(Gold is what you're after south of the border.)
In this post I'll be wrapping up my series on gold in Baja California, Mexico with a few tips and suggestions should you decide to make a prospecting/mining foray south of the border.
Supplies and Mining Gear
Most of you are experienced or even accomplished gold prospecting and mining veterans. So you pretty much know what you need to feed and fuel your mining ventures...after all, much of it is just plain old common sense, right?
The supply requirements for a gold trip down into Baja are pretty much the same although I'd put a lot more emphasis on water and extra fuel, just in case. This is especially true when you head farther south past the El Alamo diggings. With that said, there are gas stations and tiendas (stores) to buy gasoline and supplies scattered about in Baja, especially near the larger towns/cities like Ensenada which cater to gringo tourists as well as in some of the smaller locales...but don't count 100% on the latter. Ensenada is a good jumping off point for El Alamo and other gold areas to the northwest, east, and southeast. Once again, make sure there is no "contraband" in what you bring into Mexico with you.
Make sure you have what you need in terms of prospecting and mining gear when you head into Baja's gold areas. If you're intent on running motorized equipment bring a basic tool kit along and spare parts if you have them. Nothing's worse than heading out on an extended mining trip and forgetting to bring those items that are going to help you get some Baja placer gold. It's better to bring a little too much along than it is to end up twiddling your thumbs in a good gold area or relying on the inefficient drudgery of dry panning (providing you remembered to bring your gold pans along as well!).
Stay Cool with the Locals
One nice thing about most gold miners and prospectors is that they (like yourselves) are pretty much stand-up people who treat others the way they themselves would like to be treated (the good ol' Golden Rule). Practice this principle in Baja and you'll do just swimmingly, by and large. Act like the stereotypical ugly American and you'll end up in a world of hurt one way or another. If you speak Spanish (even a little) that helps you out tremendously, but also be aware of the fact that more Mexicans can speak passable English than you might think.
(I never had a problem with the Mexican people when I made my mining forays into Baja and the Mexican mainland.)
If you stay cool with the locals in Baja and avoid the blindly negative "dirty, lazy Mexican" attitude down there you can reap some very positive benefits...both from a mining standpoint and from a fun point of view. Sure, there are some bad eggs in Baja but in my wanderings south of the border I found the bulk of the Mexican people to be friendly, affable, and willing to help out if they can. From a gold prospecting and mining point of view your good behavior may bring valuable information from the locals on what to look for, where to look for it, and how to get at the gold. Hell, you may even get invited to a fiesta or into people's homes if you yourself are courteous and generous of spirit. Granted, I'm speaking here from the distance of two and a half decades but I think you get the drift (no pun intended).
One Last Thing
If you do get down to Baja for gold take lots of photos and jot down a few notes. Whether your experience is good or not so good (unlikely), I want to hear what you have to say and so do the other readers. I'll work up a post or two or three on your adventures so we can all share in the glory of your experiences.
Finally, be smart, stay safe, and enjoy yourself. Oh, one last thing...get lots of Baja gold!
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2014
Questions? E-mail me at email@example.com