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Gold Mining in the moss that grows along our rivers and streams is what I call "Specialty Mining".
This method can be very profitable once you catch on to how moss traps gold. Since moss favors or grows well in shaded areas, that is where I usually start my search.
Very early spring is an ideal time to look for low growing moss. Focus your search on crevices and bedrock locations close to the main channel of a river or stream. These spots are always darker locations with little direct sunlight actually penetrating down into the dimness.
Spring melt raises the water level over top of these low growing "moss clumps" temporarily submerging them under water until the snow melt runoff is finished.
1) Pick on areas that will have the greatest water flow at high water.
2) Seek out moss in cracks versus growing on top of rocks.
3) Thicker dirty moss roots will always capture more gold than lighter, cleaner moss.
4) Moss (and slime) are nature's teflon when it grows on rocks. Be extremely careful when crawling down to harvest this green carpet.
5) Use a flat flexible blade to work moss free from rocks. Always clean out the dirt underneath as this can be very rich.
6) Place moss into a bucket immediately after harvesting.
Don't lay it down on the ground as you pull more free or you will lose some of your gold on the ground.
Extracting Gold from Moss
There are a few different ways to harvest your gold from it's mossy bed.
1) Take your moss clumps and wash them in a rubber tote, just like you are washing your clothes; in 1930. Wash, rinse and repeat. OK maybe that is a little extreme but you want to flush as many gold particles out of the moss as possible
2) An Old Washing Machine
This will turn a few heads! An old Maytag washer works best but you will have to drain the pump out after washing the moss as it will be full of black sand and gold. Don't let the machine go into a drain cycle or at least put the output drain hose into a large capture container and anchor it down securely.
3) Place the moss on a metal plate in the sun and let them dry. Shake the moss out once it is dry and burn them in a cast iron frying pan. Do this burning in small quantities and cool the pan down after each burn. If the frying pan gets too hot you will fuse golden flakes to the bottom of the pan. Put all the collected material through a gold pan or the Fine Gold Recovery Bowl for final separation.
Think of natural green moss as "Early Miners Moss". Yes moss will work in sluice boxes but is difficult to anchor down not to mention it's limited life time.
This is another example of how Mother Nature is helping us with moss, tree roots, gold indicator plants and ice flows.
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