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!