The gold prospecting hobby may be the perfect all-around hobby for people to enjoy. There's no greater feeling than finding that first flake of gold! For thousands of years, people have searched the far corners of the world for the precious mineral. There's something about gold that simply drives people crazy, and this is commonly called "Gold Fever". Watch out, it's real!

Gold prospecting is exactly what you want it to be. It can be a fun-filled family adventure for all ages, building great memories and adventures while exploring for gold. It can also be a serious physical and mental challenge to the extreme. No matter where your activity falls in that range, you can expect to be outside enjoying the great outdoors with family and friends, and you can also expect to work hard for every speck of color you find.

Prospectors can utilize a gold pan and shovel and have great results, or they can use a stream sluice, power sluice, or small suction dredge to process stream gravels. Gold is heavy, so it typically sinks when agitated. The "art" of gold prospecting is to figure out where gold may have settled during a storm or flood, and then work the gravels to see if it's near the surface, or lying directly on bedrock. There's a little bit of luck involved, but you can also use a little science and physics to better your chances of finding the allusive mineral.



The photo to the right depicts a collection of gold that was found in Contrary Creek.

Virginia gold is very pure, and the raw gold from this region commonly assays above 22k. Platinum and silver are also found in the area. The gold found in the creek is course and sometimes contains pieces of the original host rock. Pieces like this are very rare and are highly prized by prospectors.

Gold ranges in size from nuggets all the way down to -100 and smaller (a screen size with 100 holes per square inch). Experienced prospectors know how challenging it is to find gold of any size, and Contrary Creek is no different than any other gold bearing creek. Gold is valuable for a reason... it's hard to find!

Prospectors utilize a variety of recreational gold prospecting equipment to locate and recover gold, but it all requires many hours of hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck!