An educated prospector has a good chance of becoming a successful
miner. However, you must be very careful who you are getting your education
from. What are the teacher's qualifications? And always remember that an expert
is one who knows one more thing about the subject than you know.
Twenty six years ago I faced this dilemma. I made a career move. I lived and worked in the Bay Area. I made a move to the Mother Lode County in Jamestown, California. I thought it would be a lot of fun to become a gold prospector. So I bought two books on "how to find gold." I read the books, went to the creek and started panning for gold. There was a couple of the people out there and they showed me the "right way" to pan-I was impressed! But after two hours of panning the "right way," I had the same results as doing it the "wrong way."
The next day, someone suggested I had the wrong color of pan. I could hardly wait until I got that green pan. I was sure that must have been my problem so I bought two of them to make sure I had an extra one. By now I'm starting to get frustrated: I'm panning the "right way." I got the green pan. I'm panning where the book said I should be. And had since purchased a sluice box. Now what the hell is wrong? I'm not stupid. I'm doing all the right things, in the right places and I'm getting the same results as when I was doing everything "wrong."
When you live and work in the Gold County of California, you hear some fantastic stories about gold. In the meantime, I have made up mind. I am going to learn how to find gold.
I opened a gold mining supply store in Jamestown. So here is my plan. I'm going to find some "old-timers." They must have the information I seek. Well, in Jamestown, I didn't have to look long. I found one. I knew he had to hold the secrets because he possessed the longest beard, he had long hair, really bad smelling arm pits and two missing teeth. Well after about three days in the bush with him, I heard gold stories you wouldn't believe. We came back to Jamestown. I bid fair well to him and my quest for knowledge continued. I was determined to learn because I wanted to teach others. I have, by now, given up the idea to go out there on my own and figure it out myself because there have been a lot of people out there before me and a lot smarter that didn't figure it out.
My next opportunity came by surprise. I was having coffee at the Mother Lode Coffee Shop and a "local" came in and I overheard him say to the people at the next table, "Nicolneni found a 3oz nugget on Woods Creek this morning in the back of the "Rawhide Saloon." I left my coffee and was on my way. When I got there, he was panning. I introduced myself as the mining supply shop keeper in Jamestown. I told him what "Pete" had just said at the coffee shop and I asked him if he would teach me how to find gold as I someday wanted to teach others not only how but where to look. He pulled out of his pocket a 1/4 DWT nugget and remarked, "Sounds like Pete exaggerated a little bit." He remarked gold stories are a lot like fish stories. I left, went back to the coffee shop and was sure the "local boys" had set me up. But to my surprise the others had left and Pete was by himself so I sat down and asked him. He repeated his story. It was a 3oz piece and it wasn't the first one he saw out of Woods Creek. But he did tell me something that made sense. He said those who are really successful in finding gold are not going to help you or anyone else. Two reasons: personal security and they want to keep the spot a secret. Now I'm really frustrated: I had chased down the "old timers." I have rundown those who have found lots of gold and I have read the books and by now I've been to seminars, bought tapes, joined a mining club and still no luck. I feel like the person for whom "fools gold" was named. But I still have two things going for me. I am the most determined person I have ever met. When I set my goal I give it 150%. I just don't consider failure because I have always found the answer. One day I'm in my shop refocusing on the problem. I know where the answer is. All I have to do is figure out how to get it. The answer and secret lies with those who find lots of gold. I have to figure out how I can get them to share their secrets with me. Then I am trying to figure out what goes with gold, what human characteristics we all possess to one degree or another and I link Gold and Greed together. I think I have discovered the key to the secret.
I ran this ad in the free weekend papers from Mariposa to Downeyville. Ralph Shock at Gold Prospecting Adventures in Jamestown will pay $10.00 more per ounce of gold than anyone else in the gold county---in lots of 5 pounds or more. My logic is, if you have 5 pounds of gold you sure know a lot more about finding gold than I do and that is your Ph.D. and because we all possess greed to some degree or another will cause you to look me up. I won't have to try to find you.
Well not too much happened until about two weeks later. A short guy came in my shop carrying a Safeway grocery bag (3 or 4 bags inserted into each other for added strength) set it on the floor in front of my counter. I was sitting at my desk swatting flies with my feet cocked up on the desk. I wasn't impressed with the bag because people bring bags of rocks into my store every day wanting me to look at them and see if they contain gold and I'm sure that was what he had. But he asked me if I was buying gold. I said yes, he said how much can you use? I said everything you have. (I buy gold for kids to pan out front of my store).Most people bring in one or two DWT of gold and I buy it on a regular basis. Anyway, he walks over to where my gold pans are and returns with a 14" pan, sets it on the counter and dumps the contents of the bag into the pan. From my desk I saw 4 or more nuggets about as big as my fist go into that pan. He got my attention! I layed down the fly swatter, got up and went to the counter and picked up gold nuggets larger than I have ever seen and when I touched them, I knew it was gold. I looked at him. When we made eye contact he said if you need more I have more in the trunk of my car. Outside, in front of my door was an old four door Buick Skylark which I could see through the open door. The rearend was a lot lower than the front, (the trunk was full of gold. I know because when he left, my wife escorted him to a sale where he purchased some of my old mining equipment and paid for it in gold from the trunk). Anyway I am in a state of shock and my knees are weak. Here's my problem: my teacher is here before me and I don't have the tuition fee. I had about $20.00 in my register but I didn't want him to know this yet. I didn't want this opportunity to slip away from me. So, after I collected my composure, I said "I can't weigh this gold. My scales don't go that high. Let's take it across the street to the grocery store." We walked into the store and asked for permission to use the produce scale. It weighed over 11 ounces (avoirdupois) value some where around $140,000.00. I video taped this event. While walking back across the street to my store, I am desperately trying to figure out how to handle this situation. I sure don't want to alienate him since I don't have the money. What else do I have to offer? So when we get back to the store, I remember the old adage the best defense is a strong offense.
I walked behind the counter and I looked this miner right in the eye and I said,"Friend, you have a problem." He looked at me perplexed and said that he was averaging 10 pounds of gold every two weeks for 8 months and he needed to sell some. I said,"Well here's the problem. If you go up and down Highway 49 showing the gold, someone is going to take it away from you."
Let me offer you a suggestion. I don't have enough money to buy your gold but I do own this store and we do a lot of business here on consignment. I will sell it for you and not charge the normal 10% commission in exchange of your telling me how and where to look for gold, (not where you found this gold). He agreed and left me $10,000 worth of gold and asked me specifically what I wanted to know.
So I took a piece of paper and drew an outline of a hypothetical creek (an aerial view showing a primary flow and a secondary flow). Then I put a clear sheet of plastic over this drawing and I simply asked when was the gold found? He proceeded to point out the area saying,"Here, in this spot, we found 30 ounces behind some large boulders underneath the gravel on the bedrock." He said there were many boulders there "but just these two had large deposits" (one was about 20' down stream from the other). Then he pointed to two other spots. 8 ounces in a tree root and 25 ounces upstreaming in some crevices. He didn't have the answer as to why just selected crevices, tree roots and boulders held the nuggets. He left shortly there after. Others bring in large amounts of gold. I make them the same proposition. Each time I put a clean plastic sheet over the same basic drawing. After about six interviews, I am observing something interesting. While gold was found in a tree root at spot one, another prospector pointed out that he found gold at the stream configuration, but in different environments (in a crevis). I studied this for many days. I could not figure it out and I forgot it for a while (I thought). Then all of a sudden, a light went on. I realized the explanation involved some simple laws of physics and hydrology and geometry. Does this mean I had discovered a secret to find placer gold, scientifically? I was excited. I closed the shop and raced to Woods Creek and within 15 minutes I found my first nugget. True it was only about half as large as a pencil eraser but to me that was great. I came back to the store and returned to the creek. About two hours later I looked in a different part of the creek and found my second nugget. It was almost as large as an eraser.
Well, this was the start. I then developed the format for teaching, wrote a brochure and was on my way. I even thought of writing a book but I realized something: books, tapes, seminars, etc. at best can teach theory and principle the missing necessary ingredient is technique. This can only he taught on a one-on-one basis. We teach you how to find the clues. You observe these clues in their natural environment. We call it, "reading the finger prints of nature." You must learn proper sampling techniques. You must unlearn a lot of foolish ideas propagated by writers who's motivation is to sell books. They read each others books and just put a little different spin on what others have written.
We teach you how to find gold by using scientific principles and it works! For over 25 years, we have had thousands of people out with us and not one has ever said they didn't learn something and many of their students have been people who have been dredging since the early 50's. Just because you have done the something for a long time is no criteria to knowledge. If you have arrived at the point where you are really serious about how to prospect for Gold, call us. The price is about the same as a metal detector $595.00 for 15 hours (3 days). We also have the only college accredited course of it's kind in the World.
Call us today for a reservation. The course is given 364 days a year. You may take it in three consecutive days or you have up to 12 months to complete it. The cost includes a field manual and you keep all the gold you find while doing the course. Visit us on the net or E-Mail us.
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