Despite living where I do I have not seriously tried my hand at gold panning.  An old friend recently put the $#(^@!(*!!! bug in my ear though. 

I have started doing some obsessive research and know a a whole lot more than I did a week ago including that I need to learn a lot more.  There are a lot of good YouTube videos available trying to sell you something or another like: http://www.prospectingchannel.com/

I have been stumbling over old gold mining gear in hangars and yard sales for years here but now have a much better idea what I am looking at. 

Despite my lack of patience and luck finding things (except arrows, I can find arrows) I am getting the itch to try my hand at panning.  Recent heavy rains and unusual cold snaps are rumored to exposing new gold.  The high price of gold and devaluation of so many other things is also somewhat motivating.  Maybe if I take my hunting license I can do two improbable things which depend too much on luck at once. 

Does anyone have any manly prospecting stories or tips to share? 

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I think one of the rules of prospecting is that half of all money obtained from finding gold must be spent on booze and women (or one woman in particular if you are married).

-If that is not one of the rules then it should be.

I am still at the point of learning what I can with my behind in a warm chair rather than a cold Alaskan creek.  I am also waiting until the yard sale signs start blooming this spring since that is where I see a lot of cheap gold panning gear. 

Please tell me about sifting.

http://www.operationgold.com/gold-panning-instructions/ 

Paul - I have no illusions that my wife will not get first pick IF I find anything. 

Hey man, are you wearing a suit of armor in your picture there? Where is it from/how much did it cost/why are you wearing it?

I made most of that armour myself but http://www.bokalosarmoury.com/legs.htm makes some similar pieces.

Hitting people is fun.  

  http://education.alaska.gov/temp_lam_pages/library/goldrush/midmain...

Have you gold panned in foreign countries? If so, are the prospects better or worse than in the US?

I cannot really claim to have panned for gold even here in Alaska which is one of the best places in the world.

My understanding is that other countries are not always as free in allowing gold panning as the US:  http://gold-prospecting.goldprice.org/2009/01/gold-prospecting-area... 

I grew up in Anchorage, and went panning once on a field trip. We did find a few flakes but nothing much. Look up old panning strikes and have fun, but don't expect a big find: they were searched pretty thoroughly during the rushes, and I doubt they have "refilled" to any extent. Note that you'll process more gravel faster using a sluice, if you happen to find one of those at a garage sale.

Panning picks up gold that has washed into the creek, so the real bonanza is a gold vein upstream somewhere, but that will take mining equipment to get at.

It's fun to find real, free gold, even if it's only a few cents in flakes. The water is very cold, though!

I wish I lived in Alaska. I'd be out prospecting every weekend.

Seeking Assistant Store Keeper
at Elfin Cove General Store, summer
season to potential year round position, housing supplied,
Duties include:
Attending cash
register, hauling freight from docks, stocking inventory, cleaning of
laundromat and rental units. Must be physically able to lift and carry heavy boxes, at least 21 years of age and
willing to work the
occasional odd hours. Point Of Sale system and previous grocery/general store experience is
preferred but not a must.
Contact:
csma.elfincove
@gmail.com

Need a summer job? 

Sadly, I'm not twenty-one and don't know how well that would roll over even if age wasn't a problem. Nice offer though, makes my mind wander.

***

MY GOSH. A quick Google search of the town is killing me, looks so beautiful.

***
Still looking at photos, just went to the wikipedia page. 32 people? I wish I could live there. Sounds amazing.

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