By Jim McCulloch
Last weekend Spud Digger Johnson of the "Spud Digger" YouTube channel hosted another outing at the 1863 ghost town and gold mine located on private property near Idaho City. About 30 avid detectorists were in attendance, lots of goodies were found, and a good time was had by all. Two attendees found their first natural gold, needless to say they were delighted. My 9 pieces weighed in at 2.8 grams (GM 24k) but Craig's baseball sized chunk will far beat that in gold content. Several nice coins were found, among the ones I found were a Shield nickel and "fatty" Indian Head Cent, both "firsts" for me. Likely some video footage of the event will be posted on the "Spud Diggers" and "Tough Run Metal Detecting" channels. It was fun. HH Jim
Tough sledding out here in WA. We've put in a lot of miles exploring along the "line of strike" gold producing zone. We generally start from old Drill Site roads or old pushes and do a 1/4 mile up and back grid along the likely areas. The few we're finding are where weathering has exposed deeper ground on the old pushes, plus the Z 7000 can find tiny gold the original detectors missed. They didn't miss much based on our return so far.
Our hearts were thumping yesterday when I got a deep low tone way down in the caprock. Luckily Nurse Paul was nearby and brought over the jackhammer. Paul put in a yeoman's effort on the hammer, Dennis and I traded off digging out the hole. We waved over the hole with everything we had, GPX, GPZ and 2300, and with the exception of the 2300 it all sounded good, but it just never improved even after we were down over a foot. Finally even the 2300 was giving us a signal and we gave up for the evening. Paul went back this morning and finally pulled out some kind of hot rock, the story is much more detailed, but that's the jist. No doubt Paul has his version of events.
The weather has turned nasty, threatening rain and gusty winds. Camp Yank took some damage from the wind, turned over the prep table for cooking. Pots, pans, plates and everything associated got dumped into the dirt. Paul cleaned it up considerably, but I think he left some soap on my dinner plate, cuz I'm feeling a bit puny this morning. We have the gazebo anchored on each end with an ATV to keep it from blowing away.
Dennis gold photo is his cumulative, mine shows this weeks finds only. It's just a matter of time till we hit a big one.
Flies continue to be a menace, they just don't quit. They're having a tough time today with these gusty winds, but they'll find a way.
I have been dying to take my GPX out again with it's new X-coil but the weather hasn't been great the past couple of weeks, a lot of rain which was often falling as snow up in the mountains. I guess we are coming into winter but the spot I wanted to take my detector is up in the mountains so time was running out to be able to do so, more snow is forecast for the spot in a couple of days so I decided to just go and deal with the weather.
JW is away on the West Coast so I did this one alone, the same area the giant nugget was recently found in NZ by Nugget Hunter NZ so maybe he'll come back with a giant potato size nugget too. 🤞
Last time I took it I also went to a spot that has tailings piles down in the lower country and I found a bit of gold there, I'd only ever found one bit of gold in that spot in the ten or so times I'd been there and it was with my Gold Bug Pro. While I was there a digger was working at the nearby power lines no more than 20 or so feet away from some tailings piles so I assumed the ground he was digging up may have some gold in it. He was digging a deep trench so I figured I'd go back there once he's not working and see if it makes any nuggets appear within my reach.
I went to this spot as soon as in arrived in the area, it was about 10am when I got there and there was a thick fog and the ground was frozen solid.
I knew when I left home I was in for a cold day as it was sub zero at my house when I left but I wasn't expecting the area to have a fog making it even colder.
I had to use the Equinox as I was right underneath power lines detecting the diggers trench, the Equinox performed well, I was able to run my sensitivity at 24 in Gold 1 while detecting the trench itself which was directly under the powerlines, and I had to lower the gain either 21 or 22 along the side areas beside the powerlines to get it running nice and stable.
I spent a couple of hours detecting the trench and surrounding dirt the digger dug up but found no gold. I was wanting to hang around this spot long enough for it to warm up a bit before my drive into the mountains so the road would be in good condition with less ice. At about lunch time I decided it's time to head up to the spot in the mountains where I got my 1.2 gram nugget with the Equinox a couple of weeks ago.
Fortunately the road up there wasn't too bad, not as much snow as I was expecting so it worked out well, I doubt I'll be able to go back there in the near future so easily though with more snow forecast
It was now time to fire up the GPX with the 12x6" X-coil, I also use the Steelphase SP01 audio enhancer so I feel I've got a decent GPX setup. The SP01 really makes the nuggets stand out from what I can see. With it the target signals are so much more obvious than without it. I run my SP01 in mode 1 with two GME SPK07 speakers connected to it wired in Stereo to take advantage of the SP01s pseudo stereo mode.
This ground JW and I have been over a lot in the past few weeks, JW's been killing it there with his X-Coil and I found a bit with my X-Coil the only time I've had a chance to use it there. The GPZ just seems to punch deeper on our small gold than the GPX especially with his 10x9 X-Coil.
My GPX settings were similar to my usuals, gain of 13, stabilizer at 9 and in Sensitive extra with fixed ground balance.
There is a spot on this ground where JW found a bit of gold as we were leaving last time... I watched him dig it up and the signal from it was really messy, I assumed he had junk and I think he did too until it popped out. It's in a spot that's riddled with hot rocks, I can't ground balance my GPX in this particular little area as everywhere underground there is hot rocks... You walk a few feet away and it clears up and you can balance again. With my EVO coil on I couldn't even detect that particular location JW found that nugget, it was sounding off everywhere on the hot rocks under the soil there, it looks to me like it's a tailings pile that's got some soil over it, off to the edge of the little area is the tailings pile rocks. It's a shame I didn't get a photo to explain it.
Seeing the X-coil was letting me detect this little area without going nuts I detected it, I found a bit of gold right next to JW's dig hole where he got the nugget as we were leaving. I'm not saying JW missed this nugget, he didn't detect the area, we were leaving and he switched off the GPZ after digging the first one in this spot and we left.
This was the hole it came from
And the bit of gold on the coil 🙂 A decent size for me too, .401 of a gram.
I've been thinking of buying a Go Pro or some sort of Camera to record the occasional nugget find as at the moment I'm trying to use my phone, not easy holding the phone while doing these things but I wanted to try film a nugget signal so people could hear what it sounds like with the SP01 and GPX/X-Coil combination so I was filming every single target with my phone before digging it, this area doesn't have a huge amount of junk so it wasn't that bad, I filmed about 20 targets in total so I had to clean up my phone afterwards 🙂
Here is the video I took after digging a bit working out this was going to be worth filming, you'll see it's right next to another dig hole, I'm pretty sure that's the one JW got his nugget from the other time, it's hard to know exactly this area is filled with dig holes, JW will probably know.
I continued on detecting the area for some time, I recalled JW saying he found most of his gold in this area on the other side of a fence, so I ventured through the fence tearing my pants on the barbed wire in the process 🙂
I was finding a lot of junk on this side of the fence, little bits of wire and old square nails and so on so I knew JW either ignored these bad target noises or didn't detect this far along the fence line. I recorded all these targets for no reason hoping they were going to be another bit of gold!
After some time I had another target but it was a real screamer, I thought I had another nail or something so I didn't film and started to dig, and I dug up a rock that was sounding off, I thought it must be another hot rock, the X-Coil isn't as bothered by the hot rocks as the Evo but it does sound off on some of them so once I dug and found it was just another hot rock I put it back in the hole and ran the detector over it and filmed it as I was going to talk about the hot rocks and the X-coil in my post.
The GPX goes nuts at the end of this video as I got my phone too close to the coil 🙂
As this hot rock contained quartz I thought I'd examine it further as usually the hot rocks are green in colour, JW last time I found a bit of Quartz that sounded off on my Equinox helped me smash it up to see if there was gold inside it, we got it down to a tiny little bit that sets the detector off and the rest doesn't. I've still done nothing with that little bit. Anyway this time I had my Garrett Carrot with me so I tried to narrow down the area on the rock that was setting the detector off. The soil on the rock was frozen so I was chipping bits off with my pick but once I got the bulk of it off the Carrot directed me to the spot to clean and I found a bit of gold stuck in the soil which was embedded in the rough rock.
You'll see it in the frozen soil towards the middle of the rock in the photo above.
And that's it once I got it out, 0.457 of a gram! It wasn't attached to the rock, just stuck in the frozen soil in a hollow on the rock.
This is how magnetic the hot rocks area, this quite big one is hanging off my pick magnet.
And that was it for the day, for me that's a very successful day, almost a gram in heavily flogged ground, I can't complain, no match for the giant potato nugget that Nugget Hunter NZ posted though 😉 I was very happy with the performance of the X-coil, it's ability to handle the hot rocks is helping me a lot.
By nugget hunter nz
Still shaking after today I took my 24 k for a walk after spending hours combing the geology maps in my area and picked a random creek to go up and omg did it pan out first piece of bedrock I came to had a parralley crack running with the flow... Not normally gold catching but thought I'd swing my coil over it and it over loaded I turned down the sens and swang again solid 95 on the probability meter on the 24k so I dug down and neally had a heat attach when I saw what poped out.... Came in at 6..78oz
Also does anyone know how to clean them up