What the Old Timers Taught Me About Gold Mining (Part 5)

(I may be an old "bust out" now, but I can still hump the boonies with the best of them.)

I consider passing along what I've learned about small-scale gold prospecting and mining a duty of sorts, an attempt to "pay it forward" to those just starting out in mining or in its early stages. In its truest essence, that's what this series of posts is all about.

There Aren't Any Quick Fixes

Most "newbies" and those in the early stages of their mining development think that it's all about the yellow metal and they frequently look for quick fixes to that end. You can't really blame them for wanting immediate results after all the dream merchant curve balls that have been thrown their way.

In fact, the world we live in is keyed to instant gratification as evidenced in too many ways to count, from "smart" phone texting abuse to the guy or gal who gets pissed off because a website or video doesn't load fast enough to suit them. Maybe this "Now, now, now!! madness makes some sense in a high-tech realm where new developments in technology often outstrip our human capacity to absorb them, but this attitude is a total bust when it comes to gold prospecting and mining.

Getting Up to Speed

I know I sound like someone beyond his prime and looking backwards (which I am), but back in the early days of my mining development under the tutelage of two hard-ass old timers we didn't have all this BS to worry about. The Internet and I-Phones were still a glimmer in some techie's eye back then and I had to get up to speed the old fashioned way via the school of hard knocks.

My mining mentors didn't believe in quick fixes or instant gratification. They knew that mining was very hard work requiring knowledge, experience, patience, persistence, perseverance, and the will to succeed over time. I can remember on occasion getting my ass chewed royally by one or both of these old timers for trying to rush things and not taking the time to sample thoroughly or get my gear set up properly. They were great men in their own individual ways, but at times they could be re-incarnations of that evil drill instructor you had in boot camp or basic training.

Mining "Logic Flow"

I was instructed time and time and time again to...you guessed it. Take my time. The logic behind this instruction was inescapable and over the years I came to realize that these two old timers were right. All those instances where I sought instant gratification by rushing around digging here and there, running this bit of equipment or that and then packing up and moving to a "better" spot were not very successful for me. Sure, I found and recovered placer gold in this haphazard, speed-freak manner, but not nearly as much or as frequently as I did when I slowed down and "smelled the roses."

 I can guarantee you right here and now that if you slow down and take your time in your mining efforts you'll start recovering more gold. How is that possible? It's possible because when you take your time and damp down the urge to dig here, there, and everywhere like Chicken Little, your senses will open up to the possibilities. There'll be a mining "logic flow" of sorts to direct your efforts based on acquired knowledge and expertise and your eyes will become as keen as a hawk's...you'll notice lots of little things, those tiny gold clues that you missed before. Trust me on this one...I'm shooting you straight.

As I was taught, so I teach you. Live long and prosper!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "5 Tips for Novice Gold Miners"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com


  1. Alan in DahloneghaOctober 24, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Preach on brother and a big amen to all you say. I have pretty much spent all my time this summer working the same small area and have found gold on each occasion. Mind you though that it has been no oz.per day by any means but still I found something for each outing that let me know that if I kept at it the area would continue to improve based on what I was seeing. Time and patience has begun to pay off and my assumptions about the spot are ringing true. This time out I really put my nose to the grindstone and worked 4 to 6 hrs. a day over 8 days running and now have 3 nice little nuggets to show for it with a good feeling that the spot is going to improve as I continue to work it. I continue to learn with each time out. Even though I go home beat up and completely worn out and be won't be retiring on my own private island anytime soon I'm still having fun and getting some mean workouts to boot! It still strikes me as funny as hell each time I see a nice piece in the box and actually catch myself doing the "old miner shuffle" and shouting a big "YA-HOOOOO" . Guess I'm just a hopeless case all the way. As always thanks for the good advice J.R., hope all is well with you and yours.

  2. Well Alan, you had the makings of a good miner from the get go. As you progress (and you're progressing quite well, by the way) there'll be even greater successes and more gold to come. It's amazing what slowing down and taking a bit of time will do...Hope the family is well. Best!! J.R.


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