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  1. I got out for a couple hrs yesterday with forum member Beatup's brother. It's summer in Sunny Yuma, approaching 100 degrees around 9:00am so we started right at sunup. We were 30 minutes into a desert wash that had produced good gold for him this past winter. We split up at the first junction of washes I went left, he went right. I had taken about 10 steps and froze mid-stride as an 18" DiamondBack rattler slithered through my legs from behind me. He paid me no mind, and gathered himself up under a jumble of rocks 10 ft away. He never rattled, hissed or made any aggressive motion, early morning temps around 70 degrees. All I can figure is he was under a small boulder and as I passed he decided we were heading in the same direction, the gravel wash being his own territory. The fact that he was decidedly moving on his way and didn't stop and rattle probably saved me a pair of underwear. As dear old Fred Mason would say, "don't kill them, you're the trespasser" and I rarely do. I have snake chaps, but generally have excuses not to wear them, oh well. The good news, I found a 1.5 gram piece and brother of Beatup found a whopping 5 grammer. As old Sgt Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues used to say "remember, let's be careful out there".
  2. I was sitting out the "Rona" virus and hunkered down near Quartzsite in my toy hauler trailer earlier in the month. I wasn't really hitting the detecting very hard, mostly exploring an area unfamiliar to me. I found a couple small bits, ran into a "tiger" rattlesnake (very unique coloration) and a Gila Monster during my travels. I've hunted the desert southwest most of my life and only seen 3 Gila Monsters, ever. Nasty acting creature, hissing and making half hearted charges. Black mouth and flicking tongue are pretty convincing to keep your social distance. Then disaster with the Rokon and a reminder of the laws of gravity and old age. The culprit, a steep rutted road with a big rock on a banked turn. I considered changing to a lower gear for engine braking, but nah, I can do this in high gear. About halfway down I was reminded of that physics thing, something about "objects in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an opposing motion". The steep downhill put me in motion, unable to make the banked turn, the rock, it turns out is an opposing motion. I landed hard on my left side, my left leg under the 250 lb Rokon with a perfect sized rut to bang center of my thigh. Man that hurt, I'm going on 3 weeks now still hobbling around on a sore leg. As most of you know from my other Misadventures, this isn't my first crash so the die was cast. My girlfriend had been interested in getting a RZR so she could accompany me on my explorations and we had looked a couple used ones. When she saw my injuries this time, that clinched it. Even my 27 yr old son was making that clucking sound and head shaking. 'You're going to really get hurt one of these days, Dad'! So, we got serious and searched Craiglist in both AZ and S.CA. We found a nice, lightly used RZR 900 2 seater, with all the stuff, doors, roof rack, bead lock wheels and tires etc. More than I wanted to spend, but considering I might get a few more good years out of this 65 yr old body, probably well worth it. So, if any of you young bucks are interested in my Rokon, it's for sale. I'll post it over on the For Sale section for a full description.
  3. In South Australia we are really limited to public accessible fossicking areas. We have two areas open to the public at Echunga: Chapel Hill & Jupiter Creek Diggings, and another area which is the old Gumeracha Goldfields. The area available to the public is now a pine plantation, so access is via a permit available from ForestrySA. So when 90% of the old diggings has had pines planted on top of it, unfortunately a lot of the old gold workings such as shallow diggings, test pits, shafts, wash piles etc are simply no longer visible, so it does present a challenge of knowing where to look, but there are also some positives: 1. Old pines give you nice shade during summer, and 2. When they harvest, the ground gets churned up from all the machinery. With all this extra time I've had on my hands, I've had time to sort through a lot of footage and found many videos from my visits to the forest, with hopefully some valuable info to others. Part 2 will be up later today.
  4. According to the Mayo Clinic you should shoot for 30 minutes of moderate detecting everyday to loose weight and maintain fitness. Sounds simple enough right? So I decided to get some detecting exercise a couple of days ago. My first spot was a new farm field that was plowed up about a year ago. I instantly got into a lot of coal, and thought this is not going to be fun. After about an hour I hit on a beat up mason jar lid. next came a 32 cal. cartridge case. Another hour and more coal I found a nice mangled spoon. Ten more feet and I got 1/2 of a spoon or fork. I was thinking my god there has to be something good in this field. That's when I found a harness buckle with leather just laying on the surface ( OK maybe I'm in a better place in the field) NOPE, Two minutes later I found a what I thought was an early 80"s binaca breath spray container which brought back fond memories of my youth. (drive in movies, awkward moments with the opposite sex, ect.) But it turns out it was Bovine mastitis spray made by Schering Co. As a rule of thumb PLEASE do not use mastitis spray as breath a freshener!!!!!! Next trip out was a place close to home. I decide to swap coils and hunt with the 9 inch to focus on gold jewlery. After digging 2 dozen pull tabs, and I knew they were. I decided I was smart enough to discern the signals, so I stopped the insanity. During my 4 hour hunt I found $1.97 in clad ranging from the 1970's to the 2000's. My first good target was a brass buckle (not gold) Next was a Ford car key (not gold) Next was a very creepy face/head thing that kinda frightened me. (not gold) And last but not least was a small motorcycle in pretty good shape, For being a plastic /metal import. Looks like it's in fair running condition And I would be willing to trade it for a CTX-3030. Any interested parties please do not PM me. (I forgot, it wasn't gold). Tomorrow I'm just going to Have a beer and a bourbon and give my wife a smooch!!! (And I will not be using the mastitis spray.) Maybe next time I'll find the GOLD!!! Seriously, I hope all members and family of this forum are doing well and Staying safe.
  5. After sheltering in place for over a week, my son and I escaped to the desert to refine our social distancing. Instead of playing with settings on the 7000, I decided to work on my personal hunting technique concentrating on swing speed, 'range of motion' as JP calls it, coil control and listening for faint, vague changes in a steady threshold. My son took off to hike while I clambered down a boulder strewn and treacherous hillside with all my gear. I tuned up at the bottom and began to slowly cover ground I had already gone over in a previous post. Almost immediately I got what sounded like a small EMI tone-change in the threshold. But as I made my first boot scrape I saw my son waving from the top of the hillside and motioning for me to come up. I took off my headphones and heard him calling to me to come and help him. Now I am advancing in years and that hill is not for sissy's but he was insistent. A few minutes later I stood beside him out of breath and slightly put out, but when he pointed at a near-by prospect hole and said "can you help me get him out?" I was honored that he had asked me to come and help. Somehow a desert tortoise had fallen into the excavation. My son clambered down, lifted him out and handed him to me. We put him in the shade for awhile to let him calm down after being lifted and carried around. After awhile, refreshed and emboldened, he took off, snacking on Spring flowers and grass shoots as he went. My son continued his hike as I made my way back down through the rocks and resumed my hunting. My first faint change in the threshold produced a flake so small that, if it didn't go off on the detector, I would not have believed it was gold, it looked more like a slice of silica, but it was gold. (0.01g). The next flake was beside a basalt rock and I made out the signal in the midst of the sound the basalt was making. That's where swing speed (slow), and coil control makes the difference between finding a bit of gold or passing it up and moving on. Anyway, all in all, 5 stupidly small flakes - but all of them were found because I had decided to focus on what I was doing rather than what the detector was doing. Best to everyone in this strangest of times.
  6. On Thursday I went out on my 3rd trip with my 15x10 X-Coil to well pounded patches in Southern California. All of these places have been completely trashed. I've only found gold in one of the areas but others have. I did some thinking and testing at my first stop of the morning about dawn and decided to settle down the sensitivity. Thursday I switched to difficult and something close to Lunk and Coiltek's settings but the sensitivity at 15. This helped me maintain a smooth threshold even with our hotrocks and mineralizations. I've been poking it under bushes I could never get under before and going very slow and finding tiny bits of wire and bullets missed by Monsters, 2300s and 14s but I can't show any gold for my efforts yet. It was more fun on Thursday than the previous two trips where I felt anxious and frustrated. About the middle of the day I noticed a tire on my 4Runner was low. I couldn't trust going up higher into the mountains so I switched to a spot where a friend had Monstered and found some tiny surface nuggets so I thought I'd give it a try. I was finding trash so that was a good sign. Most of the bbs were long gone. I just kept poking around. I heard a deep signal (iffy) under a bush and was scrapping and digging and the signal brightened up a bit. I was near a little road but I was going down into compressed rock and the signal is getting better. After I'm down past the normal trash I decided to video this hole. As you could tell I was hopeful. I don't know how that cartridge got down that deep but it is only the 3 time I remember something like that happening. One time was in Australia and the other time was in Gold Basin. Better luck next time.
  7. Most of you do not know the history of metal detecting and my family. We go back to the early 1970's, my dad, uncle, 1 cousin and I all were pretty avid TH'ers back then. In the 80's and 90's we took it to a new level and started concentrating more on older sites and doing research. Our old coin finds were better with a few Barbers and Seated Liberty silvers. The gold coin had still eluded us for all those yrs. We knew it was just a matter of time. Anyway about 20 yrs ago, my little brother started getting serious with detectors and making some nice finds. It was about 20 years ago when the McMullen clan broke the gold coin barrier (it was me) with an 1852 $2.50 piece found in OR. Then about 10 years ago on 4th of July I was greedy and hit another (my 2nd) GC of the clan. My relatives and family started getting a little jealous and well deserving. Especially my little brother who happened to be on that trip with me when I hit #2, It was a 1902 $5 found here in Idaho. Well last week I was with my brother in OR and his Equinox put a smile on his face in more ways than 1. Not only did he find a gold coin, but also a Barber and Seated Liberty Half. Me, I managed to find a clad dime, which is the 1st modern coin that I know of to come from this site. He does not do much with forums, but did say I could mention them and share the pics. I wanted to let him have his glory and then after a few days I'd share. Here is his 1839 $5, 1907 Barber Half and 1877 Seated Half. And you know what? I honestly was a little jealous for about a minute and then I realize his tears were real. I then became the proud big brother of another gold coin find for the McMullen clan. I'm so proud of this guy for continuing to go and just keeps on swinging. Now that I think back, it was meant to be and I was able to be there and share the precious moment with him.
  8. Well today I had the rare chance to get out for a sort time and do some hunting. Just as I was walking out the door my wife tells me to take the dog with me. This is a small dog who is hyper as a butterfly in a wind tunnel. All the way to the ball field I wanted to try Rusty was being very good the whole time, and I am thinking that just maybe he was going to be good. When we arrived at the ball field he stayed close to me as I retrieved the old Tracker IV out of the trunk. I started to head to the field and he takes off like a rocket. I let him run for just a couple of minutes while I got the detector ready to start swinging. I called him over and to my surprise he came running back, and I am thinking that he is finally going to be good. I start walking in the direction that I had been wanting to search and get a wonderful tone sounding in my ears. I start digging my hole and look to see where Rusty is and he is on the other side of the field. I call him back again, tell him to sit, and start digging again. I pull out a dime (1967) try to show Rusty what I found and to my surprise he's gone again. Once again I look for the darn dog, and now this time he is on the opposite side of the field, so I call him again and he comes back. Fill in the hole and stand up. Now where is that dog? Yep he is on the other side of the field again and it wasn't 20 seconds since I last saw him. This time when he gets back I really scold him and I thought he got the message. Nope he didn't, just as I have another target to dig, so I stick my sod cutter i the ground to mark the spot to dig. I get Rusty to come back to me and we start walking back to the car so maybe I can find a leash for him. I look down at him and in his mouth is my sod cutter. Yep he pulled it out of the ground and carried it back to the car. I put him in the car with the windows half way down and walk about 30 feet away from the car and hit another good sounding tone, another dime about 6 inches deep. This one was a 1983, but in usable condition, nothing special about it just dirty and slightly tarnished. Within another 6 feet a really good sound that I had to dig, but it came out to be a Falstaff beer bottle cap. By this time Rusty is crying so bad I let him out and he really tried to stay by me until I found another target which turned out to be a soda can. Needless to say it was a very short hunt as I gave up after only 25 minutes. Lesson of this story is that never listen to the wife and never take the dog again. The old tracker does find good targets and junk so you never know just what will show up. Bounty Hunter Tracker IV metal detector Bounty Hunter Tracker IV Owner's Manual
  9. Some of you may be wondering if I made it back from Arizona. I did and I'll tell you a bit about it. I left here last Tuesday night at 11 PM (midnight in Arizona) for the 300 mile 5 plus hour trip. As it turned out I was heading to a place where Chet had been the week before. I have a friend who is staying there for the season. It is also near the area where I've found my two largest nuggets so why not go exploring with the 15x10 X-Coil. So that's what I did. I got there after a couple of stops for a total trip time of about 7 hours because the last 10 miles is on a road I can only go 15 miles an hour. We didn't head to the club claims but a couple of other washes away. The bullets, wire and trash were similar to what Chet found but Chet documented his finds much better than I did. I was using Chet's settings part of the time, Lunk's settings part of the time and some others. Many of them seem to work. I was very keen this trip to get that smooth threshold on some occasions and listen to the noises jump around it. I'm a bit out of super prospecting shape but I didn't want to hit the tops only or the bottoms of the washes so I went for benches and sides. The 15x10 let me do this more easily than the other two coils I have. While I use a bungee and hipstick many times I was holding the detector freely as I did for a month or so with my 3030. I have no complaints with its ergodynamics of letting me nose point and get under bushes. The two of us hunted hard for 2/3rds the day trying to take advantage of some pointy fingers and research but came up short. I suggested that we go find something in the meteorite patch before it got dark and that is what we did. We went on the north side of the railroad tracks and hunted for irons. This is the first place I went to hunt for meteorites with the Zed 14 when it was new. I spent a day there on my way back to LA but I only had about 1.5 hours now so we had to get out there quickly. My friend is new to the Zed and hadn't ever found a meteorite so we walked to some well pounded patinas a little less than a mile from the parking area. The strewn field for the irons is 4-5 square miles but we were at the nearest edge. It wasn't long before I had my first. I think it is the .13 gram meteorite. These are never very deep and some are really sunbakers but you just can't see them. But, they really sing when you swing over them. My friend could hear it with his 14 when I laid it down for him so he knew what to listen for now. It was not long before he bent down and using his scoops and magnet he had his first Franconia Iron. This was also his first meteorite. That's a good memory. He went on his way and I went my way for the next hour. I didn't find any big ones as they can get over 1-2 g but I know I had gone over the same areas with the 14 because I could see my previous scrapes from years before. I was now getting good results with the coil but I had limited time. We ended about dark. I had 8 irons and my friend had 3. After this experience we decided to go to Gold Basin where there is gold and meteorites! I spent the night near the noisy 40 Freeway and we were off the next morning to Gold Basin. This was the first time for my friend so we did a bit of a 'sightseeing' tour around to the club claims and then went to a patch where I've found about 30 nuggets in the past. As a matter of fact it was the place where I found my only 19" gold. This place has been gone over with everything out there and we were not successful with this trip. (I had sworn I'd never go back there the last time ... haha) We went by a club claim and talked to a couple of dry washers and they were doing ok. They were also detecting as they went and said they had found some pretty nice nuggets totaling several grams so we decided to go swing down away from them. Once again the X-Coil was a pleasure to walk around at cruising speed. I got down in the bottom of one wash and got a really good sound that I knew wasn't surface trash and down about 4 inches was this little 7g meteorite. This was not ideal meteorite territory but I thought I might find others but that was not the case either. When I walked up out of the wash I looked over a mile or so and saw Jason's place and there was a truck there. I had shared some PMs with him about his theft and I had just missed him on a previous trip with Chet so I wanted to go introduce myself. I'll have to tell you he doesn't know me or know what I drive so when we went up to his trailer we were on video! haha When I told him who I was he was relieved and we had a good chat about the basin, X-Coils and the scavengers that live out there. The next day we tried to follow up on some of Jason's geological suggestions and it ended up being a lot of interesting driving but no gold. Once again at the end of the day I targeted an area where I've found a lot of meteorites in the past but it was not to be. I left for Santa Monica about dark. My way home is through Las Vegas. Once on the other side I go opposite the normal Friday rush to Vegas but I'll tell you it was much less this past Friday. I think it is the virus. My trip ended about 1 AM. I've been back recovering and reflecting. There is a lot of gold still left in Gold Basin but you need friends and geologic knowledge to find it now. It is very difficult to get lucky but that can happen if you have enough time and you just set out to go areas where you have not been before. It really is an area where good gold is found with the first detector as much as the best detector.
  10. Hi all, been pretty busy lately, and what started out as a really slow year ended up being pretty good prospecting wise. The first half of the year was very slow, only able to scratch a few nuggets out of some old patches. Not much luck looking for new areas. A few buddies and I decided to meet up in the middle of the summer in Gold Basin. Dave, Steve, and a couple of other Chris' . They were out there since Friday evening, but because of work I couldn't get out till Saturday afternoon. Dave was meeting us on Sunday. I made the drive out from Vegas, and when I got there I tried reach the guys, but no luck. Cell service can be spotty out there, and the must have been out detecting. I figured I might as well get started on my own till I was able to reach them. I ended up in an area where I had found a nice gold quartz specimen years ago, and figured I might grid the area to see if I could come up with a few scraps. It was found 3/4 the way up a tiny drainage where nothing else was found (by me anyway) I detectected the drainage top to bottom with no luck, so I decided to hit the hillside. About 7 or 8 feet from where I found that specie I jammed the coil under a creosote bush and got a strong signal over a large area. It wasn't a distinct signal like a nugget, so I kind of thought I was some mineralization but decided to dig anyway. There was only about 5 or 6 inches of overburden, so I scraped that off, and now the signal was sounding much more like a target, but still over a 2 sq ft area. I carry a rock hammer in my pack so I used that to tear up the bedrock. I got down about a foot total and now the signal was screaming. One more attempt with the hammer, and now I have signals in the tailings. I pick up a piece of quartz and put it over the coil...bingo!! I found my first pocket. I actually found the source. I kept working on my hole, still pulling gold out, and still getting strong signals in the bedrock. I was finally able to reach the other guys and dropped them a pin so they could meet up with me. Everyone got some specimens out of my tailings. Over the next several weeks I brought home several buckets of ore. I kept at it till there was no more signal in the ground with my GPZ. The next step was to crush and pan...geeze that is tedious work when you dont have a proper rock crusher. It took several more weeks to process the ore. thanks the pocket ended up being around 4oz!!! And a big to 1515Art and his contest I got to use my kiln to make my first gold bar. Took me a while to figure out how to use the electric kiln, it does take a few hours to reach proper temps, but works great!! added to the nuggets I found, it was a 5z year! I still have some ore to crush and a nice speci I may just keep. But definitely learned a lot. I'm going to be looking for more pockets. 2020 has been a pretty good year so far as well. Cheers, Chris
  11. Back from our Mexico gold hunt and wanted to share a few photos and my story. Every day I swung my 7000 I found gold nuggets. 60+ pieces weighing over 41 grams. (picture of gold and shovel is to show size comparison as some pics make the gold look bigger) So there is good gold to be found, but you don’t fill your pockets as we all dream. The locals who hunt there all use 7000’s and they are really good. They only miss the faintest of signals or the occasional boomer off the beaten path. Me being a 6’ 2” 230 lb guy is hard to get into the cactus bushes to find virgin ground. In fact I only found 1 small patch of undetected ground that held gold and over 9 grams came from that patch. The local Mexican folks have no issues getting into the thickets and I could see their dig holes in them. I give them credit for their desire and determination. Cactus, the guardian angels of the MX gold is everywhere. With over 600+ species alone in Mexico, I was amazed to see and able to get pricked by (it seemed all 600+ kinds) many. Some of them are masters at growing in the funniest of shapes and statues. I was amazed and giggled many times while trying to find a landmark for return. Best to use your GPS on the 7000 (thanks Luck for showing me) as it is really pretty easy. I learned quickly, most of my clothing including the Merrell Hikers were no match for the variety of pokers. I took 3 different pairs of boots and the all leather, heavy duty uncomfortable ones were the least effected from the pricks. I took a pair of shorts and T-shirts for hotter days but could not wear them. Long sleeve shirt and thick pants were a must. Found out on my 1st day there getting on my knees or anywhere on the ground was dangerous and I ended up buying a thick pair of knee pads. I managed 3 small pickers in one spot at the bottom of this wash. This looks like a cactus nugget right? I think I'll polish it and give it to my wife. Lunk was all eagle eyes and found some rare pottery shards probably from a water transport jug. There are desert tortoise to be found (more rare than gold) We were even rewarded seeing the ancient grinding pads, two of them, called an arrastra and were used to grind ore. Their desert is more beautiful than I expected and also has a much greater degree of mountains to climb that what I imagined. Another interesting part of the trip seeing the antique ways of prospects (100 to 200+ yr old dry wash piles) and their claim corner markers. Lunk always looks so serious. Notice he wore snake guards. I asked him about them and he said the snakes were not bad this time of year. He did not tell me to bring some for the attacking cacti and all their brothers. My coolest find of the trip was actually not gold at all but a copper type coin that looks to be hammered, made (very thin and off center struck) and has some words and symbols. I’ve been updated with identification as an early MX ¼ reale coin from 1830’s. The 2 nuggets and coin were all in one small area together. I also spotted (on the run) a small buck deer. A few days before, I found a big daddy antler. The last day in MX was me on the beach enjoying the Gulf of California (on the MX side). The very next day was me in snow as I was heading back to Idaho. So the total driven miles on my truck for the trip was over 2800. I lived in the back of the truck with the camper shell and the 40 degree nights was no issues for cold. Used my small compact Jetboil burner to heat water for cooking/bathing. The warm upper 70’s and lower 80 degree temps in days allowed for my canned and or packaged meals to be heated by placing them on my dash in the truck. Plenty of gold is still in MX., but the reality of it is, the gravy is gone. You’ll work you butt off finding it and most pieces you find are sub ½ grammers. It reminds me somewhat of Rye Patch, NV in a way as most folks won’t find any and those who do usually only find a few each day. The really big ones for the most part have already been found, but popping an occasional 1/4 oz’er+ is still possible. My own biggest piece of gold for the trip was only 4.9 grams, but I did see one find that was a multi ouncer 3 to 4 oz. Was the trip worth it and did my gold finds pay expenses? I’m all about adventure and as long as my body holds up I’ll go most anywhere with a metal detector at least once. Checking spot gold today shows $1580 oz. so that equates to just over $50 a gram. Take $50 a gram X 41 grams of nuggets = $2000. My cost for the trip with insurance, fees, all food and drinks was $1800. But with me, just like my travels to Australia, it is more about the “just go do it” adventure, than it is the finds or value of. Hopefully everyone enjoys the pics and story.
  12. I wrote this up awhile back for Kellyco's website but never posted it here for some reason. After posting the story of the Flung Ring return, I thought, why not post this story on the forum since it was one of the most personally meaningful returns of my metal detecting life. Although the returned item was not all that valuable in monetary terms, it was priceless to the lady who lost it and became even more priceless to Mary and me as we put it back in her hands. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My wife Mary and I were spending a nice day at Daytona Beach Pier this past summer..she for painting and me for detecting. While I was hunting the beach, Mary struck up a conversation with a lady she met there. The lady was very pleasant and told her that she and her boyfriend were homeless and lived in a makeshift tent right on the beach. She said the local police leave them alone as they routinely clean up the beach of litter and don’t bother anyone. As the conversation continued, she told Mary that she had lost a sterling silver charm the day before and although she and her boyfriend searched for hours, they failed to find it. The small charm was the head of a kitty with red “ruby” stones on its head and black eyes. The little charm was extremely meaningful to her and likely one of the most valuable items she owned. Mary told her of my metal detecting and asked if she would like me to try and find it. The lady was overjoyed at the prospect but said she didn’t hold out much hope of ever getting her little kitty back. Mary brought me over to the area where the lady said she thought it was lost and I began the grid search. About 10 minutes later I got that familiar exciting high tone of silver. In my scoop was a little kitty’s head with red “ruby” stones and black eyes! When I brought it to her, she began to tear up, thanked me profusely and asked if she could hug me. She called over to her boyfriend who was busy making little items out of palm fronds he sold to tourists. The smile on her face and the tear in her eye was absolutely the best reward Mary and I could have ever hoped for that day. ~The Challenge: Big Beach; Little Coil; Tiny Targets~ ~"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"~ Leonardo da Vinci ~Pre-determined settings serve only to get you in the ballpark. It’s up to you to pick the best seat~
  13. This in many ways is a repeat of my 2018 UK Adventure except two weeks this time instead of three. The 2018 thread is loaded with details and very many local photos that I will not repeat here. Go to the link for the "full tour" with location and travel details. I booked the trip last year as is pretty much mandatory for the Colchester trips. There are only a limited number of trips available in the spring and fall and with so many people returning every year you really have to plan ahead. Mindy had a 10 day opening so I jumped on that as a week is just not enough in my opinion. With the benefit of last years trip experience I was able to weed my suitcase down to 40 lbs including two complete Equinox with 15" coils. Had it about perfect except for a couple shirts I never did wear. I was packed well in advance, and had great connections, so was looking forward to a relaxed trip. I had an afternoon flight out of Reno connecting in Chicago with an overnight to London. Perfect for me to sleep away a lot of the 10 hour overseas portion, and arriving in London in the morning. The plane was half boarded when they announced boarding would halt while they evaluated a flight advisory just in from Chicago. Massive thunderstorms, all flights in delayed for three hours - just enough to miss my connection! I have to give American Airlines credit, they automatically booked me into another flight just two hours later than the original connection, still arriving in London plenty early. We land at Chicago and the plane taxis forever. Finally the pilot announces the gate is blocked and he has driven past it twice. I'm looking at my watch thinking "this is going to be close!" Luckily the gates were close together, but I literally got off the one flight and walked onto the other. I was pretty sure my bag was not going to make it. Well, the flight was fine but less seat space than any overseas flight I have had yet. Price was great though so oh well. I can't say I was shocked to find my bag had been left behind in Chicago as did prove to be the case. Still, all we were doing was booking into a hotel next to the airport before heading out next day, so I hoped my bag would follow on the next flight. No such luck, so next day on the first hunt in the afternoon I was in my travel clothes and on a field with a borrowed Equinox. Thanks Tim! Luckily in a group of seven people somebody always has spares; just as I always travel with a spare, so do others. My very first target that I dug was a full British Crown, I believe a 1937 George VI. Not that old but a large coin and 50% silver. I made some other finds but was hampered a bit wandering around in corn stalk stubble in street shoes. Can't complain though... I was happy to be in England and out detecting! 12th-14th century St Mary the Virgin's Church, Little Bromley Again, American Airlines came through in the end. They actually delivered my bag that afternoon the 99 miles to Colchester (their limit is 100 miles) at no charge. So it really was just a minor snafu of no consequence, mainly due to good weather and a spare machine being available. We had a really great group, four guys and three gals including Mindy. Mindy cooks in each evening except for one pub night out. There was also an optional museum tour for one day later in the trip. I wanted to wait and see how my finds were doing before deciding about that. Weather for the first part of the trip was the best I'd ever seen in England, about 70F each day. It made for really pleasant field hunting. I was as always hoping for a gold coin, with anything else accidental by catch. I was making nice coin and relic finds, including a couple hammered silver coins. A few days into the trip, good buddy Tim, he of the gold ingot from last year, was nearby when he scored his second Celtic 1/4 stater ever, a real beauty. Not minutes later Mindy found here first ever Saxon sceat, a small rare coin that was one of her last "bucket list" items. Lots of smiles and high emotion in the group that day! This may not seem real but the fact is I come very close to liking somebody else making a great find as making one myself. I was right there, got to see the finds right out of the ground, and shared in that "great find high". It's one of the best things about hunting with a group in my opinion. I may never find a Celtic gold coin, but I have been right there when it happened several times now, and that really is about as good for me. Tim and Mindy's finds - Celtic quarter stater and Saxon silver sceat A few days later we were hunting a field right across the road from a small town. I was getting some nice buttons and 1800's coins but nothing spectacular. Late in the day I got another typical button signal of about 17 on the Equinox. I proceeded to dig but the hole was getting deeper and wider with no button found. One of the things I like about the 15” coil is I can pinpoint fairly well with the tip or heel of the coil, and nosing around in the hole revealed the target was deeper and larger. At over a foot the target was squealing, and I was sure it was a large iron target or possibly even an aluminum can. There have been times and places where I have kicked the dirt back in the hole and moved on from such targets, but not in England where you never know what might turn up. I was however getting near the plow line now, the point below which the ground turns rock hard and where due to the rules we have to stop digging. I worked round the center of the target and gave a last scoop, and there sitting in the bottom of the hole was a large green item that tumbled out of the shovel full of dirt. I’m no expert at this kind of stuff, but it looked like a Bronze Age ax head to me. This was not something that I had ever expected to find and so my brain was not really processing it. I wandered over to my buddy Tim who was nearby and asked “is this what I think it is?” I swear he almost fell over, realizing the import of the find more than I had, and assured me I had found an excellent condition Bronze Age ax. Better yet, it appeared to be intact, as many of these that are found have been broken. The final verdict was that my find is a Bronze Age palstave, a predecessor to the modern ax. A palstave is a development of the flat ax, where the shaped sides are cast rather than hammered. My particular find has been identified as a Bronze Age (circa 1500-1400 BC) cast copper alloy primary shield pattern palstave, dating to the Acton Park Phase. In other words about 3500 years old, and about as old as anything that can possibly be found with a metal detector! I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would ever find anything so ancient while metal detecting, and the fact this ax is intact and in good condition makes it the find of a lifetime, and that is no exaggeration. I have always been looking for that gold coin, but after all the gold I have found in my life and now with this I am officially saying "good enough". Anything I ever find from here on out in my detecting career is just gravy, my detecting bucket list is complete. Bronze Age (c.1500-1400 BC) cast copper alloy primary shield pattern palstave, dating to the Acton Park Phase (photo of Steve by Tim Blank with permission) This trip was extra good because everyone in the group was making some really great finds, many in excess of what they were hoping for. After many years detecting these huge fields are far from hunted out, with many of the best finds coming from fields that have been hunted well over a decade. Still new ground does come online regularly, and those fields add a little extra fun in the form of the unknown, especially as regards possible horde finds. There was one set of new fields that another group had found a lot of Roman stuff, including a really nice Roman silver coin and some good condition bronze coins. The trip was over half over and our weather had turned rainy. Not too bad really, just passing storms, with two hours of solid rain the worst I saw. Still, this limits some of the hunting as some fields with a lot of clay content get really nasty. After my ax find I had four days of mostly newer 1700s and 1800s coins and various widgets, but sort of a four day dry spell. So Tim and I passed on the museum tour and braved the rains instead since time was now running short. That plan paid off for me in a couple more hammered silver coins, bring my total for the trip to four. The hammered silver are kind of the standard prized find on these trips, rare but not so rare that most everyone has a good shot at some. Most date from 1200 to the 1600's after which milled silver coins replaced them. I found them off in one corner of the field and as the day wore on decided to head back to the area where all the Roman stuff had been found. There were many footprints but lots of gaps and so I hunted in the gaps. The day was almost over when I got a strong signal and dug up an odd looking lump. At first I had no idea what it was, but suddenly as I cleaned it a head and shoulders resolved into view. I had what appears to be a small bronze Roman bust! There is no real way to date the find, but it definitely looks like a Roman noble of some sort, and was found in the middle of a lot of other Roman finds so it is 90% certain to be around a couple thousand years old, maybe 100 AD going by the coin finds. I am in some ways more pleased by this find than the ax head for some reason. It’s almost like I am talking to that old Roman. I wonder who lost it and what it was. Decorative? A child’s toy? There was a Roman barracks in the area so military related somehow? It is just a great find and I am not aware of anything like it being found by the club before. Small bronze Roman bust found by Steve As noted I was running the Minelab Equinox with 15" coil the whole trip. In retrospect I wish I had brought steveg's new rod with counterbalance as my upper back would have thanked me for it the first three days, but it was a bit too long for my suitcase. Since everyone always wants to know, I basically used the same settings this year as last year with one minor tweak. Last year I ran Recovery Speed 5 and this year lowered that to 4. I normally run with nothing rejected, full tones, but have the Horseshoe button set up to reject 6 and under. This eliminates small stuff, maybe even small silver cut coins, but anything round will still ring up. Target ID 1-6 gets all manner of really tiny stuff almost always small lead or brass fragments. Stuff that’s also slow to recover. So as I say I normally hunt wide open and dig it all, but if time is limited or I am just tired of tiny stuff I hit the Horseshoe Button to go to “Cherry Pick Mode”. Park 1 Frequency Multi Noise Cancel 0 (adjust as needed) Ground Balance Manual, 0 Volume Adjust 20 (adjust as needed) Tone Volume 12, 25, 25, 25, 25 (Steve 4, 25, 25, 25, 25) Threshold Level 0 Threshold Pitch 4 Target Tone 5 (Steve 50) Tone Pitch 1, 6, 12, 18, 25 Reject –9 to 1 and Accept 2 to 40 (Steve Reject -9 to 6 and Accept 7 to 40) Tone Break 0, 10, 20, 30 Recovery Speed 5 (Steve 4) Iron Bias 6 Sensitivity 20 (Steve 22 to 25) Backlight Off Just a really great time with great people and some fabulous finds. I will post a complete set of pictures at some later date when I get the export listing, but for now here are a couple of my favorite hammered silvers from the trip to wrap up this report. Submitted to Minelab for the Find of the Month contest so we will see if I get lucky there also.
  14. It was time for another Rye Patch trip. It was a group outing this time and I had invited Chet. He was already there when I showed up out in the field about 3 on Wednesday afternoon. It was an 8.5 hour drive and I had added a couple of hours onto it getting checked in to my cabin but I was there! Chet had not found anything so he said I'll follow you. We got set up and he said he would catch up on some things and it was near the end of the day so I headed up. Before I got up too far my first target gave me that nice, warm sound. Even with the little sleep I had I thought it was a good target. I scraped and it didn't move and down a bit farther it didn't come out of the hole and then down about 7" I had it in the scoop. I sometimes overestimate so I put on my 7000 navigation that it was 1 gram but later not to be. It is just .72g. It is the nugget on the top left on the scale. I looked around the area and saw old dig holes so I knew I had to stay. I circled and gridded in the late afternoon sun and I got another signal. This one was a little deeper at 8". The size slightly larger at .75g. That was it for awhile until another repeatable signal. I don't remember the exact depth but I think 5" and I didn't really know if it was gold. It is and it is .11g! I didn't have my phone with me but that was it. I was beat and so was Chet so we took the 35 minute ride back to camp. Overnight it was pretty cold at 17-19 so I left the lid on my coolers open in my car and outside. When I got up the drinks had frozen in both of them but we were off for the same location. This time Chet hit the area where I found those three nuggets. I walked up the hill as I had intended. We didn't move the cars all day. Chet was working the little bowl and I was up on the sides of the big gully and anything else that looked promising. I heard a promising signal in a little dry, side run and it had shale type rock around but the signal would go away when I scraped and scratched. I was into some harder rock and it stayed and stayed and then I blasted it with my pick and it was out. It is the nugget in the middle. A solid 1.5 g nugget! I didn't have my phone with me as it was affecting my detector. Down in the distance I could see Chet working his 17" X Coil very slowly over and over the area from the day before. He had been digging some deep holes. When I made it down to him he said he had found one down about 10" that I didn't get. He also found another smaller one. In addition he had dug some really deep holes where some type of metal pieces had sounded off for him. It was a good day. I had a nice nugget and he had a couple. Friday we started at a different location but soon I wanted to get back to 'the area' but a bit higher. We both walked a long ways checking piles, pushes and holes. I was heading back up the hill and hear that nice sound again. This was only 4 inches or so and out came a nice flatter nugget (.84g). When I looked around I saw someone's recent filled in dig hole but they didn't get this nugget. The trash was hiding it! Things die out in the desert but not like they do in Australia! Australia is one big kangaroo graveyard! Here is the total for this trip. (I didn't find anything with a half day Saturday.) If I add in the two nuggets from my last trip then I have about 1/4 oz of Rye Patch gold. Thanks Chet for the companionship and the stories. You have some really great ones about gold, jobs, life and I wish others could hear them. Mitchel
  15. Dennis and I took a quick trip down to Baja MX for some detecting. No problems crossing the border at Algodones and no hassles at the military checkpoints. Day 1 is really just a travel day. A lot of Baja Highway 5 is still under construction from San Felipe south. The road got washed out from a storm 2 years ago and the repairs are slow going. Day 2 we got a good start taking my Rokon and Dennis's Yamaha Fat Tire bike about 3 miles up some tricky technical ground of gravel and calcrete bedrock. From there it's another 1.5 mile hike to some of the old placer workings. These placers have been worked off and on for over 100 years so all the easy stuff has been drywashed and detected. I concentrated on 100 yards of old black schist bedrock. The nuggets originally worked down into small cracks and got filled up and over by years of weathering. All of these nuggets had to be chipped out of the bedrock no more than 3 inches deep. The bedrock is tricky because it has varying levels of mineralization and hot zones that hide the target signals. I found that by running max Sensitivity and low threshold with the Patch Locate feature I could pick out faint whispers from the background of hot ground. I picked up probably 10 or 12 nuggets the first day. Day 3 was a lost day. I got halfway up the wash when my back tire went flat. Normally, we carry everything to fix flats, but this one had "chingered" the valve stem. I had to disconnect the rear chain drive and limp it back to camp on the front drive. I did a fair amount of walking and pushing through the steep rocky areas. Back at camp I pulled the wheel and drove 70 miles back to San Felipe for repairs. 20 minutes work and $10.00 got it going again. My day was lost so I drank beer and had an early dinner. Day 4 I intended to explore a zone about 5 miles from the end of the trail for the Rokon. I had gotten close last year and although I didn't find any gold, there was a fair amount of old iron trash. I thought that I just hadn't walked quite far enough to find some virgin ground. My ideas were dampened a bit on the way up. I discovered that my newly repaired rear tire couldn't handle the low tire pressure and kept breaking the bead. We used the Mexican method of setting the bead by pouring some gas inside the tire and hitting it with a match. Whooomph, bead set, but I still had to run 20lbs of air pressure to keep the bead from breaking down again. I normally run about 4lbs of air in the Rokon tires since there are no shock absorbers as we know them. That much tire pressure was making the ride hard as a rock and I hit a rough patch that bounced me high and hard enough that I came unhorsed, landing my ribs on the handlebar. Ouch is an understatement. I've got a bruise the size of a softball over 3 of my left ribs. I gutted it out and still explored the new zone for no joy. I found 4 small ones on my way back in the bedrock I had worked the day before. Swinging that pick to break open the bedrock was a new experience with those banged up ribs. Day 5 was the travel day home. You just never know how long the wait line at the border crossing will be. Sometimes as much as 2 hrs, this time about 45 minutes. It's always a good trip when you can walk away from it. Minor injuries and break downs are all part of the journey. I'll be ready to do it all again in a week or 2, when these ribs quit hurting.
  16. I'm on another trip to Northern Nevada. This time I had a change in plans and came a day early for a meeting and to hear Chris Ralph speak at the Comstock Gold Prospectors Club. I had a chance to detect a local park. I found a few coins and a half ounce, 10K gold ring that fits me. Those are the facts. How I got here is the rest of the story as Paul Harvey use to say. The rest of the story begins yesterday about 2:30 AM I left Santa Monica for northern California and some claims I've been on several times. I really haven't found a lot of gold there but I know others tha have so I was on my way. This was not one of my focused trips as it turns out. I knew I was going to a meeting in Reno on Tuesday night but I had already delayed my departure by a day. My hotel room was booked and I was going to stay a night in the 4Runner. When I was going through Sacramento my GPS was going haywire and I couldn't tell the route that saved the most time so I went up to Auburn and got on the 49. Anyone will tell you that is a long and winding route to Sierra City. Many will not go that way if pulling a trailer or have a high camper. My 4Runner has a peculiar problem with the front stability sensors. I've not been able to determine what makes one or the other of the wheels 'grab' in the turns sometimes but it does. This trip was very bad for that problem. It made me constantly aware on the turns and made driving difficult. That I can take. I've done it before but this time they were working on the road. I got to a point where there was a stoppage for about half an hour. When I finally got to the claim I wanted to detect it was after noon. I was beat but I wanted to follow the plan. I detected for a couple of hours in one spot and then a couple of hours in another spot and my mind said I'm done. Only trash to find. While I was detecting in the perfect weather I noticed a Cal Fire truck had gone past me a couple of times. On my way out of the forest I noticed a logging crew had left with plenty of daylight left. Off in the distance I could see something like a cloud over the mountains. After looking at it a bit I determined it was probably a fire and over 20 miles downwind from me but it got me thinking. Did I really want to spend the night in the forest? No. I drove to Graeagle and added a night to my hotel stay and headed off the 60 miles to Reno/Sparks. On the way there was another 25 minute delay for road work on Hwy 70. I had never been this was to Reno before but it could be a good way if you are pulling a trailer. I think Fred goes this way off of the 395. The day is getting long and tiring after 500 plus miles and I finally make it to the Motel 6. I choose this so I can walk my stuff into the room and charge it and other things. They assured me I was on the ground floor and then they said it is down the walkway! What? I want to park in front of my door. Well, I couldn't. I almost went back to the desk to cancel but I found a parking place in one of those 'questionable Motel 6's' but I was here. The room was ok but the heater doesn't have a working fan. I went to find a Safeway and it is 9 miles away. I'm fairly irritated ... I get in the room, eat, watch until I fall asleep. I sleep and sleep until 9AM. I sleep a bit more and hang around the room. Where to go and what to do? Nothing grabbed me. It was just time to recharge my batteries. So now I determine I'll visit a park. Which one? I had looked at some parks last night and had ideas so I put one in the phone and headed out about 1PM feeling a bit like I had wasted a day. The park was close but the streets are confusing. I passed by a sign ... Fisherman's Park ... that wasn't where I was going. I had given thought to detecting the river and remembered some stories of a big flood in Reno many years ago that threw everything into the Truckee River. I tried to turn around but everything is near the freeways and no turns. I could have just gone on to my park on my phone but I was 'pulled back' to the river park. After several turnarounds I made it back. As soon as I got there I could see all the tents. This park and part of the river is loaded with what we would call the 'homeless' but in fact this is their home. There were many fires burning and shopping carts are everywhere. Their camps follow the river bottom. I guess this time of year the chance for a flood is small. Above some of these tents was a bike path and on one side of the bike path was a grassy area and then a slope with some trees and a fence. I went back to my car and got the detector and headed for that slope. It had little grass and I thought I'd get a feel for the ground. If I had to go on to the next park I would. My first target was the little lock. It was a scratchy sound but in the 18-20 range. (I just realized as I'm writing this I used Beach 1 with the 11 inch coil for the full hour!) I moved up to the tree line and saw a sunbaker quarter. Around it was a bit of a spill and I kept working this area for several minutes using the pointer for very shallow coins. Nothing was coming up wheat or silver. It was all too new. After a bit of time I moved down closer to the river but was unwilling to work the area because a tent guy and his little black dog were near. I'd been there about an hour and it was time to go. On my way out I thought I would hit the grassy area. I got a couple of tops and caps that were just under the grass but not deep. Then I got another penny sound (19-20) but it didn't look too deep. I had been skipping some of these like I do at the beach in favor of finding and digging higher numbers but this one was a digger. I used the pointer to find it and the knife to lift it a bit and then I saw it was round like a penny but had a hole. No way ... a RING! It had some weight but I had my gloves on and couldn't tell. I rubbed the front and it took some of the dark dirt off of it and looked golden. I couldn't believe it. I looked at the sides and it was tarnished. No way could it be gold and then I saw some bluegreen color. It must be copper I said to myself. That is why it has the penny sound. I didn't have my glasses with me they were a few hundred yards away in the car. I headed back to get them and I said let me take the pictures. I did that and then went back to the car. When I got there I did some rubbing and couldn't see any marks in the usual places. The tarnish was also not coming off so I said ... no gold. But then I spotted a mark. It says 10K! What a reward for a long trip. It reminds me of a 10K Masonic ring I found in Tonopah but that is another story ...
  17. Let me start of by saying I heard about and saw some pictures of hugh silver and gold found in Arizona. If I find a link or the discoverer wants to post up his pictures I'll let you know. This find is not about that. This find is about a couple of good weather days in Arizona near Wickenburg if you follow on the map. I went there because of Bill Southern's outing that was very well attended. He'll have some pictures on his forum which I'll try to link here. https://nuggetshooter.ipbhost.com/topic/34683-outing-pictures/ Minelab America was there giving away something to everyone who attended and they also had a raffle which benefited AMRA to the tune of $2700! This was near the second day and where the nuggets were found. This first picture is a panorama of the area where I went the first morning. It is near a GPAA claim was a nice specimen was found last month. As you can see the desert is not really dead. It has many living plants and animals. The fallen cactus is a saguaro. You normally only see it standing with its green skin but inside it is an engineering masterpiece. It is made of many rods that give it strength. The next set of pictures is of the cactus that makes cowboys strong and forget about pain. These are the jumping cactus that get you over and over again. I finally dug a hole but it was hot ground. If you enlarge these pictures you will see in the picture some wild burros. There were about 10 with a couple of black ones. The next day we stopped by an old mine on the way to a different claim. Chet got us near and then we went off a less travelled road and we had to turn around. This is him coming out. I didn't take my phone detecting this time because it lost power trying to find a signal. This was the claim where Chet found a nice 2 g nugget and I found the .25 g nugget. These were my pictures on the way out at the end of the day and before my 6 hour drive back to Santa Monica. I took a couple of bad picture of the nugget this morning with the phone. It makes me want to get a better one ... nugget and phone that is!
  18. Time flew by up at the cabin and on my little claim this season. I continued to clear, detect, and drywash the decomposed granite bench areas. Here’s a nice clean out from one drywash session: I also reworked the sides of some oldtimer Diggings, filling in their ditch as I go....lots of work here for little return lol! Found some nice nuggies when I uncovered some crevices in a different bedrock...biggest piece was almost .6gram, decent size for up here: A highlight of the summer was having my nephew’s boys visit. They learned drywashing, running the concentrates through the recirculating sluice, then how to pan. Each ended up with a couple grams(hmmm....maybe a little “salt” in those concentrates lol): AND the season ended on a positive note! Found a nice handful in this small scraping from a new spot....definitely will setup the drywasher here next year! Ended up with just shy of 12 grams total up here for the season....not much gold, but tons of fun and memories! 🙂
  19. Been going back and forth to the new place in Las Vegas setting up all the little things that need to be done to move in and flying back and forth on frontier’s Special rates sometimes for as little as $15 one way the only catch is you can only take a little personal bag with you on the airplane. Got tired of renting a car and not having any prospecting gear so I loaded up the Jeep and drove it down for a longer stay and a planned first hunt. Friday had everything ready and my Jeep fully loaded for an early start in the morning, that evening I headed out the front door no shoes or shirt to check the mail box and in the dark missed the edge of the front step rolled my foot and did a summersault down the front steps praying I was going to be able to walk when this was over as I watched the world spin around me out of control. When I came to a stop laying there foot throbbing I summoned up the courage to raise up and put weight on the injured limb, painful but I could hobble, I downed a few Alive and met friends for dinner at an all you can eat seafood buffet my foot still hurting but slowly improving. Next morning after warming up and more Pills I’m limping but feeling like things are worth a try and head out the door for the little over 2 hour drive to gold basin, Arizona from my house. By the time I got there after a few stops and marking my claim borders on the gps my hunt started around 7:30AM navigating the wash with my hurt foot a challenge and my detector kept signaling on my metal free Keene boots? Turns out the pair I’d grabbed and threw in the Jeep I’d used pulling up carpet puttin in a new wood floor and both shoes had a dozen or more staples stuck in the bottom, without pliers I got all but one tiny piece out of the bottom of my shoes the little staple end stuck in the bottom of the shoe on my hurt foot interfering every time I forgot it was there. Learning a new place I learned where not to hunt but I felt good about my detector small targets were slamming and I’m sure I’d have heard the gold if I’d been over any by around 2 in the afternoon my left knee was hurting as much as my right foot from taking up the slack walking uneven terrain and standing up from digging that I decided to call it a day and I’d accomplished my goal of some exercise and finding the place to hunt. As I was directing the 7000 around the area I kept 3 rocks that hit hard on the gpz, the two smaller very magnetic the larger magnetic but less than the little ones. The smallest roughly 130g on a little analog food scale the larger around 230g and the large stone (?) somewhere between 5 and 10#’s I’d guess for both pieces found several feet apart from each other. looking at other examples on the web they seem to hit the correct marks, any thoughts? Just earth rock or did I get lucky?
  20. Well we finally got thru obligatory rehab work, and we dryblowing work. Drove the backhoe to the next area and decided to scrape a little while we were there... Glory be!!! 10grams right off. Most were in the dirt above the cap. Did a repeat the second day with 16grams? Got most of the gear ready to go... piddling today...enjoyed Sunday with a couple of mates. Getting my camper all ready to go bush... I repaired some tears and old loose seams yesterday with a Speedy Stitcher... handy tool to have if you ever have to sew canvas....works like a charm Built a new battery/propane housing frame on the tongue so I can boondock with 2 propane and 2 deep cycle batteries on hand. Also got a Yagi antenna from Trent that should give me Internet... that will be crazy out where I’m going... I already took the water trailer with 250 gallons down day before yesterday. Hopefully this area will keep producing well for us. Picture of me below shows how I love dryblowing.
  21. After 20 years of hunting in southern NM, it's time for a new adventure in Central Texas. I met up with a couple of fellow hunters, Jimmy from NM and Phil from Az for one last relic hunt. It was a pleasure to meet Phil(Bergie), he is one on the nicest guys you'd want to meet and hunt with. Jimmy and I have been hunting together for the last 5 years and I couldn't have asked for a better friend and hunting partner. Turned out to be a great day to hunt, the weather was perfect and the targets were plenty. Everyone scored some nice buttons and relics, I couldn't have asked for a better way to close out my hunting days here in the southwest. I did manage to find a couple of my favorites buttons, a Dragoon and a Kepi along with the usual pre-civil war relics, bullets, percussion caps, epaulette piece and some small buck and ball lead. Jimmy unfortunately had to head out a bit early to tend to some family stuff. I'm sure he and Phil will post their finds later. The last picture is what I found after Jimmy headed home, the copper coin is from the mid 1800's, it's a Mexican copper 1/4 reale, we have found 8-9 at this location. My settings Park - 1 Sens - 24 F2 - 0 Recovery - 3 2- tones No disc Tone break set from -9 to +8 Thanks for looking!!
  22. This gold prospecting and metal detecting story takes us all the way back to the beginning - my beginning that is. I was fortunate enough to be born in the Territory of Alaska in 1957. Alaska was still very much on the frontier back in those days. My father was a farm boy from the midwest who headed for Alaska in the early 50's with not much more than an old pickup truck. He worked as a longshoreman offloading ships in Seward, Alaska for a time. He decided to get some education, and earned his way through college in Fairbanks, Alaska, by driving steampipe for the fleet of gold dredges that were still working there. He spent some time in Seldovia, Alaska, working the "slime line" in a fish cannery. He met my mom in Seldovia, the two got married, and finally settled in Anchorage, Alaska. I came along in 1957. My father had taken a job as a surveyor but money was tight in the early years. I was raised on wild game and garden grown vegetables, and as soon as I was old enough to handle it, I was walking a trapline every winter with my father. Dad was a hard worker, and Alaska was having one of its many booms at the time - the construction of the oil and gas fields in Lower Cook Inlet. This was the Swanson River oilfield, discovered the year I was born. The state was prospering, and my father along with it as a surveyor on the new Swanson Field. He got the bug for flying early on, and by the time I became a teenager he finally got his dream plane at the time - a Piper Super Cub, the classic Alaska Bush airplane. Super Cubs equipped with oversize "tundra tires" can land just about anywhere you can find about 300 - 400 feet of open ground. A great little airplane and the one I ended up flying to get my own pilot's license. Super Cub N1769P parked on knoll in Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska It was in this same timeframe that dad got me hooked on gold prospecting. In 1972 I saw an ad in a magazine "Find Lost Treasure" and had acquired my first metal detector, a White's Coinmaster 4. This must have got discussions going about gold, and my father did have some knowledge on the subject having worked around the gold mines in Fairbanks. He took me to a little creek south of Anchorage, Bertha Creek, and I found my very first flakes of gold! By the ripe old age of 14 gold fever was in the air, I had my first metal detector, and already wanted a gold dredge. My first dredge, a 3" Keene with no floatation, was on the way to me in 1973. Keep in mind that the price of gold had only recently been deregulated from the old fixed price of $35 per ounce. In 1972 it was around $60 per ounce, and in 1973 made it to just over $100 per ounce. The money was not my motivation at all. I already just loved finding gold, and the connection to the prospectors of old and the historical quest for gold were more compelling than any dream of striking it rich. I just wanted to find gold! My first metal detector and first gold dredge (my 3502 had the older aluminum header box & a power jet) A young man with a new detector, new gold dredge, gold fever, and a father willing to fly him anywhere in Alaska on adventure. How great is that? Now there was only one problem - where to go? There was no internet then, so it boiled down to libraries and research. In short order I discovered the United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) bulletin series and the number one Alaska title of the series, Placer Deposits of Alaska, U.S.G.S. Bulletin 1374 by Edward H. Cobb. This one book and the references contained in it became my prospecting guide to Alaska. My desired target? Remote locations with large gold nuggets! I read the book and certain places just jumped out at me. One was the Iditarod area and places like Ganes Creek and Moore Creek - tales told elsewhere. This paragraph of page 114 caught my eye: "Placer mining in the Chisana district, first of creek gravels and later of bench and old channel deposits of Bonanza and Little Eldorado Creeks, has always been on a small scale with simple equipment. The remoteness of the area, shortages of water on some streams, and the small extent of the deposits all prevented the development of large operations. There has been little activity since World War II; the last reported mining was a two-man nonfloat operation in 1965." Wow, that alone sounds pretty good. Nothing really about the gold however. The secret to the Placer Deposits series is not so much the books themselves, though they are great for getting ideas, like I did. The key is to use the references listed and in this case the main one is The Chisana-White River District, Alaska, U.S.G.S. Bulletin 630 (1916) by Stephen Reid Capps. It turns out I had stumbled over the location of the last actual gold rush in Alaska in 1913. It was a small rush and did not last long, but it did mark the end of an era. The world was on the brink of war and the age of gold rushes was soon to be history. The history of the area is covered in the report starting on page 89. It is fascinating reading, but it was this note on page 105 that really sealed the deal: "The gold is bright, coarse, and smoothly worn. The largest nugget found has a value of over $130, and pieces weighing a quarter of an ounce or over make up about 5 per cent of the total gold recovered. The gold is said to assay $16.67 an ounce." Gold nuggets a quarter ounce or larger make up five percent of the gold? And that $130 nugget at $16.67 an ounce? Somewhere over seven ounces. That's all I needed to know. Very remote, worked by simple means, and large gold - I wanted to go to Chisana in general and Bonanza Creek in particular. Even the creek names scream gold - Bonanza Creek, Big Eldorado Creek, Little Eldorado Creek, Coarse Money Creek, and Gold Run. Now all we had to do was get there. But when I said remote, I meant remote. Chisana is practically in Canada 250 air miles from Anchorage. To be continued..... Chisana, Alaska location map
  23. I began this Rye Patch trip on Thursday morning about 2 AM. It was time to go meet Dig It and see how he was doing there. This time it was a normal trip without the burning satellite re-entry I saw on one trip before. I was treated with a full moon on my way up 395, 6, 95 and I80. We met up without a problem and I headed out to places where I wanted to look and some places where I had found nuggets in the past. I'd say at least half of my trips to Rye Patch get me on a nugget and the other half don't. This is my first trip up here since Australia so I'm wondering what I gained from all that swinging. Anyway, it was good to meet up with Ken, have a chat about his escapades and try to help him understand what little I know about Rye Patch. We parted and I expected to see him again the next day. I have a bit of an open schedule and he warned me that it was going to be warmer than we planned. I went on to near the burn barrel and spent one of those glorious nights of sleep I get after doing an all nighter. I had no sleep the previous night and I can stretch out in the 4Runner and enjoy a night of no city or neighbor noise! Planes are constantly landing at LAX and if they are from Asia they fly over Santa Monica. No planes at Rye Patch. haha I went to bed at dark, watching the sunset out the front and watching the moon rise in the back! I captured the sunrise the next morning. Rye Patch is full. I've been here many times when all of that area was dry. It was a nice, clear, cool morning. Time to get going. I headed in a direction to take advantage of the morning. Before I got to my spot I had my first target of the day. I dug around and in the early light with my sunglasses on and dirt on the target I thought it was lead. There's lots of trash in the area as I found out later. I looked and looked and finally gave it a mouth wash and I saw the color! Yeeee haaaa ... a nice nugget. I've cleaned it up by soaking it in vinegar. I don't know the weight yet. I'll edit this post when I find out. I think it is my best Rye Patch nugget. Lucky Friday the 13th full moon nugget. I gridded that area for half the day and only found trash. I don't think I would have that nugget now if it had been in the reverse order. I found the clue early and gridded. If I would have found trash, trash, trash without a clue I probably would have moved on. I discovered a couple of things while looking for more in that area but they will be put into another post. It is my only nugget of the 3 days so far but I'm seeing some new to me patches. More travel tomorrow while the temperature is up. Mitchel
  24. Went to San Francisco and met my friend Joe. Next day we have been invited by Wes Dering to detect on one of his claims in the Iowa Hill area. On the way we stopped at Citrus Hills visiting Larry at Big Valley Metal detectors who let me try different headphones with my SDC2300. I settled for the Sunray Pro Gold which felt most comfortable and best sounding to me. Thank’s Larry it was a real pleasure to meet you! From there we went to meet Wes. He sold a very nice light and rugged pick to me before which he mailed to my friend’s house. Meeting him he showed us around the claim and off we went with lots of big dreams. I have to say that I come from Germany and have never found a square nail before. So I was wishing to find one square nail and lots of Gold. It seems like the Good Lord listened to just one part….I found a bunch of square nails but no Gold. I was lucky to assist Wes unearthing 3 nice nuggets from the same hole. He was using the GPZ7000 I was running my SDC2300. Putting 1 nugget (approx 2 grams) back in the hole and running the machines over there wasn’t any signal to be heard from the SDC but the 7000 sounded off real nice. Big difference between those 2 machines. Big difference in price also! Wes suggested to run the SDC in sensitivity 4 instead of 2 as the signals are more distinct. The machine kept stable so I ran it in 4. We had a great day and lots of fun. I was using my Equinox 800 as well. Gold 1 setting / Iron to 0 / swing speed 6-7 / sensitivity around 18-20 / nothing out -9-8-7 / ground tracking / small coil it was stable, ground balanced well but did not find gold either. Bits and pieces of lead and wire, 22 casings and square nails. With both machines I found some insane small stuff. Next day we went to a claim on the N Yuba and camped out for some days. Panning some nice flakes, snorkeling looking for crevices, using the vacuum cleaner on the bedrock and metal detector. My total take from panning is 1.2 grams. I finally found a good signal in bedrock. That had to be Gold – finally!!!!! Breaking the bedrock a small piece of very thin wire came to daylight…..grrrrrrr!!!!!! However it got in there???? Going to some other places finding many items including an old tobacco can (I was hoping for some gold coins or nuggets inside but there weren’t any) but no Gold. Second last day I finally got lucky. My SDC2300 rang up on two little pieces. They looked just like rock but weren’t magnetic. Checking them with my Equinox 800 in Gold 1 the smaller piece showed a clean +1 the bigger piece a +2. I did not believe it was Gold but took them home. Being at home now I checked them under the microscope and they are specimen containing Gold. Finally!!! yeah yeah yeah!!!! It is really sick how small of a gold these machines picked up. On my last day we went to Roaring Camp (if you haven’t been there you are missing something) where I panned a little bit of Gold from the day pile (just 10 pans or so) and found a .38 bullet which sounded off real nice with my SDC2300 – no nuggets (they are there for sure). I would like to thank my friend Joe who made all this possible, Larry from Big Valley Metal Detectors, Wes Dering for a very nice pick, a great day on his claim and some nice gold he gave to me as a present to take home, Gregg and Mike, Kim from Roaring Camp, Steve Herschbach for his advice how to run the Equinox on hot ground and some nice folks who’s names I forgot who made it possible to prospect on the N Yuba and Kanaka creek. One of the best pieces of Equipment I invested in is my 2 liter water bladder for my backpack (Camel bag) but for the next rip I will get me a 3 liter. 2 liters is just not enough fluid for a whole day in +100 F. Folks, don’t get dehydrated this is a very serious issue.
  25. New story thread.... Leaving for OZ around May 4th this year-- Can't reveal the details because it is super secret this year.... But hope to be upload some better video this year--- I have been searching for the simplest way to use a camera while in the field... I haven't found any yet that are that simple, most ways i have tried become so time consuming that they interfere with my fun and relaxation!!! ANd my TAsk mAster dont like it when i am ... "fkn around!" If he sees too many videos or pictures he will scold me... Maybe a selfie, "follow me" cheapie drone----- I could hang a piece of bait meat on it for the flies while it is hovering near me,,,LOLOL This is Jan 20th and I will be traveling to LA on Feb 3rd ..for my last 3 months of "work" Carry on !
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