Jan 21, 2013, 07:39 AM
My First outing was a nightmare! Im discouraged I will not lie!
Just some quick background about me, I have panned a couple of times and did really good! We are looking into buying a Highbanker so we decided to go to Alabama Gold Camp first and Rent one and see how we like it! I have gold fever big time, and I want this to be a hobby the family can do together! We have done hours and hours of research and I am passionate about this! I set goals and I will work my butt off to achieve them! My husband is a Construction Executive and I am now a stay at home mom! We are not use to a lot of manual labor, but we are up for any challenge!
So its Saturday and we are going to Alabama Gold Camp and we are going to rent us a highbanker and see what all the fuss is about! So we drive the 100 miles and we are ready to start! We get there and they were short handed they had people out sick, so they had one of the locals that came out all the time set us up on a highbanker! We don't know anything about highbanking other than the videos we have watched online! They didn't give us instruction at all basically put the dirt in here and wash the rocks! So we went to work! We rented it for 2 hours because we knew we could extend it if need be! Well 60 buckets (which is impressive for us, trust me) and 2 hours later its time for clean out! There is NO GOLD!!!!!!!! What are you serious!? Now we found out that the machine was set up wrong, then we find out you dont dig at the top, or the middle of the pile you are suppose to dig at the bottom of the pile! You are suppose to look at the type of material! Riverbed is good, shovel that in....Are you kidding me!? This advice would have been amazing before we dug 60 buckets and fought with a million rocks that kept getting clogged in the machine! So at this point the momentum is gone, but my drive is still there! This girl don't give up that easy!
So the gentleman that just told us all this information moves us to another machine (the people 3 machines down had alot of gold, they left we went on their machine) he told us to dig where they were digging! So now we start digging away...About 10 buckets into it the water stops! UGGGGGG Not to mention we had to keep using a stick to unclog rocks on almost every pour! So he comes and cleans the machine out, we have gold! Well a tiny bit but its a whole lot better then the first machine! But now we have to move to another machine! So we keep digging for about another hour! We get cleaned out! The one part I thought was weird when he cleaned out the carpet stuff he just did a quick rinse and rolled it up and set it to the side! Dont you rinse them better then that? Anyways I have a few flakes out of quick panning!
At this point we are tired, hurting, cold and defeated! We take our bucket of Cons (which had big rocks in it, I do not understand that) and we are heading home! Well 100 hundred Miles later we are home its about 10:30 at night, and I am determined to pan this stuff because I will not be defeated!!!!!!! So my master bathroom is huge so I decided that I am going to pan in there... Its warm! I fill one bucket with hot water and start panning away! I keep telling myself empty pan after empty pan still fighting with big rocks that the gold must be sitting at the bottom of the bucket! Yea...It wasn't! About 4 flour gold specs later and I am finished! I am so discourage at this point!
Here is my thing, If we did everything right and we had no gold I would have felt better about that! The fact is, we did nothing right apparently and did all that work for nothing! I know we lost gold! I wish they would have gave us more information! When I spoke with a lady there at the beginning of the week she said that they are very helpful! Yes they were short handed, I get that! But it would have only took 5 minutes to tell us! They knew it was our first time!
So Price Breakdown
50-for a 8inch screen and Trinity Hex Pan (which I would take or leave)
So roughly 200 bucks not even including the supplies we purchased prior to this..Buckets, shovels,gloves,rubber boots..ect
Now for the gold total! Well that would be nice to tell you if I had enough to weigh! My scale does .01 grams, I didn't even have that! No small pickers just a little bit of flour gold!
I really want to like this place, I do! Its a super cool place, and if I want to do this on my own I would feel safe there if I went without my husband! Being a girl it can get a little scary being alone at a river somewhere and I need to be more careful! One thing we did get out of this is experience is what not to do! Like don't ever touch the mat when water is running or you can loose your gold! Well that would have been nice to know prior! UGGGGG But then again we had 2 people telling us 2 different things!
Let me just say this! Everyone was very nice and I know that they were shorthanded and I would hope our experience would be different if they had everyone there! In no way am I bashing them, I am just trying to understand it all!
So now I don't even know if I like the highbanker or not because I am pretty convinced this one was possessed by the devil himself and I am completely back at square one! Any advice, comments or answers to some of the questions above would greatly be appreciated!
Update:First, I would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support and feed back on this forum! This website has some amazing people on it, your advice and encouragement is priceless in my opinion.
I have been Re-Panning my cons from this trip and with a little dawn dish soap in my pan, I didn't have any jetdry and didn't want to seem like a panning addict and siphon the Jetdry out of my dishwasher, my husband would have me committed for sure( just like The day before the trip I bought a black shirt and some Gold Sparkly iron on letters, the front said IMA, the back said GOLD DIGGER...lol No one really appreciated the shirt but me! Nothing says you cant be themed while doing this) anyways back to the point, I am finding more flour gold not alot, but anything is better then none! Thank you again for your support, I need all the help I can get!
Update On Saturday I received a call from Mike at Alabama Gold Camp, he had read the forum and was very apologetic. As I said in the Blog they had people out sick, and assured us that things would have been very different if they were there. Mike invited us to come back and get the true experience of AGC. Apparently the Gentlemen that stays around the Highbankers was out also, Mike didn't want our experience to be like this one. He wants everyone to leave happy!
Let me say this, I respect that phone call and for that I will be back. The fact is, He didn't have to make the phone call! I know that our experience wasn't all Alabama Gold Camp, I am sure if someone knew what they were doing they would have had a different experience then us. We did have fun and a lot of the clubs around my area have outings there once a month. I believe that this will be a great place to meet fellow prospectors and build our knowledge to send us out on our own. I am excited to give it another try, not just for the gold but for the knowledge! I will keep yall posted!
Please see my 2nd outing post My 2nd Outing was a very scary nightmare, Talladega National forest was a Bust!
Last edited by crystalpayne; Feb 11, 2013 at 02:00 PM.
Reason: Updated!!! Alabama Gold Camp Called
Jan 21, 2013 07:39 AM
Jan 21, 2013, 07:55 AM
Bottle caps fear me!
It just takes time, and most everyone has the same first time story as you. And the truth $200 is just the tip of the iceberg. If you get addicted like most of us, I recently dropped around $1k on a new detector and stainless beach shovel and all I have to show for it is about $20 or $30 in change and clad jewelry but the fun of it is priceless I have found a few antiques too but low in value to everyone except me LOL. If you tinker with the hobby know when you get near retirement you be a professional dream chaser like the rest of us here.
Hang in there this crap is really fun.
Jan 21, 2013, 08:02 AM
Welcome to prospecting! Hahahaha. Somedays will be better than others in this hobby. My first 4 times out I did not even find one piece of flour or fly poop. And I was alone and got stuck on someone's private property and had to go knock on their door and ask for help, so embarrassing. I was green then, just like u are now. Don't give up... I would start with the basics. Forget the high banking idea for now and just get some buckets, shovel, classifier, and a well made sluice. Learn the basics of how the sluice works, learn how the river/creek moves gold through it.. Practice your panning, even if you are good.
Just remember.. The odds are you are not going to get financially rich being out there! You WILL get memories of a lifetime and quality time with family and friends. The gold is just the topping ! Like southern apple pie !! Lord have mercy! Mmm
Hang in their and maybe think about buyin a sluice and starting there. Crawl before u run! And stay mellllllow...
Jan 21, 2013, 08:05 AM
Good I am glad I am not alone on the first time thing! This is my dream for retirement! I think that would be awesome!
Originally Posted by dennco2000
Jan 21, 2013, 08:06 AM
Thank you for the advise, I wont give up thats not in me! I like your idea about going back to the basics! I know I need to work on my panning, I want to try that Jetdry trick!
Originally Posted by mellowyellow
Jan 21, 2013, 08:41 AM
glad you won't give up. just persevere! & I agree to begin with basics are probably best. Less $ spent equals less frustration if you get skunked. My bro had gold fever bad. glad I don't, cuz there's no gold in SE MO. Good luck!
Jan 21, 2013, 09:33 AM
60 buckets! That's hustling girl. There is a bit of a learning curve.Hang in there. It sounds like you'll do OK
Jan 21, 2013, 09:38 AM
Yeah, should have rinsed the carpet really really good for flour gold. Next time, you get hands on it- slosh it, bend it, shake it, dunk it, and then some. Jet dry is a dandy trick to help make sure it drops. You can also get some of the little solid spot free disk or tablets- and keep one of those up in the classifier or top of the box. BTW- sounds like classification would be a big help to your operation. If rocks are clogging often then screen off the big rocks! In AL I wouldn't expect anything over a 1/8" mesh would need to hit the riffles.. Try again- it gets better!
Oh and the cost wasn't that bad- A decent fishing trip with gas and bait and all other things considered cost me a minimum of $100 wether it off shore or on Toledo Bend. Same for deer hunting if averaged by the pound... It's all money well spent!
Last edited by 1more4me; Jan 21, 2013 at 09:41 AM.
HUNTING... Anyway, anytime, anyhow; Gold, deer, rocks and gems, turkey, arrowheads, fossils, coins, fish, new sunrises, etc, so forth, and so on...
Jan 21, 2013, 09:45 AM
Haha, I spend $200 in fuel just driving to the gold areas to use my dredge ($4K). I haven't even come close to paying off the dredge, but it's not JUST about the gold for me. It's fun. It's a hunt for something. I get to spend time outdoors away from all the crap of everyday life. Best of all, I get to spend time with my son, just doing something we both like. That's worth more than the price of admission, so any gold we find is just icing on the cake.
Jan 21, 2013, 09:59 AM
"The one part I thought was weird when he cleaned out the carpet stuff he just did a quick rinse and rolled it up and set it to the side!"
That would be odd. Where did it go after that? That's where your gold is.
Welcome to T-net.
Jan 21, 2013, 11:21 AM
It went with him I guess! They don't let u clean out the machine! But he did a very quick dip on it! This was the local that helped them out!
Originally Posted by calisdad
Jan 21, 2013, 11:26 AM
I agree completely! The money isn't the issue, I guess it was the lack of information they gave us. I don't mind spending money at all, I know that will not be a fraction of what I will pay to get this hobby off the ground! I had fun, but when u do a bunch of work just to find out u did it wrong is very frustrating! But I do care about finding gold (i know i wont strike it rich) if I didn't I would just pan streams. Lol
Originally Posted by Jason in Enid
Jan 21, 2013, 11:28 AM
I'm telling u I have sore muscles that I didn't even know existed!
Originally Posted by rodoconnor
Jan 21, 2013, 11:47 AM
where is this "Pile" coming from if they are bringing you material it shouldn't matter where you dig in it really.and a clean out of the machine should be all up to you as the fine gold will settle and be under the matt too.. don't give up on hibanking look at how many buckets you ran....if this was a test for you and your plan is to get a powersluice to take to your own gold bearing spots then dont get discouraged by a bad pay to play experience...do ou know thwe name of the banker you were using? and the pump?..i am getting ready to go digging right now but, i can give you very detailed instructions on powersluicing later.....stay Driven!!!
Jan 21, 2013, 12:43 PM
CrystalPayne....your first effort doesn't sound much different from most of our first efforts. In my case, I didn't do an instructional thing...just hit the river and jumped in with both feet after reading everything I could get my hands on. Eventually learned that I could be getting decent gold, while the guy 10ft from me was just moving rocks...in the end, gold is where you find it.
As far as the safety issue goes. Most of our work was on the East Fork of the San Gabriel river in So.Cal and one of the people in my party was my significant other at the time that loved being in the outdoors camping and panning. The area we were in was made up of the same people (guys) every weekend and some were doing it during the week as well. We all got to know each other and more than that, trust each other. Had she wanted to go up there during the week alone...I wouldn't have worried about her safety at all. The regulars working there would've watched out for her safety, just because they knew her and anyone strange in the area would've become suspect immediately and these weren't the type of guys not to involve themselves if/when someone they knew was being threatened.
If you and your husband can find a spot on a river (or any other gold area) and get to know the others working the area...you could go there anytime and your safety wouldn't be an issue...you could concentrate on moving the buckets of dirt. Those other guys are also good to have around when you need a big rock moved. The dozen or so guys that worked and camped in our area, I wouldn't have hesitated a second to trust my life with. They wouldn't run off strangers from our area per se, but if someone was off in another area, not near their tent or equipment...collectively they'd keep an eye on them.
Jan 21, 2013, 12:49 PM
If you have a local club or even one not quite so local, it would be well worth the time to join and go on some outings. You'll get some really good advice and some real hands on experience with people who have been through some of what you experienced. You'll get to see different equipment operate so you can decide which is better for you. Lots of fun and you'll learn a lot quicker.
Jan 21, 2013, 12:50 PM
Always remember that when you are prospecting at a pay to dig site, you will not come out to the positive side unless you get very lucky. If their material had paying amounts of gold present, they would not be selling it. The only way they can make money on the material is by doing what they do. With that being said, I spent my Saturday at The Lucky Strike in Western North Carolina doing the same thing you were doing. Normally I would have been in a private creek, but our water was way to high from all the rain and snow last week.
Jan 21, 2013, 12:51 PM
My advice is to start a detailed diary of your experiences! You just told a very clear and interesting story about pay-to-play. You have a knack for storytelling
that can be turned into cash (womans point of view). As for the frustration, a year from now this will become a favorite funny story. And you have what it
takes! I know many people who would have given up after first clean-up (or first five buckets, for that matter!) Go girl
Jan 21, 2013, 01:10 PM
No matter what I do, I do it to have fun, unless it's a necessity. Metal detecting is a hobby, not a way to make a living. I live in an area that was a gold nugget boom town at one time, near Quartzville, one mile from Whites main metal detector manufacturing plant. I see people so broke that they can't even afford toilet paper, but they still have a dredge, a couple of pans, an old PU truck, and a metal detector. Anybody who buys a $1,000 metal detector to find bottlecaps, pulltabs, pennies, rusty nails, an old coin once in awhile, a smallish nugget now and then, a gold ring every few months, and aluminum foil by the truckloads must have some kind of a mental problem about value judgement of some kind, right? So I guess that includes me too, but that's how it is. We here like the challenge, and most of us are curious as all heck so we keep searching and discovering, and it's not about money either. Heck I drive a BMW and an Alfa Romeo, and I'm digging up trash out of a park and find a tiny piece of gold here and there? So that someone now and then wearing polyester pants and top while driving a beat up old Toyota can call me a scrounge? Most of us do it for the fun, the challenge, and it doesn't really matter whether we make that big find or not, we simply do it because we like to. Larry
Last edited by LuckyLarry; Jan 21, 2013 at 01:13 PM.
Jan 21, 2013, 02:17 PM
No worries mate, i've been out 3 times and only come back with a few particles of dust.
As for the carpet cleaning, I go to town on mine, sometimes its just not clean enough!! lol no matter how clean it is.
Best thing to do is forget it and keep on keepin on.
Right now for me its just a waiting game. Get some gas get new tires and hit the the rogue river.
20 minutes in the cold to make you warm.
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