Prospecting & Detecting
I recently found myself wondering what would be the ultimate prospecting adventure. What would be the most amazing thing if I had no restrictions or limitations?
This year was a test. We had never done anything like this before, yet we grossed $30,000 in the short time we had to mine.
The signal I was hearing was coming from a vertical bedrock crack on the bank of the creek. I removed my backpack, took out my crevicing tools and started to clean out the crack when I saw a glint of gold.
Don’t hunker down and just keep digging in one spot where there is very little or no gold—if you don’t find it, you’ve got to get up and move on!
Filing claims is actually quite easy, though there are a number of pitfalls that you should watch out for. Over the years, I have made just about every mistake you can with a mining claim, and have learned a few things to watch out for along the way.
I have figured out over the years that the winning combination is hard work, persistence, knowledge, and a little luck. This leads me to describe one of my best finds ever, a “honey hole” of placer gold, if you will.
After burning more than 350 square miles, the Carr Fire near Redding, California, was finally out. Luckily our home was spared, and I had the opportunity to go metal detecting in burned areas previously too overgrown to access.
Winter is the time for research, and if you haven’t already done some research to find new places to prospect, now is the time to cram in some last minute research before the good weather arrives.
At the end of the day, Jerry showed me how to clean out the sluice box and then how to pan out the concentrates. As we finished panning, there it was—a little tiny smile of gold...
So, I took the plunge. I decided on the maximum I would pay for the claim, then placed my bid. A day later I received a congratulations e-mail that I was the high bidder, and oh, by the way, send us your money.
While a large number of locations have yielded some placer gold, most of the state’s placer production has come from a few productive districts.
The mysteries of this spot were only just starting to develop. There is nothing but very bland granite-type rocks here, meaning no bold, favorable indicators.
We decided to check some spots that were pretty good to us on previous trips. The detector was deceptively simple with few buttons and auto-ground balance.
At this point, stress raised my blood pressure and I was figuring out escape routes through the brush, but thought it best to continue the conversation.