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Deft Tones

24 Hour Gold Challenge

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I came up with this crazy idea to attempt finding gold in a public park chosen by another detectorist, MontAmmie, and do it within 24 hours total hunting time.

MontAmmie chose a park called Northcreek Park in an affluent section of Ankeny, IA. I've done no research on the park yet, but I know it's relatively new. I'm familiar with the area, so I dressed to fit in so as to draw the least attention...dark blue polo style collared shirt, nice graphite grey pants, new running shoes, sunglasses...not my normal detecting attire at all. Seeing the housing all around the park and all the windows, I know I'm probably going to be under somebody's eye at all times and so I need to act accordingly, like it's my neighborhood park.

Today I had a bit of time to scout the park but the timing was totally awkward. I arrived at 2:30, was swinging and walking by 2:35. Immediately I was on the radar of two younger mothers at the tot-lot. I wasn't sure if they were on the phone with the police but it felt strange when they kept starring and making calls. I expect to meet Ankeny's finest before this experiment is done. The really awkward part came when school let out at 3pm, or just before. Elementary students and more than a few parents were, by the dozens, filtering through in waves. Had quite a few odd looks and very few smiles with no wave-backs. This ought to be interesting as we go forward.

The soil conditions today were extremely dry and hard. This is high, well draining land and we're still struggling at the tail end of a drought. Screwdriver only because of drought conditions and curious eyeballs.

I wanted to take pictures, but that too seemed awkward. I'll pass while kids are around.

So I avoided the tot-lot and shelter area by a wide margin, crossing a playing field to the rear and hunting mostly at the soccer field. I recovered 5 targets total in 45 minutes. Foil, foil drink seal, a zipper, two canslaw pieces. There was very little surface trash but I went out of my way to pick it up and making it obvious while knowing that people are watching. (I picked up more trash items than I recovered today) Perhaps that'll help keep the non-emergency calls to zero. I did some probing of targets below 2-3" with the screwdriver and without attempting recovery. Large hunk of metal and canslaw.

Seems the whole area has been heavily graded. There are few shallow signals and greater quantities of deep signals. Scattered iron bits in places and vast areas with no signals whatsoever. I had a 10 minute stretch where I couldn't hear anything but ground noise. This is like farm field hunting, because that's likely all it was before being developed. The most common signals were in iron to foil range. I heard a few coins down there while near the soccer field, but too deep and dry for my small screwdriver. The areas by the bathrooms and trash cans were also remarkably clean with very few signals around them. Totally different from my normal park hunts.

I stepped back into the parking lot at 3:15 concluding todays scout.

Today I used the Deus to move fast and feel out the place. Next time I'll bring the 15x12 sef coil mounted on the V3i to move fast and clean up the top 4-5 inches. This combo is ideal for large portions of this park, perhaps all of it. I'll do a little research on the land's history before then too.

MontAmmie thought there might be sledding hills making for a good lost jewelry location, and the sledding hills can be good areas, but the reality here is less than idelal in that the largest sledding hills at this location are about a 15 foot drop over 40 feet. Those are on the East/NE border of the park.

There may not be any gold here at all, and my expectations are low, but I'll keep trying because it's early in the challenge and I still need to hunt at a more low-key time.

I'll get some images up after the next visit.


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I would try to schedule things to be able to hit that tot lot.... After all that's where you saw people hanging out and mothers do lose jewelry.... Maybe real early in the AM or late in the evening.

Just a thought .... The tot lots are where I always start ... they are quick and can give you a feel for the place.

If they are clean then one of two things are happening....

1. There is somebody there ahead of you or.

2. things are just not that busy.

I have been to parks where I hit the TL and it is surprisingly clean of any targets, even trash, it is obviously being hit regularly.

Then I move off the TL and start searching.... It is amazing what I then find. Either the detectorist ahead of me just wants the easy pickens or simply doesn't want to expend the additional energy in the turf...... Their loss, my gain.

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I wanted to hit the tot lot surround and shelter areas, then perhaps the parking area, but too many cars also. These kinds of places are best hunted in inclement weather. If it's cold and wet I'll have it all to myself. Hope we get rain soon.

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Hey, Deft.  Sorry I didn't pick a better park!  Maybe you should pick a better one, since you know the area?  I hope you don't wind up in an orange jumpsuit with a roommate named Bruno on account of me! :biggrin:

I guess I just don't realize the implications of a man with a detector in a kiddie park.  I've never had anyone even look twice at me with the DFX.  I guess because I'm a female?  Heck, I've even seen the young moms sigh with relief when the kiddos come over to bother me.  "Yeah, go pester Granny with that weird lookin' weed eater, that'll get you out of my hair for 15 minutes".

I plan to hit my chosen park in Melbourne at daylight.  Mostly because of the heat, but also of because I'm a rugrat magnet.  I get at least 2 or 3 "helpers" every time I go to the beach after 10 am.  

So anyway, please pick another park where the pickin's are more plentiful and the SWAT team won't show up.


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I'm going to sweep it again, but waiting for some rain. Still want to hit the shelter and tot lot edges at least. Gold is where you find it, so who knows? Perhaps platinum lives there! :smile:

Hope you're comfortable where you're at. :cool:

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What a great idea... 24 hour gold challenge! I have challenged myself on silver (I once had a "Movember" beard in April as I committed to not pull out the trimmers until I had silver.... my wife was very happy I finally found a sterling silver fork at a local park haha), but the idea of 24 hours hunt time to try and find a bit of gold is awesome.  I may need to borrow that idea :).  I am very interested in how your future hunts turn out Deft!  Tim

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I'm still waiting on rain. We had a few inches recently but it did little to to soften things up. I haven't seen my own sod crack so badly before. I haven't had to mow the grass but only twice all summer and it's been 3 weeks since I last mowed.

I'll update when I have another go at it.

Good hunting to you. 

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