My days as a prospector came about suddenly, when my wife and son presented my first gold pan and bag of paydirt for my 26th birthday (October 2014). They had observed my love for geology through stories of picking quartz out of my Uncle's Arkansas driveway, to cracking open fossilized ferns and mushrooms picked from Shadow Lake, IL. I often watched "Gold Rush" with them, and dreamed of being a genuine miner. Not knowing of the immense world of small-scale mining, I was quick to abandon these pipe-dreams.
I opened my gift of paydirt as quickly as I could find a watertight plastic bin in the house to wash my rocks in, and swirled like a mad man. 5 nice flakes of the bright round variety, that made a cute jingle when I shook my vial. Over and over, I worked this material, until I was sure I had gotten everything.
5 flakes? I HAD to have more... But how?
And so began my studies.
Studying, like I was trying to impress the smart, pretty girl in high school.
Every piece of information I could find, I soaked up. I exhausted the Google and Youtube search bar, watching prospectors explain the tricks of the trade. The elusive world of mining was opening up before my eyes. Equipment. Loads and loads of equipment. Pans of every shape, size and color, classifier mesh sizes, beginner kits composed of the same stuff everyone else was offering. Sluices, and mats, moss, carpets, expanded metal, riffles, bazooka traps, and high bankers, and grizzly systems, dredges, hoses and pumps, and blue bowls, and miter's tables, and recirculating systems, and wheels, and every thing for every purpose a miner could come up with.
So I said to myself, "If the market is so flooded with mining equipment and information, there must certainly be a reason." It took me time to fully understand, but now I know.
The FEVER takes you, and doesn't let go.
The fever has me, and I have but one path to follow with my new found knowledge; The path of the Prospector.
So, with my new pan under arm, I began to prospect. Beginning on publicized locations on Clear Creek CO in early October (with no luck), to graduating to a much higher understanding of the claim system by November, I found my first color on an unclaimed area along the South Platte River in CO, just South of Eagle Rock. More and more I found, until day had turned to dusk, and homeward bound, I should be. I instantly began planning a return trip, but was far too late.. The following days were filled with snow, below zero temperatures, and a family to tend to. Winter had come, and Christmas was around the corner. Better luck next year.
It is now February of 2015. A short 4 months have passed since my first glimpse of gleaming gold in a sea of black sand, and I can say, I look forward to being a prospector for the rest of my life.
Proud GPAA member since 2015