Gold Drywashing Tips, Part 2

Go Where Others Don't

If you're heading out each weekend to easy accessible and heavily worked dry placers (the Randsburg District, for example) and becoming discouraged with your gold dry washing returns, then perhaps it's time for a change. What sort of change? A change for the better.

We are all creatures of habit and prefer to cluster together in locations that typically lie at the end of the path of least resistance. Gold mining is no exception. There are many dry placer or desert gold locations out there but we tend to gravitate toward the better-known areas or those that cause us the least amount of grief to get to. Understandable, of course.

But if you truly want better gold values from your dry washing efforts, you need to get off your rear end, do some good research, and head for desert placers that are a bit more remote, have not been beaten to death by hordes of other would-be miners, and that require greater time and effort to reach. Who knows, you may even have to pack your water and gear in for a mile or two. That's what the oldtimers did. What's the potential pay off? It may very well be much more than you think.

(A note of caution here: never try to go it alone in off-road or truly remote desert locales. Always "buddy up," carry plenty of water, have good maps and a GPS, and make absolutely certain you are prepared for any eventuality.)

Don't Be Lazy

This tip follows hard on the heels of admonitions above. Even if you choose not to head for more remote dry placer territory due to age, health issues, or the simple fact that gas is too expensive, don't be lazy! Once again, taking the path of least resistance or worse yet, sitting on your duff, putting out minimal effort, and expecting good dry washing gold to come your way is, at the very least, a form of self delusion.

Even the best-known and most heavily worked dry placers contain locations or spots that are more difficult to access or harder to work than others. Even the oldtimers tended to work the easy-to-get gold and sometimes walked away from areas they thought required too much effort or time to work for the amount of gold they could get. The same is true today.

So even at the most popular desert gold locations, look for those spots that others turn away from. Perhaps it's that steep incline leading to undisturbed cap rock gravels, or that small wash in the distance that no one else wants to hike to, or that layer of gold-bearing gravel cemented by caliche, or that arroyo filled with boulders and large rocks that must be moved to access the gold. Get the picture? Don't be lazy if you want to increase the size of your dry washing gold poke.

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2008