone who frequents the outdoors... Be prepared and make sure all your food is in SEALED containers!