You can head up to Alaska with a pair of overalls and a smile, but serious gold miners tend to be much more prepared. All the other miners will talk about behind your back unless you come strong to the mine. Be prepared to spend a lot of money. We can help with that: read on to learn precisely what you probably need.
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Planning to pan? Yearning to dig? Are you gearing up for a foray into extreme wilderness in search of gold? Here's what you need to harvest nature's shiny bounty.
Get some heavy equipment.
Gold doesn't lay on the ground, unless you're prospecting live in Beverly Hills. You need massive movers of earth to uncover your fortune. Look for a bulldozer and front loader and other diesel-burning devices that you drive while wearing a hard hat. These heavy lifters will scape aside the flora and fauna so you can find flecks of gold hidden many feet below the surface.
You'll need a trailer
Out in the woods there's no Motel 6 at every Interstate interchange. You can't trudge back to a 5-star resort after a long day of digging in the dirt. You'll need to bring your own accommodations. Plan on packing a comfortable abode with all the comforts of home except for your nosy neighbors.
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You'll need a grill
Your crew will want to eat dinner, no matter what snacks you packed in the bulldozer. Grilling wild animal steaks in the great outdoors is a great way to wrap up a hard day of mining. Big burly dudes love moose steaks or squirrel kabobs cooked over a charcoal grill.
Order up several grills because the bears will carry them away after you don't clean out the salmon droppings. Bears can smell a tasty uncleaned grill from, like, miles away. As you're sleeping in your trailer they are trundling up from the rushing river, bent on absconding with your outdoor stoves.
Bring some radios
Radios, or 'walkie-talkies,' allow you to stay in constant with your fellow miners. If someone gets dragged off by a bear or swept away by a raging river or lost on the way to the latrine, they can call you on their radio and tell you all about it. Don't you want to be the first to know when one of your loyal employees finds some gold? These ingenious devices do not require 'Internet' or even cell towers. You can use them to keep the whole gang in touch.
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Bring along a pan
Every erstwhile miner knows how to pan for gold. Your wash plant may process thousands of cubic yards of dirt, but nothing substitutes for you and your pan standing in the raging creek swishing for just a few encouraging flakes. It's a badge of honor to test your big mound of dirt with your gold panning pan before you fire up the wash plant.
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Don a hard hat
A working gold mine will drop stuff on your head. You could be standing under the wash plant when the front loader unloads a bucket of rocks onto the grizzly bars. You might be frying up a mess of salmon patties when a grizzly bear ambles up behind you and conks you upside your gold mining head. These things happen all the time: don't leave your noggin unprotected.
Worse than falling into the rushing river and being carried away by salmon would be experiencing a visit from the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA. These dudes don't mess around. They will shut down your mine and confiscate your right to earn a living. They drive up without warning, springing surprise inspections upon miners with and without hard hats.
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Bring some tools
Everything breaks at a gold mine. It's a state law. Plan to spend more time fixing your equipment than actually harvesting gold from the pristine wilderness. Your wash plant will spring a leak, your portable shower will run out of hot water, and your front loader will drop its transmission in the rushing river. Bring tools sufficient to potentially repair all manner of mechanical devices.
Everything takes 4 weeks to be delivered from the Lower 48. When a device fails, you'll need to either fix it or look for a spare in your voluminous tool shed. If you need a toothpick, bring it with you. Bring a case of them because the moose family over the next ridge will want borrow some.
If you find gold, don't blame us.