It Takes Time to Find Good Gold

In all truth, it's not hard to find a bit of color in your gold pan if you have some very basic skills and knowledge. What's more difficult is finding good gold...and that takes time.

Herein lies the problem for many small-scale or recreational gold prospectors and miners. Time. When you only have a day or two to hit a new gold area you are working against time, something that can become a precious commodity in the long run.

It Takes Time

One thing I've learned in my long and winding gold mining journey is that finding good gold values in any area is directly linked to the amount of time (and, of course, effort) you can give to the task at hand. This is especially true of those new areas you choose to work.

Treasure Hunting
Gold Concentrators
Metal Detectors

Let me give you a direct analogy here. When you pick up and move to a new town, city, or state or province, it take a bit of time to adjust to your surroundings and to get a good drift on the wheres and whats of that new locale. In small-scale gold mining, this sort of familiarity adjustment is even more pronounced.

Pointing You to the Gold

Let me put this another way. The more time you can spend in a given gold area the more familiar you'll become with where the gold is in that location, how it's being deposited in that stream or wash, and all the little tip offs that'll point you to the gold.

When I first moved to Northern New Mexico from California twenty two years ago, it was a long and often difficult process to get myself established here in terms of homes, jobs, and the overall way things worked in general. More importantly, when I first started my gold prospecting and mining efforts here, I researched what areas or locations might hold the best gold possibilities and began a long-term effort to learn the ropes regarding those.

After settling on one certain area, I spent the next 17 years getting to know every aspect of that location. I prospected, I sampled, and I humped my gear over steep hills, through thick brush and cholla cacti, and up countless washes...some so small and narrow as to make them seem inconsequential but what they taught me wasn't.

It's Tough to Get the Good Stuff

In the end I was able to find the spots that worked and those that didn't. I learned where the gold was, how it was being deposited, and all the little idiosyncrasies of each locale. The upshot? All that time and effort paid least until outside forces intervened and prevented me from really getting down to business.

 (One thing the old timers had was plenty of time.)

I know that many of you, like myself, have jobs and families and fulfilling those important responsibilities cuts into the time you can give to your prospecting and mining efforts. It's tough to get to the good stuff when you can only spend an occasional weekend on site doing your thing.

A Bitter Pill?

But the fact of the matter is this: it takes time to find good gold. The better you know your gold locale, the better off you're going to be in terms of gold recovery. It may be a bitter pill to swallow but it's a very simple and elegant equation.

So instead of jumping around from spot-to-spot on those occasional weekends it may be worth your while to learn everything you can about one location and one location only. Especially when your time is strictly limited.

Best of luck to you and don't ever give up.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "All About Gold Mineralization (Part 1)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Hello J.R. Good analogy, I would like to point out here the same can be said for websites about gold and small scale mining. Here in Australia when I am not out mining I surf the internet like an impatient novice prospector.
    In reality all I had to do was stay tuned to Bedrock dreams and study your postings,stories and pointers.Without blowing smoke up your sothern corridor... I have learnt more here over the past couple of years than I did in all them years of reading national geographic as a boy. ( a whole different story to why I flicked through that magazene as a boy)The point is thanks mate, you and your site are one hell of a mentor. Donation on it's way,Why,because now I have my own small claim (lease in Australian speak) downunder and I am getting gold thanks to your un-selfish guidence. Merry Xmass to you and all readers.


  2. Hello Gerry, Good on ya Mate! Thanks for the kind words and your support. I try my best here to give you all something outside the usual routine of "how to pan for gold." I wish to hell I could get Down Under sometime before I cross that final divide...I fought alongside some Aussies in Vietnam and all I can say is that my hat is off to you all. Thanks again Mate...J.R.


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