Parting Tips for All of You (Part 1)

As I draw closer to shutting down Bedrock Dreams I thought it would be good to pass along some parting tips for all of you...newbies and veteran miners alike. You experienced folks out there probably already know most, if not all of this...but never know what might stick. These tips (both general and specific) are based on 40 years' worth of small-scale gold mining and prospecting experience and if you've heard some of them before please bear with me.

Tip 1: Start Small

When you're just getting into this small-scale thing of ours you need to start small. Don't put the cart before the horse and start laying out folding green for all sorts of expensive and fancy equipment that you probably don't even know how to use properly yet. It just doesn't make sense and slaps the greenhorn label on you big time. Gain some knowledge and field experience first. Or, better yet, let a more experienced guy or gal mentor you. All you need to to start with are a few small and relatively inexpensive items like a gold pan, some digging/recovery tools, a five-gallon bucket, a portable sluice box (optional), and something that's non-glass to put your color in out in the field. That's it in a nutshell. You can dream big but temper your dreams with a bit of reality based on your level of experience and expertise.

Tip 2: Stay in It for the Long Haul

When you get into small-scale gold mining and prospecting it's a life-long pursuit and not some temporary, flash-in-the-pan deal (no pun intended!). If you're prone to seek out instant answers and solutions or "magic pills" of one sort or another gold mining (in all its forms) ain't for you. You have to be in this thing for the long haul. Why? Because it takes time to become proficient as a miner and prospector. Depending on how sharp you are and how hard you work it can take years or even decades to reach your fullest potential as a small-scale gold miner. Even then there's still much to learn. Hell, even after four decades at it I'm still learning. So hang tough and enjoy the ride.

 (Be in it for the long haul.)

Tip 3: Half of What You Hear is Grade-A Bullshit

About half of what you hear from the blowhards and dream merchants out there is Grade-A bullshit. So set your internal BS detector to maximum sensitivity and learn to discern the truth from the come on's and outright deceptions and lies. Despite what some jackasses try to tell you, mining is hard work for very small returns in the greatest sense. They may tell you that it's easy to find and recover "an ounce a day" but they're full of shinola on that issue. Ditto for all the other big promises they make to either impress you or to get you to buy their books, DVDs, "treasure" maps, gold locators, and so on. The real miners who know their stuff tend to be silent types who rarely tell all or disclose the sources of their good finds. And keep one eye squinted when some dude or dudette out in the field starts laying it on thick...some miners are notorious tellers of tall tales and that's a fact!

Tip 4: Be Patient, Persistent, and Persevere

I call these qualities the "Three P's" and they have to become part of your mining heart, mind, and soul. Frustrations and disappointments abound in small-scale gold mining and prospecting but you have to fight your way through them to reach the other side. If you do, sooner or later good things will show up in your concentrates or under your detector's coil. Stick with it and don't be swayed, no matter how frustrated or pissed off you get at times. There's always a nice pocket, paystreak, or nugget waiting for you around the next bend and to find those it'll take...yep, you guessed it...the Three P's.

Tip 5: Go Where the Gold Is

Although I personally get sick and tired of hearing the "Gold is where you find it" refrain, there is truth in that saying. But if you want to find and recover gold you have to be in areas or locations where gold has been found before. I'm talking about historical and geological records that tell you the gold is there. This is especially important for you newbies out there. Want to find a bit of placer or lode gold? Then get your rear end into an area where gold was mined or recovered before. Are there some undiscovered placer or lode locations out there? Probably, but they're of little economic value to the big mining concerns and were left behind by the old timers simply because they weren't feasible to work when gold was at $18.00, $22.00, or $35.00 dollars an ounce. Doesn't hurt to look for one of these (and I found one early in my mining career) but if you're just starting out and want to put a speck of color in your pan go where you need to go. Where gold was found before.

 (Go where the yellow has been found before.)

Tip 6: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Never get into a frenzy when you're out in the field. Rushing around hither and tither just tags you as inexperienced or impatient. In gold mining slow and steady wins the race over time. Prospect, sample, and work with deliberate thought and action. Think things through and be consistent in your approach. Once you make that your standing operating procedure, the "goodies" will start coming your way and you'll eventually develop into what I call a "miner's miner." That's the highest accolade I can give and for what's it worth, to me it means you're the sort of miner I'd rub shoulders with anytime, anywhere. So nix on the rushing around like a chicken with your head cut off. Slow and steady she goes me hearties!

Tip 7: Be the Type of Miner You Like Being Around

Don't be a selfish asshole or pain in the butt as a miner and prospector. Be the type of miner you yourself like being around. I've come across all sorts in my 40 years of small-scale mining and the folks that still linger in my mind and that I hold in high esteem were and are the no-BS types who may have been a bit rough or gruff, but always took the time to help another miner out with assistance, advice, or suggestions. There are many wonderful and generous-spirited small-scale miners out there, both men and women, and those folks should be your role models. Not the loudmouths and blowhards, or the selfish or arrogant types who are always posturing or treating others poorly. Life's too short for that sort of crap. Be a role model out there, and not some hostile, mean-spirited jackass.

There's more to come so stay with me to the finale.

(c) Jim Rocha 2017

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. JR, another good one here!
    All too often folks get into this because they are sick of their job and think they can get rich quick and retire.......after all it works every time in the movies, unless someone gets greedy and looses it all.
    Truth is, few get rich....but there are a few that do. Don't expect to get rich, just hope you are one of the lucky few that does!
    Two more weeks my friend......

  2. Yep Gary...the moment rapidly approaches.

  3. Thanks for everything JR!
    And thanks for the "Guided Steps:". Good Job!
    God Bless and Merry Christmas

    (And I will still host site for free forever if you want)

    1. I appreciate your support and good words Paul. It's not hosting the site that's the issue...I just no longer have the desire to write posts for Bedrock Dreams. I've said about all I can say my friend. But I thank you sincerely.

  4. Ya know this was "supposed" to be a joke, but....
    Who besides a "Prospector" would have a $40,000+ Vehicle (or 2), $20,000 worth of equipment-usually still boxed up, and be willing to travel several hundred miles at today's gas prices, so they can spend days in horrible sun, snow or rain, finding a whole whopping 2.3 to maybe .6 grams of gold, and think it was all worth it?
    Yup! Thas us! And proud of it...

  5. That tells the story for sure Paul!


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