by James Moore
Ah…the life of a prospector. The long days, hot nights, barely-there food – the only thing keeping the prospector going is the stars in their eyes that are just as big as the ones in the sky up above.
When it comes to prospecting, the term can be taken in many ways – from the sharks on Wall Street attempting to find the next client; to the sales mogul who wishes to spread out over the World Wide Web in order to peddle his wares. But the most exciting prospecting, that lovers of the Great Outdoors will agree with, is the simple act of exploration.
There are experts who prospect minerals in order to analyze soil for farmers and landowners. There are those that prospect for fossils in order to prove scientific theories. And there are the prospectors who search for precious metals, which was not only a job once, but is now a great hobby that provides fun for the individual or the family.
There are certainly skills that need to be owned by someone who wishes to prospect as a hobby. The main one of course is passion. Prospecting is most definitely physical labor, whether using a high-scale machine or the simple metal pan and lesser gear that the ‘old-timer, 49ers’ used in order to go from poor to rich. The passion for the Great Outdoors and being able to scan and work the land is necessary.
For the prospector, they will most definitely hike. They will traverse all kinds of territory; mountain climb; perhaps even bike in order to get to the area they wish to prospect. Then, the panning and sifting can commence. Not only is this a way to enjoy the natural world away from the office and daily grind, but this type of prospecting also takes you back to a time in history. You feel almost as if you are just one ‘pan’ away from a golden treasure.
Now, for a little history…the main way to prospect used to involve adventures through some pretty rough area – from coarse timberland through creek beds buried in the forest, and along precarious ridgelines. As the adventure continued, the prospector would have to spend many hours of the day on hands and knees in order to search for signs of mineralization – which is sort of like saying, searching for the signpost that nature leaves in order to let you know that the spot is ripe for treasure hunting.
When it came to everyone’s favorite – gold – all streams in an area would be panned while prospectors searched for ‘color’ or gold in the river trail. Even if only a small amount of ‘color’ was found, the entire area had to be worked with only a pick and shovel. This was more than hard work, to be sure. And more often than not, the site was left behind when nothing was found as the prospector and his gang moved on to the, hopefully, bigger area out there where they could strike it rich.
The funniest part about the past is the fact that these prospecting methods used long, long ago are actually the same being used today. Work is definitely a part of the prospecting hobby, yet more and more people across the country are choosing to take it on and have a ball.
Perhaps that allure of the ‘gold rush’ still lives among us. After all, in the United States and Canada thousands of prospectors were practically salivating about the gold, silver, and other precious metals in them thar’ hills. They traveled across the huge mountains of the American West with absolutely no training. They simply brought along that pick, shovel and pan and hoped for good luck.
Metal detectors are most definitely invaluable for gold prospectors in the 21st Century. Extremely effective at detecting gold nuggets within the soil, all the way down to three-feet, the metal detector combined with the great hearing and skill of the prospector gives them a better chance to find a hidden treasure.
But when looking for a few tips as you begin or continue your prospecting experience, it would be wise to first head to the library in order to locate geographical maps of the area you want to search.
Government agencies in the area will usually help you out, as well as prospecting clubs.
Always make sure that the landowner of the area you wish to search knows about you. When it comes to a fun hobby most will forget that the land, if private, is not available for the treasure seeker, so making sure to ask for permission first is a must.
So if you’re looking for an exciting outdoor adventure, pack up the Expedition or the Explorer and head out! Whether you’re carrying the pick, shovel and pan or have the metal detector in hand – it’s a great deal of fun to become a real life treasure-seeker.
Source: SportsmansLifestyle Series / Baret News Wire