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  1. Ok NursePaul touched down in OZ, picked him up on Saturday, but in his excitement to get over here he forgot his ports with clothes, Z, etc etc. no no regardless of what he says about Airlines, that`s my story and I`m going to stick to it. We are having a lot of trouble communicating, I don`t know what version of English you Yanks use but tis French to me for sure............ So here we are waiting for his gear coming via Pony Express-Cobb & Co and I`ve got the best excuse I`ve every had as to why I`m not finding gold.....................But the xxxx is good yes/no..............and we are sort working out sign language, although judging by the smoke coming out his ears I think we will switch to smoke signals...............
  2. Well, it's with a certain wistfulness that I am about to spend my last night in Indian Harbour Beach, FL. This little island has been the closest thing to a "home" that I've had for the past 5 years. We towed our "big house" to Georgia a few days ago and got it all tucked in and safe from the Florida hurricanes. The "little house", our 27 ft toy hauler, is parked in our spot and all ready to go exploring for the season. There was a minor glitch with the Polaris as it wouldn't start when we took it in for new tires Thursday. Route 1 Motorsports says it's just the battery and I'm sure they will get it all straightened out for us before we leave Florida in a couple of weeks. I hunted "my" beach for probably the last time yesterday and had an awesome time with some old friends and some new ones. None of us found much except clad and lead sinkers, but Terry Shannon did say he found a 10K ring the day before....which Mrs. Shannon promptly confiscated. We'll be in New Smyrna Beach next winter, if we can get a spot reserved, so it will be fun learning to "read" a whole new set of beautiful Florida beaches. I've heard that they're not as sand-truck happy up there as they are here, so that will be a big plus. I do wish I'd had more time on my new Equinox before we left here, but at least I'll get in a couple more weeks of beach hunting at St. Lucie and Daytona before we leave Florida. Tomorrow I face the "downside" of this RV lifestyle, saying goodbye to some dear friends and knowing it will probably be the last time I'll ever see most of them. Those of you who also live this nomad life know how it is. You always say "we'll meet somewhere halfway in between for lunch next winter" and then you never do. At least with Facebook you can still stay in touch. So we're off to St Lucie in the morning, so ya'll please say a little prayer for safe travels, if you're so inclined. It is always greatly appreciated. On to the next big adventure! Ammie
  3. Tried out a new detector on Saturday:Due to some unavoidable delays, I finally made it out with my Makro Gold Racer on the weekend to see what it could do.I don't know about where you live, but winter here just didn't want to let go this year. I mean, we had one of the coldest, longest winters we've had in forever, and snow, snow, snow (we're about four feet over the average mountain snowpack at the higher elevations as I write), but Old Man Winter finally took a breather, and so I got a chance to head to the mountains to swing the coil again.The place I picked was one that didn't have a lot of exposed bedrock, just a small section really, with the rest of the ground covered with six to eight feet of overburden on top of the bedrock, and that's just too much overburden for the size of gold I commonly find.As for the weather that day, it was a true mixed bag. I mean this time of year, we can get all four seasons in one day! Saturday was no exception. It rained early in the morning, then the sun came out and it was nice and warm, then it clouded over, started to rain again, then turned to snow, then the wind blew a cold blast of air for about an hour, then the sky turned blue and the sun came out once more, the wind stopped, and the weather did its best spring imitation for the next three hours.I unlimbered the Gold Bug Pro first, and you can't make this stuff up, within three minutes, I'd found a three gram nugget, one my wife said looked sort of like a four-leaf clover. And, Nature indeed had made it look kind of like one. The nugget was sitting in some tough clay that held a lot of former river stones, so it seemed to me that it was likely what used to be the bottom of a crevice long ago, as the surrounding bedrock had been cut down at least a couple of feet by the former placer miners whose actions would have left the sort of deposit I've described.I kept working the exposed bedrock and any places I could find where bedrock had been tossed out in case some gold had ridden out with it. (I have found nuggets this way before.) I really took my time and went slow, because I wanted to be sure I'd cleaned the area before I broke out the Gold Racer so I'd have as accurate a comparison as I could. By the time I'd finished with the Fisher, I'd gathered another gram and a half of small stuff that I'd thrown in the bottle.My wife had wandered off, and I found her panning near the foot of channel wall, but she wasn't having much luck; however, she pointed out something to me that I'd have completely missed. To the north and east of where she'd been panning, there was a short section left of what had been a bedrock drain, and there were small sections of bedrock still exposed that the boulder clay hadn't reclaimed.Nevertheless, I headed back to the original bedrock I'd worked with the Gold Bug Pro, and I broke out the shiny new Makro Gold Racer. The ground balance worked flawlessly, and setting the sensitivity was a breeze. The ground was moderate to a little hot, so I didn't have to worry about adjusting the ISAT, and I was pretty familiar with the types of hot-rocks I'd likely find, so I knew most, if not all, of them by sight. I started by running the coil slowly over the areas I'd hit with the Bug Pro, and after a few sweeps, I had several quiet but distinct signals. When I dug down, the signals got louder. I called by wife over, and she took the dirt with the signals and panned them out. Neither one of us could believe the tiny gold in the pan! The Gold Racer really did deliver on finding small gold. However, the first bedrock area was not where I realized how good the Gold Racer could perform.Remember I mentioned the bedrock drain? I headed over to it with both detectors. First, I scanned the small exposed areas exceptionally carefully with the Bug Pro, and I got a few small pieces, then I ramped up the sensitivity on the machine as far as I could, fought the background chatter, and all in all, liberated about half a gram of gold from the bedrock. I swapped out the Bug Pro for the Gold Racer and covered the same areas again. Almost immediately I had a signal. I couldn't believe it, but the signal was clear, and I could see a previous dig mark where I'd nailed some small stuff with the Bug Pro, and the Racer was giving a crisp signal, quite unmistakable, right in the same dig hole! To make a long story short, three inches of bedrock later, a nice picker was in the bottle! This blew me away, as the Gold Racer had found the target while running nice and quiet, with the sensitivity not ramped up, yet the signal was very clear.I kept at the small sections of bedrock, and kept getting quiet, but clear, signals until I'd added another gram and a half of small gold to the vial. (Sometimes I'd get a break in the threshold too, but when I dug down, the signal either disappeared or it turned out to be a target. [Some heavy iron deposits in the bedrock did give a weak signal, but I soon learned that due to the broad nature of their signature exactly what they were.]) What this weekend's outing made me realize is that if I'd have given the Gold Racer a run the end of last summer, I'd have undoubtedly recovered a lot of small gold, and I do mean a lot, that the Bug Pro just couldn't see (this test was carried out with virtually the same coil sizes on both machines, elliptical shapes and DD's as well), and knowing now what I likely left behind last summer makes me a bit sad. (Out of six grams of gold for the Saturday, a gram and a half was fine stuff from the Gold Racer, and that's a pretty good added portion of gold recovery I'd say.) In fairness to the Gold Bug Pro, let me say this: I've found lots and lots of gold with that great little machine, and it's super easy to learn how to use making for a quick learning curve. In addition, I don't have an unkind word to say about the Fisher as it's paid for itself many, many times over, and I will continue to use it, and I'll continue to train others how to use it as well. Moreover, let me say that the Bug Pro doesn't run at nearly as high a kHz, so it's unfair to compare apples to oranges that way, but I wanted to see what I was leaving behind, that's all. So, I learned my lesson well on Saturday, and I gained a whole lot of respect for the little Gold Racer for how sensitive it is to small gold, how good it punches into the ground to find it, and how quietly it goes about its job of doing so. Furthermore, The Makro is a great little gold machine I can swing all day long, and I'm looking forward to really taking it for a long, dedicated run this summer to add more gold to the poke because it sure gets the job done in style! (How I wish some fine company would produce a light-weight gold-hungry pulse machine with excellent capabilities or that Minelab would find a way to lighten the technology package of their GPZ 7000. Wouldn't that be great?) (I'd like to thank Steve for pointing me in the direction of the Gold Racer, and I'd like to thank Dilek at Makro for her exceptional customer service.)All the best,Lanny
  4. Hi guys, Well as you probably know now, Phrunt (Simon) is the proud owner of a GPX 4500, & proud he is. Can't wipe the smile off his face. He has been gagging to get out in the hills for a spin with it. He ordered & got a little Coiltek 10 x 5 joey mono coil before the weekend as the two coils that came with his 4500 were both DD's. So Saturday morning my door bell was ringing at 7.10 am. Was supposed to be 7.30. He must have left home at about 6 am & didnt speed as the last weekend he got a speed camera fine. I was just having my breakfast & a coffee, so I made him a coffee as well. I had sorted out an external speaker for him since he is allergic to headphones. Coffee done & we were off. I took him back to the spot where he got his two bits with his Gold Monster as there are heaps of workings up there. It was a hell walk in & not one I look forward to. Only the one old pack track access in & out. The proud 4500 owner standing on the pack track. To the right of his left shoulder the track winds its way up & through that gorge & somewhere up in the clouds beyond the gorge is our destination. Around the corner & into the gorge. We stopped for a breather & a short detect on some very shallow bed rock & some small workings. I thought it might be good for Simon to have a play here with the joey mono & to get our breaths back. I went a wee bit further targeting a bit deeper ground. I had not used the Zed on this spot at all. But had done well with the Gold Monster on tiny gold. I got rigged up & started detecting & I saw Simon somewhat alarmed. He had charged his battery over night & it read 8 volts when he fired it up. He plugged the external speaker into it & all of a sudden the detector died. Down to flat battery & 1.9 volts. WTF.... I had given him another battery of mine incase his one didn't last the day. Tried that one & the exact same thing happened. We were both baffled. More so Simon as he had been playing with the detector over the last few days & all seemed fine. Got all the way up here & no go... He tried factory presets. Turned it off...back on....& just straight to flat battery...on both of them. Pulled the cable out tried plugging it in again. Still no joy. I said to turn the cable around & try. Still nothing. Nothing happening at all. I said we may as well have a coffee, I had brought a thermos, & then head back down to my place & re group & re think our plans. So we had a coffee & were just dumb struck as to what the problem may be. Hopefully not the detector. So after our coffee Simon tried once more & bingo 8 volts & up & running. Whew....game on. Thank goodness for that. Never missed a beat all day & all on the one battery. So we were both off detecting. Simon was getting signals but none were gold. But he was happy at the small stuff the joey was hitting on. Just had to walk over some gold. He was poking & proding in all the right places but the gold wasn't coming his way. Somehow we swapped around & I ended up trying the Zed over the shallow bedrock where I had done well with the GM 1000. Not thinking for A second that the Zed would get anything here. got a very faint signal. That little bit of a scrape between the coil & the scope & out popped this. I couldn't believe it nor could Simon as he combed over this bedrock with his GM 1000 last time up here & I would have gone over it with mine as well. It was down maybe a little bit out of reach of the GM. We did have a lot of rain the night before & I fared the weather would be crap for the whole weekend. But as I have said before & I will say it again, I believe the wet ground helps out in getting better depth & more sensitivity. Note the wetness on the coil. It didn't end there either. I got another signal that had me getting down into this hole in the schist. You will notice that crack dropping down the face of the schist to the bottom of the picture still packed with material. I got a small piece of gold out of that hole & there was another very faint signal coming from that vertical crack. I ended up scrapping that crack as much as I could with the pick but I couldn't get to the signal. I went up to my smoko bag & got out my pocket knife. Where was my screwdriver that I normally have in my backpack? Raked the crack out with the knife. A small piece of gold popped out . But it still wasn't over. It was just crazy. They kept coming Two bits from the one dig. There was a third but once I moved it I lost it & no high frequency VLF to sniff it out. That was my lot from the bedrock so I moved onto an old pile from the old timers where I had got a few bits with my 4500 & the NF 12 x 7. Couldn't believe it but I got a good signal with the Zed. There was a bit of depth to it in just a loamy soil & no bedrock. Well bugger me Before backfilling I got another very faint hit. And another tiny bit of gold. Simon in the meantime was still goldless but getting tiny bits of rubbish. Just has to swing it over some gold. We moved on. I had some more major workings to take him to & let him unleash himself on. Got him up there & left him to it. There was lots of very promising ground for the little coiltek joey mono. I headed back to a spot where I had got quite a few little bits in deeper ground & where Simon had got his two bits with his GM 1000 on our last trip in here. I had not finished detecting the area to my liking so wanted to finish it off. Long story short. I got nothing where I really thought I would. No matter how hard I tried. I headed to a most unlikely looking spot. On the top of a spur with deep loamy soil & no bedrock in sight. Found an old broken spade. An old timers riveted shovelhead. Got a signal that had junk written all over it. Signal out & no bedrock in sight. But gold it was. This pic is taken from the spur I was standing on & similar to that next spur over. Up high from the gully floor. Glacially pushed & deposited gold...has to be. No water worn rocks on this spur. There was higher up where Simon was detecting. I then got a good hit that was right on the edge of a bit of a drop off. Dug down onto it & again it was just this loamy soil. But it was getting deep. So I got the pointy end of my pick & drove into it. Crunch...the pick hit schist. I thought that if the signal carries down to that then I am in with a good chance of a better piece of gold....or not. The schist was to the right of the scoop but then the schist dropped away & I was back into the loamy soil & the signal in that. Again I drove the pick into the soil hoping to here the crunch of schist again. But no joy. Bugger...going to be rubbish. Then the signal was out. The best bit of the day.69 of a gram. I got three more small bits after that one . It was starting to get dark. I got a txt from Simon to say he had got none. I was surprised we had coverage in here. I replied but he wasn't getting all my txts. I was in a bit of a blind gully but I was telling him we needed to make a move. Luckily we had head lamps & we needed them. I got into a better spot & phoned him. Along he came & we were out of there. Pitch black by the time we got back to the wagon. We were both leg sore from that. I couldn't believe Simon got no gold. Later he told me he had not been digging the real faint ones. I said they are the most likely ones. He was just so used to the VLF's screaming out on shot gun pellets. Mrs JW had gone up north for a week so Simon stayed at my place that night & we had an attack on another spot the next day. We went in Simon's car & I left my phone in it so have no photos of that days mission. Simon did & he is going to take over a post on his day. So I will leave it over to him. My result that day was 5 small bits. So on the left of the coil is Saturdays finds & sundays on the right. total of just over 2 grams. Have I ever said how the Zed continues to blow me away on its small gold finding abilities?? Cheers & best of luck out there JW
  5. Last Saturday Phrunt (Simon) turned up at my place at 9am. I had the Zed all packed up & ready to go. Simons "new" GPX 4500 hadn't turned up in time so he was taking along his GM 1000 & Gold Bug Pro to compare the two. On our arrival at the car park area we were the only vehicle parked there. We had a bit of a hike to get to where I wanted to take him. We broke the hike up with a detect at some old workings that I hadn't been to for ages. I had never had a VLF over them & as there was a fair amount of shallow ground & sheet bedrock I thought it was as good a spot as any for Simon to swing his VLF's. I think he started off with the GM & was making a hell of a racket with signals every other step. Using no headphones & just the internal speaker, gezzzz your a noisy bugger I said to him... He was just getting shotgun pellet after shotgun pellet & no gold. I had been over this area quite few years ago with my GP 3000 & little Coiltek 10 x 5 joey mono & done pretty good. The wild thyme bushes had taken off & trying to swing the Zed's coil among them was impossible to get down to the ground. So I headed off to the side of the workings & targeted the sheet bed rock. I was walking up a small gutter covered in grass growth when I got a good hit. Turned out to be a fragment of tin from an old tin matchbox. Moved on a few feet & got another good solid hit. Thinking it was just going to be the same I was surprised when the signal lived on down through the gravels to the schist bedrock. scrapping the bed rock the signal finally moved. A sassy little bit of gold. Ye Ha .69 of a gram That was a loner though as no more came to light. Nothing for Simon either. So after maybe a couple of hours I made the call to carry on with our hike. After probably another hour of walking we came to the workings that I wanted to get stuck into. Well bugger me. On getting there there were two other chaps in there detecting. One with a Zed & the other with what Simon said was a GB2. They weren't overly talkative & were probably pissed off that we had come along. Bugger I said to Simon. We moved up the workings a bit & dropped our packs & detectors. I said to Simon, lets just go for a walk over to the next gully & have a look. Did this, came back to our gear & these other two had packed up & were heading off further up. They had ridden up here on Electric mountain bikes & they were gone in a flash. I had contemplated an Electric mountain bike a few years earlier but the price of them put me off. Seeing how easy they just rode off up the hill did impress me. So I am looking at them now 6.5 & up to 12 grand is pretty daunting though. Few ounces of gold there. Any way....they were gone so we jumped "their" spot. I then noticed another chap walking up the hill with a detector. Bloody hell I said to Simon....check that out. 5 of us up here detecting. Never have I come across so many. I don't normally see another soul. He walked right up this gully & I moved off detecting to avoid him but he bailed Simon up & must have gassed to Simon for an hour. Wasting valuable detecting time. Simon said he kept trying to get away from him but he just kept on going. He had a 4500 so I think Simon may have picked his brains a bit. So it wasnt all a waste of time. Mean while I was getting a few rubbish signals & no gold. When Simon finally got into some detecting he just picked up right where he left off...with shot gun pellets ever step. I finally got a faint mellow signal. It lived on down a bit, more so than pellets , I did get my share but nowhere near as many as Simon. It was a small bit of gold. .09 of a gram I walked up past Simon, who had been targeting old turned over throw out piles. In this pic he was swinging the Gold Bug Pro & still getting more than his share of pellets. You will see his GM to the right lying in the thyme bushes & my Zed hard center left. After taking the pic I headed to that pile of stones back this way from Simon. Left click once to enlarge the pic. Let it refocus & left click again & it will go full screen for better detail. I got a faint but definite signal. I called Simon over & marked the spot with a light boot scrape. Said to Simon to try there. He got a faint hit. I scraped at it until it had moved. Simon pinpointed it for me & it was a tiny shotgun pellet size piece of gold. .06 of a gram Unbelievable. But that was it. I went off elsewhere leaving Simon to explore around there. But I got nothing more. Dark wasn't far off & l wondered back down using Simons noisy racket from his continued shotgun pellet signals screaming out from his GM as my homing in pigeon to locate him . Told him we had better make a move as we had a bit of a walk to get back to the car. Got back just on pitch black. Wouldn't have wanted to have been any later. There was a bit of stumbling & lurching as it was towards the end. Unfortunately Simon got skunked on the gold but made a fortune in lead. Three for the Zed for not even 1 gram. Simon now has his 4500 & a new Coiltek 10 x 5 Joey mono coil is on its way to him. Look out this Saturday. Cheers. Good luck out there JW
  6. Dukester

    Turkey And Toys

    Took my eight year old son out turkey hunting this morning and he scored big time on a nice Tom. Then we got permission to detect around the old barn thats there. Found these four old toy cars, a few clad coins and one wheat penny with my nox. It's been a good day. 😁
  7. No, this isn't about gold, but "made you look!" I'm not an introvert, but like many of you I've yet to work up the courage to ask permission on a cold call to hunt private property. So far I've stuck with public places: parks and schools. I've had quite a few contacts/coversations over the last couple years with people walking their dogs, bringing toddlers to the swingsets, etc. in the parks and on school grounds. Often if I see someone watching me I wave, or if close enough say 'hi'. In the least it takes away a bit of the awkwardness and shows I'm human, just like they. A couple things happened today on a 5 hour hunt (more on the results of that in a separate thread when I get the goodies photoed). 1) I was only about 20 minutes into my hunt with virtually nothing to show and digging a hole already 6+ inches (15 cm) deep and counting when I middle aged guy walks up and says "hope you're not hurting the sod". He wasn't angry or threatening, but certainly cautious and concerned. Before I had a chance to explain he noticed I had removed a plug of sod without damage and was collecting the rest of the dirt from the hole in a gold pan (my standard method). He said "so you put the plug back in last?" and then I told him how I conducted myself. He asked what I had found and I showed him a large-mouth bottle cap and a beavertail. (Turns out the target I was digging was an old Champion spark plug but I didn't have it out until after he left). Relieved, he introduced himself and put his hand out to shake. I reciprocated. Turns out he was a "friends of the parks" coordinator for the park I was hunting and told me of his exploits and frustrations dealing with the city council and city park officials. We shared some stories and after a few minutes he wished me success and was on his way. I was glad I was able to head off any potential confrontation -- who needs that?! 2) Near the end of my 5 hour hunt I was along the city sidewalk digging what turned out to be a Wheatie when a dog walker happened past. I said 'hi' and he asked what I had found; "a few pennies" was my answer (the truth). Then he volunteered the location of a baseball diamond from years past and when I inquired further about its location and age he said it was there in 1976 (apparently when he moved to the area) but couldn't remember when it had been covered/grown over. I'll do some internet viewing of aerial photos to get more detail and then get over there and start searching. I've read stories (here) about less than amicable confrontations that some have had. Those are inevitable and I'm sure I'll have one someday, but for the most part I suspect they are rare. Most people leave me alone, some are curious, and occasionally they want to talk longer than I do, but I've always been able to politely end the conversations and get back to my task. Both adults and kids have started dialogue but it's typically curiosity that initiates the questioning and I'm glad to educate them on what I'm doing. Familiarity defuses any possible concern and usually they are pleased or even excited (kids, anyway) that lost treasure can come out of the ground. It's not my land or theirs, but ours. I'm glad when both of us see things that way.
  8. I've professionally been with the Ringfinders since last May but have been finding people's lost jewelry by word of mouth like most of you for sometime. It seems that other MD'ers either like us Ringfinders or they hate us. I'm ok either way but one of the complaints is that we have an easy task in that we get told where the ring was lost and and anybody could find a ring like that blah, blah blah. I got a call last Sunday when i was out of town about a guy who'd lost his wedding ring somewhere in this general area. 1. Camping spot at Pt. Mugu State park 2. Knoll overlooking Neptunes Net in Malibu 3. Somewhere on the trail to Sandstone peak (tallest peak in Santa monica mountains at 3114 elevation) 4. On sandstone peak Since I was out of town another ringfinder checked the campsite but evidently declined to go any further. That's where I came in. I got to Neptunes net this morning and met my client who informed me that the place he possibly lost the ring was no inhabited by a homeless woman who had started a small fire and was chanting something. He explained that he was sitting where she was at and so I proceeded to check the area around her all the while she's sitting there chanting. She then looks up and accuses me of fornication as I'm using my pinpointer to probe the grass area and the rocks and asks me if i want to search her as well. Seeing as how my 15 year old dog had more teeth than she did I concluded our search there was over and he said to follow him to his next spot. Little did I know it was going to include climbing to the top of Sandstone peak. After a 45 minute hike and a 1,000 foot elevation gain we arrived at the top and I proceeded to scramble all over the area with my pinpointer (the Equinox was useless) looking in every crevice for where this ring may have fallen. The ring was nowhere to be found and we dejectedly decided to end the search and head back down the trail. Altogether my attempt at finding his ring took 2 hours of driving, 3 hours of hiking and looking and one crazy old homeless woman who accused me of having sex with the grass using my pinpointer. For my troubles I got $40 which helped put gas back in the tank. No ring was found today but I made two new friends and I'm going to try and help one of them get a teaching job in the future. We don't always find the ring and nobody seems to want to share about the ones they didn't find so I thought I would.
  9. I probably have about 20 or so hours on the machine right now. Been staying in Park 1 or Field 1. I like 5 tones and reactivity somewhere around 6-7. Iron Bias zero. Auto GB. The machine can smack high conductors in iron infested relic spots or in a trashy park...which is good and bad.... good for relic hunting but bad in parks because it sometimes makes me want to just go for the high conductors and I like looking for gold mostly. Yesterday I hit an old town site. Been there many times...Old coins are hard to come by but there are still lots of targets. The place dates back to the 1890's Found lots of targets but the best find was a 1909 Portola Festival medallion. Part of the fun of relic hunting is figuring out what the heck you got. In 1909 San Francisco threw a big party to celebrate the rebuilding of the city after the big earthquake of 1906. All it takes is one good find a day and I'm done so I was finished by 11am. I like to mix up my detecting between relic and jewelry hunting. Beaches are a little ways away so for convenience I hunt parks mostly and some schools if I can get in them. Today I hit a park that has produce only one gold ring and a vary small gold pendant in the past. I kept telling myself that I know there is more gold to be found. It's a lovely park with lots of trees and a baseball field. The best part was know body was there when I showed up at 8 am this morning. I began by hunting close to the tables, trees and a nice grassy knoll where lovers like to lay...got a junk ring right off the bat with pretty stones and I was getting lots of low conductors...a deep nickel here and there. Been over this area many times with my CTX. Lucky to find a really high conductor. The first time there I found a beautiful 1 ounce Sterling silver cross with 32 rocks in it. After about an hour of stealth hunting for a gold ring I head over to some small bleachers that sit behind the the baseball field. I've stayed away from the area (about 30 feet by 15 feet) due to all the trash the CTX it would become over whelmed. Today I just cranked the reactivity on the Nox up to 7 and jammed through the area FAST and was just picking out the higher conductors. It's amazing how fast this machine is.... I was having fun...had a junk ring and a pouch full of coins by the time I was done there. I was getting tired from all the digging so I decided to head out to the ball field where there are less targets lol...after about 20 min of the ball field I decide it's time to head home as it's now 10am and theres work to do... so start making my way toward the the truck. I'm now between 1st and second base about 15 feet from the infield and I get another 15 on the Equinox. Another pull tab I guess but you never know so I dig probably the 20th 15 of the morning. flip the small plug back and I see gold...and some yellow crap next to the gold...I'm blind so I put on my readers and immediately see a gold chain...YES! After carefully digging a wide margin it's out... a beautiful mens gold crucifix and chain. Attached to the chain is a small junk Oakland A's emblem with a playboy bunny and a yellow sticker. Immediately I wonder did the detector see the gold chain and crucifix or did it see the junk Oakland A's emblem. After I got home I found a clear spot on the grass and tested the chain with the emblem on it with both the Nox and the CTX. 12.18 on the CTX loud and clear...still a 15 loud and clear with the Nox. I cut off the junk brass emblem and re test...The neither the CTX or the Nox can hear the chain. It's invisible to both. The Nox picks up the crucifix but it's only a 4 on the screen. It will hit it solid about 5 inches above the ground. The CTX can barely pick up the crucifix 12.01 and you almost have to rub the coil over it. Next I take out my TDI pro...it hits it but to my surprise the Nox hits it as good or better. Next I test the Oakland A's emblem all by itself and the Nox hits it at a solid 15 so the only reason I found the gold chain is because of the Junk pendant! So the moral of the story is....dig it all! The crucifix, chain and clasps are all individually stamped 14k (Michael Anthony) and it's just shy of 18 grams...Been wanting one of these for a long time and it fits perfect. strick
  10. Hi guys, I packed the GM 1000, the EQ 800 & the mighty Zed into my truck & headed off for the day. Got to my chosen spot & was gobsmacked at the grass growth. Bugger. That was not looking very promising to get the coils down on to the ground. Had to have a rethink on location. Ended up that I was going to have to go for a long walk. Oh well...so be it. So I only took the Zed. After a big walk I got to a spot I had not been to for a few years & never with the Zed. Old timer turned over ground. Not gully diggings but up on the hillside a bit. The grass wasn't as much of a problem here but it was still quite lush & it was about as good as it was going to get for me. It was hard detecting.....well hard to get signals...... of the gold veriorty. First one was a faint little hit on top of one of the bald schist gravel throw out piles. Getting down in depth & the signal still there & sounding damn good. Then it was out. Bugger...a .22 bullet head. Had me going that one. Next signal was just a shallow scrape before it had moved. But it was a small bit of gold. Three feet away, another faint hit. Right down to the schist bed rock before it was out. A piece of gold. But that was going to be my lot. Nothing more on these old workings for me. Then the long walk back. Oh well. Didn't get skunked. Cheers. Best of luck out there JW
  11. I had a good hunt today -- best one yet, with the Equinox. I acquired permission late last fall to hunt a home built in 1904 in town, and have been there several times, with the CTX. During those hunts, I dug a couple of Barber dimes, a Merc, a Rosie, a number of wheats, a few tokens -- plus a few interesting relic-type items and some clad. However, finds had started to taper off, and so I hadn't returned in awhile. Today, armed with the Equinox, I wanted to see if I could pull out another keeper or two. My focus was actually on hoping to find a gold ring -- so my intent was to dig a variety of tones in the sub-nickel to pull-tab range. So, I arrived thinking "gold ring," and my very first target dig was this large men's SILVER ring (not gold, but I'll take it!) A short while later, this showed up (I'm almost sure I must have made a rookie mistake, as I think this was in the same plug as a Barber dime I recovered on an earlier hunt with the CTX -- OOPS)... A 1927-D Merc. Then, I got a rather odd, deep tone, but it sounded good enough to dig... These were in the same hole -- the first one on-edge, I believe, and then the second still in the wall of the plug. While recovering these two coins, the husband and wife who own the home happened to come over to see how I was doing. They got to see me recover the coins, one at a time. When I pulled the first one (1904), I could see it was the most beautiful Indian I'd ever dug, with a gorgeous verdigris pattern -- and also in exceptional condition. The homeowners were really excited to see me recover the coin, and when I told them what year it was, they said "wow, that's the year our house was built!" So, I knew at that point that the owners needed to have that one -- so I offered it up, which they hesitantly but excitedly accepted! They plan to frame/display it, as part of the history of the home! I then recovered the second -- and all three of us were shocked, as it was dated 1864 -- a Civil War-era Indian! After talking with the homeowners for a bit, I continued on. I dug another Indian Head (1900), sandwiched between two V-nickel digs (1897 and a "dateless" one). Finally, to end the day, I got a deep signal amongst some trashy lower tones, that I could coax a rather consistent low 20s ID from. I thought maybe it was another deep Indian Head, but the Indians I had dug were generally upper teens, so I was not sure on this one (especially hearing the other nearby trash/iron). So, I removed a deep plug, and sweeping the side of the plug, I could now hear a good high tone, with 25-26-27 ID numbers. SILVER numbers! From about 7" or so, I ended the day on a silver note! 1912-D Barber Dime! I was REALLY impressed with the Equinox on this hunt. I know for CERTAIN I passed over the hole with the two Indian Heads, as well as the 1900 Indian Head, and also the Barber Dime, with the CTX (because I carefully gridded the rather small area they were found in), and for whatever reason was not convinced to dig. I also missed the nickels, but that doesn't surprise me, as I still have a hard time with nickels on the CTX. NOT SO, with the Equinox. The ring was shallow, and a penny-type signal, so I probably just ignored it, thinking "shallow Memorial." Overall though, a very, very good hunt was facilitated by the Equinox, in an area I thought was "petering out" after being hunted multiple times with the CTX. Since 90 percent of the hunts I've taken with the Equinox have been to my local park that I've cleaned nearly "bare" over the past 7 years, and thus the good coin finds with the Equinox from there rather sparse, getting into a rhythm on this hunt with the machine and digging good targets repeatedly/consistently was a great confidence builder with the still-new-to-me machine. Thanks for reading! Steve
  12. Hi Guys, The weekend before Easter I invited Phrunt (Simon) on a bit of a high country Mountain gold detecting mission. He was keen as mustard despite me telling him it was at least a 1.25 hour uphill hike before we could start detecting. That didn't deter him so he arrived at my place & we headed off in my truck. He with his Gold Monster & me with my Gold Monster & the Zed. I just had the 5" coil on my GM & Simon had brought both the coils for his but starting off with the 5" as I had some very shallow bed rock for him to hit. After a bit of a drive, fording a river crossing & then an uphill grind on an old steep original pack track/wagon road that was formed in yesteryear, we got to where we had to park & start the 1.25 hour uphill hike. This is about the one hour mark looking up trail. The old original packtrack & only access in to these old workings. And this looking down trail We got to the first area of bedrock that I wanted to put Simon on to as I had got gold here before with my GM & thought there was every possibility that there was more. The ground was damp due to a recent snowfall we had had & the moisture had soaked deeply into the ground with the snow melt. I am always a firm believer in better depth penetration & sensitivity with detecting in moist ground conditions. I suggested he start at the bottom end I would go up to the top end & work my way down to him & meet him about half way. It took me a wee while to get my first very faint little signal. I had worked my way down towards Simon, who had not managed to get a positive hit yet. Right in the folds of the schist bedrock A tiny bit of gold. I managed two little bits in this location & as Simon had lucked out & we were out of bedrock to detect, I suggested me move on & up further. It had been a good little interlude after our initial grind up the hill. We had both caught our breaths so I took him on to some further bedrock after a bit more of a walk. Simon got into it & I went a bit further ahead onto some other exposed bedrock. I got a very faint hit. Scraped away at the schist. A tiny bit of gold. I then got another & Simon had still had no luck. I then opted to ditch the GM & crank up the Zed for the deeper ground. My first signal with the Zed was a fairly deepish dig but was just a small bit of rubbish. Simon had come on over to witness the dig & was surprised at how good a hit the signal was at the depth it was & the small size of the target. Despite it being rubbish. No further signals so I decided to work my way up to the top of a spur where I had snagged a little piece with the Zed the last time I was up here. I said to Simon that there was quite a bit of exposed bedrock in this area that may suit his GM. I showed him my little scrape from my last time up here where I got the piece of gold. I had been detecting in the conservative settings, sensitivity on about 4-6, that time & was now in the higher setting of 18 sensitivity & high yield/normal. With the damp ground I was hopeful of scoring more. Simon was detecting not very far away when I got a very faint, but to me, an unmistakable sweet hit. I said to Simon, Did you hear that? I turned the B&Z volume up more so he could hear it but it just distorted the signal. So I turned it back down & Simon came closer. There was a very faint warble in the threshold. It wasn't always there but Simon got wind of it. I knew what I had heard & I said to him, That is the unmistakable sound of gold. I guarantee 100% this will be gold. I hadn't even scraped or disturbed the ground. When I did the signal really livined up. I kept on scraping out the hole & I was then breaking into the solid schist bedrock & getting into a crevice. Simon pinpointed it with his GM as I was having trouble. That bald bit of ground top right was my old scrape from the time before. You may be able to make out the bit of gold on the coil. I think Simon was gobsmacked at the depth for smallish size of the gold. I think he was also gobsmacked at my 100% call of that signal being gold. Sometimes you just know. He then headed off to some bedrock that was just below where I had detected that bit. It looked very promising but still he wasn't getting anything positive. I then got another very faint but positive signal. Again I ended up in the schist bedrock smashing into a crevice. The shape of the gold just lent itself to be deep in the bottom of that crevice. I went & got Simon to show him before backfilling it. At this point we stopped for lunch. I said for Simon to put on his 10 x 6 coil to get better ground sweep & a bit more depth. After lunch & back into it I hit some rocky area that I thought was just slabs of schist the old timers had peeled up & dumped there. I got a good little signal & on digging down on it realised that it was bedrock. Out popped a little bit of gold. Scanned again before moving on & got another little hit & another bit of gold. Simon was getting a great introduction to the power & punch of the Zed. I then got on to a little mini patch. Getting piece after piece. I said for Simon to try over there & he started getting among it. Snagging two little bits with his GM. But that appeared to be it. I suggested we move on to another spot. More bedrock, but no joy for either of us. I hit a steep sided slope that was all alluvial gravels that the old timers had stopped sluicing away. It was fairly precarious detecting & I noticed that Simon had kept away from it. I managed two small bits in one dig that was on the very edge of a drop off. I worked my way around & all over this material, being very careful with my footing. I got a very faint signal that ended up having me dig quite deep. The picture doesn't do justice to how steep & narly to spot was. But it was gold After taking the two above pics I swung to my left & took this pic looking up the turned over gully workings. If you left click once on the pic & let it focus & then left click again it will go full screen if you want to see more detail of the gully workings. My last signal for the day came from a schist bedrock area that Simon had been over with his GM but got nothing. I got a good hit. It took a bit of work to get the target out. Biggest bit of the day. We had a fair hike ahead of us to get out of here & back to the truck so we decided to make a move as dark wasn't far off. I think we both felt the effects of the hike out as we got back to my truck. It was a welcome sight & just on dark. My result was 17 for the Zed at 3.45 grams. And four for my GM & the 5" coil for .16 of a gram . Simon got just the two bits with his GM but I was glad he didn't get skunked. He was happy to have got those & I think he enjoyed his day. If not so much the walk in & out. Cheers Best of luck out there JW
  13. This is a find (not a crime) of opportunity! Today I got a late start at the beach because of a number of chores but I wanted to make an appearance to see what the wind driven waves had done. I got there on an incoming tide about 2 hours after low tide. It has been a while since we have had conditions like these so better late than never. My previous hunt I had used a new pair of headphones but I felt more confident with the supplied phones so off I went. The last time out I had cleared my settings with the factory specs so now I was setting up Beach 1. That was very little change. Noise cancel, ground balance and check the sensitivity. Part of the beach had a cut and I was in the middle of that area. Many people were out even tho cool and in some wind. I headed for the waterline and pebbles and could tell the waves had not scoured out as much as I liked. I was getting a lot of nothing again but I could hear pretty good in all metal. My first hit was a corroded penny but you gotta dig. I think the next hit was the same 20-21 that a penny gets you. Now I had to make a choice. This is a beach I know well so I headed in a direction to the north where I have found rings in the past. After about 50 yards I decided to head south. (I was reminded by that feeling of a change when I had been hunting for sharks teeth in Venice, Florida in 1978. One morning I went to the right, felt I needed to go back to the left and in less than 100 feet I found a nearly perfect tooth about 4 inches long. It was my best find.) So, this time I went past where I had found the pennies and just behind a little girl standing in the shallow waves and I heard a 13/14. I know what 15s are in this area, nickels. There was no bottle cap chatter. I didn't have time to pump up and down on the target because waves were coming. I gave a scoop and missed the target so I went after it again. I could feel something on the edge of the scoop so I softened my dig in case I would 'hurt' the target. When the wave went out I flipped my scoop and I got a glimmer. I knew it was a chain but didn't know if it was stainless or what. With people around I reached down and picked up the object with some sand and stuck it in my pouch. I didn't need extra eyes at that point. There was time to check the area a bit before moving on, and on and on without many targets. On my way to another beach I rinsed off the chain and felt the weight and I was hopeful. This would be my best gold chain. My wife found a nice gold chain in 2015 so it was my time? I returned a half mile to where I found it and there were very few targets. Time to go back and get my glasses and see if it was real. When I got to the car and I got my glasses on I could see 14k ... yessss! This along with the other couple of gold rings would pay off my wife's 800! It was time to have a little fun. I put it around my son's neck and brought him in to Lu fixing dinner. She likes gold so it didn't take her very long to see it. haha We took a couple of photos with the king of the household and then I measured and weighed what I had found. It is 14k/20in/19.1g. It is my best gold chain to date. It could have been found with other detectors but maybe I wouldn't have been in that part of the surf with my 3030. Maybe another detector would be heavier and not as much fun as the 800 right now and I certainly would not walk out where I was with a wired headphone. The conditions were right. Wind waves are good for chains.
  14. Hi guys, On Saturday I asked Simon (through the forum) what he was doing Sunday & were you keen for another mission. I got no answer until 9pm Saturday night as he had gone Back to Coronet Peak ski field detecting coins under the ski lifts with his EQ 800. I think he said he got $16.50 & a silver ring. But yes he was keen for a mission on Sunday so it was arranged for him to come to my place & we would head off in my wagon. I told him to bring his EQ 800 as there was a lot of flat sheet bedrock & wide open spaces. Sunday arrived & I did a weather check on my chosen location. MMMMM... -1c during the day up on the hill top with possible snow & -6 that night. Oh...bugger. I checked a lower in altitude location & it was 9c during the day but with a 90% chance of rain. Another bugger but we went for it any way. The day turned out pretty good & no rain. Was coolish but I like that & dressed for it. Simon just went for it in shorts & bloody T shirt. I couldn't believe it. I told Simon to try full max sensitivity 25 & Multi IQ & leave the rest in factory pre set. If a bit ratty then try 40 Khz & if still ratty to knock down the sensitivity. Play around with full all metal or one push of the horse shoe button & it will knock out the negative number signals. He was able to run full max sensitivity & Multi IQ all day & he stuck with all metal. He soon learnt that shot gun pellets & tiny gold both read 1-2 & he got a pocket full of pellets & 5 bits of tiny gold. He had christened his EQ 800 on gold on his first days attempt. I had every bit of confidence that he would as I had done pretty well here in the past & knew there would be tiny gold that would suit the GM 1000 & the EQ 800. He left his GM 1000 in his backpack all day. I just took the Zed. Simon got the first bit of gold for the day & it took me a wee while to get my first little hit. I was running high yield/normal with sensitivity on 18. The signal was on the bottom edge of an old timers throw out pile from a little ditch in the bedrock they had dug down on. The signal lived on right down to solid bedrock. When it was finally out. .16 of a gram I then hopped across the little ditch they had dug out & was detecting the upper opposite bank of what looked like virgin material. I got a good hit. Ended up being my biggest bit of the day. .34 of a gram I got my share of shotgun pellets but Simon by far exceeded in that department. One double blip signal I got, which usually is a pellet, turned into a pellet size & shape piece of gold. .11 of a gram I then heard Simon had got his 5th piece just as I was digging a signal that was a .16 of a gram bit. I wandered over see Simons bit & showed him my bit. It was a while before I got another. One scrape & I was on the schist bedrock. Just to the left of the coil. The smallest of the day for me. .06 of a gram. Not long after this we called an end to the day. We both got 5 pieces each & Simon was off to a positive start on gold with his EQ 800. My total was just .86 of a gram. Cheers. Good luck out there JW
  15. Just got back Not a lot of relics for me. Some round and minie balls but other then Twelfth GA flat buttons (some deep, old, and partial, others amongst thick iron) and some modern bullets and casings, I hit no period brass but plenty period lead and iron. I have confidence the Equinox would have pulled me a button if I had gotten my coil over one or two. So as a relic hunter...disappointment. I have a chance to redeem myself in a couple weeks. As a detector geek, it was a really good time. Some of the below is "repackaged" from abenson's thread, so if you are having Deja Vu... I wanted to start my own thread with all the info consolidated but also directly address some of abenson's issues based on what I observed, hence the repeat info. EMI, Ground Noise and Coil Noises: 1) Manual Noise Cancel helped on some occasions when Auto didn't pick the optimal channel IMO (a feature the 600 lacks). This was ESPECIALLY important here where you could have up to 25 - 50 GPX's within a few hundred feet. Only once or twice, though, was interference really bad such that I had to pause detecting. Never had to reduce sensitivity below 17 and tried to keep it around 20 and no higher than 22 (again, try to stay near the presets folks, they do appear to be optimal for most situations). 2) Did not use GB tracking (except in Gold Mode which has tracking on by default) but Auto GB'd frequently and found GB (in Field 2 mode) varied anywhere from 4 to 6 in some spots and between 44-56 in other spots. This variability could result in some adverse performance if you just went with the defalt GB setting or did not rebalance frequently. I also noticed a strange phenomenon when GB was set high (i.e., in the 40+ range) that the coil would false on impact with corn stalks or even if you just shook the coil in the air. This did not happen when GB was set close to zero. When I first experienced it I thought I had a loose coil connection or imminent coil failure until I cycled through the modes and noticed that it did not happen on all modes. I finally figured it out when I had re GB'd to a lower number and it went away. Will try tracking at the next mineralized site but did not want to "chance it" here. I have more confidence in it since using gold mode - one of the things I learned from gold mode. Also note that I did not really have a chance to actually gage mineralization because I never pulled out a detector with an Fe302 mineralization meter on it to correlate the GB readings to mineralization. 3) Very important to run the Equinox fast near its defaults on recovery speed. In this soil, 7 worked well on "ground noise" and sometimes 8. This is where the 600 maximum recovery speed limit might make a difference. I did not have a 600 to compare but I know I would not run Field 2 below its default of 7 which is higher than the max setting equivalent setting on the 600. I ran my Equinox 800 in mostly Field 2 and it was great. I used it all three days and only used the GPX for a few short hours in the morning of the third day. I forced myself to stick with it and while I did not score any Eagle buttons, did get some minie and round balls. One round ball was deep 9+ inches and ID'd clearly though the numbers wavered between 14 to 16 and you had to have the coil centered and wiggled to lock in the ID. I found one minie not deep but in highly mineralized and trashy ground under a tree root and the ID was very choppy as a result but dug and was rewarded. Iron tones (ground noise) abounded in the mineralized soil I set up two Field 2 programs. One I kept in the user profile which was basically the default Field 2 50 tones with Recovery at 7 (Very Important to note that this is slightly higher than default on the 600 which is limited to the 800 equivalent of a 6 setting max) and Iron Bias at 0. I used this program when in thick iron and wanted to be sure I did not inadvertently mask non-ferrous or to interrogate targets that gave off choppy high tones in my "main" Field 2 program (described below) to see if the high tone was falsing or wraparound (if the high tone increased in the presence of a ferrous tone then I could pretty much confirm it was an iron target and not a masked non-ferrous, this technique is not foolproof, however). The other I ran most of the time which was exactly the same but without much fear of masking in the open fields, I ran Iron Bias up to 6 to limit falsing on nail heads. I sill need to experiment with Iron Bias but I felt this set up well for how I was hunting. I also dialed in a little threshold. This enabled me to not be completely in the dark on iron if I chose to run discrimination. I made liberal use of the AM button either to flat out search in AM or to interrogate choppy high tones as describe above. Threshold kept me apprised of the iron situation full time regardless of the disc mode I used. In a thick bed of nails house site on the property, I experimented with Gold Mode and THAT was very interesting and promising. More on that later... Not a great DIV for me with respect to finds (and believe me there were plenty of great finds to be had, they were just concentrated in a few specific couple acre camp areas on 1500 acres of farmland), something I did not figure out soon enough, lol. However, it was a great opportunity to learn the detector as I put nearly 30 more hours on it and learned a hell of a lot. To be continued...
  16. I woke up Sunday all motivated to find some gold, I’d been looking forward to a prospecting outing with KiwiJW for some time, he’s been a very big mentor to me and has answered every question I’ve had with a very detailed and easy to understand answer, which is fantastic as I’m very much a beginner, but an eager one at that. I sent John a TXT message asking if he wanted to go on a hunt, I was pleased to see he replied with a YES. We arranged to meet at a location to give it a shot, John recommended I put the 5” coil on my GM1000 for the task at hand, I’ve barely used my 5” as I always thought I’d have more chance with the bigger coil. He decided to use his GB2 so we were both on a different detector. Both our Equinox’s stayed in the cars as the big coil was no good for the task at hand, come on Minelab, we want the 6” coil now!!!, and while you’re at it, make it with a solid base cover please. We had some serious terrain to get through before we got to the location where we started to detect, as we headed down to the area the rocks were covered in moss and I took quite a nasty fall, landed flat on my back and winded myself, not a great start to the day but up I get and off we go, after all, we are on a mission. John gave me a rundown on what to do and how to do it and off we went detecting in the creek, I tried to stay on the opposite side of the creek to John so I didn’t get in his way, not long after we arrived we were walking along the creek, detecting in the areas John indicated would give us the best chance, and I could hear John’s GB2 making noises that even sounded good to me and very much like my Gold Bug Pro sounds. He had what appeared to be a target, I ran across with my GM1000 and tried to find the target that he was getting… nothing, not a signal at all on the GM1000 in Auto+, he hit the area a few more times with his pick and said now try it, still nothing, I changed to manual 10 and there it goes, sounding off on the target with a good positive reading on the indicator. I now really understood why John told me I should be using the 5” coil, the smaller the better for this job and why he mostly uses manual 10 if the location allows it. He kept digging for some time, so long I went back to my detecting thinking it can’t be anything as he’s been on it about 10 minutes chunking away the rock and still got nothing. How wrong I was, all the sudden I hear John yell out, got one! So I ran back over and it was massive, the biggest nugget I’ve ever seen in person, it was big, but very thin weighing in at 1.52 grams. We guessed the nugget was up on its side which is why the Monster struggled in Auto+ as I was swinging directly over the top of the area with the coil flat, where as he was able to use his tiny little 6.5” elliptical coil on his GB2 to really get down into the crack so he was hitting on the target sideways, the likely orientation of the nugget, I didn’t know to do this at the time. Being the beginner trying to follow all the rules of detecting I suggested he check the hole again, and bang, straight away, another target, I stayed around to watch the retrieval of this one, and tested it prior to retrieval on the Monster and was giving a good full bars on the indicator. Up comes John’s second nugget shortly after. John's nuggets, look at the size of that thing! Now I was really getting motivated, I kept my Monster on Auto+ as there was a bit of instability around his GB2 with it on manual 10. We walked along a bit and John said, That spot over there looks good and explained why, so off I went and virtually straight away, I had a good signal so I dig for a bit and found nothing, and moved on to an area next to it, John came over with his GB2 and I said I had a good signal but couldn’t find anything, he got his pick out and scraped away some of the gravel and said, try again. I did, and managed to narrow down where the target was, scooped up the gravel into my scoop and waved it over my 5” coil and bang, it’s in the scoop. John talked me through narrowing down where it is in my scoop and after a few minutes my first nugget of the day and the biggest I’d ever found by a long shot. We rechecked the area and nothing so continued on. At this point I had a smile on my face like the Joker that couldn’t be removed. My first nugget of the day After climbing over a few waterfalls while John was giving me further instruction of where to look I found another signal in some schist, there wasn’t even a crack in it, this was a solid bit of schist in the creek but it was giving a good signal, normally I would just walk away thinking some sort of false alarm, he instructed me to hit it with my pick and break it up a bit, and I did, shortly after a nugget was visible in the rock, retrieved it, rechecked the area, still had my perfect full positive signal, smashed some more rock out, another nugget, and again, this process went 6 times! I got 6 nuggets out of this bit of rock! Unfortunately the 6th nugget which was only tiny was washed away during retrieval by the fast flowing creek and I just couldn’t find it after that. My schist glory hole! We walked along a bit further and decided it’s time to try out another nearby area as this was more an educational journey for me so we decided to take the high country goat track back to avoid having to walk the creek again, this possibly turned into a harder walk than the creek itself but it was an adventure! I managed to lose my scoop during this walk back to the cars. My Nuggets from the first creek My nuggets in the Vial, John's directly on the car bonnet, his was bigger so harder to lose We arrived at the next creek and found an apple tree so had a snack and then walked up the creek doing a bit of detecting, then John said, there is plenty of old mining workings up that hill there, want to go up? I of course said yes so we climbed up. I was amazed at what I saw, there was water races, and piles and piles of rocks and various workings, even old rock structures they had made, this looked like it went on for many KM’s along the creek side high up in the hills. John said now there is all that bedrock here, let’s go detect that and pointed out what I needed to look for. He specifically said target the cracks in the bedrock as gold gets stuck in them so that’s exactly what I did. I found a further two nuggets right near each other in cracks in the bedrock. There wasn’t many targets up there in the small amount of time we were searching and it was getting late. John just found some junk unfortunately. I feel a bit bad as John spent so much time helping me he didn’t get that much time detecting to find targets himself but he did get BY FAR the biggest nugget of the day and another decent size one so that’s some consolation, by weight our day was very similar. We headed back down and John knew a shortcut to get back to the cars so we took it and it worked out well, we were back in no time, the walk back was also very educational for me. John pointing out various old timer workings and explaining it all, I learnt a huge amount on this adventure and I am very thankful to John for taking me along and sharing his wealth of knowledge on the area’s gold mining and metal detecting techniques. I feel like now I can actually metal detect for gold, and do it with some success. The Gold Monster 1000 is a perfect beginner’s machine, and as it seems great for the experts too. Regretfully I had to take off home at this point as my 7yr old daughter was waiting up past her bed time for me to get home so she could see if I found anything while I was out with the guy who she sees in all the forum photos finding gold all the time and wonders why daddy can’t do it! She’s quite the keen little prospector too. My wife and daughter were shocked when I showed up rattling my vial with 8 nuggets in it, weighing in at a mighty 2.167 grams. I just had the time of my life! If you look closely in the vial there is actually 9 in there, I'm wondering if the tiny one is the one I thought I lost as I don't know where it came from A huge thank you to John (KiwiJW) for a wonderful educational and successful day out! Freshy washed nuggets, ready for weigh in!
  17. Hi guys, After my last successful little outing with the EQ 800 & scoring 12 tiny bits of gold. I was keen to go back with the EQ 800, GB2 & the Gold Monster, & do some comparisons. All being high frequency VLF detectors. The night I got the 12 bits with the EQ 800 I was walking back through the old workings to my truck, When I got a signal amongst some exposed schist. It was dark but I had a go at scraping & digging either side of the exposed schist. Signal was still there & looked like it was actually down in the more solid schist & not in a crevice either side of the protruding schist. I scraped at the schist & it was damn hard with no obvious "openings" to be able to get stuck into with the pick. I decided I would come back to it on another day & also bring the GB2 & the Gold monster. Late Saturday afternoon, after my visiting sister had gone back to Aussie, I asked Mrs JW if she wanted to come along & enjoy the beauty of the river & the surrounding old gold workings. They do have a beauty all of there own. It was a very pleasant evening & she decided to tag along. I carried her camp chair for her. Got Mrs JW all comfy & settled in. She had her magazine to read & she even brought along cheese & crackers. Not that I got any. Ok...she was all good. So I went to my little signal in the schist bedrock. You will notice how flat the ground is in that particular spot & I was able to get the 11" DD coil of the EQ 800 right on to the ground scuffing over it to get the signal. Due to our insanely mild ground I was maxed out in my settings & all three detectors easily got the signal. The dig holes either side of the schist was from the night I first got the signal but gave up on it. You will see in the schist where I actually had to chip into it to release the target. you may even be able to make it out in the scoop. If not.... How bloody small is that ???? I had to keep getting Mrs JW's phone to take photos as I left mine at home. So I didnt end up getting many pics. I decided to go back over the previous dug areas with the GM where I had got the 17 pieces of tiny gold with the EQ 800. There was a spot where I had got a signal the previos time with the EQ 800 that turned outto be a little iron stone. It was reading -8, -9 on the VDI so I wasn't surprised. For no reason I walked up to this bit & moved the GM's coil over the same ground. It was in a small channel between to raised bits of schist bedrock. I got a good signal with the GM. You will see the dig scrape beside that schist. It was down a good 4". This is a good example of the size & shape of the EQ's 11" DD coil not being able to get the sweet spot of the DD close enough to the ground to be able to get a hit due to the target being tight up against that raised schist bedrock. The size & shape of the GM's coil was able to get in between the schist bedrock & so make the hit. I didn't try the GB2 on it At 4" I dont think the GB2 would have got it. I will now never know. My comparison tests actually turned to custard as I just carried on with the GM. I ended up getting two other bits with the GM in my previous turned over ground with the EQ. Probably because I had brought them closer to the top. Mrs JW was making noises about heading home after a couple of hours. Damn. I did manage one more tiny bit with the GM before I relented to Mr's JW's pleas & called it quits. So the comparison didn't eventuate. Sorry. So just the 5 little tiddlers. Mostly with the GM. On Sunday we made more of a day of it & I was keen to swing the Zed to get some bigger bits. Yer right..... Amazed at how green the hills had become. It was hard detecting but finally got a double blip signal with the Zed. These of course usually turn into shot gun pellets & I ignore them....sometimes. This one...even though a double blip kind of sounded different & more mellow. We know what mellow can be. Oh yer...could still be lead. It was on the side of an old prospect pit throw out pile & was down a few inches & signal still there. I was thinking....cant be a shot gun pellet now....can it? Nice big deep prospect pits from the old timers. They wouldn't have done these for nothing. Note the bald spot on the back left prospect pit. That was the scene of my second signal. Back to this first signal. About the size of a shotgun pellet Maybe hence the double blip signal. So on to the second signal. Wasn't a double blip & it was down a good 4". Gold it was. I re scanned the hole before pushing the dirt back into it. I then scanned again after half pushing the dirt back in. BANG...another signal. So two bits from the one little dig on the left & the one on the right from the first dig. Was a while between drinks before the next positive signal. Digging down on it I was in to a beautiful dark top soil loam & thoughtno way is this going to be gold. Mr's JW hiding in the shadows on her bloody phone....or is she doing a cross word puzzle? Note the old turned over worked ground. Pile after pile. Well blow me down with a feather....it was gold. The biggest bit of the weekend But that was my lot. Got another bucket full of mushrooms though. Yum yum. So the five on the left from the GM & EQ 800 on saturday afternoon & the 4 for sundays effort with the Zed Not even one gram all up. Fiddle sticks. Better than a skunk though. I will take them. Cheers. Good luck out there JW
  18. I got to take my father-in-law out detecting today to a place he's hunted before but for me it was first time out there. It was an abandoned farm house circa late 1800's and upon arrival I could only come up with one word to describe it. It was a "dump." There was trash everywhere and literally a complete inventory of every type of trash available in the modern world was on, in and under the dirt and weeds. A perfect place for me to try out with my trusty equinox I thought and I'll show everyone that I can pull silver out of thin air with this bad boy no matter the trash. After about 15 minutes I began to realize that my silver streak may be over as the targets sounded good but always came up as some form of non-ferrous trash. After an hour I had dug approximately 20 beer cans, 30-40 beer twist offs and a crap load of car parts. I soon was able to paint the picture that these good folks spent their days and nights drinking and working on their cars. Since they were out in the country and a 1/4 mile off the road a traditional trash can at the curb was out of the question and they just threw it wherever. After two hours we raised the white flag and decided to end the hunt. The equinox did surprisingly well even with all this as I found 7 memorials, one 1956 wheatie and a 1980 dime but alas no silver which leads me to my point. Sometimes there's not "there" there. Sometimes the only "silver" in a hunt is the silver lining ending to a day that you got to go metal detecting that hadn't gone as planned. Sometimes the 'there" is just the fact that you got to take your 80 year old father in-law out to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. I'm not trying to wax philosophical here but rather add some perspective. The equinox is great but it can't find what isn't there to be found. Sometimes a great looking place to hunt is a pile of trash and frustration. I'm kind of indifferent today as before we went out I said my goodbyes to a good friend whose time here on earth is numbered in hours, not days. Enjoy the time outside even if you don't score an awesome coin or relic and be sure to take someone along. Best Skate
  19. tboykin

    Brazilian Gold

    Bom dia! I had the unique opportunity thanks to my job at White’s to do some work in Brazil and wanted to share some pictures from our trip. First things first, ouro! The soil here is nasty. Even the most expensive PIs struggle to balance out the mineralization. Add the humidity, 120 degree heat, and blazing sun and you have a great area to challenge a gold detector. Garimpeiros make their living off the gold they find. Some are dangerous but most of the ones we met were friendly enough to talk about gold and detectors. Just don’t get between them and their gold unless you want to disappear in the jungle. One of the places we went that was “hunted out” gave up a chunky rock that was just a whisper of a signal. When we cracked it open we found this tiny crystalline nugget. After breaking the tiny tree nugget off I could see that the gold continues down into the rock. Sad to be leaving but I made some new friends while working in the Brazilian sun. -T
  20. Hi guys, Bit of a mixed bag in this post after the sad & emotional week following the death of one of my friends & work mates in a freak accident. The weather even made a radical change on the day & the evening of his passing, with rain & gloom & coldness. February is very often our hottest month of the summer. We woke the next day to the reality of what had happened & that he would no longer be with us. The day was a stunner though, cloudless blue skies with snow low down in the hills. The four of our building gang meet that morning facing each other with the sad news of the evening before. We elected that we could not work & chose to start back at work on the monday. So back at home I helped Mrs JW with a few chores around the house when she said we should go out & do something on such a beautiful day & to remember Jayden. Mrs JW had a soft spot for him to. I said, Like what? She said, Well he would like you to be doing something you enjoy. Well we all know what that is. So off we went for a detect. Mrs JW just wanted to get out of the house & was happy to go for the walk. So leaving our driveway this was the view up to the Crown Range & not far from where we were going for a detect. Coronet Peak from the top of our road. A ski field in the winter. We got to our spot for detecting & you wouldn't know there was snow in that hill at the back of Mrs JW by the way she is dressed. Note....she has got her puffy jacket to the left of her. If I had of scanned to the left up that hill there was snow on top of it. But the day was pleasantly mild & no wind. So no wind chill factor. She was happy sitting there with her munchy bag, bottle of water & her girly magazine to read while I did my thing. This was an area where I had done well with my GP 3000 & 4500 & most of the coils I had to fit those two machines, & that is quite a few To the point I could not find any more gold despite trying a few more times when I was in the area. Bring on the mighty Zed. First time here with the Zed I was running the conservative settings. High yield/normal, soil smoothings off & sensitivity 5-6. Banged out 12 little nuggets for just over 5 grams. I couldn't believe it. I have since been back 2 more times with the Zed & had sensitivity up to 18 & on both occasions pinged a couple more little nuggets. This third time I cranked the sensitivity up to 20. With the ground moisture from the recent rain the ground was a bit/lot more lively but I was hoping for a bit more depth. There are some power lines very close & they were giving me absolute grief. Way more than they had ever done in the past. I was constantly auto tuning but it was only lasting a matter of seconds. I lasted about one hour & ended up having to walk a little way off from where the bedrock was & onto the fringe areas & deeper ground. I was about 3 feet away from where I got a piece the last time. It was slightly under a broom bush & I got that beautiful soft mellow signal that has, I am gold, written all over it. Could of course be lead I scraped away quite a bit of soft top soil material & then I was having my doubts as it was getting quite deep. But then I hit a schist gravel layer & the signal was still there. Bit more digging & the signal was out. A chunky little bit of the good stuff .34 of a gram Due to the recent dry conditions & the rabbits having no grass to nibble on they have been nibbling on the bark on the briar rose & broom bushes. You will notice this on the second pic up. With the broom bushes they have also been nibbling on the younger plants foliage. I noticed how many of them had been eaten right back to the thickest branches & main stalk. This enabled me to get the coil in to places I hadn't been able to before. I got a signal right up against one such stalk/main trunk of a chewed down broom bush. It was an ugly signal & had rubbish written all over it. I couldn't pin point it so had to hack the bush right out. The signal was directly under where the bush had been. It was still an ugly signal but a decent hit. I started digging down on it. Then I hit the schist bed rock & the signal improved immensely to a more positive "gold" type signal. Took a bit of hacking into the bedrock to get the signal out. I was now very confident that this was going to be gold. And it was .54 of a gram. That was it though before Mrs JW made noises about heading off & getting some fish & chips for tea. So that is what we did. Happy wife...happy life I had found some gold so I was happy. The next day, Friday, we decided to head off in search of that half ouncer that Lunk had inspired me to find. On getting to our destination I was gobsmacked at how the hills had turned green with that rain fall. After seeing the farmer, to let him know we where there, Mrs JW & I were driving over the hills when I suddenly said to her. Ohhhh...there might be mushrooms. 5 seconds later after crossing a slight hill....on the other side.... Mushrooms. One in the hand..... To cut a long story short.....I got no gold. Despite running full max sensitivity 20 at three different locations. I believe this is the first time in over a year of swinging the Zed that I have been skunked. I love mushrooms so I was not disappointed. Scaled, gutted & filleted. One mushroom. That is a carving knife next to it. YUM. So skunked on the friday. Come Saturday I headed up the Arrow River & found our member Simon,( phrunt). He was sluice boxing away with his wife & daughter. Had a few flecks showing in the ribbed mat at the head of his box. It was good to have meet him & make the contact. I had taken along my sluice box & gear but elected to go for a detect way way above from where Simon was. Up in the hills behind him. It was some old workings that aren't that well known...if known at all. As when I detected there back with my GP 3000 I saw no sign at all that anybody had been there detecting before. And the fact I found quite a bit of gold. I went back with the 4500 & got some more but of course it dried up. That would have been about 5 years ago. Oh well....now was the Zeds turn. I got up there & I actually over shot the area as I couldnt believe how over grown it was with briar rose, broom bushes & long tussock type grass. Once I realised I had way walked past them I just thought, no problem I will just head back down hill on a diagonal path & come across them. How wrong was I. I knew there were some other workings on the way but they were just smothered & I got bushed. Had a hell job getting back up on to the track where I headed back down to where I wanted to be. The view wasn't to bad though. Long story short...another skunk. The 14" coil wasn't much good to me in among all that growth. Damn. On the Sunday Mrs JW & I went for an 80 kilometer, 50 mile, push bike ride on the Central Otago Rail Trail. Which is now a cycle way. Rode past an old bucket line dredge that had been salvaged from local river. If you left click once on the picture...let it re focus & then left click again it will go full screen if you wish to read the information plaques. Cheers guys. Best of luck out there JW
  21. Mark Gillespie

    Cache Hunting

    I will start by providing a little background information prior to the story I was given several years ago by a fellow treasure hunter. His name was David Linville and he has since passed away. And before you ask, I have his sister’s permission to use his name in the story. We were hunting one day and took a little break for a time because of the heat. We were discussing treasure hunting in general and the times we had been metal detecting and how he always found more than I did. All of a sudden he started giving me a story about some of his earlier ancestors that had moved from an undisclosed location. They had moved to a small rural community named Gutton Park in Max Meadows, Virginia. They had moved to this particular area hoping to obtain work and income to help during this particular era of the depression. Jobs were not very numerous so people had to do many different kinds of work. They had moved to this area hoping to prosper. Of course, back in the 20s, 30s and 40s a lot of people had to plant gardens and raise livestock such as chickens, pigs…everyone knows the stories of what some of the older people had to do. As the story went on he was telling me about something that happened with this particular man, he didn’t say if he was his grandfather or his uncle or who, just that they were related. The gentleman that moved there was noticing one day that there were two horses under a tree, out in the field adjacent to their house that pawed the ground a lot. Of course anyone that has been around farm animals know that to see a horse do that is not uncommon. Nobody probably even knows why they do it on occasion. As the days grew into weeks and more weeks went by he noticed that the horses were at the same place pawing the ground at the same location under the tree. Curiosity finally overtook him and he decided he would cross the fence and walk down to where the tree was and see just exactly what had the horses so interested in this particular area. As he crossed the fence the horses moved off to the side and the gentleman goes down and looks around on the ground. There is no grass. It is all pawed down to the dirt. But he saw a glimmer of something shiny. He looked down and saw what looked like one of the old zinc lids that some of the old timers put on their cans when they would can food. So he reaches down to pick it up but it didn’t move. So he takes his pocket knife out and cuts around the rim. He proceeds to pull on the can lid again but it still wouldn’t move. So he continues digging until he realized it was attached to a glass jar. As the story continues, after several more tries he finally gets the jar loose enough to pull out of the ground. It was a blue mason jar still attached to the lid and it was full of money. Now as you might very well know any kind of pocket change that was found in the 40s or 50s, buried in a jar was all silver, except maybe for nickels and pennies. As the story goes on, both David and his brother James confirmed that this particular jar of money was what it took to set this family back into a position to where they could survive without having to struggle. What I thought was really interesting, was the fact that this particular cache was found by paying attention to animals, not using a detector. If the horses hadn’t pawed the ground the jar of money may still be in that same position today. The next time you go out hunting it might pay to look around a little. Pay attention to the surroundings, imagine how life might have been in years past, you might just recover a cache of your own.
  22. 24 f here rt.now. I like warm country...Enjoy the ride! Ig
  23. This last month has been crazy with no time for self-mental preservation. I told everyone to pound sand on Sunday as I'm going out hunting. I decided to do a little prospecting as well as some coin/jewelry hunting - both in one day. So I packed it all up and headed out. Got to a beautiful area that has a little Au if you're lucky and had a few crevasse areas I've been wanting to clean out. Spent about an 1-1/2 hrs cleaning it all out and panned it down. It looked SO promising as I was digging, but alas only some lead buck shot and a .22 slug. Had a sandwich and enjoyed the views and packed it up to go higher in elevation for some coin shooting. Hiked down into a great little campground that was closed for the winter and hit it for about 3.5 hrs for a total of a little over $8 in clad. No Silver or wheaties nor rings. I did hit a pocket that had these little gold plated charms that were all attached to a bracelet at one time. Each one rang out like a nickel, so I was getting excited after each one, but closer look showed plating wearing off.......wah,wah,wah. But I did get my outdoors/prospecting/treasure hunting jones out of the way for a little bit. the campground I went to had 30+ sites and I hit maybe 7 of them for the day. So I know there is more to go back for another day. My 6" coil would have been a better choice for the trashy sites, but still good practice picking good signals out between the trash. Cheers all!! G
  24. Hi guys, I finally got out for a detect this Saturday just gone. I thought it had been over one month since I had been up in the hills. Sure seemed like it but on checking my little gold finds diary my last entry was on the 13th of January. It has just been too damn hot to get out there so I have been going out in my jet boat instead & playing in the rivers that way. Last Tuesday Mrs JW & I went to Dunedin town to see Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame, in concert. It was the end of his 2017-2018 Us And Them world tour. Mrs JW & I are huge fans of his & Pink Floyd & David Gilmour too for that matter. We last saw Roger up in Auckland before moving down to Queenstown. He is now 74 years old & is likely to be his last tour. It was an absolutely brilliant show. All three hours of it. He is such a legend. Any way....The next day on leaving Dunedin to head back to Queenstown it was 36 degrees Celsius in Dunedin. That is unheard of.....but that is what it was & 32 in Queenstown. The next day we had rain for more than a whole day. I cant recall the last time we had continuous rain like that for more than a whole day. There was a southerly wind change Thursday night (off Antartica) & woke on Friday morning to snow half way down the mountains & a temperature high of just 15 Celsius. With those cooler temps I was off for a detect come Saturday. On getting there & speaking to the property owner he told me he had never seen rain like it & water was just pouring off the hills & down the "dry" gullies like he had never seen before. It was of course gone by Saturday but I was rapt as I hold high hopes for wet ground being not only easier to dig but more conductive & better depth on signals. So I hit a few spots that I have been over with the Zed & also in the insanely high settings when I did get deeper bits of gold. I was hoping the wet ground would give me another window of opportunity. It sort of did but not like I was hoping. I got a lot more junk that I hadn't got before, but you have to dig them. My first spot I hit I just manged one little piece of gold. Nothing bigger at greater depths than what I got first time here with the hot settings. But the little bit I got blew me away with the depth it was at. The pics dont really show the depth, I should have stuck the scoop in the hole. But I was down into the rotten basement schist peeling it out. I just knew it was going to be gold. It was such a good signal I was sure it was going to be bigger than what it turned out to be. I even scanned the hole again as I couldn't believe it. But no....that was it. The Zed is very good at making you think a signal target is going to be better than what it turns out to be. I then moved on to another area after getting no more here. Had a coffee before getting back into it & got a nice mellow signal within a few minutes. The ground was just so easy to dig with the moisture still in it compared to the dry rock hard digs prior to the rain. I was rewarded with a .4 gram slug. Could have been bigger .... Again this was the only piece I could find in this area. This surprised me. Oh well.....time to move on. You may recall in one of my last posts where I detected some old timer turned over gully workings beside some power lines. I continued on up the same run of workings where they deviated away from the power lines. I had never found any gold in this part of these workings.....ever. Only an old gin trap. I was surprised to see quite a few of the old timers prospect pits holding water. Had never seen this before. This is from standing beside my wagon looking up these workings. One thing you will notice is how dry & barren the ground is looking. I guess after the rain it may shoot away with a bit of grass growth. So it is a good time to be detecting before that happens. I noticed how at this lower end of the workings the granular schist & quartz gravels were quite small compared to the top end. I got no gold signals here but felt I had a better chance when I got further up & saw how the gravels got a lot more chunky. I got a nice hit on the top of a throw out pile. This next pic is looking back down to my wagon. If you look to the right of my wagon at the top of the pic you can make out one of the power line poles which is where I got a few bits of gold in my last post. Again I was blown away with the depth this small piece was at. But yet again this was my only piece from these workings. So on to some more. Got a good signal tight up beside a thyme bush & dug & dug & dug. Ended up having to grab the GB2 to try & pin point it & to see if it was ferrous or not. I wasn't sure if I may have passed the target in the side wall. WHAT....no signal at all with the GB2. Must be deeper still. I wasn't holding much hope of it being gold now as the signal was booming on the Zed. I went back to my wagon to get a little hand shovel as it was getting difficult to keep on going with the pick without making the hole wider. A few shovels of gravel out & still no signal with the GB2. Maybe it is out. Scanned the piles....nothing. Zed back in the hole & she was screaming. Few more shovels of material out & the Zed went silent. Its out. Scanned the pile & bingo. A signal. GB2 on to it & it was saying non ferrous. Probably a .22 bullet shell of lead bullet head. Now how deep do you reckon that hole is? The pick handle is 700 mm & it is over half way in the hole. Lets say about 350 mm or just over 14" Gold it was at just .34 of a gram....at that depth....unbelievable Again I re scanned every where as I could not believe that was it...but it was...again. Carrying on I got a double blip signal that usually is a shot gun pellet very shallow or sitting on the surface. But it sounded a little bit mellow. So I scraped at it with the pick & it had moved. GB2 in the dry grass. To the left of the GB2 & to the left of that dug out ditch you will see the scrape on the right shoulder of that throw out pile. Notice too in the foreground of that dug out ditch the water (dampness) it is holding. Got it in the scoop & on to the coil of the Zed & bugger me. That was my last bit though for the day despite going until dark. End result was just 5 bits for 1.2 grams I really thought the wet ground would produce better results for me. But I was amazed at the depths I was getting that small gold at. The Zed never fails to amaze me. Just wish there were bigger bits down there as well. Cheers Good luck out there JW
  25. A Discombobulated Prospecting Tale The following is a recollection about a prospecting trip, encounters with wildlife, including an unidentified large creature. Since our story is firmly entrenched in wilderness prospecting environs, we’ll scatter some of our more photogenic native silver and other photos at appropriate intervals throughout the text. These happenings occurred over less than a twelve-hour period many years ago. Let's move on to our tale… please read this as a campfire story. “There’s a long, long time of waiting Until my dreams all come true… Till the day when I’ll be going Down that long, long trail with you.” The origins of our tale begin some years ago, with my annual autumn prospecting trip into the northeastern part of Ontario renowned for its silver production. The area represents a small part of a vast, heavily forested wilderness perched on the sprawling Precambrian Shield. Away from the small towns and villages, and widely scattered farms and rural homesteads, there exists a largely uninterrupted way of life in the more remote areas. There are uncounted miles of lonely country backroads, overgrown tracks leading to abandoned mining camps, innumerable rough timber lanes, and a virtually infinite tangle of winding trails that reach deeply into the distant boreal forests. The region is largely supported by forestry, tourism, and mining. It is rich in nearly every mineral one can imagine, but especially of gold and silver, and the base metals. It attracts an annual autumn migration of hunters, fishermen, mineral collectors, and other adventurers seeking the beckoning, companionable solitude of the remote wilderness. The photo below depicts a former minesite located in the immediate area, where documented in 1924, two prospectors claim to have sighted the highly elusive Sasquatch, sometimes referred to as the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. Our journey back in time so many long years ago, finds us contentedly settled into a perfectly routine, bright morning following a highly interesting prospecting sojourn the previous day. That day I had made the companionable acquaintance of two staff members from Michigan State University. They had recently arrived in a magnificent motorhome to search for precious silver and other minerals with their assortment of metal detectors. Their silver prospecting had been unsuccessful thus far, but undiminished in their enthusiasm, they were eager to explore for old relics and antique glassware. I suggested some promising abandoned homestead sites in the woods, and we made further plans to share some morning tea, view my silver recoveries, and make some detecting plans for the day. In preparation for the visit, I arose early that morning, performed the usual perfunctory personal ablutions, and stepped lightly from the camper to prepare a hungry outdoorsman’s breakfast at the picnic table. That normally means bacon and eggs fried on the fretful propane gas stove conveniently located beneath the wide, foul-weather canopy. Now for the benefit of urban dwellers not fully appreciating such matters, I submit there is no more tantalizing scent that permeates the woodland aisles as solicitously to a ravenously hungry wayfarer than that of sizzling bacon in the frying pan. Thus to my dismay but not surprise upon returning from the camper with some handy utensils, I abruptly came face-to-face with a wayfarer in the form of a decidedly stout blackbear immediately across the table from me. Well… we both rather casually glanced at one another for some several seconds, which is a long time really… in what could only be described as a mutually earnest attempt to evaluate exactly just what the other's full intentions and possible capabilities might be. The issue at hand of course, was possession of the steaming breakfast now lying sumptuously before us, a seeming impasse that would brook no compromise. Allowing that I was a man of action, a trait not one whit diminished by the present circumstances, and fully aware that a brand-spanking-new container of "Bear Guard" resided within my trusty backpack just inside the camper doorway, I promptly retired indoors to retrieve this potent pest serum. In the twinkling of an eye the bear spray was in my hand, safety mechanism removed, and finger on the trigger. Brimming with confidence that no small victory was easily within my grasp, I took careful aim… and well, how could one possibly miss? Meanwhile, my uninvited, immobile guest had remained quietly composed and altogether civil in his demeanor, and I regret to relate, with rather sad, supplicating eyes fixed with unblinking steadiness on mine. But doggedly immune to sympathy for any but myself …at that particular moment that is… the trigger was released without the least regret. And quicker than thought, a plume of debilitating chemical spray tracked unfailingly straight for the bear’s nose. But even quicker still, my new acquaintance ducked his head and sidestepped, indeed shrugging off the main thrust of my carefully conspired offensive as if it were inconsequential. And there was a further complication insofar as I had signally failed to consider the oncoming breeze. Almost as quickly as the implications occurred to me, I succumbed to the bear-spray fumes, abandoned breakfast in panicky confusion, blindly retreating back into the camper’s safety. Subsequent to a half-hour convalescence of teary-eyed, spasmodic coughing and retching, I regained some semblance of normal breathing and cardiac composure. Ready to face the inevitable, I set forth to resume the contest, only to find my breakfast charred, and amiable new companion unmoved and indifferent to my enterprise thus far. I reviewed the alternatives carefully as things now stood. Breakfast was no longer a matter of dispute to me at least. But I could not simply hand it over either. The park brochures unequivocally admonished the reader not to feed the bears and I did enjoy the repute of being an experienced outdoorsman. More, my tentative little friend had demonstrated remarkable forbearance by not taking advantage of my temporary lapse. And worse, he fixed me with unwavering, sad appealing eyes, conveying eternal gratitude and sacrifice for my sake, if only he might sample the frying pan’s tasty scraps. I began to feel shame at my own indignant, confrontational behavior towards this unobtrusive creature. But company was coming for tea, and in short order we would be leaving camp for the day. My new friend could not be left alone near camp. Long story short, I sidled over to my truck and spent an exasperating hour or so chasing this mangy, obstinate competitor from camp and hopefully from the park. Now, fully appreciating the desperate craftiness I faced with this shrewd adversary, I arranged for the Ministry of Natural Resources to set a bear trap nearby, later in the day. Content with this strategic maneuver, and in the afterglow of glad relief as can only be savored with successful, decisive conquest of brute strength by infinitely resourceful cunning, my recently arrived companions of the previous day and I enjoyed morning tea, and merrily hit the treasure trail. Feeling secure any remaining camp contingency was suitably addressed, I for one had no more care in the world than the wispy, white cirrus clouds scurrying across the blue heavens above. Late evening of that day found me alone at a remote site, deep in the wilderness and far removed from the welcoming lights of civilization. As had become habit over many years, darkness… rebuked only by a slim sliver of veiled moonlight known affectionately to livestock thieves as a Rustler's Moon… found me still rock hunting. The recovery of a promising target signal preoccupied my thoughts and effort. I’ve never been able to abandon a good signal and never will, regardless of circumstances. Finally, after exhaustive prying and digging, I packed my prize into the backpack and reluctantly hiked uphill to a wide bench where my truck was parked. With nothing more profound on my mind than entertaining thoughts of tasty pork and beans for dinner over a hot fire, I stored my equipment and backpack into the back of the truck and made ready to return to camp. It happened so quickly, it was shocking, and there was no time to think. Throwing the transmission into reverse, I did what I always do from long habit… I looked into the interior rear view mirror. You might easily imagine my startled reaction to see two enormously elevated large glowing eyes, illuminated only by my reverse lights…fixedly gazing into the mirror directly into mine. There was no sound, no contact with the truck. In a furious snit of energy that would have garnered surprised favor from my boss back at the office, I quickly swung my Jeep around… a credit to my youthful driving instructor, could he only have witnessed that splendid three-point turn. My lights immediately filled the misty gloom to reveal…nothing. The creature had vanished into thin air, certainly not an impossible feat, but most unlikely. It was wide, open space on that bench, and I could not understand how the creature had disappeared so quickly. With the desire to leave the scene waning quickly, I drove some thirty yards downhill on the overgrown track and stopped. I jumped out of the truck with my high powered flashlight at the ready, and began a systematic exploration of the nearby woods, always staying within easy retreat to the vehicle’s safety. The remaining foliage of innumerable aspen and tag alders interfered with a close scrutiny and I did not dare to go further afield. Yet, short of the distant forlorn cry of a loon, I could not see or hear anything unusual to disturb the evening’s tranquillity. Dismayed, I returned to the truck and cautiously resumed my way down the dark, abandoned track, crossed a tumbling wide brook at the bottom end of the lake to finally gain firm footing on the opposite shore, and headed for camp completely lost in thought. Some three-quarters of an hour later I arrived back at the campsite looking forward to lighting a blazing fire and enjoying a steaming mug of tea before dinner. At such times, subsequent to a highly startling experience, it is unsettling to realize that no “sixth” sense had alerted me to the possible danger of a nearby large creature out at the remote minesite. A creature that apparently was aware of my activities, and perhaps observing or even stalking me for some length of time. Yet as I jumped out of my truck at camp, that sixth sense came abruptly to the fore. The evening sky had given way to gloomy scuttling clouds, the wind had sharply risen to rustle fallen leaves, sighing fitfully through the treetops. Have you ever stumbled in the darkness of night into an unseen wall or obstacle that brought you up short? The moment I stepped away from my truck such an overwhelming foreboding sense came over me that I stood stock still, peering into the thick darkness in some vague attempt to comprehend the sharp, uneasy feeling. Now then, let it be clear that I am not one given to fears of the dark or superstitious nonsense. I never look over my shoulder dreading the sight of some phantom specter, not ever. But my instincts were alerted, as I stood there motionless, considering possibilities. Grabbing my flashlight, I treaded slowly towards the camper. There seemed to be no indication of… CLANG!!!! The unmistakable, hard contact of heavy steel. Relocating my boots in a fit of unbounded fright and quickly retying them with an uncompromising knot, I cautiously probed around the far corner of the camper. For the second time in less than an hour, the steady beams of two blazing lanterns gleamed directly back into my eyes from the depths of darkness. For securely locked inside an MNR bear trap, placed strategically behind and immediately adjacent to my camper by far-sighted government employees, was a rather large bear. At the moment he was huddled in cringing fear at the rear of the cage. ‘And so you should be’ I swaggered with surging, buoyant relief. Early the next morning, in the face of a steady driving rain, all thoughts of rockhunting were dismissed for the day. I hurriedly wolfed down breakfast, nodded a cheerful farewell to my erstwhile caged companion of the night, and lit out for the minesite. On arrival, I carefully looked for, but could not see any tracks. I felt certain that somewhere in the soft slag-sand substrate, there should have been some evidence of tracks despite the rain. Certainly a moose or large bear on hind legs could be the only credible suspects with regard to the enormously elevated set of eyes that had glared into my rear-view mirror the previous night. But I looked for tracks or any other evidence in vain. Deflated and somewhat incredulous, I retraced my way back to the nearest country backroad where, as chance would dictate, I abruptly encountered my acquaintances from Michigan. I described the event at the minesite to them, whereupon one individual opened his briefcase, retrieved some stapled papers and handed them to me. A fully documented account from 1924 of a Sasquatch sighting in the very same local. The article revealed that two prospectors arose from their fireside breakfast to observe an enormous man-like creature disappearing into the nearby forest. Their estimate was on the order of eight feet or so, a wild-looking hairy biped. In those times such creatures were not nearly so widely known or celebrated in the mainstream media. That factor alone doubtless lends more credibility to the report. Was meeting these two men again at that time and place mere coincidence? Did they have some other reason for visiting the area in addition to their relic, bottle and silver hunting? There was no question they had purposely brought the prepared Sasquatch information. You might ask in retrospect why I did not see the creature’s outline in my reverse lights. My answer is that my full attention was immediately drawn to those two blazing eyes. It was all so quick and unexpected. In retrospect, I regard this event simply as an encounter with an unknown creature. Only the illusive Sasquatch of the deep wilderness, given that he exists, could have the sharp intelligence to outwit me with regard to his timely, quick disappearance. The removal of tracks was too clever indeed, but at the same time there is no support for the notion that any other wildlife in existence could possess the means or forethought. A tale is never complete without a postscript. Despite the passage of many years, I have not been able to relinquish the memory of the bear with the terribly sad, pleading eyes. Call me a hopeless romantic. I later learned that berry production was very poor that season, doubtless resulting in higher bear mortality rates. Could I revisit those moments, if I thought there was any chance my uninvited guest would sit down at the table, mind his manners and otherwise behave, I would now gladly serve up my charred breakfast scraps were it only possible. But alas, time moves relentlessly forward, leaving only fading memories of scenarios we can never retrieve. Many years later, on a beautiful, clear evening in the silvery radiance of full moonlight washing down over all the old familiar places, I revisited that particular site ostensibly to collect some pyrrhotite samples. But the truth is that I was contemplating that vivid memory from so many years ago. It was no fun getting back in there at night after the long passage of time. I spent a pleasant few hours in observation, over sandwiches and coffee, then departed, crossing the old stream-bed perhaps for a last time. The beavers seem to have abandoned the spot and massive washouts appear imminent. Think what you will, but that concludes our prospecting tale. Whether by design or chaos, we live on a tiny planet in a small, inconsequential solar system located on the outer fringe of the Milky Way. Life for most of us is nothing more or less than a twisty maze of circumstances and events that frequently generate no reasonable or satisfactory explanation for the odd happenstances of our existence. Happy Holidays everyone… all the very best to you in the forthcoming New Year. Jim. Edited / Photo Revised December 2017