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Found 46 results

  1. Went to the claim at Canyon Creek last week to see how things look. I was surprised to see some creek open. Being I have a bad case of spring fever I have decided on spring dredging this year so thanks for the post. Anyone know where to get a water heater for the dredge? Not looking to set up a heated wet suit just want a bucket of hot water to warm the hands in.
  2. I was really heavy into very late fall and very early spring dredging in the late 90's time frame. This photo is from 1996 and was taken by my friend Rich Lampright. I worked a lot at Crow Creek Mine, which is glacial fed. It runs very high and fast in the summer when the glacier is melting. The best time to dredge is in the winter months when freezing temps bring the water levels down by over 50% and the water starts running crystal clear. It also made for some very cold dredging at times, but properly outfitted with a good drysuit you can stay surprisingly comfortable. Usually. Funny how some days I really was cozy and others it was just plain cold. I could operate well down to about 15 degrees. Below that, and the water literally froze in the sluice box while it was running. I resorted to subsurface dredges for the coldest spells as the box being underwater did not freeze up. But even then you see weird stuff. Ice crystals floating in the water build like snow drifts of slush behind rocks on the bottom, and giant balls of slush form on the pump intakes, eventually plugging them. Why suffer this you ask? I was seeing multi-ounce days working by myself. I took a lot of gold out of Crow Creek; even after paying a percentage to the owners it was good. In fact the best dredging I ever did. My best day in there working a 6" by myself was over 8 ounces of gold. This was my favorite dredge, my old Keene 6" with twin Honda 6HP pumps. This model was made with a molded marlex powerjet in two pieces - the jet and the flare. The jet and flare assembled was about six feet long but I could just toss it over my shoulder and carry it in one piece it was so light. The dredge had a stout frame with a lever handle leveling system, far superior to the later slide the box back and forth nonsense. The box was a well built single run sluice that I preferred over later double-decker designs. I never should have sold it. I did however, to Brian Berkhahn, and he also got a lot of gold with it. And I know he now also regrets selling it. It was the best Keene dredge I ever owned. Mark Keene told me they stopped making the marlex jets due to a high failure rate with the process but they should have either fixed the process or just charged more to make up for the failures. It was an incredible advance in the technology, and amazingly after all the years of use the inside of that jet never showed more than light scuffing. I think it was actually more durable than steel jets. This photo is first thing in the morning, breaking away all the ice that has formed around the dredge overnight.
  3. Is there a way to search land records/claims by owner's name? I have a friend who is looking for where his grandfather's claim was many years ago. I know it's somewhere on the Kenai Peninsula, but that's about all we know. Thanks!
  4. My first gold dredge! After seeing a guy running a suction dredge at Crow Creek Mine south of Anchorage, Alaska I ordered my first dredge in early 1973. I had never seen a dredge before, and this guy was wearing a wetsuit running a 4" dredge about chest deep in the water. He saw my interest and shut the dredge down, pointed at the first riffle, and there was more chunky gold than I had ever found. I was hooked! I got the dredge direct from Keene, only way I could get one back then. Knowing nothing about dredges I saw no reason why I should spend extra money to get floats. I figured 2.5" was too small and 4" too big so a 3" must be just right. I learned a lot with that dredge. The first thing I learned is when you put it on bank with powerjet way above water it is nearly impossible to prime. And that when you finally get it primed, the entire hose will fill with gravel, then everything stops. Once I took the 15 feet of hose off to shake all the gravel out, and did this maybe three times in a row, I realized the dredge cannot be operated more than a couple feet above water. In fact, keep the place where hose and jet meet at or below water level for best results. Which made finding a place to use it quite a challenge. You need something like in this photo - a nice rock or pile of rocks or sawhorses next to water. This basically eliminated almost all the places I wanted to use the dredge, so this photo was the last time I ever dredged without floats, way back in 1973. You pretty much have to have them as a suction dredge that does not float is very limited. I did not find a lot of gold here but found my biggest nugget to that date. I think it was only like a pennyweight but it seemed huge at the time. Photo taken in Wrangell Mountains, Alaska on Skookum Gulch.
  5. I received the following email: "My name is *********** , a logger from ***********. I'm wanting to move to Alaska and start a new life with my family. I don't have much of anything. I'm probably one of the hardest workers you will ever meet and I'm honest. I'm looking for a chance at working a claim and learning what there is to learn. I have experience in running a rock crusher - now that was a fun, six years never a dull moment! Welding, mechanic diesel and gas, can build you a house start to finish, my chain saw sleeps in my bed room next to my splitting mall. How do I get a chance in working a mine and owning one?" I have received lots of requests similar to this over the years. Back in the 1980's we literally had people show up at my mining shop with the family in a vehicle, possessions strapped on top, come to Alaska to strike it rich. Here is a bunch of information. I hope it helps - good luck! According to the October 2014 Economic Impacts of Placer Mining in Alaska: There were 646 placer mines permitted by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2013. DNR estimated 47 percent of permits (295) placer operations were mined in 2013. In 2013, there were approximately 1,200 direct, mostly seasonal, jobs in Alaska’s placer mine industry. On average, each placer mine had four workers. However, approximately 27 percent of placer mines were run by one person and there are a few significant larger operations (50+ workers). Of the 1,200 workers, approximately 73 percent (880 workers) live in Alaska. Of those Alaska residents, approximately half live in Anchorage/Mat-Su Borough (26 percent) or Fairbanks (26 percent). The remaining half (48 percent) live in communities elsewhere in Alaska. Total direct income, including wages, shares of production, and owner’s profits, are estimated at $40 million for 2013. For miners receiving compensation, 56 percent were paid a wage, while the remaining 44 percent were compensated with a share of gold production. That was 2013 but it gives you some basic figures. Maybe just over 1,000 seasonal jobs, and not all of them from people living in the state. Being located there would help though. Many of these jobs go to family members or long time, trusted employees, so there are few openings on a yearly basis. Still, a person has a shot at it. So how to go about it? All I can offer is what I would do if I did not know anybody. The easiest place to start would be to contact the Alaska Miners Association at http://alaskaminers.org/contact-us/ and purchase their latest Service Directory. I am not sure what it costs now but it used to be $20 (or included with membership). It includes a listing of all the businesses that supply and service miners in Alaska; information on land status, permitting, agency lists, State mining law, and the membership list of the AMA, Alaska's most influential mining organization. Over 1000 miners and mining related organizations are listed with contact information. The key is the membership list with names and contact information. That gives you a place to start with either phone calls or letters. Most actual mining operations in Alaska are members of the AMA. If you are interested in employment at a lode mine, the major mines information is also in the Service Directory. More information can be gleaned from the latest state report - Alaska's Mineral industry 2015. Keep an eye out for a 2016 report soon. According to the report "Total mineral industry employment in 2015 is estimated at 2,901 full-time-equivalent jobs" Here is the chart from the report: Note this chart shows less than half the number of placer employment as the figures quoted in the 2013 report and only 120 in 2015. This probably reflects a difference in actual wage and salary type workers versus one person operations or family members and people working for a share of the take. Still, it can be seen overall numbers dropped quite a bit the last few years. Also from the report, here is a map of major mining and exploration projects in Alaska. You can read about these in detail in the report, and a little use of Google can give you employment contact information for each company, job openings, etc. Start at the AMA Links Page Check out the Mining and Petroleum Training Service For opportunities in mining all over see Mining Career Opportunities at InfoMine http://www.infomine.com/careers/ HELPFUL LINKS FOR THE MINERAL INDUSTRY IN ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES • Recording Fees | http://dnr.alaska.gov/ssd/recoff/fees_RO.cfm • Public Information Center | http://dnr.alaska.gov/commis/pic/ • State Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Documents Search | http://dnr.alaska.gov/ssd/recoff/ Division of Mining, Land & Water • Mining Applications and Forms | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/forms/ • Fact Sheets | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/ • Annual Placer Mining Application (APMA) 2015 | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/forms/14apma/ • Annual Rental | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/mine_fs/annualre.pdf • Leasing State Land | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/land_fs/lease_land.pdf • Land Lease & Contract Payment Information | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/land_fs/lease_contract_payment_info.pdf • Production Royalty | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/mine_fs/producti.pdf • DNR Production Royalty Form | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/forms/mining/royalty_fm.pdf • Exploration Incentive Credit Program | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/mine_fs/explore.pdf Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys • Publications On-Line | http://dggs.alaska.gov/publications/ • Interactive Maps | http://maps.dggs.alaska.gov/ • Geologic Maps of Alaska: Online Map Search Tool | http://maps.dggs.alaska.gov/mapindex/ • Unpublished Geology-Related Data (Alaska Geologic Data Index) | http://maps.dggs.alaska.gov/agdi/ • Geologic Materials Center | http://dggs.alaska.gov/gmc/ • Geochemical Sample Analysis Search (WebGeochem) | http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/webgeochem/ • Minerals Report Questionnaire | http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/minerals_questionnaire Alaska’s Minerals Data & Information Rescue in Alaska (MDIRA) Project Websites • MDIRA Portal Home Page | http://akgeology.info/ • Alaska Mining Claims Mapper | http://akmining.info/ • Land Records Web Application | http://dnr.alaska.gov/Landrecords/ • State Recorder’s Office Search | http://dnr.alaska.gov/ssd/recoff/searchRO.cfm • Alaska Resource Data Files | http://ardf.wr.usgs.gov/ • USGS Alaska Geochemical Database (NURE, RASS, PLUTO…) | http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/637/ • Guide to Alaska Geologic and Mineral Information | http://doi.org/10.14509/3318 • Alaska State Geo-Spatial Data Clearinghouse | http://www.asgdc.state.ak.us/ DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, COMMUNITY, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT • Minerals Information | https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/ded/dev/mineralsdevelopment • Community and Regional Information | https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/dcra/ResearchAnalysis • Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) | http://www.aidea.org • AIDEA Supports Mining | www.aidea.org/Programs/ProjectDevelopment/30YearsofMiningSupport.aspx DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE • Mining License Tax | http://www.tax.alaska.gov/programs/programs/index.aspx?60610 • Motor Fuel Tax Claim for Refund | http://www.tax.alaska.gov//programs/programs/forms/index.aspx?60210 • Alaska Motor Fuel Tax Instructions | http://www.tax.alaska.gov/programs/documentviewer/viewer.aspx?5086f
  6. I was involved in some validity exam testing on some mining claims in Alaska a few years ago. Short story is samples had to be taken at various locations to prove the claims have paying quantities of gold. Any claims not passing the exam would be lost. This photo was taken on Skookum Gulch in the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska. It is a small short drainage but was very rich at one time. It was mined out by hand as the stacked rocks reveal but some gold still remains. In this case we used a Keene 175-30 highbanker / dredge combo for the test work. The creek is very small and so had to be ponded up for the system to work, and it used nearly all the water in the creek while operating. The little gulch almost goes dry later in the season. One interesting note is that we left the highbanker stored upright over the winter. Water entered the tops of the leveling legs, which are hollow steel tubes with feet welded on the bottom. The water froze over the winter, and because the legs were stowed in there shortest configuration it proved impossible to extend a couple of them. And believe me there was a lot of squeezing in a vice and pounding of hammers involved! The metal had warped out to the point it was impossible to squash back down small enough to pass through the bracket hole. We just gave up and jury rigged this little saw horse and fence post system you see here. The legs were later replaced and drain holes drilled at the bottom of all the legs to allow them to drain in the future to prevent this from happening. The amount of gold found was marginal and last I heard the disposition of this particular claim was in question. It was a fun project though and a nice photo of how a highbanker / dredge combo can be put to use.
  7. I've searched the DP archives, been reading DP forever (it seems), certainly on the GPZ discussions, and have yet to see or hear about this unit's operation/performance/settings in Alaska. I'm headed to areas North of Nome, AK next year - and just dotting my "eye's" and crossing my "tee's" long before the trip. Steve has covered Gane's Creek incredibly well, as usually does with a bunch of MD's, but unless I was asleep, he has yet to discuss having taken his ZED up there. I'm looking for advise (beyond carrying a .44MAG), settings primarily since Alaska is not AZ, nor NV, nor CA.
  8. Hi all, Just got back from a trip to Chicken Alaska and my AT Gold and T2 Classic were spot on. Total weight for the four nuggets is 16.8 grams. The three small nuggets were found with the AT Gold, 3x6 snake coil on day two. The biggest nugget is 10.8 grams and was found with the T2 Classic, 4x11 biaxel coil on day three. The T2 with the stock coil could detect small flakes by listening for the break in the threshold. All the nuggets were 5 to 6 inches deep and would have been missed if I didn't listen for the break in the threshold. I like to give a big thanks to Steve for writing the stories of his adventures in Chicken that inspired me to take the trip. I have now detected and found gold in for different areas of Alaska in 8 years. (Ganes creek 4 times, Moore creek 1 time, Nome 2 times, and Chicken 1 time.) 26 ounces found in 8 years with $700 VLF. Last of all, don't let anyone tell you and area is hunted out, trust in your equipment, keep a good attitude, work hard the whole time, and believe in your abilities. Thanks, Treasuredude
  9. Just back from the Nome, Alaska area. Hard work (low and slow - listen carefully - focus) and little luck yielded a nice range of specimen nuggets. The were a few areas with hot rocks but most spots had acceptable slightly-mineralized soil conditions for my GPZ and GB2. It did seem I dug a lot of rusty 3-4" nails in the 24-36" range but only one nugget this deep. Does the GPZ and other detectors pick up rusty nails deeper than nuggets? Is there something about their shape and electrical/magnetic properties that make them easier targets?
  10. I was curious where to spend my time looking for gold using a sluice box and/or pan. I am curious if it is worthwhile heading up torwards Hatcher Pass and taking the Gold Mint Trail and working on the Little Susitna or go to Crow creek in Girdwood? What's your opinion?
  11. I have been following Steve's detecting tips since 08 when I bought my first detector,a MXT from Alaska Mining and Diving (AMDS) Million Dollar Garage sale. Thanks for the Forum Steve. Inspired by http://Steve's 2013 Alaska Gold Adventure I will be going to Chicken, Ak. the first of July for ten days, camping @ Walker Fork Campground. I have a White's MXT, GMT and Garrett ATX. With all the new detectors out there, I am looking for a new detector best for the area. I have been think about the Makro Gold Racer. Thanks for every ones on the Forum.
  12. Headed out Saturday for a quick trip to the river. Just a pan and my camera - Oh and by prospecting buddie. Any way I sampled three or four spots with little luck, finally come across a large boulder with a bit of flow material behind it and gave it a go. Did not expect much as it was loose and obviously resent, well to my surprise................. So the question is what would you consider a good sample Pan? FYI - I like the 14 inch GPAA pan green color, wide bottom and medium sized riffles.
  13. One of my favorite types of prospecting is sluice and panning. No loud motors, no beeping and buzzing detectors just the sound of the river and nature in general. Anyway, thought I would post some pictures. Not a real big haul, but for the six - three gallon buckets I ran - I am happy.
  14. Saw this at Bill's forum and liked it - good photos and details showing how getting gold seems like only a small part of things sometimes. http://www.ssdsupply.com/alaska_2015.htm
  15. I'm using these cold winter months to plan my trip to Alaska this summer. I plan to hit some of the GPAA claims on the Kenai peninsula. I am a GPAA member and have their latest guide, so I have that basic info and know I will need permits to dredge, highbank or power sluice. I would like for anyone with actual experience on any of these claims( Ken & Brian, Shirley E, Northlander #2, and Demaree) to provide some input as what to expect, such as physical access, land or water (big stream or little stream, deep or shallow) conditions or anything that would help me prepare. Pictures would be great if you care to post some. I place a high value on the personal experiences of others. Not trying to get rich, although that's not a bad thing; just looking for a little gold to say I was successful. I do plan to take my detector also, a White's MXT, but that's not my primary tool. Yes, I know it's not the best, but you know what they say about a blind squirrel. I will be looking into some camping areas also for my fifth-wheel trailer. Thanks in advance for your input.
  16. First off, I love this forum and all the info here. Good work guys! I am planning a trip to Alaska for the summer. I will be pulling a fifth-wheel trailer. I will be following my wife's uncle, who makes the trip every 3 or 4 years for the fishing; but I am primarily focusing on the gold. I think our primary destination will be on the Kenai peninsula, but other places along the way are not out of the question such as Chicken. I'm into the gold thing about 3 years now and have been primarily to AZ, Colorado and the Klamath in N. Calif. I'm pretty proficient at panning & sluicing and did some highbanking on the Klamath. I have several sluices, Gold Grabber highbanker, and I plan to put together a small dredge or power sluice(no more than 4 in). I am a GPAA member, so am planning on hitting some of those claims, some public areas, and some fee area also. So my question is this: What would you tell someone who is coming for up for the first time, that they need to know or might not have thought about. Thank for any info to make this trip a success.
  17. Just published, free to the public. Geologic Map of Alaska Neal
  18. Steve, I bought the F19 thinking I could hunt around Anchorage for silver coins. Did you have any luck in that area? Interestingly, I found four rings, two necklaces, several ear rings and pendants, few hundred in clad and lots of cash. And not one silver coin. Not sure if I should be disappointed by that?
  19. Hello, has anybody done detecting in the valley that the Little Susitna river passes through? I am thinking of the valley and slopes to the north and south of the river along the Gold Mint trail.
  20. Bin lurking for a while and based on some of the info floating around like this thread http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/1151-reintroduction-of-the-minelab-gpx-4500/, I bit on a used 4500. Will be using in Alaska so wondering if the mono coils will generally be what a person would be using. Comes with one double D and 6 mono's. Glad I can put the Zed out of my mind for a while. Appreciate all the experience that's being shared around here. Has saved a lot of miles.
  21. Akau Gold Alaska 2015 Hunting for gold nuggets in Alaska, something that sooner or later crosses your mind once you get the dreaded Gold Fever Bug. I started planning my adventure about a year before, having never been able to visit Ganes creek or Moore creek while they were in operation. With very few options to choose from for nugget hunting in Alaska; I decided to book my trip with Akau Gold It was my only real option left that I was aware of. My adventure began flying out of Burbank Airport, packing a week’s worth of clothes along with 2 detectors, a GPZ7000 and a Gold Bug Pro. Three plane changes and 12 hours later im in my cabin at Akau gold camp on Anvil creek, 7 miles outside of Nome Alaska. My cabin was very basic with a wooden bunk bed and small portable heater. All their potable water has to be trucked in so showers are kept to a minum. Food was home cooked meals served @ 8am and 8pm and very good as far as my tast go’s. They have an activities menu to pick from as far as what you will be doing each day be it panning, slucing, high banking, or Metal detecting. I was there for one reason only, nugget shooting, and with 24 hours of sunlight and 600 acres to explore I can say I got my fill in the 7 days I was swinging a detector and maybe only covered a small part of it. The ground is mild but there is a ton of old iron trash, you need a detector with discrimination. My gold bug pro did not survive the airplane flight and the coil plate had somehow split open in my luggage. So for the 7days I was swinging my gpz7000. With a lot of ground covered by tundra and all the iron trash I stuck to checking old tailing piles and push areas. I had a great time and will be going back again next year I hope. Again accommodations are very basic, the weather changes every few minuets, it can get bone chilling cold even in summer, daylight is 24 hours so sleeping can be tuff. The hosts Augie and Betty are great and will do all they can to make your trip a good one. The food is home cooked and there’s gold still there but it takes work to get some, even in Alaska.
  22. So I went on this trip to Nome, Alaska. I was told there was a lot of trash there but I also expected big gold. I took discrimination, PI and Zed. We sluiced, high banked and metal detected for about a week in and out of the rain. One day we went fishing for pinks and chum salmon. It was a fun trip. I got this 11g/5g specimen from a pushed patch about 1 ft down with my Zed. I wanted more but I didn't get skunked. Some others there found some larger gold and others did get skunked. I hope to get better light on this in another picture but I need to get it posted. Mitchel
  23. In case you have not been following the tale at Steve's 2013 Alaska Gold Adventure here is a photo from the final entry. This is the 6.5 ounce solid gold nugget I dug the summer of 2103 and kept quiet about until now for reasons explained in the tale.
  24. I spent a couple months in Alaska prospecting for gold in the summer of 2014. That adventure was chronicled as it happened here on the forum at Steve's 2014 Alaska Gold Adventure. It was a great trip and a great adventure, but when I told it I relayed the fact that it was actually part two of the story. Part one happened in 2013 and for reasons you will now discover I kept quiet about it until now. Those interested in the logistics of making the trip to Alaska and details on where I stayed, etc. will find all that covered in the 2014 story so I will not repeat that stuff here. 2013 was a momentous year for me. My business partner and I had sold the business we started together in 1976 to our employees in 2010. My partner immediately retired but I stayed on a few years to oversee the transition. Things seemed to be going well enough that I announced my retirement to take place in the spring of 2013. My wife and I had purchased a new home in Reno, Nevada and so plans were made to sell our home in Alaska and move south. At the same time, some partners and I had acquired some mining claims on Jack Wade Creek in the Fortymile country near Chicken. Alaska. My plan was to move my wife south then spend the summer gold dredging with my brother. The disaster struck. I screwed up the paperwork and the claims were lost. That mess was described online at Making Lemonade Out of Lemons and I even wrote an article for the ICMJ about it. I was not to be deterred however and made plans instead to go metal detecting for the summer. Unfortunately, my brother also had a change of plans and so was unable to make the trip with me. Just as well as I ended up having my hands full. The house sale was in progress and time running out so I boxed and palleted everything we wanted to keep and shipped it south. Then I loaded my wife and dogs up in the car and drove them to Reno. Next I flew back to Alaska and had a last big garage sale. I sold everything I could by the afternoon and out a FREE sign on what was left. Worked great - the house was empty, I cleaned it up, and pretty much left it to the realtors at that point. Finally, on June 16th I jumped in my fully loaded truck and headed for the Fortymile! On the way up just past the town of Palmer on the way to the town of Glenallen you pass Sheep Mountain in the Talkeetna Mountains. It is a very colorful, mineralized peak and it was a beautiful sunny day so I stopped and took this photo. Sheep Mountain, Alaska From the USGS ARDF file at http://mrdata.usgs.gov/ardf/show-ardf.php?ardf_num=AN080 Early Jurassic greenstone and minor interbedded sandstone and shale is intruded by numerous mafic dikes and at least one body of unmineralized Jurassic granite. Greenstone has been hydrothermally altered and contains at least 6 separate gypsiferous deposits in altered zones along joints and shear zones. Deposits composed of pods and stringers of gypsum, quartz, alunite, kaolin minerals, pyrite and serpentine minerals (Eckhart, 1953). The gypsum-bearing material averages 25 to 30 percent gypsum, with a maximum of 50 percent. In addition also reported from same general area are: (1) small irregular quartz-calcite-epidote veins in greenstone containing chalcopyrite, malachite, azurite and possibly bornite and chalcocite (Berg and Cobb, 1967); (2) disseminated chalcopyrite in greenstone over 5 ft thick zone subparallel to bedding (Martin and Mertie, 1914); (3) trace gold in samples of pyritic greenstone (Berg and Cobb, 1967); and (4) minor anomalous concentrations of copper and gold associated with some of the alteration zones and nearby veins (MacKevett and Holloway, 1977). Large area of south flank of Sheep Mountain is stained dark red from oxidation of pyrite in greenstone (Berg and Cobb, 1967). Oxidation of Cu minerals. The gypsiferous material averages 25 to 30 percent gypsum, with a maximum of 50 percent. The six deposits indicated and inferred reserves contain about 659,000 short tons of gypsum material, of which about 50 tons of this material had been mined (Eckhart, 1953). In addition, about 55 tons of clay was mined for the manufacture of fire brick and boiler lining. Samples of pyritic greenstone assayed trace gold (Berg and Cobb, 1967), and nearby veins in alteration zones show concentrations of copper and gold (MacKevett and Holloway, 1977). We did a talk radio show for many, many years at our company. The latest of several "radio personalities" to work with us on the show was Kurt Haider. He had expressed an interest in metal detecting so I invited him up to look for gold. I met him along the way just before we got to Glenallen and headed on to Tok for a bite to eat at Fast Eddie's. Then on to Chicken and finally Walker Fork Campground by evening. This is a very nice, well maintained BLM campground at the mouth of Jack Wade Creek where it dumps into the Walker Fork of the Fortymile River. The campground hosts this summer were a very nice couple named Pat and Sandy. Walker Fork Campground Steve's Camp at Walker Fork Campground The next morning Kurt and I ran up the creek to find Bernie and Chris Pendergast. They were spending the summer camped along Jack Wade Creek prospecting and I was anxious to see how they had been doing. Not bad, they already had over an ounce of gold found before we arrived, and that got Kurt and I all fired up to go look for gold. I had told Kurt, a total newbie, that I had a sure thing. We were going to hit a bedrock area I had detected the previous summer and where I had found a lot of nice fat little nuggets. There was rubble and little piles of dirt, and I thought all it would take is moving the rubble and dirt aside and we were sure to find gold I had missed. We got started after lunch on a steep slope where it was easy to just rake material off and then check with a detector. Kurt Looking For Gold With White's MXT Pro The location turned out to not be very good, but Kurt did manage to find one little nugget, his first ever. He was real happy about that! We did not work at it all that long though with the late start, and Chris and Bernie had invited us over for moose stew. Chris is a fantastic cook so we enjoyed both the stew and a DVD packed full of Ganes Creek photos from the couples adventures there. Finally we called it a night and headed back to our camp. Now time to get serious! Kurt and I grabbed the picks and rakes and spent the whole day tearing into some berms left behind by the miners bulldozers on the bedrock bench area. I just knew we were going to find gold for sure. We would both do hard labor for awhile, then I would put Kurt on the ground with my Gold Bug 2. Working Bedrock With the Gold Bug 2 We worked a couple hours. Nothing. No big deal, just need to move a little more. Nothing. More digging and scraping. Nothing! I would have bet $100 we were not only going to find gold there but do pretty well. The spot had produced quite a few nuggets before and I had refused to believe we couple possibly had cleaned it out. But by the end of the day it was a total bust. We finally just wandered around a bit detecting and I lucked into a little 3 grain nugget. What a letdown. No big deal for me but I was really wanting Kurt to do well and this was not working out anything like I had thought it would. The next and last day for Kurt we decided to hook up with Bernie and just give it a go like we normally do. And that means hitting the bushes and tailing piles wandering around looking for gold. Kurt had his MXT Pro and Bernie and I our GPX 5000 detectors, so we had a horsepower advantage for sure. Still, I was hopeful as we put Kurt on the best spot that Bernie knew of from his extra time before us. Bernie Pendergast and His Trusty Minelab GPX 5000 Very first beep, Bernie digs up a 3 pennyweight nugget! Yeehaw, we are going to find gold!! We all hunt away, with Bernie and I checking in with Kurt periodically. Kurt, it seems, just was not destined to have any beginners luck at all; Bernie and I each found a couple 1-2 gram nuggets by the end of the day but Kurt came up dry. I was feeling kind of bummed out but Kurt insisted he was having a huge adventure, and come to find out he rarely ever got out of town at all, so this really was a big adventure for him. I just wish he could have found more gold, but he was up early and headed back to town the next morning. I was on my own now, so I rigged my GPX 5000 up with my Nugget Finder 16" mono coil and hit the tailing piles. All day. For no gold. However, just by myself that is really no big deal at all. It happens all the time and I do not think anything of it. If anything, the pressure was off trying to help a friend find gold, so it was a relaxing day wandering around. Saturday, June 22 started out sunny with a few clouds. There were some tailing piles across the creek I had been wanting to detect. I had hit them a bit the year before and just dug trash, but had not put in more than a couple hours at it. Still, they looked real good and I had been thinking about them all winter and decided it was time to give them a go. I started out with my GPX 5000 but immediately got into some old rusted metal, like decomposed and shredded can fragments. I just was not in the mood for it that morning, so went back to the truck and got out my Fisher F75. The F75 had done well for me in the past hunting trashy tailing piles and was along on the trip for that reason. I got near the top of the pile with the F75 and on getting a signal looked down and saw a dig hole full of leaves. I try to recover all my trash and get frustrated when I find holes with junk in them. The signal though was flaky, not a distinct trash signal, so I figured I may as well see what the other person left in the hole. I gave a quick scoop with my pick, and gold pops out of the hole! I am not sure if the person was using a VLF and the specimen gave a trash signal, so they left it after half digging it, or maybe they were using a Minelab, and the signal just sounded "too big" so they left it for trash. Too big indeed, they walked away from a 2.37 ounce gold specimen! To say I was stunned would be a vast understatement. The trip had only just begun. The best part of all was that my expectations for the trip were very low. I had been hoping that a month of camping and detecting would get me a couple ounces of gold. That would be more than enough to cover my expenses and make a few bucks. Yet here I was on the sixth day of my trip, and I had already exceeded that amount. This was just great on several different levels, not least in pretty much taking every bit of pressure off going forward. Here is that specimen from a more detailed account of the find I told previously at Fisher F75 Strikes Gold Twice in a Row! 2.37 Ounce Gold Specimen Found With Fisher F75 Metal Detector on Jack Wade Creek, Alaska I had to take a break and go show Chris and Bernie my good fortune. Then I switched back to the GPX 5000 and got with digging everything, including all those bits of rusted cans. Funny how a nice chunk of gold changes your perspective. That, and seeing what somebody else had left behind as trash. I finished out the day finding three more nuggets, a 2.5 gram "cornflake" nugget, a 3.4 gram piece and and fat round 6.1 gram marble. First week, 2-3/4 ounce of gold, This was shaping up to be a really great adventure! To be continued...... Steve's Gold From Jack Wade Creek, First Week 2013
  25. I am a big fan of the Fisher F75 from a different perspective than most. I am a prospector and have done very well finding gold nuggets with the F75. The very powerful all metal mode combined with the simultaneous on screen target id numbers have allowed me to quickly and efficiently hunt trashy tailing piles in search of large gold nuggets. The light weight and superb balance make the F75 a pleasure to use for long hours in rough terrain. It also was my detector of choice for my one and only trip to the UK that I have done so far, and it served me well there. I spent a month in 2013 metal detecting on Jack Wade Creek near Chicken, Alaska. I kept my great results there quiet pending a return trip there in 2014. That trip has now been made but that is another story already told in detail on my website. Now I can finally reveal the details of the 2013 expedition. I started out early one morning with my big gun pulse induction metal detector, but got onto a tailing pile that had ferrous trash scattered down one side, and I was just not in the mood for it that morning. I went back to my truck and got out my trusty F75. I run the F75 in all metal because it has instant target response; there are no worries about recovery times in all metal. The coil picks up every variation not only in targets but in the ground allowing me to monitor what is going on at all times. Knowing what the ground is doing is important in keeping the ground balance properly adjusted for maximum results. The key thing I like about the F75 in all metal however is that the meter always runs in discrimination mode and places a nice, large target number on screen while in all metal. The audio alerts me to a potential target, which I then analyze more carefully while watching the target numbers. All metal goes deeper than discrimination modes, so no on screen number means a very deep target beyond discrimination range. This alone makes running in all metal desired when prospecting because running in discrimination mode would miss all those extra deep signals. In all metal I dig them until a target number shows up. Deep targets or small targets in mineralized ground will often read ferrous, so I watch the numbers and if they even once jump to non-ferrous, I dig. Only targets that give a 100% strong ferrous reading over multiple sweeps can be safely passed. Though I will throw in my caveat that no discrimination system is 100% accurate and there is always a risk of passing a good target. When in doubt, dig it out! I do often employ pulse induction detectors and do very often just dig everything. I advocate that when time and conditions allow. The reality is this is not always practical for many reasons. Maybe it is just limited time and overwhelming amounts of junk. Better to increase the odds by using discrimination than bogging down digging 100 nails in a small area. In my case it often boils down to fatigue or flat out not being in the mood to dig junk. So it was on this particular morning, and therefore my F75 came out and I got to work sorting through the trash working my way up the side of the tailing pile. I crested the top and got a strong reading and looked down. There was a shallow dig hole with leaves in it, obviously from some hunter there in prior years. I figured the guy had recovered a trash item and kicked it back in the hole so I cussed him quietly under my breath. I hate it when people do that! Then the target numbers caught my eye. They were all over the place. A crumpled piece of flat steel might give numbers like that though. Still, I was curious and figured I would retrieve the trash this person left in the field. I gave the old dig hole a big scoop, and out pops a big gold nugget!! I seem to have a talent for finding ugly gold nuggets, and this one was perhaps the ugliest I have ever found. It looked more like a rock burnt in a fire than a gold nugget when I dug it up, though the glint of gold is unmistakable. This gold however was very pale and in fact later analysis revealed it to be roughly half gold and half silver and other metals. It is a little known fact that gold alloys tend to have very poor conductivity ratings. Gold is very conductive, and silver is a superb conductor. You would think adding silver to gold would improve the conductivity, but in fact just the opposite happens, and the conductivity lowers dramatically. Gold/silver alloys are closer to lead in conductivity than that of the pure component metals, explaining why bullets read identically to most gold nuggets. This ugly nugget is a detectorists worst nightmare, because the 50-50 alloy mix and rock content give it a much lower conductivity reading than would be the norm. I surmise what happened is this earlier operator got a poor signal and gave a dig to get the coil closer to the target. The signal did not improve, as would be expected with most gold nuggets, so the operator decided it was trash and moved on. The rest of the hill being covered with junk no doubt contributed to this decision. It was my insistence on investigating everything except 100% ferrous readings that made the difference. The readings on this target were not solid as one would expect from a pretty strong signal but all over the place. Most people would say that indicates a trash target but I have seen many gold nuggets do the same thing in mineralized ground. The result is I dug a shallow 2.33 ounce gold nugget that somebody else walked away from. Sadly for them one more scoop would have revealed the nugget for what it was. Hopefully this is a reminder to the reader that far too often detectorists look for excuses not to dig. How many good finds get left behind because we do not want to take that extra minute or two to dig a target? This nugget is far from a premium find, but I have already sold it for over twice the cost of a new Fisher F75. That detector was a real money maker for me as that was far from the only gold I ever found with it. Unfortunately I say was. I made a huge change in my life in 2013 and moved from Alaska to Reno, Nevada. The move resulted in a desire for me to weed down my detector collection. I was pretty excited to do some coin detecting in Nevada where the potential finds were much better than those possible around Anchorage, Alaska. Almost all my detecting with the F75 had previously taken place in rural locations far from possible electrical magnetic interference. In Reno, EMI raised its ugly head. I found much to my dismay that the F75 did not like my new location, and in fact when turned on to hunt the yard at my new home I could not get it to settle down at all. No matter what I did the machine chirped and beeped and numbers flew all over the screen. Unfortunately I experienced what many urban hunters have found out – the F75 is a very sensitive high gain detector that does not get along well with electrical interference. I ended up selling my F75 in 2013 for this sole reason. Fast forward to the fall of 2014. I am contacted by the good folks at Fisher wanting to know if I am interested in trying out a new version of the F75 they are preparing for market. I of course say sure as I am always game to go metal detecting with different units. A new F75 is sent my way along with a list of the possible improvements. One immediately gets my attention – improved resistance to electrical interference. All the focus was on a new mode or “process”, as Fisher likes to call them. The new FA process is intended to better pull non-ferrous items out of trashy or mineralized ground. It does indeed work as advertised as I found out in an accidental situation I came across. I went to a local park and did a simple hunt for non-ferrous targets, comparing the DE default mode to the new FA fast mode. I did not really care what I found as long as it was non-ferrous. I should note the ground here is very difficult, reading 1 on the Fe meter, the second highest reading you can obtain. Hunting in this park is very much like nugget detecting, and the best detectors get very limited depth and highly inaccurate target numbers as a result of the high mineralization. One spot really summed it all up for me. I found three targets I could cover in a single wide swing that all read as ferrous in DE mode, but when I switched to FA mode all three switched to non-ferrous. FA mode is very fast with short, machine gun type reports in the audio. I was running in two tone mode, with ferrous giving low tones and non-ferrous high tones. In DE mode I could sweep and get three low tones in a row. Simply switch to FA mode and now there were three high tone reports in a row. This was an extremely dramatic result seen in person. In this case all three targets proved to be nothing more than aluminum targets, but they could just as well have been small hammered coins in the UK or small gold nuggets in Alaska. I hate to oversell things and I have to note that the difference in going to FA mode is not going to be earth shaking. Most targets read the same in DE and FA modes. But FA provides a tipping point, a little push that takes targets previously ignored and lights them up. By shortening the audio response on targets it also attenuates responses to a degree and so depth and signals on the tiniest targets may be impacted. Depth however is not useful if a target is misidentified or ignored completely due to target masking from nearby objects. FA mode is another tool in the toolbox that can help produce targets in specific situations previously overlooked by others. The new F75 also expands on the available audio options in ways many people will appreciate. These additions and the new FA mode will tend to get all the attention, but for me they pale in comparison to the new ability of the F75 to engage and disengage the new Digital Shielding Technology (DST). The version of the F75 I received had DST engaged at all times, and the difference in my ability to use the F75 at my home was as dramatic as it gets. My previous F75 was basically non-functional. My new F75 ran just fine, with only minimal EMI discernible at higher gain levels. I noted no downside to this. Given the situation, how could there be? Other field testers however were concerned that in low EMI situations perhaps there was an edge lost by having DST engaged, and so Fisher decided to add the ability to engage or disengage the feature as desired. It does not get any better than that. Use it if you need it; leave it off if you do not. All I know is this. What difference is there between a detector you can use and one you cannot use? All the difference in the world, and in my opinion I struck gold a second time with the F75 seeing it run with the new Digital Shielding Technology. That one feature alone means I can use the F75 in urban areas where I could not use it before, and vastly improves the reasons for my owning the detector once again. I am very confident a great many people will agree with me when they get a chance to try out the new, improved F75. Everything else in my opinion is just icing on the cake. Disclosure Statement