Gold prospecting is a very difficult hobby to have. There are many ways of getting the gold out of the ground. Whether your metal detecting, sluicing, high banking, dredging, dry washing or excavating, it requires a lot of hard work. If you are working hard, you expect to get paid for it.
My first time prospecting, I went out 6 hours a day at Rose Creek in Prescott Valley AZ, for 2 weeks straight. I was ready to sell my gold and I knew that I had made a few hundred dollars. As the guy was weighing my gold, I waited sweating bullets. He came back and told me it was $17.68. WHAT! I could not have been more disappointed.
I decided to make prospecting a hobby at this point. Only doing it on the weekends and learn as much as I can from any ZZ Top bearded guy I meet out in the desert. Most of them are great guys and you should really listen to them.
One of my favorite ways to prospect is using a high banker or power sluice. Both systems usually recirculate water to rush down the sluice. Using water systems are a lot cleaner than dry washing but you have to haul your water with you in most areas in the desert. This system allows me to go through a lot of dirt, and bring my concentrates home to go through them.
Metal detecting is my second favorite way of prospecting. This hobby requires lots of patience. Detecting does not always show results like high banking or sluicing. There could be weeks or months before you find a nugget. However, it is relaxing but may take a lot of digging trash. The old miners were leaving their trash everywhere!
When metal detecting, always make sure you are in a good area where gold has been found before. I like to walk the banks of creeks and check the roots of bushes. The waters, from thousand years past, moved gold to its resting place. The water would go over a large rock creating a sluice effect. Since gold is 19 times heavier than water, the gold would drop down behind the rocks or in the crevices. Roots could stop the gold and heavier material as well.
Another good spot to look is on the sides of the dirt roads where gold is found. Remember that the dirt below the mountain used to be the mountain. The gold could have been caught on obstacles on its way down from the mountain. Where the mountain slope starts to level off is a great place to look as well. Trying to go aver a 20 acre claim should last you almost a lifetime.
It is hard work and the rewards are not instant. When you finally land your first nugget regardless of the size, it recharges your gold fever to full and you’ll keep coming back for more!