By Rick Kempf
In the summer of 1968, I was on summer break - the fall would be my last semester before graduation from University and I was all set up to go into USAF Officer training school in February after I had my degree and turned 21 - and then on to Pilot Training - all that happened, but this is not about that.
My mother’s family were French Canadian, emigrated to New England in the early years of the 1900’s - my grandfather - not yet a US citizen - was drafted and served in the US Army in France in WWI. But this is not about that.
That summer, to make some money to afford to get married in the fall, I went to Rhode Island and lived with my godparents in Pawtucket. I got a job at Englehardt Industries in South Attleboro MA at a plant making the three layer metal rolls which went to the mint in Denver to be turned into Kennedy Half Dollars.
There were several of us “College Boys” working there that summer. One of them was a Chemistry Major who worked in the lab. All incoming silver (from the US Repository at West Point) had to be assayed at the plant to ensure that the “mix” would be right for the silver content. One day at lunch break, my pal told me that there were problems with the last shipment of silver bars we had received - some stray element which was holding up approval for usage. We talked more and I recalled that shipment.
The stuff came in in ingots - strapped one layer deep on wooden pallets in a trailer. They had us “kids” help with the unloading (we were cheap labor) and I recalled looking at these bars - they were a bit different. The bars always had mint marks on each bar. Usually just US Silver Repository West Point. These were different, Swastika marks - Rostchilds bank London, Rostchilds Bank Paris and the usual US.
I though not much about it. The next day my pal from the lab told me what the stray element from the lab analysis turned out to be....mercury. The only likely source being amalgam for dental fillings.
I will leave it to you to draw the same conclusion that I did. Precious metals are more enduring than us morals. Sometimes we possess them for a time - then we pass - as it were - through the “furnace” of time - and they endure. In this case - sadly - the furnace was all too literally a furnace.
By Gerry in Idaho
Yes this happened to me a few times in the early 70's. Mama found my porn stash under the bed and it was what set up my career. After all, I tell many I'm in the Adult Entertainment business selling high end toys.
These early magazines had me squeamish in bed a many sleepless nights. A boy my age was quite naive, so seeing such raw and natural images sent my brain into overload. I had no clue what the future would hold, but I feel it came out quite right.
View these 2 early magazines and you'll notice some of the articles and headlines. 1st is GOLD by True West, 1969 Vol. 1, #1 and looking at the inside page of the articles are authors mostly long gone. But I give credit to them for allowing me to dream. If anyone knows of these names, it would be neat to get updates.
2nd magazine porn I used to drool over, Old West 1971 and just as incredible is an article about "Elk City Idaho" and just below that....perfect timing. "One Thanksgiving Day". Folks, I can't make this up any better. I go to my old stash and grab a couple and these are absolute on. The inside cover (I forgot to check the centerfold) is a full page ad from Jetco and their top detectors 50 yrs ago. The models of the detectors are catchy like many muscle cars of the day, GTO, Mustang, GTX, Treasure Hawk...didn't Minelab have a Treasure Hawk?
So I ask you folks, show the rest of us your Treasure Porn that kept you dreamin, drooling and -master swinging.
First off, hello all! Great reads here, and a big thanks to Steve for all of the generous work put in for the lay-detectorists.
I have gold fever. I’ve had it since I first dug up my own gold in 2013 and I’ve learned that it never goes away. It just gets worse as it sinks it’s claws deeper into its poor host.
My summer job this year really hasn’t left me much free time for prospecting. Mostly a very brief opportunity to pan some gravel in the Feather River for flood gold. Much of the time for prospecting it has actually allowed me has been in the form of Google Earth prospecting the reminiscent values found in old patches and pure fantasy of what’s left to be found elsewhere. All of this imagination mixed with the ungodly lack of personal time has really flared my case of gold fever to a boiling point... no, something more closely resembling a nuclear reactor nearing criticality... yes.
But, ah! Finally! After 3 months of work with only 10 days at home to take care of personal matters, another 2 days off without the chance of being bothered. An opportunity to go prospecting!
In all the time I’ve had locked inside of my own head with my thoughts and stupendous ideas. There was one idea I had been diligently working to manifest into reality; I was going to use a mountain bike to subtract the amount of physical exertion it normally takes me to hike in and out of an old, arduously located patch!
Well, my imagination is quite the steadfast optimist! And it kept being so, no matter how hard each and every contour line of this rugged desert terrain attempted to beat it into accepting the reality of the situation. Until finally, I submitted. My idea did not work. It was not smart, to try riding a mountain bike for my first time on the equivalent of an advanced, single track, rocky bike trail, with a backpack full of sustenance, plus a detector on my back. I had travelled 2 miles from where I parked and ridden the bike for maybe 500 feet... That translates to pushing the bike along in front of me with its front tire in the air for over 10,000 feet, not to mention the elevation gain involved!
It was 8 o’clock in the morning, and I looked like I just got out of the shower fully clothed in Georgia during an August heat wave at 3 in the afternoon! Without shame, I laid the bike on its side next to the trail and proceeded on foot without looking back. I dried off quickly and was pleasantly relieved at how much easier it was to just hike after the whole bike ordeal.
Eventually I made it to the old patch, where I had another plan thought up to explore the ground conditions for some future drywashing. This plan however was much safer, much less chance of failure. And I pulled it off without a hitch! It simply involved digging up a 5x5 foot area to see how deep the residual deposit laying over the area was. Of course more future exploration is planned, the purpose of today was just to have little teaspoon of medication for my fever.
But I didn’t bring that detector for nothing!!! After dreaming of nuggets all summer, you bet I was gonna listen to what the dirt had to say today! I threw my old SD together with my trusty stock 11” DD and in two minutes I had a beautifully screaming target that stayed faithful after scraping away the surface. I couldn’t believe it happened so quickly! Soon I was looking at my first nugget after a 2 year skunk streak. A beautiful little half grammer! In another 20 minutes I found its little sister about 20 feet side slope to the left at a quarter gram.
After exploring another one of my ideas without anything to show for it, I decided my day had been good enough and I’d head home and continue enjoying my short amount of time off. Plus I still had to push that dang failed plan from earlier back as far as I had pushed it in... but now with a Whopping .75 grams of extra weight of gold in my pocket
By Randy Lunn
This past weekend I participated in my first outing with the Southwestern Prospectors & Miners Association (SPMA) club. We met at a gas station off I-8 and headed to one of their large claims in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains west of Yuma on the California side of the Colorado River. It took just under an hour on desert dirt roads to get there but the drive was not bad. There were six other guys and we all bonded well. After discussing the area we split up with half trying their hand at dry washing and the other half metal detecting. I suited up with my GPZ and tool belt and headed out. The rugged terrain with 104 degree temperatures was challenging but felt great. I have not been able to get out much this year. I got lucky. On a moderate slope about four inches down in a crevice of schist I found a 2.1 gram nugget. Yahoo! My best and one of my few nuggets for the year.
The history of the area is interesting (from westernmininghistory.com):
“Mining was first done in this region by Spaniards as early as 1780-81, when placers in Jackson Gulch and oxidized ores in Madre Valley were worked. This is believed to have been the first gold mined in California. Later, mining was resumed under Mexican rule. The district received its name of Cargo Muchacho, or Loaded Boy, when two young Mexican boys came into camp one evening with their shirts loaded with gold. American miners became interested in this district soon after the end of the Mexican War in 1848. Mining became firmly established in 1877 with the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad to Yuma. Large-scale mining continued from around 1890 until 1916 and again from 1932 until 1941, with intermittent activity since World War II.”
I don't know how it happened but it looks as though my post "Sourdough Scott Survives Encounter With Big Cat" seems to have been mistakenly read as having something to do with wild animals. Perhaps this photo will provide needed clarification. This beast was a Deese' Ven.
Call them what you will- Mountain Lion, Big Cat, Cougar, Deese' Ven, Puma..... Until you encounter one real close you cannot comprehend the size and awesome power of these man-eating beasts. Sourdough Scott had such an encounter.
I gave him fair warning. As we drove down a steep, narrow trail to our destination I ask him if mountain lions made him nervous while detecting. He said "Not at all. My dog will let me know if anything is amiss." His dog "Rooster" is one of the best detecting dogs Ive ever been with so I didn't worry. When we arrived at our destination the first thing we noticed were it's tracks. They were huge! The pads were bigger than any cougar tracks I have ever seen. Sourdough grabbed his detecting gear and head off while I was looking for my pick (and headphones and battery). When I caught up with Sourdough, there he was, within the clutches of a Big Cat!
When it comes to heroic bravery I am one of the the bravest among mortals and I also posses uncommon wisdom. Which told me to run like hell, so I did. When I got back to the mining rig I got to thinking "this isn't right to just abandon my prospecting partner to a painful death. So I scrounged around in my backpack until I found my Kodak Instamatic camera.
I know that gruesome and disgusting photos of human misfortune are all the rage these days so I figured a few photos could be worth thousands.
When I returned to what I thought would be the scene of a tragedy, there was Sourdough Scott grinning like a conquering Gingus Kan and the Big Cat lay torn to pieces. Boy was I disappointed. There went my thousands.
We continued on our detecting trip with beautiful scenery and perfect fall weather and found enough gold to justify a return trip before winter sets in.
A good time was had by all.