Many times when we are out prospecting and running our sluice, people will walk by and stop for a minute and then ask... "so, what are you doing"?
Sometimes I just reply "washing rocks", which is basically true when we are in a bad location for gold. But one thing we do every time out is to remove all of the trash we find and we find a lot.
Broken glass is by far the most common, sometimes running down as deep as a few feet in the gravel, then there are the tin cans, sharp pieces of metal objects, chunks of rubber, plastic, even parts of sinks and toilets.
The important thing here is that whenever I speak with a city official regarding gold prospecting in a creek running through their town, they immidiately try to imply that gold panning, sluicing etc. is somehow damaging their pristine clear rocky mountain spring water (lol).
Are you kidding me?
Sections of Ralston creek for example are a trash pit, a garbage pile, a sewer lateral system, a depository for junk and crap... but it does have gold in it.
So, when you go out gold panning and mining and prospecting, please do your part to clean up our greatest natural resources and always leave every area you work cleaner than you found it.
I want people generations from now to say we did a good job.
Keep on "washing rocks".