Monday, October 31, 2011

Finding Gold

 If you squint a little, maybe stick out your tongue and tip your head to the left, you will see there is a little gold in the bottom of that pan. A very little gold... This was found in a previous prospecting trip from a few years back.(the horrible picture is from then too). 

There are some really great things about gold prospecting as a hobby that fits very well with the VanTramping lifestyle! 

1) It is peaceful and entertaining. - Sitting beside a bubbling creek, slowly swirling away the layers of lighter material until you can see if the glimmer of gold shows up in the bottom of your pan.

2) Gold often is found in some of the most beautiful areas and that just happens to fit with our preferred surroundings!

3) You can make a little income from it. - You need a bit more than what I have above, and you likely won't get wealthy from it, but the price of gold is up there(about $1700 a troy ounce now) and it shows no signs of going down.

4) You don't need much equipment. - A good gold pan, small shovel,  and a snuffer bottle is enough to get started.

There are many prospecting clubs out there to join which gives you access to their gold claims which many can be parked on or near, overnight. A couple good examples are:
and of course

Over the years, I have hunted gold with various methods including metal detectors, highbankers, gas powered dredges and more. They all work well, but I am finally settled down to just using a small 2' sluice box and basic panning gear. I really enjoy the more relaxed, simple and quiet way it works out. 

Right now, we have our gear packed neatly in Taj's storage areas, but in the near future, I would like to get a small framed backpack and configure it all so it can be grabbed quickly. 

Prospecting is definitely a fun hobby! I am always curious how many of our friends on the road enjoy it too!


  1. I did a little panning years ago. It was fun if you don't take it seriously. One trip yielded quite a bit of liquid mercury! Definitely a contaminated stream.

  2. Sounds like a good bit of fun...relaxing and stress-less too. Who knows when you might get really lucky, but if not, a great bit of fun!

  3. I've never panned and only used a gold detector the one time but it is something that I think I'd like to do more of. We saw people making more than a decent living from their *little hobby*
    Your way sounds lots easier.


  4. That sounds like great fun! Thanks for posting!

  5. That's more gold than I got at Knott's Berry Farm when I was 12 years old!

  6. Thanks for all the comments! Yeah, it really is a lot of fun and such a great hobby! There are people that do really well at it which has so much to do with being in the right area! The gold you see above was found in a not-known-for-gold area. Finding gold in areas others aren't looking is just fun!!

    Okay Kris, we can go pretty soon. I will let ya know when :)


  7. Awesome! We are just getting into panning, and haven't found anything yet. It sure is fun to try though!

  8. Looks a lot like work! *grin*. I'm probably allergic to it, then. Besides, I haven't heard of anyone finding gold in the Ohio River...

    ...enjoyed the post, though. You've done a nice job with your site.

    - Seraphim

  9. I would definitely give it a try someday. Sounds really nice!

  10. Goooolllld finger!!! Really neat!!!

  11. Chris and I are planning a trip to the south umpqua in the spring, really good article about it at the new 49ers website Would love to have you join us, you know someone needs to keep that kid in line.

  12. No doubt about that Rick but who will keep you inline??? Trip sounds like fun to me!


  13. I'm gearing up to do some gold panning around the South East along with some history research for a book I'm working on.
    Both gold prospecting and writing give me something positive to do while vantramping and when nosy friends or relatives or anyone asks what I'm doing on the road so much , I can just say "working on my book" or "gold prospecting" gets them off my back.

    A sluice is best for getting more gold and I'm building a very simple one with plastic roof drainpipe, serrated black sewer pipe (cut in half and placed into the drainpipe as a riffle and topped off with a metal grid that is used as a leaf guard. Everything I got at Home Depot.
    This is as good as one that would cost a hundred dollars or more and the riffled black sewer pipe has great reviews by those who have used it.