If you’re interested in experiencing the obsession that triggered the largest voluntary mass migration in the Western Hemisphere, may I suggest a visit to the Marshall Gold Discovery Museum along the American River in Coloma. Check out the full-size replica of Sutter’s Mill, miners’ cabins, a museum and on the second Saturday of each month living history activities. You’re welcome to try your hand at panning for gold here. You’ll need a pan, and a glass or plastic vial with a lid. At a bend in the river submerge your pan and lift up some sediment, sloshing it back and forth. Then tip your pan gently. The gold, if any, will stick on the top edge of the pan. Good luck with that.