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  1. Recovering from a record breaking Winter of Snow, now we are suffering from near daily Rains. My Theory is there is so much moisture in the Sierra’s coupled with warm Spring days turns it into afternoon Thunder Storms. Anyway a person addicted to our hobby has to get out and search for their fix. This story is about my 3rd trip and just like the first two trips knowing that the ground was subpar for detecting…but, it’s the hunt and hunt we must! Met my Pard Lucky Larry out of Elko, NV we quickly hoped into my RZR and hit the trail. Notice I didn’t say Dusty Trail. We hit several old haunts with limited results at each. We ended up hunting some new ground, I dropped Larry off on one side of the hill and I drove over it to hunt the other side. Hour later, I went back to my RZR to pick up Larry and my trusty machine would not start! During the over a mile hike back to my truck, I figured it was my Fuel Pump…of course no Shade Trees out in the high Desert to confirm my diagnosis. Lucky I have a winch on my RZR as we would have never got her loaded up, didn’t bother trying to crank it before loading as I knew I’d need every bit of my battery to load it. It rained on and off as we drove back to camp and continued thru the night. Next morning we drove to a nearby patch and pulled a few more dinks before I loaded up and left with rain drops just starting to fall. Back home with my newly Amazon delivered fuel pump, I hoped in the bed of my truck where I left my RZR. Let’s see if the battery recharged itself, the sucker cranks up! I unload it and take it for a ride in the back 40. Cranked every time I turned it off too! Still no shade trees, but in my garage I thought maybe it was Vapor Locked? I read up on it and it’s not uncommon…so if you see my little Red RZR way out in no-man’s land laying in a puddle of oil, know I shed a tear! It’s Memorial Day and according to Weather report 3 more days of afternoon thunder storms. Rye Patch area will need a few dry days to get the ground settled down to hear them dinks, but there is always some shallow ducks to get your coil over until better conditions arrive! Here’s our loot for the day and a half trip…yes, my poke is on the left. Both Larry and I used the 10x5 Coiltek on our 6000’s…great coil. Until the next hunt! LuckyLundy
  2. 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
  3. Since there are many members here from different countries and points of the compass, I thought it may be interesting to start a pictorial thread. Show us favourite pics of the countryside you pass through or hunt in for gold and relics. I will kick it off with these from country South Australia. The Flinders Ranges.
  4. Over the last couple months I've met quite few folks new to nuggetshooting. Many are frustrated at not finding gold, but are finding a lot of trash targets, including lead shot, and I find myself confessing that it took me more than 2 years on the calendar and 30+ days of detecting to find number 1. Part of my pep talk is to explain that this is a common experience, so stick with it. So the point of the question is to encourage newer detectorists stick with it and learn whatever they can from the real pros on this forum.
  5. Another year and another trip to Baja. Our premise this year was simple. We'd re-visit an area that had been worked pretty hard over the past 20 years, but possibly had some big rains last summer and moved some gravel around, plus I thought the 17" CC XCoil might hit some deeper nuggets in one of the main washes. A trip to Baja always has its hazards. I drove 12 hrs from N Nevada towing my RZR, arriving in Yuma at 1:30am. The next morning we crossed the border just outside of Yuma at Algodones. First complication at Mexican immigration. I left home with the wrong registration for the RZR. Mexican authorities are somehow sticklers about registrations. They turned us back to the US. In Yuma, we scrambled to get a current registration and went back to the border. All went well with registrations and Tourist Visas. Algodones is an old town with very narrow streets plus it is packed with visitors seeking dental care, eyeglasses and prescription drugs. Algodones is a Mecca for Americans wanting to save money. Dental clinics abound and the pharmacies are always packed this time of year. I was driving careful pulling the RZR with my big ole GMC 3/4 ton crewcab. My friend was behind me driving a Toyota truck and camper shell. 4 way stops are merely a suggestion for Mexican drivers, so I was really watching the traffic and pedestrians. Somehow the Toyota was now 4 cars back after a couple 4 way stops. I got to the edge of town and could no longer see the Toyota behind me. I found a wide spot to pull off thinking he might have taken a wrong turn. After a couple minutes he called me on my cell phone and said he'd been in an accident and for me to come back. My mind raced at the extreme possibilities, but found that it was a simple fender bender. The Mexican driver had pulled into the Toyota blind spot as he was turning left. The Toyota rear tire caught the front bumper of the Mexican car. The bumper and grill were all plastic and the whole mess was laying on the ground. Coincidently, a Mexican policeman was parked right there. As a retired federal investigator, I'm not much of a believer in coincidences, but it's Mexico. No one spoke English and my Spanish is very rusty. We discern that the Victim wanted $250.00 for the damage to his vehicle. It seemed reasonable under the circumstances, so he was paid in cash and goes on his way. The policeman tells us we must accompany him to the police station where a judge will determine the fine for an accident on a Mexican highway. He suggests that the Toyota may be impounded as a result. We're sweating this out and follow him with his lights flashing through dirt road city streets. After a few random turns, he turns off his lights and calls us over. He can make this go away for $600.00. Naturally, the old Mexican "mordida" game but we're not anxious to see how far this ploy can go. We pool our folding money and come up with $260.00. We explain that's all we got and he graciously accepts and sends us on our way. It's Mexico so we chalk it up to the cost of doing business and get back on the road. To be continued...
  6. A couple of days ago I was at one of my local beaches after the rain and blow. It had been a rather 'sudden' type of storm with waves only up for 24 hours or so. My results showed it and near the end of my detecting I noticed something odd. I looked up into the dry sand and I saw someone kneeling with a shovel. I was 100 yards away or so and I saw some movement and thought it strange. It reminded me of some type of ritual burial. I wanted to go up and tell the guy if he was burying ashes or something of value he should reconsider as some other detectorist would dig it up. A few minutes passed and it was time for me to go to my car. I wanted to go by the place where the guy was digging. When I got there it had been neatly filled and scattered over with some beach sticks. I thought good for him but then I saw him closer to the wet sand. He was digging another hole and I saw this motion again. It reminded me of a drone this time. A bit of black whirling around and then it hit me. I propped up my 800/15 and walked in his direction. He was a nice-looking young man and he greeted me as I approached. He had dug an almost smoothly round hole with a short handled shovel about 18" deep. I told him I had noticed what he was using and I just couldn't resist coming over to him. He had a thick European accent. He could see my detector which I had turned off about 50 yards away. He began asking me if there was little pieces of gold in the sand. He was rubbing his fingers together saying he was learning his instrument. I asked him if it was made in Germany and he said yes. It was then that I knew 'the gig' and I was careful not to venture to many comments. He was quite enthusiastic about his instrument explaining that he had bought it from a guy (friend?) that said it didn't work but he was convinced he was going to make it work. This was not the first one of these detectors I've seen but it was the first one that I've held. It is relatively small and it will rotate around on its handle so quickly it is a kind of like using divining rods. He showed me the little popup screen that I would have needed my glasses to read and it has several functions. One was to create a line similar to a surveying instrument. He explained that you needed to hold the contraption level and look off into the distance a couple of hundred feet. Then you needed to walk the line and reverse the process and it would create an intersection. That is where you needed to dig! My eyes are rolling up in my head at this point remembering the threads that have been started here about these things. I told him how I detected the beach with my Equinox and he just couldn't be bothered. He had faith in his instrument. He was in full blown pursuit of the truth. When I explained to him that my coil sometimes ran over multiple targets in a swing and sometimes there were targets above and below each other it just didn't register to him. The scale of delusion was massive. I could have spent more time with him and gotten his phone number and gradually shattered his dreams but I just didn't have the heart. I told him about the cost of the Equinox coming in around $1000 and it was then that he proudly said he paid $5500 for his gizmo. It was then I realized it was time for me to leave. I hope he has 'fun' with his experiments. This type of impractical 'science' makes me concerned for the world. I told him about Detector Prospector and actually hope he will make it here and find this thread. I have some other thoughts about the experience but I'll just leave them for now and post the two pictures I took.
  7. A couple of weeks ago I posted about finding a large college class ring. Now that the ring is on its way back to the owner I can share a few more details about it. The ring is from Texas A&M University and the gentleman lost it in the southern California surf in 2009. He returned the next day with a metal detector but was unable to locate it. 14 years later, on a cold, dark, wet and windy morning I was holding the ring in my hand admiring its golden sheen in the glow of my headlamp. The owner was very surprised and grateful to hear that I would be returning his ring. After speaking with the ring's owner I found out more about the rich tradition of the "Aggie ring". The Aggie class ring just might be one of the most cherished, celebrated and recognizable college class rings in the world. The rings are made by the well known Balfour company and, I believe that, Texas A&M is one of their biggest, if not their biggest, clients. The Association of Former Students oversees a lost and found program and maintains a registry to help reunite rings with their owners. Their website states that there are about 60 Aggie rings reported lost or missing each month! That should give you an idea of how many thousands of Aggie rings are out there. There is even a large bronze statue of an Aggie ring on campus! Now that I understand more about the history and significance of the Aggie ring I am really glad that I am able to return this one. https://www.tamu.edu/traditions/aggie-culture/aggie-ring/index.html https://www.aggienetwork.com/news/tagged/?tag=294
  8. After a good days sniping we have to walk past an apiary to get back to camp, Corey was ahead of us by 20 meters, Brodie and I were walking together, I'd just mentioned how in the past the bees have been well behaved, when Corey got stung. The s... hit the fan in a matter of seconds, I now know what making a bee line means, I saw a line of bees coming straight for my head. We stared running, we were in our wetsuits and and all put our hoods on as we ran unfortunately for me there was three bees in my hair, they stung me, while running top heavy with a back pack and trying to get my hood back off, I tripped on a rock. A series of increasingly long steps followed, until the inevitable happened and I fell heavily, my partners stopped to pick me up, we had left the bees behind, and with a bit more than my pride bruised I hobbled back to camp. It could of been a lot worse Corey got stung four times and me five, Brodie escaped injury, we had a good laugh about it later, but in hindsight it could have got nasty really quick. Here's some pictures of the weekend, sorry I can't post any photos that may give away the location, I'll post them when we finish in the area.
  9. We arrived in Maui around lunch time today. My wife and I went to the grocery store to stock up for the week and while there find out the key fob battery is dead and can't lock the rental Jeep. Fortunately we can still start the car. Get to the house drop off the groceries and I have to run out to the hardware store to get a battery for the key fob. Get it fixed and get home to a note that my wife and son went to the beach and meet them there. I get on my swim suit and go to the closet to grab one the the Equinox 600's out of the closet and only 1 is there. My 15 year old already had one of them at the beach! I grab the other and head over. I drop my stuff and see him down the beach at one of my favorite spots. Watching him for a bit I see he has excellent coil control with it flat to the ground at the end of his swings and overlapping as he moves. Doing everything he was taught. He sees me and comes immediately over with a huge smile on his face! Before I could even ask he says loudly "I found something!" He pulls out this solid bracelet and hands it to me. Looking at it I said I think it's gold but without my glasses I can't read the inside. He grabs it and reads Na Hoku 14K. Holy crap put that thing in your pocket! If anybody asks if you found anything just tell them coins and bottle caps ( not wanting to attract attention). It's very unlikely it was lost this day. The last thing I need is a crowd gathering to look. He puts it in his pocket and heads over to show Mom. We got back to the house and looked on line. $1,549.00 retail! The bracelet looks new. What a score! Fits Mom perfectly!
  10. Last week TomCA and I made a trek to recon some new (to us) stage stop type sites that we'd been researching this year. As some of the sites were miles away from any roads, we decided to get fat tire ebikes to save us from hiking miles and miles into and out of these sites. The first site we went to was in the middle of BFE, and we rode our ebikes. Little did I realize, that days before our arrival that the area had been subject to flash floods. This would factor into our traveling to and from the site, ending up causing mayhem. On the way to the first site wasn't too bad. It was a nice sunny day, but we did encounter little creeks that had filled up due to the rains, and it wasn't so much that the water in the creeks was un navigable as much as the flour sand ended up being a sticky, slippery, muddy mess making forging these creeks challenging. Had there been no rains prior to our arrival, they'd been easy to traverse, but not so much after flash flooding events. As the sun started heading down, I kept nudging TomCA to get a move on as I had zero desire to cross country through unfamiliar desert terrain in the dark, but that's exactly what ended up happening. We ended up going cross country to head back to the vehicle a different way then we'd came in, and although it looked easy enough on satellite maps, that would end up being an epic mistake. The sun set quickly on our way out and we were now going cross country in the desert in the dark, in a totally unfamiliar area, on ebikes. About a mile or two into our trek back to the car, I hit quick sand that sucked my bike in, ejected me and as I landed my feet planted into the quick sand and I fell backwards with my feet stuck to the quick sand like they were attached to fly paper. I was sure I'd broken my leg/ankle. I still think it may have a small fracture. So here we are in the middle of BFE in the dark, my foot's FUBAR and we still have miles to go to get back to the vehicle. Let's just say the journey back to the vehicle was hell for me (oh and did I mention it was my birthday...sigh). Hours later, and another bike crash to add to injury, we finally made it back to the vehicle. I ended up having to sit out the next couple days of detecting and let TomCA at it while I sat on the sidelines. So without further ado here's what I was able to manage on the trip. This is a site we barely recon'd and are itching to get back to. Nothing prolific per se, but a nice variety of finds including a J-hook (military?), eagle button, an old pocket knife (upper right), black powder gun primer, flat button, earlier eagle button, an old religious medallion (similar to what we find at Spanish colonial contact period sites). and a curious piece of glass! A native attempted to flint knap the base of a glass bottle! I've read about this, and seen examples in museums, but this is the first time I've found a piece. Someone had undoubtedly beat us to this site, but they didn't get it all! Scored a couple of eagle buttons (one's pretty crudded up), a flat button, lots of rim-fire shells and bullet drops, and some trade items including a trade ring, and European glass trade beads (eyeball finds). I know these old clay pipes aren't a big deal, especially if you're on the east coast where they're probably everywhere, but we rarely find these out west and this one was just sitting on top of the sand where it likely fell almost two hundred years ago! All the pieces actually fit together, it was probably stepped on by an animal (lots of wild mustangs and other critters around this area). Nothing to really write home about on this trip. TomCA did get a seated dime at a site that I had to sit on the sidelines with my foot injury, and he did get a seated half dime from the same site I got the clay pipe and trade items above, hopefully he'll share his finds as well. Maybe the next trip there will be with the Manticore, although truth be told, at these sites iron and depth are not obstacles. GL&HH, Cal
  11. This is Day 2 of my trip to Nevada with Steve and Steve. On day 2 after having some gold in the poke we decided to pull out the VLF's for a while in the trash to see what we could find. The Legend was running version 1.06 which I later found out had issues and noticed the machine was running kind of funky at times. But still managed to pull a small nugget with it. Wasn't long before I went back to the GPX 6000. Love that machine, never thought I would own one but now that I've used one I think I'm going to have to get it.
  12. Leaving this Monday for the Florida Gulf on a 3 month Campaign. Main gun the Tarsacci backed up with the Pirate Hunter Pro. When I left late last March, the Beaches were just finished being Heavily Sanded. The Low Tides last year were all during night time. This year I see their mostly during day light. So there's that and hopefully the sand has found some bottom. On a different topic, a friend told me he seen on the news that a $40,000 ring had been found by a Metal Detector hunter somewhere in Florida. Anyone hear about this?
  13. I was down in Rye Patch 10/22-10/26 and am slow to post. First day I got there early afternoon and swung the 6k for a couple of hours. Pulled up a very tiny piece a couple of inches deep. Second day I hit the ground at first day light and pounded a spot where I have had luck in the past hard to no avail. Around 11 am a couple of other trucks came close to me and started detecting and I figured I would move on, as I was getting frustrated with my lack of success over the last 3.5 hours anyway. After meandering down some roads for a while, I ran into @NorCal . We had a nice conversation for a while and he was kind enough to give me some history of the area we were in and some past success he had there. Once we were done chatting and he packed up and left, I had the pleasure of detecting in a hail storm and wind. Skunked for the day, cold, wet and not in the best of spirits, I called it a day. Day 3, after sleeping in my truck with a 20 something degree night, I hit the ground running again. Once again hitting areas where I had success before, I was yet again skunked for the morning and frustrated with 30 mph gusts. I decided to go back to the random area I found the small piece at the first day, and warm up on the drive. First good choice I made all trip! I was able to pull 4 sub gram pieces out of the ground, all were 6-10 inches deep except one at 2”. Final full day, wind still howling. I fought my way through the day and pulled up 7 more pieces. I did hit the ground for about two hours the morning I left, but to no avail. All in all 12 pieces for a whopping weight of 1.6 grams! Pretty sure I spent more just heating my truck at night to stay warm, or more in beer, not to mention the 7.5 hour drive each way. But that wasn’t really the point. For me it was just getting out and swinging my machine, this is the first time in a year because of everything I have had going on in my life. I was ready to sell the damn thing after getting skunked for a day and a half, but it really is some tough hunting. Met @Arkyon my way out of the area and headed home happy and ready to get back out again soon!
  14. See also Steve’s Australia Adventure, Part 1 for my travel to Western Australia, to visit Jonathan Porter and hunt for gold. I'll be traveling with the Garrett team to Australia soon, to attend the Metal Detecting World Championship event at Windeyer NSW. I will not be participating in the hunt events, as I'm not into that sort of thing. I will be hanging out at the Garrett booth, to chat detecting, and to show off the new Garrett Axiom, to anyone that is interested. This is the first official showing of the detector to the public, and Garrett was kind enough to invite me along to attend. And I'd also just welcome the chance to say hello, and meet any forum members who might be in the area. As far as I know, I'll be there all day October 22nd, and until the event ends at 2:30pm on October 23rd. I tried to set up another possibility of a meet when we are in the Bendigo area a bit later, but was informed there was "no time" by the powers that be. There is no getting around the fact Australia is a big place, and I can't be everywhere, but this is a start. I hope a few of you can make it.
  15. This is a callback to my 2011 Australia Gold Adventure. I put a lot of extra travel detail into that story, to aid others who might be thinking of doing a detecting trip to Australia. If you are thinking of doing this, and have not, I encourage you to look at that previous story. In the story that follows, click or double click the photos for full size versions. A few things changed in the eleven years since that adventure. First, the $1500 air fare I paid back then has basically doubled. Second, Australia now requires a visa even for tourists. You can’t complete travel without one. You can apply for one using an app on your phone, to take pictures of yourself and your passport. Details here. The real zinger came when I went to check in on New Zealand Air in Los Angeles. Even though I was merely passing through the Auckland airport on my way to Perth, I was not allowed to check in without a New Zealand visa also! Panic ensued, but luckily this also was done easily with a phone app while I was in the airport. However, although results are usually had in ten minutes, they note it can take up to 48 hours. Do this in advance and avoid the possibility of being denied boarding at the airport. Third, my final destination was Meekatharra, and this required making the switch to local Skipper’s Aviation, and an additional $600 round trip fare. On the previous trip we had driven a vehicle from Perth to Meekatharra, but this time I was going to meet JP directly in Meekatharra. The connections were such and the flight over so long, I ended up booking a room for the night in Perth, to ease the switchover. I stayed in the Country Comfort, Perth, which is affordable and nice, and which has a free shuttle service from both the main airport, and to Skippers Aviation. On a brighter note, the roughly even exchange rate from eleven years ago, changed to one hugely in favor of U.S. travelers at this time. I got $1.60 Australian for every U.S. dollar spent. A good thing, as prices are skyrocketing in Oz, like everywhere else. The exchange rate softens the blow. A little back story. I had spent a month of detecting in Australia in 2011, hosted by Jonathan Porter. I went home with a couple ounces of gold, which frankly did not impress me much. I think I sort of hurt JPs feelings when I said I saw no point in ever returning, if gold was the goal. I’ve relayed that information to other travelers since then, and not yet has one ended up telling me I was wrong. There is still great gold to be found in Australia, but frankly, it’s for the locals. Visitors with short time and minimal access should just be happy to find gold, any gold at all. For quantity, however, I’m better off on my own home ground here in the U.S. JP and Steve in 2011 JP and I talked about my returning someday, but for quite some time it was just that typical vague “someday” thing, that I never tried to make happen. Then things changed for me the last few years. I developed severe arthritis in both hips. It got so bad, that a couple years ago I thought my prospecting days, even my metal detecting, were about over. I was suffering enough last year, that I got both hips replaced this last winter. And miracle of medical miracles, I got a new lease on life! I feel better now than I have in many years. This experience changed my outlook on life and made me very aware the end of the tunnel is in sight. I’m good now, but I’m not getting any younger, and stuff just starts failing. You never know when, or how fast it will happen. Suddenly going back to Australia was not a matter of going to find gold, but just to go see an old friend. That’s exactly what I told JP, and I meant it. The gold no longer matters at all. I just wanted to have a nice visit and enjoy myself while visiting a friend. And JP, bless him, made it happen. A second layer to all that is I am celebrating metal detecting and gold prospecting for 50 years now. I got my first metal detector in 1972, and my first gold dredge right after that. I’ve been at it ever since, and now it’s been a half century of grand adventure. I decided an Australia trip was a perfect way to celebrate that fact. Also, out of the blue, Garrett Metal Detectors asked me to go along with them to Australia for the Axiom introduction. Boom, I went from never really planning on going back to Australia, to going twice in one year!! Part 2 of this story will chronical my upcoming return visit to Australia at the end of this month. I’ve been working with Garrett since last year on fine tuning the Axiom for release. This trip seemed an ideal way to get in some major hours with the detector, plus see how it handled mineralized ground conditions in Western Australia. JP thought I was nuts, and maybe I am, when I told him I planned on using the Axiom exclusively on the trip. I don’t know what to say, other than that it seemed like a fun thing to do. I can find gold with most anything, so I was not worried about that. After my last visit to Australia, I knew I was not going to find a ton of gold in just two weeks anyway. The point for me became to just use the Axiom, come what may, and go home happy regardless of the amount of gold found. Like I said, my perspective on life has shifted entirely from where it was years ago, when it was all about how much gold I was finding, period. Other than my little New Zealand visa surprise, the trip went smoothly, although the flights and layovers were a little long. I arrived in Meekatharra with everything I needed in one 50 lb suitcase, as another bag would have cost another $100 on every airline leg, and I set a record on this trip by traveling on six different airline. One bag was free, except for a small weight surcharge on Skippers. A bonus on this trip was that JPs son Tim was along. I thought this was great, as JP and I can be like an old bickering couple at times, so having another face along, and with a younger perspective, seemed like a fun idea to me. One that turned out great, as Tim is a prematurely wise young man. It was fun talking life and philosophy with him, and… wait for it…. our shared interest in computer gaming. Yeah, I’m a computer nerd for sure, and that extends to an interest in playing and modding computer RPGs. JP and I of course talked about detecting and detectors for endless hours, with not a small dose of the fact neither of us is getting any younger, and pining for the “good old days”, when gold nuggets just jumped out of the ground. Tim Porter - Gold finder supreme! Anyway, having Tim along was a highlight of the trip. It did mean that camp was full up, however, and JP had informed me to be prepared to tent camp, just like I did in 2011. I had planned on going a bit more deluxe this time, with a stand-up tent. I wanted to bring my own, as, trust me, you do not want to be shopping in Meekatharra for stuff like that. Then came my desire to limit myself to 50 lbs, including detecting gear. I ended up sleeping for two weeks in a one person, four-pound backpacker tent, on a pad in a sleeping bag. Luckily, very luckily as it turns out, the weather favored me. It only rained a couple times, and briefly. If it had rained like it has been, starting the day I left, it would have been a different story. As it was, it was no big deal at all, and I was quite cozy and happy in my Tiny Tent. All the rest of my camp needs were provided by JP and Tim. Tent shower, rides when needed, and they cooked every single meal. Thanks to both of you! Steve's "Tiny Tent" How did it go, you ask? The location was one of the same places we detected eleven years ago, and the place was already well hunted back then. It was a bit more about convenience than being where the most gold might be. We stayed camped in one place the entire time and made short runs with JPs side by side to different patches in the area every day. Unlike eleven years ago, it was far more about being relaxed and having fun. So no “up before the crack of dawn, detecting until dark” stuff. In fact, it was more often quitting early, to go sit around camp and chat. Excluding other stuff, I ended up doing thirteen days of relaxed detecting. The long story short is I found gold every day I detected but the first. But it was very slow going for me on very well pounded ground, just a few nuggets a day. I enjoyed every bit of it though, as the Axiom handled the ground and hot rocks just fine and is a real pleasure to swing. I do just enjoy using new and different detectors, to see how they can do. Finding anything when I’m doing that is almost secondary. It’s all about the ground handling, and how any target responds, even the trash targets. The weather was perfect, the company great, I was finding gold every day. It’s impossible to ask for more than that. Photo by Jonathan Porter "Steve's Gully" - found a few nice bits here They key to finding weight is finding larger nuggets. Try as I might, I could not get over anything of real size. I ended up with 13.5 grams of raw finds, with just a couple weighing in over a gram. I hit this with Whink 1% HF on my return, and once the enclosing laterite was removed, my take shrunk to 12 grams, with only one nugget over a gram, at 1.15 gram. The nugget had weighed 1.68 grams before, so that tells you how much laterite it had on it. It was worth the cleaning though, gorgeous little nuggets now, rather than the dirty lumps some started out to be. When you get to be my age it becomes obvious that life is all about the memories we create, and I will have very fond memories of this trip. JP and Tim were perfect hosts, and great detecting partners. I did not appreciate quite until now just how lucky I was with the weather, which really was perfect for days of wandering in WA. Even the travel, though overly long, went as well as I could hope for. The icing on the cake is I will return in just a couple weeks, to see parts of Australia I have never seen before, and to have another shot at finding some Aussie gold nuggets. Stay tuned for part 2 of this adventure, coming sometime in early November. Again, thank you JP and Tim, and best of luck on your continuing gold adventure! Viewers can see Part 2 of my Australia Gold Adventure here. 12 grams of Aussie gold after cleaning, largest nugget upper left 1.15 grams
  16. Hey everyone- I sometimes post a ring recovery on here when it's really cool (at least that's what I think) and I had one of those today. I'm always amazed at the impact that metal detecting has had on others and myself. It may be a hobby but I think it's sometimes better known as a re-connection device. I got a call Sunday evening from Gerrie, a professional dog trainer in the greater Santa Barbara area. She had been training a dog at a private residence in Montecito which is a small town just south of Santa Barbara. She was getting ready to leave when she noticed that her deceased Father's fraternity ring was missing from her right hand which was the hand she was using to throw objects and train the German Shepherd. She trains protection dogs so the work can get quite physical as you can imagine. When Gerrie called me she was crying and for a few moments I wasn't sure who was on the other end of the call and I wasn't sure if auto warranty had expired or I'd won that long awaited 3 day trip to nowhere that I usually win. She was finally able to explain all this to me as you can tell she was just beside herself having lost the ring. She went on to explain that her dad had one ring his whole life, a fraternity ring he had received when he became President of his fraternity at Penn State university back in 1942. He was very proud of the ring and it actually doubled as his wedding ring. Gerrie's dad developed Alzheimers back in 2008 and from that time on Gerrie trained dogs full time and became her dad's full time caregiver which if you have had to deal with Alzheimer's you know it's all encompassing. In 2021 Gerrie's dad passed at 99 years old and Gerrie kept his ring as he wanted her to have it so he could always be with his beloved daughter. She had worn the ring every day since but on Sunday afternoon it went flying off somewhere in Montecito. I met her at the home this morning to do a search and to see if I could find the ring. Talk about pressure. I don't know who slept less last night she or I. When I got there she mentioned that a random Iphone pic came up on her phone of her dad and the ring, a picture she hadn't seen in years and today of all days it shows. She took it as a sign I was going to find the ring and I took it as "oh crap I better find this ring." I said a prayer for us and turned my sensitivity down on the D2, put it in Park(my favorite go to program) and began to grid the yard where she was primarily training. Unfortunately there were freaking targets everywhere and it became evident that this hillside property had had fill dirt brought in right where we were searching. There were targets everywhere and at one point I put my own wedding ring on the grass just to see if I could distinguish it from all the junk and on some swings over it it got masked. (Not sure about this XP!) I decided I'd turn back and try and find some ground without any targets just to get my brain tuned into the soil. I'm an auditory detector not a TID guy so I wanted to hear the ground. As it was the area to my right was quiet and to my left there had to a pipe or something long running parallel to me and I finally got a tone that was isolated from anything else. It was repeatable and had that familiar clip to it (for those D@ users) and I got down and began to poke around with my pinpointer and followed a tone right to the ring. The grass was super thick and acted like a canopy over the ring and it being gold you couldn't really see it with the naked eye. I pulled it out of the grass looked at her and said "God is good" and showed her the ring. As I was standing up I got the biggest bear hug I think I've ever received. If it was an NFL game they would have flagged her for roughing the detectorer. In college football she would have been suspended for targeting. As for me, it was the best feeling ever. I got to use my detector to re-connect Gerrie and her dad. I think it was probably a good minute before she let go as the two days of panic and frustration just had to work itself out. There were tears flowing and even one of the staff members of the house (this was a 21 million dollar estate so they have "staff") was crying. It was an amazing moment and one I just had to share. As have most of you, I have been finding peoples rings for a long time and it never gets old. I spoke with Gerrie for nearly an hour afterwards as she walked me through the life of her dad, the ring, dog training and of course I got to share some photos of my wife and my two kids as well as some recent recoveries. I now have a new friend in Santa Barbara and if I ever get big enough to require 4-legged protection I got the connection. Best Dave
  17. I'm off to OZ on Sat to meet a fellow (but silent) forum member. Our plans included forum member Tony from Perth, but it seems he's been recalled halfway to the Goldfields. I won't actually get to the Goldfields until Wed which gives me about 3 weeks of detecting. I'm packing both the GPX 6000 and GPZ. I've got the new Coiltek 14x9 for the 6k and 3 XCoils for the Z. Looks like I'll miss NursePaul, he'll be about 300k further away. It's been tough to pack for this trip, airlines charge an extra $100 for a 2nd bag and the Skipper flight to the Goldfields charges $8.00 a lb for baggage over 35lbs. I've got the main checked bag down to 40lbs and my carryon at about 15 lbs. Bare minimums, 2 pr of underwear should be sufficient, amirite? I'm an old wildland firefighter, so 8 prs of merino wool hiking socks are a necessity. I don't want to travel halfway around the world and get caught up with blisters or a fungus on my feets. I'll check in periodically with some results and commentary on detector/coil selection. Tally Ho
  18. A couple of weeks back I made a post about a seeded club hunt I attended. The next day a few of us left-overs went to find a Victorian era picnic ground to detect. While we think we had the right location, the area had been the site of much flooding over the years and was layered with huge amounts of overburden, debris, and modern trash. The only period thing found was a 1913 Wheat penny, so the group then desided to go to an 1800s railroad station site some miles away. When we arrived, the bulk of the group made a bee line to the foundation of the old depot building while I lagged behind. I figured this place had probably been hunted a lot over the years, so I decided to work the road less travelled and headed up an inclined area away from the pack. One of the guys yelled out that there was nothing where I was but trash and the good stuff was at the old depot foundation. I waved and kept scanning where I was. As I moved along I hit a few modern coins, but noticed the trash was getting older. Soon I was in an area with lots of old glass and started finding real old bullet cartidges. Soon after that it happened... I got a clear penny signal on the Deus II and there just under the surface was an old coin. Really old! I couldn't tell what it was at first, but as I gently wiped a century or more of caked dirt off the coin I could see the feathers of a headress. With a little more careful cleaning, I could just barely make out the date 1863. It was an old "Fatty" IHP and my first 1800s coin found in the wild! Needless to say I was ecstatic! I looked up and could see the rest of the gang scurrying around the depot area like ants on a piece of candy so I just stayed in my little area. I didn't find any more coins or even the the caliber of finds normally displayed on the forum, but I did find more old stuff that is cool to me. The guys did make some cool finds at the depot foundation including a Civil War era army coat sleeve button, a baggage tag with the name of the depot engraved, a Woodsmen Union pin, and a 1900s Wheat Penny, but I didn't get any photos of those. I also found this thing that I thought was more modern trash until I noticed It had a name "PAT.A" scratched into it. It could be a baggage tag I guess. My old sun baked IHP was the only 1800s coin found that day. Ironically, I found two 1863 IHPs at the seeded hunt the day before. I guess sometimes good things come in threes. 🙂
  19. 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, Lanny
  20. Hey y'all, It's been a hot summer, haven't been posting much because most of my hunts have been run-of-the-mill, I'm just not finding a heck of a lot, and when I do it's kinda the same old stuff. Sadly all my current permissions are covered with crops, and I really haven't got round to finding any new ones. I do get out at least one day a week detecting anyway. 🙂 I went to my little beach one day and ran into the couple that owns a bit of adjoining beach, asked them if I could detect it. Turned out they were moving, and they said "since you've been so nice asking, have at it!" It's the 2 spaces beyond the chain. The next 2 are county property. Didn't find anything except this coin: It's solid brass with a plate attached, it's been in the river for a couple years, should last a long time. It has a plain mirror reverse: I got home and did a ton of research, it turns out it's a coin. This young man's father had 1200 made to memorialize him, he was a high school boy who went to a quarry, and was killed jumping in the water. It was all over the news here in 2019. You have to follow the hashtag as the web address is no longer valid. My dilemma was whether to return it to the family or who? Make a big deal of it or not? Someone tossed it in the Potomac, they have left them everywhere and all over the world. Great showing of respect for this young man whose life ended all too soon, 3 days before he graduated from high school. I thought about it for a couple of days, and finally returned it to the spot I found it. I think the person who put it there would have wanted that for their friend. 🙂 It is a beautiful spot.
  21. This is a true story regarding my find of an 1891 San Francisco dog license. My information was obtained through research at the Wil Di Magi National archives. In 1890 a larcenous scoundrel narrowly escaped being hung in Australia and fled to California to continue in his nefarious activities. when he came ashore in San Francisco He stole a families beloved dog. He proceeded to a northern sierra mining camp and advertised the dog for sale as a gold sniffing hound. He then stole a large gold nugget and slathered it with bacon grease and buried it near the camp. the next day he brought the dog out to demonstrate it to 47 eager buyers. he turned the dog loose and, sure enough, the dog went and dug up the nugget (which he then licked clean of bacon grease). There was an immediate bidding war for the amazing gold sniffing dog which sold for an astounding $152.75. The scoundrel from San Francisco couldn't help himself and started laughing at all the foolish prospectors and miners. but while he was laughing the dog disappeared, but soon returned with a huge nugget and gave it to it's new owner. the dogs owner was then offered $842.63 for the dog which he accepted. This same thing happened several more times throughout he coming days resulting in a very joyous, prosperous and happy mining camp, except for the scoundrel who returned to Australia and begged them to hang him. No one Knows what became of the famous gold sniffing dog though rumor has it that he became the leader of the (now extinct) Sierra Dingos. And there are those that claim to have one of his descendants, such as a dog named Wilson out of Reno Nevada one named Buddy near Oakly, California, one named Rooster from the North East Sierras but the only convincing one is an dog named Danny, owned by me and not for sale. The only known photo of the famous gold sniffing hound taken in 1896
  22. I've been scatter shot prospecting in the Rockies on my ATV, 20-40 mph winds constant. Normally 50 degree is my ideal prospecting temperature, but in winds like this it can be uncomfortable. It's a struggle to hear signals even in headphones in this kind of wind, but doable. There is very little written mining history, and not much geologic mapping and reports available in this area. This is one of long list of places closer to home which I've spent over a decade researching and compiling information on, to explore during free times like this when work and health aren't preventing me from going to the field and it's too hot to prospect down south. In most cases, my coil is the first to touch the ground here, so where there is gold around, it's almost all very easy targets. The ground is pretty mild here too for the most part, just how I like it. Auto+, easy sailing. Locate gold bearing areas, move on to the next. Quick, tactical prospecting...bring the 15" concentric X Coil on the GPZ in later when I want to find the deeper (and conceivably larger) pieces in the deeper soil. This is the type of prospecting and exploration I truly love. And finally I have a machine in the 6000 that makes it easy - no rig up/rig down time. I can drive my ATV until I see good topography and gravels, be detecting in 15 seconds, then throw the detector back on the rifle rack and be moving on within seconds again, until I see somewhere else favorable looking and do it over. My dog thinks I am reaching for beef jerky whenever I set my detector down. He wasn't too happy to see a camera instead. I got him in 2012 and he has been on every single detecting and dredging trip I've ever taken since then. If he can't go, I don't go. Meanwhile, I've yet to convince any of my non-prospector friends to come out with me even once! Some of these cracks in the bedrock hide nuggets. But sometimes they are just hanging out in the grass roots, or in the soil right near surface too. 25 for the day (one is hiding, mostly covered by the wide boy). I like when things work out with nice numbers, so I chose to stop at a pleasing place. I also think this is the most nuggets I've found in one day, so it's easy to remember. There are many more left, but the gold isn't as important as showing an spot is gold bearing in general to me. I found a few patterns. Have a few theories. My understanding of the area is increasing. Have a bunch more spots to investigate and then I can start searching for the lode sources. A trash shot for Simon so he doesn't feel alone in digging the bird shot. Definitely a few more trash targets than nuggets, but was close to 1-1. Can't complain there. On the subject of trash targets, one thing I would like to see improved on the 6000 or whatever it's successor is, is a faster recovery time. I'm finding it quite difficult to use in trash, especially shallow trash, due to how hard it hits, and then stays "hitting" long after the coil has moved away. In places with lots of shotgun pellets or tinslaw bits, this can make it quite difficult to try to work through the trashy spots. And separately, while I mentioned it in another thread, I really do feel like there is some "bogging" down happening in the electronics at random times that is causing me to not just miss targets in my scoop, but in the ground too. Unless it really just is so directionally sensitive that being off on a swing by a few degrees is the difference between hearing a target and not. Anyways, no product is perfect, and I'm glad to finally have a lightweight, quick machine to use with almost no rig up/rig down time. I got close to having this with the GPZ and 8" X Coil, which thankfully showed up at the perfect time to save my elbow from further damage and I'm very thankful for, but the 6000 just is one level quicker still and requires less "stuff" to tote around, so it's my main machine. I do feel the 8" X Coil does better in heavy salt still though, and the 15"/17" concentrics blow the 6000 out of the water when it comes to depth, bar none. I'd sell my GPZ and just stick with the 6000 if it wasn't for those two coils.
  23. While we all totally lose the plot when it comes the new Garrett Axiom, let's pause for a moment, take a step back and think about safety for a bit. You do NOT need to be a pilot to file a flight plan with a trusted and reliable friend. I'm headed to this general area, if I'm not back by such and such a time or you have not heard from me/can't reach me, send help. And if you aren't able to be back at that time because something happened.. do NOT leave that zone you told him/her you'd be at, plant your butt and wait, no one wants to be trying to find you cus you've moved.... and please, no "Oh I have a cell phone or a SPOT"... tell a friend so we can come help..... the life you save may be your own (when you're eventually found cus you didn't stay put, and your wife kicks your donkey). PS: If you're a loner and don't have anyone you can trust or a partner/wife etc.... make a deal with your local prospecting shop to file a flight plan with them, or the local search & rescue group. They'd rather have you as an alive repeat customer than a dead non repeat and the S&R folks would rather not have to come look for you and risk their lives so tell someone.... If you still can't find someone, reach out to your local Amateur radio community (most areas have a Ham Radio club), most of us also work in Search & Rescue and/or also work with local law enforcement, you'll find someone that doesn't mind the simple ask of putting a timer on their phone to make sure you've made it home ok..... Remember, you can just say you're going hiking, no one needs to know that you're some retired Marine from Boise who got lost in Rye Patch on the backside of Sawtooth cus your pockets were weighed down with Axiom nuggets and you refused to leave any behind on the crawl back to the truck. Jen
  24. I wish I'd have filmed it. I went to the river with my family this afternoon. I specifically picked a beach that I knew would be heavily populated, so I could do a little jewelry hunting, while the family enjoyed the water. The river was indeed VERY busy. I was making my way around the shoreline when a gentleman spoke up, and said he had lost a wedding band the week before. He said this mostly in jest. I asked him where exactly he lost it, and he pointed to the opposite end of the river (A deeper area, probably 6-8ft). I told him if I came across it I'd return it to him. I didn't really feal like being fully submerged; I get real cold, real fast. The knowledge that a ring was possibly just sitting there was too much to bear. I knew, what I was looking for (A large black tungsten ring), and I knew where to look. I made my way over to the deep end. The water was up to my neck, with a slow current. I put my equinox into Field 1. Im usually looking for gold jewelry, and run in Park 2. I figured Field 1 would sound off better on tungsten, but honestly wasn't completely sure. My first couple targets were trash (pulltabs, and metal flakes) My third, or fourth target came threw loud, with a 10-11 on the VDI. I knew 10-11 was exactly the number I was looking for (My previous tungsten rings have all came threw in that range). I took a deep breath, and went under. I had no goggles, but I had my pinpointer. I released all my breath underwater so I'd sink, and with my pinpointer under my right thumb, I began to grab handfuls of river bottom, waiting for the vibration to follow the pinpointer into my hand. This lets me know I have the target. The ring was only an inch or so, and it only took one attempt to get a handful of river bottom with the target inside. I surfaced, and stared at my hand, waiting for the ability to see what I had. There it was, a large black tungsten ring. I made my way back to the family, and asked the man's wife where her husband had gone "he went to the bathroom", she said. I told her, I found her husband's ring, and, victoriously held it up. The wife, and various onlookers were astonished. I was so excited, not only to get the target, but to be able to return it. I ran into the husband on the way to tell my wife, and let him know. It took a little bit to convince him, but I assured him I was serious. He told me it was a 700$ ring that he used in place of his nicer band while at work. He offered to pay, but I couldn't accept. I finally know the feeling of retrieving, and returning a wedding band, and it was just as good as finding a keeper.
  25. Apologies but this is long! I seriously contemplated something like Klunkers 1000 word essay! 🤣 After 4 re-scheduled attempts last year that were all thwarted for travel restriction reasons, the W.A trip finally happened earlier this month. The trip was with my brother-in-law (we’ll call him Bill (for Brother-In-Law)) who lives in Perth and has been doing some prospecting himself over the past 2-3 years for some decent success. Flew from Melbourne to Perth, stayed one night at Bill’s place and then left at sparrow’s fart for the 9 hour drive to a super secret location somewhere near Meekatharra. The plan was to prospect 2 locations for a few days where his research suggested there might be some detectable gold and then, depending on success or otherwise, move down to his ‘patch’ where he has had most of his success. He found his patch earlier last year and over the past 12 months he and and a few friends in Perth had gathered nearly 500 grams of gold from it. Biggest piece being just shy of 9 ounces. Bill had organised access to stations, access to some live tenements via agreements and access to some pending ground. All up, we had about 5 rough locations that we were able to hunt and he knew would keep us busy for the 10 days we were out and about. Very thankful to Bill for organising everything as the W.A. system is a little complex for a newbie running a fly in/fly out, hit and run mission. All tenements and areas that we were allowed to utilise were loaded into the Trilobite Solutions Geology Travel maps and this would prove invaluable over the next 10 days making sure I stayed where I was supposed to be, logging prospecting walks that we did, logging finds, logging dry blow piles, etc. It is a great little app (for Australia and Canada). After a smooth run on both black top and good dirt roads we rolled into what was to be the first night’s camp at about 4 p.m. The camper trailer and swag were set out and the detectors were fired up. After such a lengthy build up to the trip we were finally into it! Bill wandered reasonably close to camp and I wandered a little further off. After 45 mins or so and a few short bursts of detecting I found my first little bit of W.A. gold. Easily a sub-grammer but it was a start - and day 1 was not a skunk! Couldn’t find anything more in a close area around that first piece and headed back to where Bill was as it was getting close to dark. He had found 2 small pieces and had another 3 signals marked for me to check with the 6000 (he was running a 7000 with stock 14” coil). I could hear 2 signals and felt the other was ground noise. He dug them up - 1 gold, 1 trash and 1 ground signal. Bill went off to start a fire and said for me to have another quick look around close to camp before it was really dark. Headed 30 metres west of where we had chatted and found a signal just down slope of an iron stone band. Another sub-gram piece of gold. Again, nothing more in a close area around it and started heading back to camp. On the uphill side of the iron stone got another signal - another sub-gram piece. This was quickly followed by 4 more sub-gram pieces and a signal left in the ground as now it was proper dark. Considering we arrived at this spot not knowing if we would find anything, it was a welcome start. Day 2 was, as all of them were, a start before sunrise. Straight back to the signal that was left un-dug the night before - gold. And day 2 was not a skunk! Bill left me to it and headed south from camp as my little patch turned into an approx 21 gram day for me. All little bits but the first 24 hours pretty much had my trip cost covered - everything from here on in was pure cream! Bill had also found himself a little patch with larger pieces but a lower total weight. I think about 7 grams was his biggest bit and total weight was approx 16 grams. Bill even ran the 19” coil on the GPZ 7000 over this area as it was flat and open but he could not eke out anything further. Day 3 saw a final clean-up of my little patch for a few grams (and day 3 was not a skunk!) and then several kilometres of walking, detecting, searching for new ground. We walked separately but the end result was zero. Bill had felt that if we were to find anything at that particular location it would have been quite concentrated - and he was right! Both small patches were barely 40 metres from camp. About mid-afternoon we felt the area had played out and we would be best served to head to the next prospect, set camp, have a quick search and then have a proper look the following day. The day ended with a new camp ground, no gold from a quick 30 minute look and a nice meal around the fire. Day 4 was a big day of walking. Again we targeted a concentrated area to begin with but when this proved fruitless the search was markedly widened. I headed east several kilometres and Bill headed north. The country is mostly devoid of low ground cover with the main vegetation being low shrubs and the occasional larger but stunted tree. It is a harsh environment of black rocks, red dirt, some areas littered with quartz and very, very little water. Something that amazed me for the whole trip were the dry blow piles that are assumed to be around 100-120 years old. They are barely noticeable in some areas due to their age but once Bill had shown me what to look for they were easier to spy. The sheer number of piles over a vast area is testament to the hard work those old boys did in such a harsh environment. Unfortunately location number 2 proved completely barren for any detectable yellow and we made the decision to cut the losses and move to ‘the patch’ that I had heard so much about. I guess sometimes it is hard to stay away from an area that has provided some good colour in the recent past. A couple of hours before dark allowed a little look around at where previous pieces were found, the lie of the land, a quick detect and the formulation of a plan for tomorrow. The evening detect found a couple of small sub-grammers for me and 2 just over a gram for Bill. Day 4 - no skunk! Day 5 saw Bill head north and myself head east for what was probably my biggest walking day. The plan was to spend the morning prospecting and if no success, to spend the afternoon around the ‘patch’ trying to avoid a dot day. Saw some good ground with the type of geology we were looking for. At likely areas I would set the detector and zig-zag slowly across and up a slope and sometimes check a small drainage or two. Very, very little rubbish in these areas which is a pleasant change to the usual Victorian rubbish areas. But on that day, also no prospecting gold. For all of the prospecting and some of the cleaning up thus far into the trip, the 17” had been the main choice of coil for the GPX 6000. It provided great area coverage when out prospecting and also allowed a decent area to be covered when going over old ground, with the hope of a deeper piece than the 11 might provide - although I am not sure if the depth advantage is that great. The afternoon again saw some hunting around the patch and a few small pieces coming from under bushes that hadn’t been searched quite so well or were just outside of the intensely searched area. Most under a gram but a few sneaking over. Later in the day I decided to put the 11” coil on to finish the day with a lighter machine and really scrub out an area in the middle of Bill’s patch. The plan was to see if there were pieces the 7000 had simply missed due to the different technology and coil sizes. A few small pieces popped their head above the threshold noise but honestly, not as many as I had thought. The move to the 11” coil also dulled out most of the conductive ground signal that had been coming through on the 17”. It wasn’t terrible with the 17” but the smaller coil certainly improved things. And day 5 was not a skunk 🙂 Day 6 brought about a different plan. I chose to finish off the scrubbing area that I started the evening before and Bill hooked up the 19” coil to look for some deeper nuggets and play with some settings. One was more successful than the other! Covering an area of approx 10 X 20 metres really thoroughly with the 11” I had marked 4 targets that were all soft. I felt 1 was probably ground noise but the others seemed like definite signals, although quiet. By this time Bill had ditched the 19’ coil due to no joy and came across to check my targets with the 14”. Bill really felt that he had scrounged every piece of gold out of his patch that the GPZ 7000 was capable of finding so he was keen to cross reference any targets that the GPX 6000 found. Bill felt the same as myself - 1 X ground noise, 2 X targets (very soft) and 1 that he could not hear at all. The 2 that he felt were likely targets were very soft and the area over the signals had just had the layer of small iron stones and quartz brushed off it - probably allowed his coil to be 1/2 an inch closer to the target than mine had been when first heard. Target 1 - ground noise. Target 2 and 3 - small pieces of gold. Target 4 - you beauty! This was a target that Bill’s GPZ could just hear and after taking 3-4 inches off it brightened with the GPX 6000. Another few inches and it brightened again. Was surprised that we had not actually dug the target out at this stage as it very much sounded like a small, shallow target on first detection. Another few inches and the detector was starting to really ramp up and we knew we were onto something decent. At over a foot deep the GPX 6000 was screaming in the hole and we moved to the Profind 35 and a little more delicate pick work and a broader area of excavation. Slowly, slowly dirt was removed and a final clump of ‘Kinder Surprise’ was removed from the hole. Bill broke it all up carefully and popped out the roughest, prickliest little personal best piece of gold that I have seen. A bit over 16 grams once properly cleaned at home and a few days in acid. A quick check of the hole revealed a further target which ended up being another very prickly but much smaller piece. Bill was excited by the really prickly nature of the pieces and was wondering what else might be in the vicinity, either slightly out from those pieces or slightly deeper. With some fairly decent enthusiasm he started to excavate an area approx 6 feet across and about 1.5 feet deep. The funny thing about this area is that it is not the real, hard pack ground that you might expect. It is actually reasonably soft digging once through the first inch or so with lots of rocks amongst soft, fine, red dirt. A swing around in the excavated hole provided a grand response of…zero targets. Bill is going to mull over that prickly piece and his whole patch for quite some time. He is thinking a dry blower might be useful but this requires a new type of application through the mines dept which may just not be worth it. The days start to blend a bit at this point but I think the day was finished with scrubbing and very little further gold. Oh well, it was still memorable for what ended up being the biggest and most unusual piece of the trip. Day 7 will be remembered for a long time to come… The day started with a combined walk south from camp to an area that had some adjoining rock structures that we thought was worth a look. About a kilometre from camp we split up with Bill wandering off a little further and myself starting at a small drainage. Moving about 20 metres downstream from where we had split, the GPX 6000 was fired up with the 17” attached, a step was taken and…bbeeeeeooooWWWWW. “Must be rubbish” I thought to myself as I scraped a few loose upper level rocks from the wash. Checked again and it hadn’t moved, scraped a few more inches and the target was moved. Definitely rubbish. Except that it wasn’t! 😀 A nice, solid, golden little ‘colour’ with some iron stone inclusions. Maybe 5 grams. “Hey Bill! You still nearby?” Well, Bill had moved off a little and with headphones on he only just heard me. Perhaps it would have been better if he hadn’t? 🤔 🤣 “What’s up?” was the reply. “You better come back here”. Bill came back expectantly and I showed him the prize. You beauty! We made a game plan of him moving upstream in the wash far enough that the detectors wouldn’t interfere with each other - maybe 25 metres. As he briskly took off I put the approx 5 gram piece (ended up just over 6 when weighed) in the keeper bottle, grabbed the GPX turned to start detecting and…bbeeeeeoooWWWWW. What the…? Another piece of gold! This time a larger surface area but really thin piece - about 2 grams. Bill’s readying up got a little quicker. Gold in the bottle, grabbed the detector moved 1 step…yep, you guessed it, gold!! Well, suffice to say that the next hour or so was a blur of digging targets, moving wider to try and get an idea of the area to be worked and stopping frequently to dig another target. Somewhere in that hour Bill dug his largest target for the trip - a 14 gram reefy bit with a nice solid backbone. Also during this time some idiot (currently typing a trip report) made a dumb comment in excitement of something like “We’ve got 4 days to clean up this patch”. Well, in 24 hours the smoke had cleared and we holstered our weapons. The patch was beaten. 55 grams was the total from an area of about 30 metres X 50 metres. The odd thing was that many pieces were reefy and were found really close to each other and most were about 5 metres out of the wash. The others were quite rounded and found in that 5-50 metre range from the reefy bits. We assume a large column of reef, broken down in stages with the earlier shed pieces moving a little and the later shed pieces having moved very, very little. And the reefy pieces were thin, really thin and like nothing that Bill has seen in that area before. So, the new patch took us through until about lunchtime on day 8, we scouted out for about another kilometre, detecting as we went but could not find ground that looked right or that brought up a target. It also took us to the limits of the tenement that we were allowed on. Bill had some other spots he wanted to try on the way home so we made the decision to pack up camp and hit the road. Moving a few hours further south would also cut some time off the final return trip to Perth. A full 9 hour trip and the end of some long days was not something either of us wanted. I can make the last bit short. Some further scouting at a location about an hour south proved fruitless and further detecting and an overnight camp another hour south only showed up 1 small piece on an area that Bill had previously found some multi gram pieces. About 4 p.m. on our last day the sky looked a little ominous and the last thing we wanted to do was pack up a wet camp in the morning. It meant that we probably lost 3-4 hours of detecting in the morn but we packed up camp and high-tailed it back to Perth, arriving just shy of midnight. With a total of 78 grams for me for the trip I was super happy. My goal had been to at least pay for the trip and that was covered many times over. Bill got 46 grams for his troubles. His goal for each of his trips is 5 grams per day. The distance he has to cover, time away from family, etc, means that he really sets a decent goal to make his trips worthwhile and well and truly pay for themselves as well. Being able to halve fuel costs with another person makes covering trip costs that little bit easier. A huge thank you has to go to my brother-in-law. Without his vehicle, knowledge of the areas we went, research he had put in prior to the trip, preparation with food, provision of bedding/sat phone/camp kitchen/EPIRB, etc, etc, etc, the trip would either have simply not been possible or at least would have been much, much more of a headache for me. And also not likely anywhere near as successful. Planning has most definitely started for next year 😀
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