Safety in the Goldfields

Gold prospectors have a wonderful opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful and remote corners of the world. The presence of gold is not dependent on nearby gas stations, hotels, and paved roads. Rich gold deposits can occur just about anywhere, which means that adventurous prospectors are often far away from civilization and the comforts of modern life. While this is certainly one of the aspects that make it so appealing, it is also important to be prepared so that you can stay safe. Fortunately, a small amount of preparation will go a long way to ensure that you have a safe trip.

Before you ever leave home, be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you will return. This simple step has saved countless lives. If plans change, be sure to call and tell someone who will notice if you are missing. If you ever find yourself stranded in the desert with a serious injury, you will be very glad that people know where you are located. Donít count on your cell phone to save you, many of the goldfields across the west are far from cell towers and cell service is unreliable. Donít depend on it.

Make sure that your vehicle is in good condition and capable of the task at hand. Never try to push your luck on a rough or muddy road that you are concerned about getting stuck on; it just isnít worth it. Before you leave home, make sure that your tires are full, your spare tire is in good condition, and your fluids are topped off. When taking a vehicle far from civilization, be absolutely certain that it is up to the task.

Always carry survival gear in your vehicle and in your backpack if you leave your vehicle. I never go anywhere without a case of water in the vehicle, as well as at least a weekís supply of food (dehydrated foods are ideal). This can be stored securely in the bed of your truck and left alone until you need it. Donít tap into this supply; keep it available for when you need it. If you leave your vehicle to go for a hike, always carry an ample supply with you in case something bad happens. Being stranded without food and water in the hot desert can kill a person in only a few hours in extreme conditions. Donít put yourself in that situation! Also have a supply of extra tools, oil, antifreeze, duct tape, and other assorted gear.

So letís assume that you encounter some troubles while out in the field. If you get stranded in your vehicle, be sure to stay with it; donít venture off in search of help unless you are 100% sure that you know where you are going. Every year people leave the safety of their vehicle and die in the backcountry searching for help. Staying with your stranded vehicle is the best and quickest way to be found in case you need to be rescued. If you find yourself stranded in the backcountry away from your vehicle, it is even more important that you have enough food and water to sustain yourself. If possible, find an open area that you will be easily visible to rescuers. Attempt to find some sort of shelter to protect yourself from the harsh elements.

Where to Find Gold in the U.S.


Fortunately, with the proper preparation and planning, prospecting in the remote backcountry can be a fun and exciting adventure. Donít let the remoteness of many of the goldfields intimidate you; follow the simple steps outlined in this article and you should be able to safely explore many gold bearing areas that few people have ever prospected.