Extreme Detecting Between Storms Of The Decades Or Testing The 15" Equinox Coil On The Spanish Trail
We are still snowed in here in the Northern Sierras so I have no new adventures to share with you all so I guess I'll have to reminisce a bit.
My cousin seems to have escaped the family curse of the prospector and is a member of normal society as long as he avoids bad influences -like me.
I told him about an interesting spot on an old map that I would like to go find and ask if he would like to go along. He readily agreed but he didn't have much time so we decided to take his rig instead of my old Jeep because it was much faster. We left out of town and very quickly took a steep path that took us up several thousand feet. I was able to direct him to where we could look down on the prospecting spot but but it was obvious that we would need my Jeep to get all the way into it so we turned around and headed back to town. Well, My cousin got to playing around in his fancy (and expensive) rig, going way too fast and tipping it way to one side and then way to the other side then he ask me if it made me nervous. "Not in the least I replied". I was not nervous- I was terrified. He tipped the rig WAY up on it's side again except this time, OOPS , it rolled completely over but fortunately it came back upright. In the interest of keeping the story brief I will just say we made it back to town ok but I now know that my old Jeep is a much better prospecting rig than a North American T28.
I stumbled out of bed yesterday to our first big frost of the year, it was -3.9 outside, 24°F in the old money
It was a nice still clear day and a perfect day to get out there doing something, fortunately there was a message from KiwiJW in my inbox on the forum asking if I'd like to go for a gold hunt, well I don't need to tell you my answer to that. I was quickly ensuring all my gear was charged and ready to go. The drive to JW's house can be a bit hit and miss depending on the time of the day. A majority of the cars on the road are tourists in their hire cars and they're usually all going the same directions to the same places and in the morning's they all usually heading to Milford Sound.
Here is a video for those who don't know showing what Milford Sound is https://youtu.be/iiBOi_8yVlQ
There is always some tourists heading the opposite direction however, which can make my journey take far longer when I get stuck behind them on a road with many blind corners and few passing opportunities. This one green hire van had me stuck behind it doing almost half the speed limit for about 10 minutes as the Ute refused to pass, so I had to take them both. The tourists tend to drive much slower as they're looking around enjoying the scenery. The snow is forming on the hills too, a sure sign winter is on it's way.
Arriving at JW's we were quick to head out on our mission, we decided to go for a bush walk and view some local gold mining history too, it was the perfect day for it and I do enjoy learning about all the history in the area. We walked a hiking track that had a lot of Gold history. We stumbled across these bars out of an old timers sluice
And found an old gold miners hut still in very good condition, JW was thinking of moving in by the looks of it 🙂
A nice fireplace to get him through the winter, and all the creature comforts of home 🙂
He forgot to take his equipment inside so it rusted away.
The old timers went to extraordinary lengths to move water and gravel around, here is a tunnel they built, with JW entering it
That's JW up there exiting the tunnel. All through solid rock, incredible.
They did some serious work to the landscape too, It's hard to believe how much soil they washed out, I guess with water monitors.
Now we both had the itch to find some gold we left our bush walk location and went to near the creek location I found my last tiny Equinox gold
Now it's down to the business end of the story. JW pointed me to a bit of bedrock and said that will suit the Equinox, It looked nice and so did the path down to it, I always think back to JW's path that just keeps on giving at another location, every time we go there he finds gold in the path, I never have, well this path turned into my path that keeps on giving.
The little track down to the bedrock. It wasn't even 2 minutes after we started detecting and I had my first hit, bouncing between 3 and 4 on the VDI's.
And about 2 inches down in the gravelly soil was this little guy
Skunk broken straight away, a nice .1 of a gram. It's sitting next to the EQX06 logo on the coil.
A couple of minutes later right near it in the path another hit again between 3 and 4 on the VDI's
Things were looking good for my path so I decided to go back to the top of it and try again in case I missed something, and right at the top another 1, 2 on the VDI numbers but this time it was solid rock with lots of quartz through it, I didn't know what to do so asked JW, he said smash it out break it up so I did just that.
The bit of rock in the scoop is still giving 1, 2 on the VDI's. JW helped me smash it up further narrowing the bit down with the signal, we got it this small in the end, still a 1, 2 on the VDI's
I'll have to smash it up more I guess and find out what surprise is inside! I can't see any gold yet.
Now time to head further down the path to the bedrock JW pointed out for me
It was on quite a cliff edge, you'll just see the creek far down below in the top of this photo
Another 10 or so minutes and I had another hit, this was getting crazy
This one was coming up as the standard 1, 2 on the VDI's.
I was having a ball at this stage and finally knew what it felt like to be JW, pulling nuggets up all over the place with his GPZ 7000 🙂
Not even 10 steps later another hit! Unbelievable!!
This one was in a crevice and a bit harder to get to, coming up in the negative VDI numbers, sitting around -6 to -3 but I knew from my tiny gold experience the other day it's likely to be gold and not junk in this location on those VDI numbers.
I scraped all the soil out trying to get to the target and finally found it, it was a lot harder to track down so I knew it was tiny.
If you look hard you'll see the spec in the scoop.
And next to the EQX06 on the coil.
My smallest detected bit so far I believe, 0.010 of a gram, smaller than last weekends 0.011 of a gram. The same settings as last weekend, horseshoe mode all metal, sensitivity 25, iron bias 0, gold 1 and manual ground balance. I would never not use horse shoe all metal mode when tiny gold hunting, you'll miss all the little gold as it often goes in the negative VDI's and you'll just get a blanked out target.
Now I was getting to the end of my cliff drop off point, and the end of my little spot
It's a very long drop from up here down to the creek below, kinda scary for me being here but I make my way to the edge anyway, wobbly knees and all.
Looooonnnggggg way down. Last attempt at my spot was to detect the mosses on the edge of the cliff, hoping some gold had been washed into them and soon after another hit at 1, 2 on the VDI's
And that was it for the day, John sacrificed this good spot by pointing me in it's direction while he went off detecting elsewhere. Thanks John.
On the way out we walked past a nice waterfall
Another enjoyable day with 0.269 of a gram in my bottle 🙂
The small 6" coil for the Equinox is great but surprisingly the 11" is quite capable of finding all of the tiny gold I found on this day. It's just not as maneuverable in among the rocks and crevices as the little 6" but it's still incredibly sensitive to small gold. The 11" is good if you're needing to cover a lot of ground quickly, it does a good job of it without losing much at all in sensitivity. Even the 12x15" coil is still pretty sensitive to tiny gold, it will lose the 0.010 gram piece but will get the slightly bigger ones well.
The Equinox is a brilliant detector, just has happy finding this tiny gold as it is coins and jewellery in the parks and beaches, very versatile.
After our days detecting up on the bedrock, I with the GM 1000 finding 5 small bits of gold & Simon with his Nox 800 snagging 6 tiny bits. The next day we went back to a place that Simon has been to quite a few times now but I took him to a spot he hadn't been to in the general location. I had done ok here back in my GP 3000 days on numerous occasions with different coils. I went once with the 4500 & only got one small bit. I hadn't been back since & had never had the Zed here. The other times I had been here the grass was non existent but this year with the crazy grass & weed growth I wasn't very confident. I chose to take the Zed with it 14" coil & Simon stuck with the Nox 800 & 6" coil.
Without telling Simon I put him on to a spot where I had got a few bits back with the GP 3000 & the one piece with the 4500. I wandered off further down the workings. The grass wasn't too bad but I was just getting rubbish & quite a few shot gun pellets. Unlike the day before where Simon didn't get one pellet & I only got one. You just have to dig all the signals & one I got was no different to any of the other pellets I had dug but after a couple of scrapes the signal was still in the ground.
A few more scrapes & it had moved. Was my first bit of sassy gold.
Took a while to come, but then things dried up for what seemed ages. In the mean time Simon had wandered off from the spot I left him on. He had gone over some other bedrock, moved on from that & had jumped a fence & was heading further up the gully diggings. I thought to myself then that he is sure covering a lot of ground quickly with that little 6" coil. I on the other hand in comparison had moved bugger all & that was with the Zeds 14" coil. I then just put the coil & my eyes to the ground & got lost in what I was doing. Next thing I hear Simon's nox nutting off not far from me & looked up. He was detecting opposite me higher up on the fringe of the gully. Again I was surprised at how quickly he had finished over the fence & come back down above me & proceeded to jump another fence & head on down the workings until I lost site of him.
I eventually worked my way to where I had first put him on to & it wasn't long before I got a faint signal.
It wasn't very deep & should have been within the Nox's range. Was a solid little chunky ball of gold. Came out of the ground real clean & almost shiny.
I ended up getting numerous bits here.
This wasn't a bad size & the Nox should have got this.
I then got a very faint signal beside a small briar rose bush. Thinking pellet I scraped away. Signal still there & I had to hack out into the bush to pin point the target.
This was a bit deeper but it finally came out of hiding. Again very clean almost shiny gold.
I then wandered up out of the workings slightly. Heading up a bit of a bank that was nice looking gravels & where the old timers had stopped sluicing. But I knew I had got numerous bits here with the GP 3000. After a few pellets a signal lived on down a bit until it finally popped out.
Again it wasn't deep.
Before back filling my dig I re scanned & an other signal.
Another bit of gold.
I then saw Simon heading on back up. Thinking he was coming to show me something. But no he stopped & detected around where I had first started. I in turn had just moved on to the bed rock area that he had covered. I got a signal & scraped on it & the signal moved pretty quickly.
It was my smallest bit of gold for the day.
Simon saw me taking a photo & said, Have you found a bit? I said I have found 8. He was gobsmacked as he said he had covered every bit of that area. He came over to have a look at my finds & the depth of that last bit, which wasn't deep. It was then that he told me he couldn't run the Nox in full max 25 sensitivity like he could the day before when he got those insanely small bits. He said he settled on 21 & even that was noisy. 18 was better but he just felt he was losing too much depth & sensitivity. He ended up with a million pellets but no gold. I couldn't believe it. Especially after his day before. I must admit that I was again blown away by the Zed. I wasn't holding much hope here to be honest but the Zed just proved itself to me again. High Yield/Normal sensitivity on 18 & just purred.
8 bits for 1.8 grams. Cheers.
Best of luck out there.
By Rivers rat
Hello to all i managed to find a bit of time to share my experience and trip in the Goldfields.So here we go:
I managed to escape Melbourne for 3 days as wife was working there and i was doing the driving.Was hot very hot and i understand now why there is time to prospect and time to stay in an air cooled house.
Anyway as a result of a post on the forum i contacted Goldrat (aka Peter) and after some very good chat and instruction we met in Maryborough .The drive from Melbourne for me was epic as :
1)i loved the scenery
2) i get lost very easily (But thanks to Peter instruction and a capricious phone i reached my destination without problem).
So we head up to Talbot for bnb and to pick up a SDC2300 complimentary of my landlord Neil.We then headed to our first spot ,and while Peter was narrating the tales of mountain of gold retrieve from the area i was taking as many pics as possible as this was completely new to me
Peter found the first bit of gold using his faithfull Equinox with the 6".......for the setting ask him .
My bnb road
Scoooooore Peter first gold ,he gave it to me lost it in my suitcase.......
Hi guys, I wasn't going to bother posting up my tiddlers after Simons single BIG piece trounced my 5 pieces combined by almost twice the weight on his rewarding day. That's what you get for digging every signal. Sure you get a pocket full of .22 shells but that one gram piece was worth it aye. Now I have a confession to make here. I told Simon I got nothing at his Mr Pocket spot..... But I got two. They were my biggest two of the day. .3 of a gram & .09
Simon did a good job on his first post of our day there so I will just cut to the chase. I had done quite well here back with my GP 3000 & little coiltek 10 x 5 mono coil. I put Simon on to some old timer piles hoping his 4500 & 14 x 9 NF Evo coil might punch deeper into & give something up to him. It didn't. While I detected opposite him & working my way to some schist bedrock where I had done well with the GP 3000 on tiny bits. High Yield/Normal sensitivity on 19 & going very slowly scraping the coil over the bedrock when I got to it. Of course it is a shotgun pellet graveyard so got my share of those. After getting my first few I kept checking all signals.
This could have well been another pellet. I didn't take a VLF with me so had to be very careful not losing the target after moving it & breaking the "halo" effect & losing the signal. So after a bit of a scrape I blew the dirt & dust away & had my first piece of gold.
I continued to detect very slowly on the edge of the grass & the bedrock as there was a bit of a lip & fracture in the bedrock.
In the next pic, which is the same as the above pic but from a different angle, you will see a bit of a depression in the bedrock & the lichen on the bedrock just above & slightly to the right of the scoop.
I got what I thought was a very slight cough in the threshold going over that depression. A couple of scrapes & removing the lichen revealed that the depression was the edge of a flat slab of schist sitting on top of the bedrock. It was totally unrecognisable & just appeared to be the bedrock surface.
I have over the years realised just how many bedrock nooks & crannies & secret gold hiding cracks & fractures that lichen can hide. So I flipped the slab over to reveal another bit of a lip & drop off in the bedrock, right at the top edge of the coil. That is where the now improved signal was coming from.
I scraped the pointy end of the pick along it & revealed a crack going under the now over hanging bedrock. Broke it open & one more scrape had the signal move. A bit more blowing &...piece number two
Waved the coil very slowly over the rest of that little plateau & was getting nothing but pellets. Got to the last corner of the bedrock & was getting feed up with the pellets when one of them morphed into a tiny piece of gold smaller than a pellet.
Unbelievable. Simon later made a comment that I had never thought of or considered before, & that was that people just wouldn't believe that I was finding gold this small with that 14" coil on the Zed. But Simon is my witness.
It was at this stage that Simon had found his Mr Pocket & said he could get no more from it & relinquished it to me to try with the Zed. So I did. It was in among that tall dry grass that he has shown his pics of. My first signal was a very good hit, & I thought, here we go a .22 shell. But no...a .3 of a gram piece of gold. Followed by a fainter signal but a positive one. Very shallow. .09 of a gram. But that was it. Nothing but .22 shells from there on. Even a live one. Thank goodness I got those two bits first off after getting a pocket full of .22 shells after them.
Total of .57 of a gram for 5 pieces. The .3 one really helped lift that total.
Mr possum looks a bit delirious with holding all that gold. Or is it the "cigarette" he is smoking? His tongue is even hanging out....as well as his dangley bits.
Good luck out there
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,