Golden Grams of Goodness: Part 1
November is not usually a time of year that I get to chase the gold, as by the time November rolls around the ground usually requires some dynamite or some equally powerful force to break through the frost to get to the gold. However, this year has been a year of exceptions. In September, we had early snow and frost with well below seasonal temperatures that carried into October, and that doesn't happen very often as usually the weather is rather mild. However, after the early blast of Arctic bad temper, the weather shook itself out until the first week of November with temperatures soaring above average, so this allowed the chance to engage in some gold sleuthing when normally I'd be reduced to only dreaming of chasing the gold.
I have two sons, and the eldest loves to chase the gold, while the other will chase the gold given the opportunity, but he doesn't have the same level of passion. Me eldest was with me on this trip, and he was with me on our epic gold adventure when we truly slew an army of nuggets early in the summer (I have yet to post that story), so he was eager to have a chance to hone his detecting and sniping skills.
The area we dropped into to work was full of bedrock pinnacles. These pinnacles were formed of an iron-hard bedrock, so hard that the big equipment had negligible effect. In fact, smoke was pouring off the bucket teeth and blades of the excavators as they tried to outmuscle the mother rock. As a result, there was a section of ground about the size of two school buses parked side-by-side, but slightly longer.
Looking down into the excavation, there were three pools of standing water as well as a small stream of clear seepage water running diagonally across the northern, more elevated end of the bedrock. The southern end was where the largest pool of water was, and the eastern side of the excavation had a culvert that was collecting the water from the stream to then divert it through a long series of interconnected culverts to a sump where a six-inch diesel-powered pump was working night and day to keep that sump cleared.
Over the entire area of exposed bedrock, there were many buried, small gutters with high, then lower humps, and throughout the area, there were those dark pinnacles of super-hard bedrock, some of them rising up almost four feet, resulting in an area that could not be cleaned out properly by the modern miners with their big equipment. The area was perfect for detector and sniping work, making it a perfect area for us to tackle.
To be continued . . .
All the best,
I had some afternoon time today and decided to see what the wind blew in to the southern California beaches. The tides are bad, the waves are small and it took me over a mile before I had my first target penny! These are the same beaches where I've found lots of targets in the past but these small wind waves are only moving sand. It is all deposit mode, sanded in as you might say.
On the way back I decided to do a bit of blanket line near a surf break. I found a little spill for about $1 in change when a surfer came up to me and asked if I had found his Toyota key. I had only been there about 5 minutes and I told him I had not but I'd help him look if he knew EXACTLY where he had sat and picked up his roll on the way to his car. He showed me and I began circling that area and he dragged his foot along the path he took to the parking lot. I followed that line with my Nox 800 and the 15" coil and found a couple more coins but not his key. I did a double width pass on his path and then told him I had no results after about 25 minutes. He was bummed and wanted me to take his number in case I found it but I said I was leaving and there was no chance I was going to find it tonight.
He said thanks for helping and we parted. On my way back to my parking spot I saw the lifeguard truck ahead of me watching the sunset. I went up to the guy and he cracked his window and wanted to know what this metal detectorist wanted. I told him a surfer was looking for his key and I had been helping him and he reached down into his lap and says, "I have it, where is the surfer?" I pointed him out about 1/3 of a mile down the beach and he took off. I watched as the surfer went over to the truck and took the key from the lifeguard.
It would have been nice if the surfer could have spotted me and waved or even the lifeguard could have come back and said something but that did not happen. I didn't find the surfer's key but I did find a story with a happy ending.
By Jonathan Porter
I’ve got my lads home this summer so I’ve been grabbing every chance I can get to drag them out detecting. For me finding some gold is always a good way to get some ready cash for incidental things like beer which both boys now seem to have discovered a taste for.🤣
My attitude is the more I can get them out detecting with them the better because they will soon enough be pursuing their own life directions and if my life at that age is anything to go by no doubt it will be in another town a long way away. So in exchange for beer, a bed, air con, food and the odd bit of cash here and there, oh and don’t forget always running out of data on our internet plan,🤔 I get to occasionally grab one or both lads and go do a bit of father son detecting.
Yesterday was a lot of fun, the weather has returned to hot and muggy again (typical February weather in Central QLD) so an early start was necessary. This time we decided to target an area not far from a high voltage power line, not because we love the constant discordant threshold (The GPZ is heaps better than any of gold machine in this regard), but because the gold tends to be chunkier thanks to the area not having been detected as often due to the interference.
The keys to detecting here are to find a clear frequency for the location, this is changed pretty regularly as the frequency of the line changes often too, I also find lowering the sensitivity helps a lot and also backing off the B&Z booster a bit to take the edge off the variation. There is also a fair amount of trash so we tend to just focus on signals that sound a bit buried.
I was lucky and pinged a deep 1 gram bit only 30 minutes into the session, I held off letting Tim know because its better in a nasty area like this to keep things low key and not too competitive. Being hot and sweaty as well as listening to an annoying unstable threshold is bad enough without feeling pressured from Dad. Anyway this session was kinder to me and I managed to ping quite a few chunky bits poking my coil here and there amongst the old boys diggings on the edges of the drainage. Poor Tim was struggling he had pockets full of lead and trash but no gold, so I suggested he head on over to were I pinged the first bit. Right on knock off time I saw Tim grinning triumphantly and he then refusing to finish off for the day until he had covered the area more thoroughly.
Long story short, Tim got the biggest nugget for the session sitting right at 1.6 grams with a grand total of 7.4 grams between us. Seeing how were are partners we spilt the gold with 3.7 grams each or $214 AU for a few hours work, no wonder he likes coming home for a visit.😎😂
Some pics of yesterdays session and a few from another one last week. The gold is just a bonus, the true gold is the time spent with my boy.
Hi Guys. We had a public holiday yesterday so I decided to spend it out detecting.Trouble is I don't get paid for public holidays being a contractor. But any excuse to get out for a swing. I made a plea to Simon to tag along but he was committed else where for the day. It was a stunning day with a bit of well needed coolness first thing....but that didn't last long. I decided to keep at it with my Modded 4500 & the little 8 x 6 nugget finder Sadie coil targeting the thyme bushes that I just haven't a hope of getting the Zed into. It was very slow detecting waving in & out & poking & prodding among the thyme bushes. It was a long time between getting signals. A lot of rubbish. I eventually got a signal in among the thyme bushes that was a bit more mellow but a good hit none the less.
You may just see the detector hiding in the thyme bushes to the right of that tall spindly plant. Note the quartz gravels.
The signal was right in under a thyme bush & I had to hack into it to get a pin point on the target. It wasn't overly deep at about 4 inches when the target had moved. Waving the magnet thru the gravels nothing latched on to it. I ended up with a piece of quartz giving the signal.
I had in the past got numerous gold quartz specimens in this location & knew this was going to be another. I went back to my wagon, which wasn't very far away, to get my bottle of water to give it a wash.
I was pretty sure that little nobby bit was going to be gold.
No record breakers...but I will take it.
I then re scanned the dig area & got another hit. No way I thought. Not another speci....I hopefully thought. No it wasnt.🤬 Three bloody nails. But right next the speci I got.
That was it for hours. I then worked my way back towards my wagon for a very late lunch & a much needed drink of water. On my way I thought I would detect the clay/gravels of an old timers dam that they had built across a gully to gather water behind it for their ground sluicing of these old workings. I had detected numerous pieces back in my GP 3000 days off this dam. The workings are to the left in among all those thyme bushes & the water was gathered on the right. That cutting in the dam wall above the detector is where the dam was breached...probably by the farmer.
First few signals were just rubbish but then where the detector is sitting in the above pic I got a nice mellow signal that came out of a very firm chunk of green schist & hard clay. Had to break it up with my pick when I got the signal isolated. And out popped this.
A prickly bit of gold within a bit of quartz.
Well...that was it for the day. I got nothing more but my share of rubbish. And yes Simon....I got my share of pellets. I threw a lot of them into the briar rose bushes. I knew I would never be able to detect in among those.
A long hot hard day at that. But it was better than nothing I guess. Just.
Good luck out there
My prospecting buddy in San Diego and I decided to take a run down to Baja to see if this summer's hurricane event had moved any gold around. This particular Baja placer has been pretty popular over the past 20 years and we've pretty much hunted out all the easy stuff so we had high hopes for a new bonanza.
We left on Monday crossing the border at Calexico. I was waved through after a cursory examination by the Mexican border officials. My friend was in a different lane and he was subjected to a much more thorough examination. I think it was end of shift and the border officials needed to make some quick money. Four of them pulling everything out of his truck. They ultimately came to his 7000 detector. He explained its use and then they asked what it was worth. He lied and told them $4000.00. They saw dollar signs because according to them he would need to pay an import duty on the equipment, $420.00 US dollars cash. I guess 100 bucks apiece is a good nights work. He refused and told them that he would just return to the US. After that the price came down to $240.00. He still refused and we used the turnaround lane back to the US side of the border. It's hard to argue their notion of justice.
We spent the night at my house in sunny Yuma and decided to cross at Algodones the next morning. That crossing was going well as far as inspection, but then the immigration officer inquired as to our Mexican Visas. We've never needed a Visa in Baja unless crossing the states of Baja Norte to Baja Sur. So, we bought some much needed $35.00 cash only Visas and continued on our way.
The summer hurricane wiped out most of the paved highway just outside of San Felipe. They were working on replacing the highway but in the meantime you're restricted to a rough one lane dirt road over about 40 miles. From my house to the Placer is abut 240 miles and we arrived in the early afternoon. The prime ground is another 3 miles by ATV. We spent the rest of the afternoon building some ramps and filling big holes to run the my Rokon and his Yamaha Big Wheel up the canyon. The hurricane had run water about 20 ft high through the canyon so all our improvements from last year were washed away. It was tough sledding all the way but I didn't get unhorsed this year. My friend took a nasty fall after his bike slid down a too smooth rock wall. He was hobbled and we ended up cutting our trip short.
Nevertheless, I got one good day of detecting in. I found a stretch of bedrock that last year had a foot of overburden on it. It was now swept clean and I found these small nuggets in bedrock cracks. I intended to check some promising ground about a 2 mile hike away, but I just couldn't justify leaving gold to find gold. Maybe next trip.
The weather was great and the gold available, just not enough time after our border mishap and my friend's banged up knee.
Monday Simon & I went off on an E-Bike detecting mission. Simon used Mrs JW's bike. I took my modded 4500 & 14 x 9 Nugget Finder Advantage coil for a spin. I also threw in the sadie coil. While Simon took his 4500 with 14 x 9 Evo coil & the GM 1000. The bikes made for quicker access, even going up despite having to walk & push the bikes at a few dodgy bits. Especially with the back packs of gear we were carrying on our backs. They have a little thumb throttle so you just push that & walk beside the bike. So the bike is wheeling itself. No weight involved, just got to avoid kicking the pedals into your shins.
I didn't get carried away with photos so nothing much to show in the biking department or the terrain we had to negotiate. On getting up & over the saddle & dropping down to the bottom of the turned over gully workings, we stached the bikes & rigged up for detecting. We still had a bit of a walk to get to an area that I wanted to target. The grass growth was just insane. Just shouldn't be like that this time of the year. It was hard walking thru it as you just didn't know what your footing was going to be. Weather you were going to step into a hole or in between rocks from the stackings from the old timers. It was going to be a hot day, thanks to that hot air blowing off from that large island to the west. Aussie I think it is. They can keep their hot air.
There is not much bedrock in the gully but it is full of turned over ground & rock piles from the old boys. There are workings & piles everywhere, even up high on the sides of the hills but still very little bedrock. We came upon some bedrock on the side of a hill & I pointed out to Simon that it looked like the old timers had worked a bit of the hill side as there were water channels running down that had scoured out the hillside exposing some bedrock. The channels were dry now of course as it would have been from water they got there by races. I left Simon on what looked like some promising ground that also had stacked rocks higher up the hill & obviously some working just over the brow that we couldn't see from down below. I carried on to another little wash channel in a shallow gully.
It was damn hard detecting with nothing showing up. At least there were no shotgun pellets. But no gold coming either. Simon got a signal on what he said was a rock. He mucked around with it for a while but I am not sure what the result was on that. I had forgotten about it until just now. Simon will have to fill us in on that one.
A few hours must have passed & next thing I hear Simons detector nutting off a lot & saw that he had dropped down to the gully floor & was detecting in among the stacked rock piles. I didn't think that was a good move as it was just tones of turned over rocks & piles & would have its share of old timer rubbish. I think he was more keen on the cool water in the stream. 👍 I had finished my bottle of water & was keen for a refill. But I carried on where I was on the edge of an old dry water wash & some bedrock the old boys had exposed. I had got a couple of faint sweet sounding hits. Thinking they were gold but turned out to be tiny remains of rusted boot tacks right down on this bedrock. Damn. I then got a good loud hit. Thinking this is going to be rubbish for sure. MMMmm...itdidn'tt stick to the magnet. Wasnt that deep before it moved. Got be rubbish.
But no. First piece of sassy gold.
Ye Ha .58 of a gram
Looking down over the detector & down to the turned over gully floor with its stacks of rock piles. Creek winding it way around. Simon was off to the left out of the picture.
I moved a couple of feet & got another hit. Dug down on it & it turned out to be an old nail. Bugger. Slowly poking the coil into the grass & fern growth I got another nice hit. Scraped out some grass & ferns.
This went a bit deeper than the first bit of gold & I was surprised at the small size for the signal. But gold it was.
.15 of a gram.
Then things dried up & I was dried out. So I headed on down to Simon who had soaked himself in the creek. Despite how hot it was the water was still freezing. We did have a bit of a snow fall high up in the hills last week. Not bad for the middle of summer. I got down to Simon & we headed off to another spot. Crossed the creek where I filled up my bottle & drank a couple of liters of water. We walked up an old wash out from a large spill of rocks from the old timers washing out a huge cut in the hill side. Got to the top of that & kept going up to some high sluiced ground sluicing s where the old boys had washed out a sizeable paddock & left neatly stacked rows of rocks. I didn't get a photo & I am not sure if Simon did. Wish I had of now. There were a couple of exit point where the water had flowed out of these workings from the water they had brought on by a long water race. Now dry of course. One of these exits the water was re used lower down & the other just spilled out & down a steep slope that just got steeper until it dropped off vertical into a side creek gully below. It was dry & I said to Simon, this could be worth detecting as it is cutting thru what looked like virgin ground & gravels. I sat down & let Simon get into it. Thinking he would head down the wash detecting up & down the banks. But he headed up into the workings end. He got a few signals that just seemed to spread out as he dug. Turned out to be piles of little bits of iron sand/stones. Round like shot gun pellets. Simon at first thought they were but they were all over his magnet. When he got to the top end by the workings I headed on down & cranked up my 4500 away from him so we wouldn't clash with each other. I got down to a bit of bedrock in the bottom of this wash. Got a signal next to what was an old detector hole. I had seen a few old digs so we were not the first to be in here. turned out to be a bit of rubbish. I then dragged the edge of the 14 x 9 coil backwards thru the crevice cracks in this bedrock. Again...no photos. Got a nice mellow hit & Simon came on down to investigate just as I saw the glint of gold. I popped it in my scoop to show him & then I looked down to the ground & it feel out back onto the ground. I couldn't see it & Simon gave it a go with his detector to see if he could get it. So I turned mine off & WHAM...he got it alright. So there is nothing wrong with his set up. He just doesn't seem to be able to walk over gold.
We carried on for a few hours more but got nothing else. Despite covering a bit of ground. We were getting pretty hot & worn out so we started back towards the bikes. We came across on more bit of bedrock. The old timers had brought a small water race along the top of the ridge & had worked some ground at the end of this high little spur. I said to Simon, you go for it. I will have a sit down. You need to get a bit of gold. While he was detecting away I took a snap across the gully to the saddle we had ridden up to in the back ground & ridden down this side of it. The bikes were stashed directly below me out of site below the bottom of the picture. You will see more piles of stacked rocks & tell tale signs of ground sluicing with the higher lumps & bumps they didn't wash away.
Unfortunately Simon came up gold less & I really thought we would have done a lot better in here. There was not much bedrock & what there was had seen detectors before. So now it was back to the bike & break down our gear & re pack the back packs for the bike ride up & out. We were poked. Simon has one of those apple watches that tells you your heart rate, how many steps you have taken & how far you have walked. He got his heart rate up to 150 at one stage when an alarm came on his watch warning him to take it easy. He said he had taken 12,000 steps & I think it was 10.5 kilometers of walking. A lot of that was up hill & around the hill sides.
The ride back down was uneventful with no mishaps. Thank goodness.
Simon making out in one piece. Look how crazy the grass is.
And the smile happy to have done so.
We still had a way to go to the wagon but that was the quick fun part.
So all up just the three little bits for me for not even 1 gram.
Better than poke in the eye with a blunt stick & avoided the skunk. Not bad considering I hadn't used a 4500 for nearly three years.
Good luck out there