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A Legend Passes


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11 hours ago, Steve Herschbach said:

Hopefully I have some notice before my time is up, and if/when that happens you all will see all my nugget maps posted with notes before I go.

Careful Steve - your liable to start another gold rush!?

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and comments; I'm sure Smokey would have appreciated them. 

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  Met Smokey once at the coffee shop at Sturgis motel during a detecting trip, great person.  Heard a lot of great stories about him.  Certainly lost a great prospector.  Seem to be losing a lot of them in the past few years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The meteorite community knew Smokey too and they recently shared a story about Smokey.  It is a bit 'long' but it gives some history about meteorite and GOLD knowledge that I think should be shared with a wider audience.  

Lunk's link at Bill and Linda's page should be used with this account.


Team LunarRock solved the mystery of the "Curious Iron Rocks" that miners
were finding for years in Pershing County, Nevada.

Here is how the mystery began:

We were told by the locals that the best place to eat in Lovelock, Nevada
was at a Shell gas station, not the C Punch Casino we were staying at while
we were getting ready to attend a cash-only land auction before starting our
annual meteorite hunt in June of 2015 . We thought they were joking with us
so we ignored the recommendation at first.  The pretty country girls at the
bank, that looked like they were getting ready to enter a beauty contest,
who provided us with cash for the auction, mentioned the Shell gas station
again so our curiosity got the best of us.  I could not help but notice the
girls in this small old western town were all dressed up with their hair
meticulously done.  My wife noticed this too and asked where she could get
her hair done for the big auction.  The girls at the bank considered it an
emergency, made a few cell calls and had my wife's hair done in no time. 
The girls were hoping to meet some rich ranchers or miners at the auction so
had to look their very best.  Some may ask what this has to do with curious
iron rocks that were being found.

Let me explain.  We attended the auction which had about 50 bidders with the
rest of the people being spectators.  I was concerned that there was no
security and the back door of the community center was left open for fresh 
air.  There was stacks of cash tucked away in briefcases and satchels.   I 
mentioned my concern to the auctioneer and he said that they have the best
security there is.  He said a would-be perpetrator would have dozens of
bullets in their head before they even hit the ground if they tried to pull
some stupid stunt since the attendees are all well-armed.  I looked around
and observed that some girls had Lady Smith 9mm's tucked in their boots and
one bidder had a Colt 45 Peacemaker next his stacks of cash in his
briefcase.  We won some ranches at the auction, paid the county treasurer
and had the deeds prepared and recorded in record time.  We then went to the
assessors office and had the girls print the plats for the land we just
purchased.  We prepared months ahead of time for land we wanted and the Team
LunarRock hunt afterwards.  One of the parcels we purchased was
strategically located within a few thousand feet of the famous Poker Brown
gold mine in Rye Patch and the Majuba mountain range where meteorites have
been found.  It is this parcel that got the attention of local prospectors
and opened up a dialog with them since they trust no one.

After taking care of the paperwork, we decided to have lunch at the Shell
station.  I noticed a police officer filling up a 128 ounce soft drink since
refills were only 79 cents.  I gave him a hard time about it and he
reassured me that it would last all day.  The gas station proprietor, a very
friendly guy of East Indian descent, told the police officer to tell the
truth that he actually came in twice a day for refills.  We laughed and
looked at the menu which was surprisingly expansive for a gas station.  I
ordered a hamburger and my wife ordered shrimp kabobs with rice.

While we were waiting for our lunch to be prepared, we sat down and went
over some maps.  The police officer asked what we were doing and we
explained that we were trying to find the best places to prospect for gold
and meteorites on our newly acquired properties.  He made a phone call and
the next thing that happened is that a prospector show up.  The prospector,
who introduced himself simply as "Smokey",  wanted to know why we were
discussing the Poker Brown mine and Rye Patch.  We showed him some maps and 
his jaw dropped.   He knew the entire territory like the back of his hand. 
We talked about metal detectors and treasure hunting and he become
comfortable with us after making sure we were not claim-jumpers.  He then
went to his truck which had a horse trailer attached to it and retrieved a
tattered leather brief case.

Our lunch was finally served and in between bites, we discussed treasure
hunting.  Smokey opened the briefcase and started sharing Polaroid pictures
with us.  It was our turn to have our jaws drop as he showed us picture
after picture of gigantic gold nuggets he had recovered with his $10,000.00
Minelab metal detector.  He traveled in the field on horseback with a metal
detector on one side of his horse and a 30/30 carbine rifle on the other and
would disappear for months at a time.  We asked about meteorites and he
stated that he did not know anything about them other than some prospectors
were finding "Curious Iron Rocks" that might be meteorites.  He told us that
his nephew found a large piece of quartz with over 50 ounces of gold in it
on the lot next to one of our properties and was excited to help us search
our virgin private land.  He also mentioned that some mining operations have
metal detectors at the end of there sluices that set off an alarm when a
large  nugget or curious iron rock passes into the tailing piles.  We asked
him to save one of these stones so that we could determine what it was
latter on.

After enjoying a very good lunch and conversations, at a gas station of all
places, we agreed that the next time we were in the area that we would get
together with him.  We asked how to get in touch with him, and he told us to
talk to a woman named, "Dusti" at the Star Point Trading Post off of Highway
400 in Imlay, Nevada.

Fast forward over a year to September 2016 and we got our answers to the
"Curios Iron Stones" mystery.  Team LunarRock, consisting of eight members
on that trip, stopped by the Star Trading Post and asked for Dusti.  We
looked at prospecting equipment, gold nuggets and field supplies at the
post.  Dusti emerged and we inquired about how to get in touch with Smokey. 
She had to attend to some business so we made arrangements to meet up with
her for dinner at the post after we were done in the field for the day.  In
the meantime, we realized that this was a serious prospector and miner
hangout with over 30 of them calling this post their seasonal camp. We could
hardly wait to return in the evening.

We hunted on several hundred acres that we purchased the year before on the
same Highway 400 that the trading post and many mines were on.  We did not
have the time or heavy equipment needed to search for gold but kept our eyes
open for meteorites.  We found a few nice artifacts and drove up into the
mountains to see Mark Twain's (Samuel Clemens) dugout cabin in Unionville
where we stayed the year before in a creepy old 1860's field house filled
with fossils that ranchers collected over the years.

We then returned to the trading post for dinner.  Dusti put two massive
wooden tables together to accommodate Team LunarRock members.  She then
informed us that Smokey's health has been fading recently since he is well
over 80 years old and would not be able to meet up with us.  I had no idea
he was over 80 years old.  He looked much younger and in great shape the
year before.  She told us that he is an absolute legend and we were
fortunate to meet him because people lucky enough to gain his trust consider
him a treasure.  She explained that he disappears for great lengths of time
in the field and has been written off as dead many times so never count him
out.  She prepared an excellent dinner for all us and then sat down to
discuss we wanted to talk to Smokey about.  I mentioned the curious iron
rocks and she said, "you mean meteorites?"

I said that we were hoping they were meteorites.  She pointed to a glass
case and said we have plenty of them right here since Smokey told
prospectors to bring them in, We do not know how much they are worth but you
are more than welcome to make an offer on any them.  I looked in the case
and was pleasantly surprised that they all were indeed meteorites!  She then
broke out a photo album with images of gold nuggets, artifacts and other
meteorites including a gorgeous oriented specimen that a prospector found
while digging out what he thought would be a gold nugget.

I did not have time to negotiate for any of the meteorites.  Most looked
like ordinary chondrites to me so I chose to purchase some chevron gold
specimens instead.

In case any of you are interested, here is a link to the Star Point Trading

I am sure they will have meteorites to look at and purchase if you are in
interested in Nevada meteorites,

Best Regards,

Adam Hupe
Team LunarRock


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  • 3 years later...

I just found this post! 

And after reading it all, I feel happy to have learned a little about Smokey😇,  and his friends!

Cancer is a horrible destroyer of many good people! And has recently taken another, before his time!

  Although late, I offer my condolences to his family and friends! And want you all to know that this post still resonates today!

Thank's to all!

And God Bless!🙏👍👍


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I first saw Smokey when I saw a guy fussing off on a far ridge, with something that turned out to be a brand new Minelab SD2100.  Close enough.  Later I saw him out on the placers, took the opportunity to strike a new friendship.  I said I saw you messing with a new detector, he agreed that was the case.  In the coming years which passed,  our paths would continue to cross.  At one chance meeting, Smokey asked me if I liked poetry, to which I answered, "yes".  Somehow his the poetry revolved around a gal posing by an old desrert tree.  He had two versions, but I will leave it there...  On one occasion, I realized I had lost a little plastic bottle, with some small gold nuggets inside.  I would have to drive the 425 lonely miles to again reach home, saddened about losing my gold.  A few weeks passed, I had the chance to go back to Rye Patch.  Smokey found out that I was back, and made a point to look me up.  Smokey said to me "is this yours?" as he held up my little plastic bottle with the small nuggets still inside.  He continued with his dry humor, "you know we don't appreciate people littering out here in our desert", as he handed me my lost gold.  That is only one instance of my opportunities of my meeting that very special person named "Smokey"     

Smokey, May you rest in peace...

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