I'm Holly Jo, I was the "Gold Girl" tour guide the last 3 years at Porcupine Creek in Haines, AK. Two years at John & Parker Schnabel's Big Nugget Gold Mine and one year at Dakota Fred's Porcupine Creek Gold Mine. Not sure what I will be doing this year as the Gold tours at Porcupine Creek are not offered any more...and I kinda got fired.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gold Panning at Porcupine Creek and Other Haines, Alaska Tours

Pizza Party at Fireweed for the Rainbow Glacier Adventures
(RGA) Tour Guiding Team.
We are mid-way thru the summer season of 2013 and Haines, Alaska has been busy showing tourist one of the prettiest, sunniest summers yet.  Rainbow Glacier Adventures has many types of tours to enhance your Haines, Alaska experience, like Photography tours.
Big Cruise Ship gets kissed by the sun on the Lynn Canal,
with our Boat Harbor in the foreground. 

We have some of the most captivating Photo Guides around, with natural skills in composition and an easy going manner in which they teach it.  Joe OrdoƱez, the owner of RGA, is a professional photographer himself, so that might be why he has an eye for hiring great talent.  All photos on my blogs are from me (unless I'm in them or otherwise stated), and I have come along way with their help and guidance....but I know I need to learn so much more.
Want to see Haines Alaska through the lens of a professional photo guide? Check this link out....one of my favorite photo guides, Tom Ganner's Time & Space Facebook page of phenomenal photos he has taken around Haines.

Time & Space Facebook Page

We also have Artist tours, Kayaking tours, Tasting tours, Wildlife tours, Flight Seeing tours, Gold Panning tours, and Custom Made tours for those who have special requests.  Some of my favorite Artists we visit on our "Off Beat Haines" tours are Dave Pahl of the Hammer Museum and The Svenson's of Extreme Dreams Art Gallery.  Meeting these people gives tour guests a real feel of the kindhearted, creative yet quirky souls who live in Haines year round.

Dave Pahl of the Hammer Museum entertaining visitors
with his great humor and off the wall stories

Hammer Museum Interns, Taylor & Michelle, have been
a great addition to the Hammer Museum experience
this summer with their mind blowing ability to retain all of Dave's stories
and each hammer's history and uses.  These gals are smart cookies.

One of Dave's newest Art pieces, a mesmerizing, perpetual motion hammer
display...well it only spins for a couple of minutes...but it is completely mesmerizing

 We also drive out Mud Bay road 8 miles, to visit John and Sharon Svenson at their art gallery, Extreme Dreams.  The drive out there is as spectacular with flowers blooming in the sunshine as the local art they display.

I am not above making a guest take my photo in the
wild iris fields of Mud Bay.  I'm still a tourist myself most of the time.

Letnikof Cove with the Chilkat Range as a backdrop

John Svenson has collected interesting
artifacts, as well as great stories of his world wide mountain
climbing experiences to share with visitors. 

Whoopi, Sharon & John Svenson are very accomplished artists who
open their studio up for travelers to find rare gems of local artist's
masterpieces to purchase
Go to John Svenson Extreme Dreams Gallery Website to view their brilliance.

I get to guide people Gold Panning at Porcupine Creek Gold Mine.  We have a beautiful 34 mile drive out of downtown Haines, through the scenic American Bald Eagle Preserve.  Getting to see wildlife is one of the perks on the long (but stunning) drive to the gold mine.   Sometimes we see John Schnabel of the Gold Rush TV show too.  If we see Grandpa John in town I will stop at the insistence of the guests so they can meet him and take photos.  People really love that man, and he is happy to comply with our impromptu interruption to his daily life.

Aerial view of the American Bald Eagle Preserve.  We drive along the
right side of the Chilkat River, seen here in front of the Chilkat Range
inside the Chilkat Valley.  You can see Haines Highway if you look closely.

Moose along the Chilkat River while we drive the Haines Highway
Tour guests and big fans of the TV show Gold Rush
meeting 93 yr. old John Schnabel

John Schnabel is always willing to take time to meet
fans of Discovery Channel's Gold Rush TV show

Porcupine Crossing - The bridge to the Porcupine Creek
Gold Mining District

We have been visiting the Dakota Boy's Porcupine Creek Gold Mine this summer and it has been entertaining and intriguing as we see the the gold miners getting filmed for Discovery Channel's 4th Season of Gold Rush!
The Gold Rush Stars, Dakota Fred, Dustin Hurt, and Melody are inviting hosts who go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome.  If they are busy working the dirt they will wave to us from their loaders.  But more times than not we get to visit with them and they even take time to teach the guests how to pan for gold.  Some people come on the tour think Dakota Fred is a mean guy because the TV show makes him look that way.  They learn he has a fun sense of humor on this tour.
Guests say, "Wow, Dakota Fred, you are a lot nicer than I thought you would be."
He jokes with them not to ruin his "reputation" by telling people the truth.

A young Gold Panner finds some gold
with Dakota Fred's help

The lucky family of four all found gold AND got to visit with Dustin Hurt
I think the ladies liked him better than the gold (hee hee hee)

Melody helping visitors pan for gold with
Dakota Fred

Dakota Fred showing visitors how the wash plant works

Travelers listen intently as Dakota Fred tells them how to
tell the difference between Pyrite (Fools Gold) and real Gold

Melody giving secret gold panning tips to
find the rich pay dirt in their pans

Some people are such big fans of the Gold Rush TV show that they come bearing gifts to give to the 
"Stars"...... like Big Jim from Toledo, Ohio, one of my favorite guests because his excitement at meeting Dakota Fred and seeing the place was contagious.  We all became giddy with his enthusiasm - He was great!

Big Jim brought Dakota Fred, John Schnabel,
& Parker gifts - what a sweet guy

Speaking of gifts....Dakota Fred celebrated his 70th birthday on July 10th.  So I brought him donuts from Chilkat Bakery, I recited a piece of Robert Service's "Spell of the Yukon" poem for him, plus I gave him a kiss on the cheek (my trade mark pose ha ha).  This time Melody helped me with the kiss - ooh la la!

Melody & I giving Dakota Fred a Happy Birthday kiss
on his 70th Birthday, July 10th 2013

We have been taking gold tours out almost every week day this summer.  Discovery Channel really helped boost our numbers by airing the two minute segment of our gold panning tour during "The Dirt" of Season 3....despite making me look a little bit like a "crazy cougar"... I am grateful for it.  Ah... the magic of editing.

Tour De Stud Gold Tour video that Discovery Channel aired Dec. 2012

It is not too late to book a cruise up in the Inside Passage of Alaska and stop into Haines where I will take you to gold pan at Dakota Fred's Porcupine Creek Gold Mine.

Contact the company I guide for (RGA) for booking tours,

PS: Oh and one of our interns went on my gold tour and wrote about it in her blog, click here to read about the gold tour and her adventures in Haines, Alaska - she is a fun read!

Week Nine with RGA by Brooke

Happy Travels my Friends!

Flight Seeing tour with Rainbow Glacier Adventures is
sure to WOW you.  Pilot Paul with Mountain Flying Services
is one of the best!


  1. Great Blog Holly - catches up on what is going on in Haines. The good stuff anyway. Makes me think there is no "bad" stuff. May that ever be the case.

  2. Nice job Holly. I miss Alaska and you!