Some people never tire of exploring the open desert. The scenery is breathtaking, the views are unspoiled and it can be a quiet place for reflection.
On the other hand, some people want something to do while they’re out there communing with nature. For many people, looking for gold is the perfect activity.
Prospecting clubs are popular, especially for families who want to give their youngsters a healthy alternative to technology distractions.
To introduce more people to the hobby, the Mohave Prospectors Association is hosting an interactive get-acquainted session at the Mohave County Library in Lake Havasu City on Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. Club members will be on hand until around 4 p.m. that day, said the club’s secretary Brian Murphy.
The group will share its knowledge about recreational prospecting and explain how to search for gold safely and legally, he said. There will also be opportunities to pan for gold. The dirt that guests can sift through originated from one of the Prospectors Association’s claims and is quite likely to contain gold.
“We had a similar event in Chloride, and we sold the dirt for $5 per scoop,” Murphy explained. “In that dirt, a young girl found about $30 worth of gold. She and her family joined our club right then and there.”
He also noted that last month, one of the association’s members found a 2.5-ounce nugget while working one of the club’s claims. Considering that gold is selling in the neighborhood of $1,300 an ounce, it was a nice find.
While there is “a lot” of undiscovered gold in Mohave County, Murphy was quick to point out that working the club’s claims doesn’t always yield gold. The association has several leased claims on Bureau of Land Management land, including ones near Havasu and Dolan Springs.
“When we go on our outings, everyone has the attitude that they’re going to enjoy a nice day out in the desert. They might get lucky and find some gold, but there’s no guarantee,” he said.
Gold prospecting is an inexpensive hobby. A starter kit costs around $15. The club has dry washers that members can use, keeping personal expenses low. In addition to prospecting equipment, members on outings bring along a shade cover, camp chairs, sun protection, a picnic and “as much water as you can carry,” Murphy said.
The Mohave Prospectors Association has about 240 members. Annual dues are $35 and covers immediate family members. The group’s next meeting is Jan. 3 at the Kingman Community Foundation at 7 p.m. The address is 2985 E. John L. Ave.
Murphy said members reside all around the region, including Havasu, Bullhead City, Las Vegas and Flagstaff. Club members look forward to rain, he said, because it displaces the gold in Mohave County’s mineral-rich sand. That makes the precious metal easier to find.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that nature keeps providing,” he said.
For details about the association, visit mohaveprospectors.com.
Lake Havasu City also has a gold prospecting club. The Havasu Gold Seekers meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Quality Inn. The next meeting is Jan. 5. Visit www.havasugoldseekers.com for details.