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  1. I'm new to the forum this week... found the Mining Journal through my GPAA membership. Hi everyone! I have acquired a placer gold mine claim in Northern Idaho near the Clearwater River. It is a 10 acre claim on a fast running creek that is about 30 - 50 feet wide up in the mountains. What is the best way for me to get started on a new claim? I'm a beginner and gold prospecting is a new hobby for my wife and I. It's great getting out of town were we can spend some quality time together outside and away from the office. We have a Fisher Gold Bug-2 metal detector, a 3' sluice, a bunch of classifiers, 5 gallon buckets, shovels, a big Apex pick and of course a bunch of gold mining pans. I also recently picked up a Pro-Gold Prospecting Fine Gold Mini Sluice from my local gold prospecting supply store. Should we be digging sampling holes along the shoreline and running concentrate through the sluice to scan over the whole claim first or just start in digging in the stream bed like we have seen on lots of you-tube videos? Also, I've read that placer gold can be found up the ancient hillsides on either side of the creek up to 500' above the current stream level and that we should look there, too. The hillsides are very steep along side the stream on our claim - does it make sense to spend time digging sampling holes up there too? I've learned the value of trying to dig down to bedrock as the gold will setting there and concentrate. How do you know when you have hit bedrock when digging down along the stream-bed? I've been told that bedrock is down about 2 feet and that it is not hard rock... that you can punch a shovel through it pretty easily. Also... I've found that there is a ton of pyrite in the stream... thought it was gold at first - yikes! Is there an easy way other than just panning to try to separate any existing gold from pyrite flakes? Thanks for any tips from you guys with experience - much appreciated and I hope to be able to post lots of our lucky findings here on the forum soon, too! Jim