Search for, and finding gold is one of the most thrilling adventures that a person can experience in Alaska. This experience can be greatly enhanced with a little planning and preparation. In Alaska and where ever you live you will be able to find resources and help to make your trip much more enjoyable. Take the time to learn about the area, talk to people that have gone before you, and get ready to have fun.
Research – Select an area in Alaska to go explore. It can be a public access mining areas, pay to access (commercial), or prospecting club property. Determine the best type of mining method (panning, sluice, metal detector) to work the claim. Read any old mining reports you can find on the place you plan to mine. Some mining camps are known for fine gold and others are more nugget rich. Know what to expect.
Equipment – Know the gear you will need for the trip and have it prepared before you go on your trip. Familiarize yourself with how it operates, and test its’ functionality before you get out to the claim block. If any of the parts can break or wear, either carry a spare or what you will need to fix or fabricate a replacement.
Camp – If you are going to camp while you enjoy your prospecting trip in Alaska, plan the camping portion of the trip just as thoroughly as you would the mining portion. Set up your camp first when you get on location. Keep your food out of your tent, and the campsite clean. Don’t attract bears with a messy camp.
Mining – Have a plan of attack for the day. Are you going to drift down the river and drege-prospect as you go. Are you going to work a bank for the day and then the gravel bar the next. Don’t go off haphazard, plan your day. Maximize your time in the pay-zone. Put off any repairs you can make until you get home, pan your cons at night or when you get back, and remember to have fun.
Cleanup – If you take the time to clean, maintain, and store all of your camping and mining gear when you get back to home your next mining trip will be much more productive. I normally do this the first day back from a trip before I get distracted on a new project.