Prospecting For Gold In California

I have always had an interest in rocks, gemstones and precious metals and have spent many happy hours collecting crystals on mountainsides, marvelling at amazing rock formations and wading about in rivers looking for whatever interesting treasures I could uncover. On finding myself in Gold Country, California I was desperate to try my hand at prospecting for gold and was delighted to find that there some fantastic people in Jamestown who could help me do it.

Gold Prospecting Adventures have their own claim just outside the town and it was here that I spent a glorious summer’s day looking for the sparkly stuff. When I first arrived at the claim I had no idea what my day was going to entail and had visions of peaceful hours panning in the sunshine on the riverbank. How wrong I was! Prospecting for gold is really hard work and I don’t think my back will ever be the same again!

My guide set up a sluice for me complete with miners’ moss to trap the gold that I was apparently going to find and then handed me a large shovel. What I had to do was dig out the river bank, produce large buckets of pay dirt which I could then filter through a grid to remove the large stones. The fine material that was left then had to be run through my sluice. I hadn’t imagined that my adventure was going to involve hard labour but after hours of shovelling I realised that I may never be able to stand up straight again. My back was screaming for mercy and my arms wanted to run for the hills but glistening in my sluice were several flecks of gold. I had found some and that is all I cared about.


I hadn’t exactly hit the big time. There was just a small amount of glorious gold to take home with me but I had learnt a great deal about recovering gold, mainly that it was extremely hard work and that I was too old! That said I would urge anyone visiting the area to give this amazing activity a try. You probably won’t get rich but you will have a great time trying. I have been totally struck by gold fever and I intend to return to the area to give it another go. In the meantime I often pick up my little vial of gold flecks to admire the fruits of my labour and every time I look at my gold earrings I remember just how much effort it takes to find just a tiny bit of the good stuff!



Article By Sally Stacey