JW and I went on a bit of an adventure yesterday, it was to an old mining area where a lot of sluicing was done in the 1800's. The old timers did one hell of a job and little gold is left to be found but you go to this place for the adventure. It's along one of the worlds most dangerous roads that was built during the gold rush, the road was made by the miners in the late 1800's. It's one way and very narrow, even the bridges just fit the width of a car! JUST! If you strike a car coming the other way it's a battle over who will reverse until they can find a spot to pass. In the info about the road if you strike a car at the wrong spot it can mean one of the two cars reversing up to 3km (1.8miles) to be able get past each other. We were fortunate as there was very little traffic, although we did almost have a head on crash with a crazy guy going way too fast that met us on a blind corner. He ran off the road, fortunately off the road on the safer side into a ditch. Lucky for him it wasn't a rock wall on one side and a cliff on the other. The road is 4x4 only and has a big warning sign upon entry, also rental vehicles insurance is invalid if you enter the road with one. I have never driven this road and I'm unlikely to so it's a real treat to go on it. My 4x4 isn't the type built for heavy off road use, I think it would die, if it didn't die it'd sure get stuck as some parts of the road are very wild.
So we left Queenstown and hit the road... here are a few photos of the crazy road
I didn't take too many, I was busy holding on, it has drops of up to 2500 feet. 🙂
You cross an old suspension bridge they built in 1871. The cars rear view mirrors almost hit the side of this bridge.
Here is a photo of the bridge, it's crazy high off the water....
You can see why I was holding on tight 🙂 Not only that, it's just wide enough for a car.
We arrived at some of the many old gold workings in the area about midday and had a go with our detectors, JW had been here a few times some years ago and never had any luck, but we figured with the GPZ and X-coils it was worth a shot. Some years ago Mrs JW found a few in the area. I think JW said the last 3 times he'd tried he had a skunk. This adventure's not so much about finding gold, more the journey.
Here's JW scoping out where to detect
The old workings are huge!
They had holding dams for their water pipes that run around the area
They really changed the landscape. I think for the better, something interesting to look at.
We settled on an area we could see a bit of bedrock and got our gear ready.
Bits of old sluices were laying around everywhere
So off we went for a couple of hours detecting, JW went to the old bedrock Mrs JW found a few some years ago and I went down to detect some of the piles.
There are hot rocks everywhere and they drive you mad, I had my mini Monster with me which helped as when I was digging them I used that as a discriminator to work out if I should continue the dig. They were often deep in the piles and sounded like a good target. The iron stones stuck to my pick magnet well. 🙂
I had a nice sounding target with the GPZ right on top of a gravel pile.
It survived a few scrapes, a check with the Mini monster and it was mostly ferrous on the meter with the occasional bounce to non-ferrous so I decided to keep going and recover it.
I am glad I did. The 12" X-coil surprises me how sensitive it is to small stuff, those spiral windings are crazy sensitive, but this time it really showed me how sensitive it is, the target was a bit of gold.
A tiny little bit!!!
0.016 of a gram, 0.24 of a grain, my smallest GPZ bit so far, and it was such a decent signal. Unmissable.
I yelled out and let JW know, he was up high above the workings at the bedrock using his 15x10" X-Coil on his GPZ. He'd only found a couple of pellets at this point.
I checked out the rest of the pile and nothing more so I moved on for an explore.
My next good target really had me excited, I was in another pile and had a great signal on the GPZ, before digging I checked with my Mini Monster, no target at all so I started digging, rechecked with the GPZ and it was louder and sweet sounding. Checked with the GM and now it slammed across non-ferrous so I was excited. I pictured my Gerry moment where I had a nugget to put in my mouth, he gets big ones from the piles!
No such luck.... not sure what it is.
A little sharp point.
We decided to call it quits, you've got to get out of here before dark, I could not imagine taking that road on in the dark.
On the way back JW took me to a spot on the river to show me an old dredge.
It has trees growing in it 🙂
The buckets were further down steam.
bits were scattered everywhere.
I recall JW saying it was an Australian venture that went wrong.
We decided we'd have a go detecting the bedrock in the area
There was plenty to detect. The river has a lot of black sand though, difficult to deal with.
The quartz line was pretty cool, went right up high on the bedrock
It just kept going, right up to the top.
The schist had some fancy patterns of layers
You hit it with your pick and it just crumbles away.
I had a good target signal here, I never got it out, the rock got to hard, the iron sort of staining had me worried too.
The road back up from the river was crazy wild!
And that was it for the day, 1 little bit of gold between us but a mighty fine adventure, so we headed back to Queenstown.
The valley we were in.
Heading back to JW's
JW lives under the mountains in the background.
We landed back at JW's and Mrs JW had made up a nice roast chicken dinner! Perfect way to end the day!
Hi all. Been out there for a few years now picking up the bits that your lucky enough to walk over. The other day I was up early and on an area that I have been over before. Thought I will give it another go. Nothing found by me in the immediate area before. Tuned up the 7000, adjusted the harness for comfort and proceeded to swing the coil. 7.16 am exactly. Walked I think 11 steps and the machine went of its dial. Bloody piece of junk I thought but stopped and scraped the surface looking for a piece of steel, then I saw it. I take it that everyone has found their dream piece and remembers the thrill of the moment. The blood rushes, the veins expand, the hands shake, bad language starts and you hope your heart can take it. To me it was a monster, and now that urge to get back out in the scrub swinging the detector again is even worse. I then spent two days searching the area in a well planned 200 meter radius and found nothing. Not even a boot nail. How can this be possible? The saying that gold is where you find it seems true. Planning another trip as soon as possible, cheers sturt
By Allen in MT
Dredge tailing piles are full of crap, can, barbed wire, nails, hot rocks etc. Was hunting in Idaho, After digging countless targets you think another iron chunk, but I dig everything regardless of sound. This one come in rather loud and was setting a flat rock about 5" deep. Biggest nugget I have found. Weighed 5.56 ounce. Found a few years back and traded for a S&S 91/2' pickup camper, Now that nugget is worth a whole lot more and the camper has ;lost 3/4 of it's value. Oh well life goes on.