Hi guys. Saturday dawned a beautiful clear blue sky day & Mrs JW was keen to take our mountain bikes, that I had recently converted to Electric Mountain Bikes.
Mrs JW's bike
Taking them for their first major uphill/mountain excursion to some old gold workings. Some of the highest & most remote in the country. I hadn't really planned on it & so wasn't organised for it. It took me a while to find my mountain biking box of bits & pieces, including a very handy bike tool kit that is a much needed accessory when off out in the middle nowhere. I eventually found it all & checked every thing. Yep all there including a couple of spare tyre tubes. We were ready to go. Mrs JW said, "Aren't you taking a detector?" I let on to her that I don't think you are quite aware of what we are in for. So no to a detector. I will just treat this as a reconnaissance mission.
We got to our destination & started off. The wagon is parked somewhere down by that clump of dark trees left of center in the background.
It was 3 hours of up.
Mrs JW broke her chain. It gave her a good chance to have a bit of a breather. Me to I guess. Luckily I had a chain breaker in my little bike tool kit. I had never ever had to use it before & I have done a lot of mountain biking over the years. It certainly saved the day. Not that it would have been difficult going back down. You didn't need to peedle going down.
So with the chain fixed, minus one link, we were off again.
Mrs JW having another breather further up & making noises about, this is far enough, I have had enough.
Our destination was that gully directly above her head & around that hill top. Only it isn't really a hill top. It goes on quite a bit further than that. I managed to coax her on a bit further.
In the above pic you will see some disturbed ground center right. They are old bucket dredging tailing piles.
After our second rest stop & coaxing Mrs JW to carry on we headed off again.
Getting up into spinifex, spear grass, Spaniard grass, country. Nasty stuff.
Things got even steeper & Mrs JW was calling for enough again. Bugger. I haven't even got to the beginning of any old workings. I knew they were not far off. Maybe another half an hour. But no...that was as far as we were going to get. Mrs JW dug in her toes. I was amazed she went this far & she had done real good. So that was it. Down we went. 3 hours up & not even half an hour to get back down. That was fun.
On our way down we went & checked out a little old Trommel plant I noticed on our way up.
From here I saw an old hand stacked schist stone wall off in the distance. I said to Mrs JW it is either an old road/track embankment or a water race. Lets go check it out.
Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great.....
It was a water race embankment. If you go back to the first pic of the trommel plant you will see the level cut continuation of the water race center right.
That was our Saturday E-Bike days adventure. Sundays detecting with Simon to be continued. Cheers
Good luck out there
Yesterday started off what looked to be a bad winters day, fresh snow all around my house on the hills and a fog with drizzle, KiwiJW had invited me along for a detect if the weather was good when we woke up, and the weather was terrible!!! I quickly jumped on the NZ Weather website hoping it would be better up near JW's house as it usually is, and what do you know, it had no issues at all, just some high cloud with no sign of any rain. It's amazing a place 90km's / 1 hour drive down the road has such different weather.
I arrived at John's and he was ready to roll, and jumped in the car and off we went.
We arrived at our chosen destination, a place I'd been desperately wanting to go back to but was unsure I'd find my way out again as it's over an hour walk from the road down little old sheep tracks or something into the mountains with lots of little tracks going off in all directions, a place somebody like myself with no directional skills can easily get lost. I've remedied that now "in theory" as I've got hiking software on my phone with offline maps designed just for people like me called ViewRanger ... with it I can record my steps and take the same steps back out again 🙂
It's the spot you may recall me talking about that has the path that just keeps on giving.... there is this section of track on the long walk, around the halfway mark which is handy as we always stop there for a drink or snack to keep us energized for the rest of the walk. The path that keeps on giving turns out was in a giving mood AGAIN. I have never found anything in this path but John manages to ensure his day won't be a skunk every single time he detects this path, I started at the bottom with my Nox and was just getting used to using Gold 2 on it, the coil was a little more knock sensitive and I was hitting a lot of areas that were coming up -8 to -9 on the VDIs, but the same spot would also flick across to 12 to 14 on random sweeps so when not in all metal swinging over it I was getting broken up signals all the time around 12 to 14. I later in the day worked out to switch over to Horseshoe mode and put up with getting -8 and -9 signals rather than getting all these broken up crackling 12 to 14 signals all the time which was frustrating, it was much nicer to deal with getting the high negative signals which I assume were types of hotrocks in this area. I ended up getting nothing out of the path that keeps on giving, John on the other hand did in the path what I regularly do in a day, even though this path has been absolutely thrashed by us both, using the GPZ, GPX and Gold Monsters. I will leave it for John to tell his story about what he got out of this crazy stretch of the path 🙂
This was the first time I'd taken my Equinox into this area, I don't think from memory John's had his in there either, we headed back to this odd little ridge where a couple of trips ago we found quite a number of little nuggets right up at the top left side of this ridge, it makes no sense why they would be there, some just in the grass roots. John was running his GPZ all day and I started off on my GPX with Nuggetfinder Evo 14x9, it was getting so many signals and I was digging lots of junk and was really getting frustrated with all the digging and no results, I had a target I was sure was going to be something good but my hole just kept getting deeper and deeper and I wasn't able to track down the target, I thought maybe I'm looking for a ghost nugget and even used my Garrett Carrot to try find it but no luck, so I dropped my GPX and walked back to our bags where I left my Nox, not sure if I was even going to be using it and swept it over the top of the hole, no signal at all, lowered it down halfway in the hole and boom, a nice target sound and a steady 7 reading on the VDI, I was a tad worried as 7 seemed pretty high for a nugget but sure enough, after a little pinpointing using the Nox out it popped, the biggest nugget I've found in some time.
There was a bit of snow on the hills and surrounding mountains, none down at our level although not far off
At this point I decided I'd put the GPX down, I knew I would be losing significant depth as the Nox only picked up that previous nugget half way down it's hole but I would also gain the ability to discriminate, something that seemed vital at this location. I am starting to wonder if Johns GPZ handles whatever these -8 -9 signals are better and ignores them as he doesn't seem bothered by them yet I couldn't take a step or two without hitting one.
I knew my plan for the day was to try Gold 2 out, my iron bias was set to zero, it was the best way to run the machine nicely without being bothered by the positive signals these possibly hotrocks were giving. I tried lowering the recovery even lower than 4 and the machine just got too unstable and knock sensitive so I set it back to 4.
I stayed exclusively on this little ridge all day detecting around, I probably stayed within a 60 meter by 30 meter area all day.
However, the Nox delivered, it felt like I was digging another nugget about every 30 or so minutes
My smallest of the day, 0.043 grams
I had an unusual one also, I found a big bit of quartz looking rock that was making my detector sound off with a 1-2 on the VDI's. I thought I was going to have to take it home and smash it up so see what's inside but after some time hitting it with my pick in random spots the signal disappeared off it. I was at a loss as to why, I hadn't even cracked it yet so I scanned the ground around where it was and what do you know, a little bit of gold sitting on the ground.
I guess the gold was stuck to the rock. I was tempted to carry the rock out with me just in case there was more as I was still getting a signal with no VDI's when scanning over it but I really didn't want the weight in my backpack to carry out, my legs were already like rubber from the previous 3 days over the weekend where I skied every day and into the night on two of them.
This one was my second biggest of the day, it was coming up a 5-6 on the VDI's, it's very flat and thin but quite a decent size.
And my last nugget dig for the day was also an interesting one, I was certain I'd dug a shotgun pellet except the VDI was a stable 5. When I first dug it I was certain I'd dug a pellet, it was round and looked like a pellet when it was brown covered in dirt, it was rolling around in my scoop like a pellet does so with my little knowledge on guns I thought maybe it was a shotgun that had bigger pellets. I decided for some unknown reason before throwing it in my pockets junk collection to spit on it and give it a clean and I am sure glad I did... it was a gold BALL!
It's a very round bit of gold.
I ran the Nox all day and left the GPX back at my pack, something I didn't go there expecting to do but the Nox was just working so well, I ended up running Gold 2, sensitivity 24 and manual ground balanced it.
I won't talk about John's side of the day, that's his story but he had a good day also 🙂 I am still shocked by his efforts in the path that keeps on giving! Especially seeing that path has only ever given... to him 😄
and my total for the day
We walked out and got back to the car just after it got dark, I had the best time! My second most successful day ever with 6 nuggets in my jar.
I'm not much of a coin/relic hunter, I've dedicated my detecting time mostly to Gold prospecting so my jewellery finds lately have been more chance than anything, first a found a silver ring at a ski field using the Equinox while I was trying to get my wife and daughter hooked on detecting by going to a place they will find coins to excite them, next I found a silver/ivory ring while detecting for gold using my GPX 4500 at a prospecting location and then today my most bizarre find of all using my Gold Monster 1000. I chose to use the GM1000 because it's tiny coil was handy for quick recoveries.
I was itching to go for a detect as I'm all excited my Equinox 800's new 6" coil is on it's way to my house but I had a job to do today, we bought a bunch of 20 hedging plants to put along a fence line of my back paddock as there is a house there with neighbours and I dislike any form of neighbours so I wanted to block them out more than the 6 foot fence will do. This part of the paddock is riddled with junk, lots of old rusty nails and rubbish from a point in time where there was an old farm house on the land. I'm converting my back paddock into normal landscaped ground as I got rid of my pet sheep before winter. I was worried I wouldn't have enough grass for them to last the winter as I've planted out half the paddock as a fruit orchid with 30 or so fruit trees so I had to fence that part off or they would eat them. That wasn't an invitation for kiwi and pet sheep jokes
I was digging up all the ground along the fence line to get rid of the grass there while the soil is all soft, the frozen ground has defrosted the past week or so as we've had abnormally warm temperatures for winter and this part of the paddock normally stays frozen as it's in the shade from the fence so my wife wanted me to take the opportunity to dig up the ground ready to put the hedge. We bought all the plants last week ready for them to start to grow in spring. I hate digging there in summer as the ground goes rock hard and dry.
I was going to dig up the entire area anyway so I was walking along it digging up all signals with the GM1000 but it got too hard as there were so many targets so I went in discriminate mode finding any non-ferrous and digging them. I found my share of junk, one odd looking thing with metal balls on it, no idea what it is
Starting digging the area and and targeting non-ferrous with the GM1000
Strange looking object with the metal balls, a giant chunk of metal too, not sure what it is but its non-ferrous
Some more junk
The weather was starting to turn as it's meant to snow tonight up on the mountains around here, it was getting windy and dark clouds approaching so I started to speed things up and stop digging any of the grass up and just went exclusively digging non-ferrous targets and I had a loud signal all the way to the right on the non-ferrous meter on the GM, I was hoping an old coin as I'd found lots of old coins in the paddock behind mine a few months ago with the T2. I decided to take photos/video of the recovery when it got interesting and I dug and found an old bit of a branch of a tree but the signal was loud and coming through the wood thinking I was about to film an old coin recovery.
Turned out to be some sort of old jewellery
I'm not sure if it's real gold, but the gold indicator on the GM1000 goes all the way across to non-ferrous, I'm unsure what the pearl looking stuff is either.
The interesting thing is when I cleaned it up, it says Western Germany on it, no hallmarks at all that I can find. Since it says Western Germany I can guess it's pretty old as now it would just say Germany. My guess is it was about 10-15 cm deep, I took a video of the recovery thinking I was digging up a coin but it's not overly worth watching as I wasn't knowing it was going to be anything decent so I didn't put any effort into keeping it stable or anything but I'll put the video up if anyone's interested.
I'm not sure what the thing is, looks like you hook it on something.
I put all my gear in the car the night before ready to roll as I was intending to go for a solo mission to try find a nugget, or a flake, which ever comes my way, I am happy either way 🙂 I sent Kiwijw a text message that morning as he hadn't been on the forum asking if he'd like to come along as I knew he wasn't working that day and he was all for it. It was unusual he hadn't been on the forums but it's because his computer had broken down so I told him I'd take it home with me and fix it up.
The day was off to a cool start, I left home and at the time I think it was -5 degrees celsius and very icey on the road, black ice everywhere. I was in a thick fog when I left home to head to John's to pick him up but that cleared up about halfway to his house, it was about -2 when I got there I think and nowhere near as icey up his way. We jumped in the car and off we went, the roads were much better up his way as it was nice and sunny.
We went to a spot we have been to quite few times before and had success, I call it the shotgun pellet place as there are zillions of them there. I think I've even done a solo mission there, I don't have any record of that as I obviously was skunked if I did but John mentioned I have been there before myself and I vaguely remember it now I think about it. I've done a few solo missions to various places but rarely have any success on them for some reason and I only tend to remember times when I do well.
Cool looking rock at the area I was first detecting, looks like a broken easter egg, it looks like its a big hollow rock that some has broken off over the years. Maybe old timers used it as a hut, I know I would.
We started off detecting, John on his Zed and me with my 4500 and my new Nugget Finder 14x9 Evo coil which I'd been dying to try out but just hadn't had a chance.
I'd found nothing by lunch time except junk and If I recall correctly John was up to number 3
My days junk collection, I had quite a few more shotgun pellets but they fell out of a tiny hole in my pocket. That little bit of wire on the far right side screamed out as loud as a 22 shell, puzzled by that. In the process of recovering some junk I used my GM 1000 as a pinpointer, the spot was really muddy so I tried to take my coil cover off to give it a clean as I was right at a creek as I was going to put my Monster in my backpack so it's not left sitting there out in the open in case some passer by stole it, unlikely but I'm cautious of thieves after living in Oz for years and having house and car break ins and so on over there. John leaves his Zed lying around like that, it scares me 🙂 So I tried to pull my coil cover off and my coil cracked, a big crack too just by me using my fingers to push it in a bit to get the cover off. I wish they were tougher epoxy filled coils. I've since spoken to Minelab service who said they will replace it for me, see this link for photos of the crack More excellent service from Minelab, thanks 🙂
John come walking over and showed me his finds and we had some lunch. John suggested I go try detect some throw out piles from the old timers as it may increase my luck and showed me where they were and off we went detecting again.
It was only about 20 minutes and I had my first hit, right next to a big hole someone else had dug to recover a nugget, probably John as it was a big hole like his pick makes
My little hole at the top, someone elses big hole below it, my little nugget was down about 10cm to 15cm I would guess.
About 30 minutes of swinging later on top of another pile which was covered in soil and grass and not rocky like the last one I had another good target, It sounded promising and it seems junk in this area is uncommon as I'd had no junk digs since moving to it.
I had to smash up the ground here to retrieve this one, it was in the shade and the ground was frozen solid, it actually made the recovery quite easy as the clumps of dirt were coming up as frozen blocks so I could sweep each chunk over the coil until it sounded off, then melted the target clump in my hand to get the gold out.
I started swinging around further along this pile and there was a giant bit of schist and it was giving me a good signal, I spent about 20 minutes scraping the moss off and checking it all for the target and also breaking away the top layers of the schist trying to find where this signal was coming from, it had me stumped. I wasn't sure what to do, I was going to go ask John thinking possibly it's some sort of hot rock situation but I could see him off in the distance, too far away and I was unsure I'd find the spot again if I left it so I decided I'd try move the rock, maybe the target is under it. It was in frozen ground and had suctioned itself down, it was also FAR to heavy to lift, I used my pick to dig around it a bit and lever it up, this took a good half an hour and I was exhausted, I managed to move it a tiny bit which relieved the suction, it also had me rolling down the side the of pile as I took a tumble when the rock finally gave way.
You can see the top part of the rock here where I was chipping away at it trying to find the target inside it.
Now that the suction was gone I was able to lever it enough that I eventually slid it down the side of the pile. I eagerly checked the area where it was and bingo, the target sound was still there.
You can see the size of the rock here with the indent in the ground where it came from. The rock would of been about 20 cm thick too and then the nugget was down another 5 cm or so in the soil under the rock.
and it was my biggest nugget of the day 🙂
I went to go show John my find and tell him the story and he said I should go scan that area a bit more as there could be more, we only had about an hour of light left so I wandered back to try find the spot, and wouldn't you know it, I couldn't find it, lucky I didn't leave earlier to try get John to help move the rock.
So all in all a good day out, fixed up John's computer today so he'll appear back on the forum tomorrow no doubt as we are heading out for part two of this mission so he'll get it back tomorrow, it needed a new motherboard. He had someone nearby to his house look at it as it was running very slow and they did the usual things like spyware checks and cleaning the dust out and so on and had broken a fan mounting clip for the CPU in the process of the dust cleanup I guess, John said it got really noisy after they looked at it which is normal as the fan would be going top speed trying to cool the CPU with the poor contact of the heatsink and shortly after it died and wouldn't post (display a signal on the screen), I guess the cpu heatsink being so loose caused the CPU to overheat by not being clipped down properly and caused the motherboard to die, or else it was a huge coincidence the motherboard dies the day after they clean out the fan and break its mounting clip. In saying that I've not seen a motherboard die from heat in this manor before, although I've never seen someone run one with the heatsink not clipped down properly.
As for my first proper detect using my new Nugget Finder Evo 14x9, I love it, It seems just as sensitive to tiny gold as the little Joey coil if not even more sensitive but punches deeper, It's ability on small targets feels like using a high frequency VLF. It's going to be my stay on coil from now on, the little Joey will be perfect for tight places and creek detecting and situations where a smaller coil is required. I can highly recommend the Evo coil. Thanks to all the people who recommended to me to buy the Evo coil. I am very happy with it.
Stay tuned for John's portion of the mission when he gets his computer back tomorrow 🙂
Hi guys, I have put together a little photo clip from a trip that Mrs JW & I did a couple of years ago on New Year's Day up to the Tops of the Old Man Range in Central Otago here in NZ. New Years Day is getting well into our summer months but it can & does snow on any day of the year up here. As it happened it had snowed the night before. The medium average temperature up here is zero degrees celsius. That is freezing point. I did a bit of exploring & detecting & managed two small bits of gold right up in the headwaters of the Fraser River. The huts you will see are all gold mining related from the early gold rush days. Many a prospector perished up here by leaving it too late to come down before winters icey tentacles took hold. Enjoy.