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Found 123 results

  1. 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
  2. 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 !
  3. Just returned home from a crazy road-trip. We had a work event in Las Vegas last week, and we had some equipment to haul in.The company said they'd pay my gas, so I decided to drive it, and take a few extra days off and go to one of my old Spanish trail sites to detect on my way home. What a trip it turned out to be! Snow blizzard on the way to Vegas. Then from Vegas to California, was one of the worst rain storms in like 50 years...I was out on a little two lane, twisty, curvy road that routes you though the mountains and it started out as just small oozes of mud filling areas of the road, or wet slicks as water filled the roads, but as I progressed higher into the mountains, it was progressively worsening, now small streams and creeks and boulders were taking over the road, then massive mud slides onto the roads. The road would worsen. The roads were washed out and flooded with white water rivers now taking over, filling the road with a debris field of rocks, small trees and brush, and tons of sand. One one occasion I was blasting through what amounted to a massive river flowing across the road, and while trying to blast though it a massive sand bar under the water attempted to trap the car, but luckily the FJ is a very capable off road vehicle, and it was able to make it though this and many more obstacles to come. So after all this, I get to my destination and the motel had canceled everyone's reservations because they had no water or power. Great, now I'm out in the middle of BFE with no place to stay and I'm not driving back through raging water flash floods. I ended up spending the night in my FJ Cruiser in the middle of the desert. It was a weird night, to be made even more strange by the fact that the only radio station I could pick up out there was playing Indian chants all night - LOL Between storms, I managed to get in a day of detecting, but with an even larger storm system nipping at my heals, I decided to head back before it hit the fan! I managed a good day testing the 15" Equinox coil at a site that's been stingy lately. Tom and I hunted it the last time we were there, and neither of us dug a single coin, but for whatever reason the Equinox lit it up (tu) Enjoy! Flickr account is buggered up, else I'd post a still pic, but here's the video: GL&HH Cal
  4. Hi guys, I wasn't going to bother posting up my tiddlers after Simons single BIG piece trounced my 5 pieces combined by almost twice the weight on his rewarding day. That's what you get for digging every signal. Sure you get a pocket full of .22 shells but that one gram piece was worth it aye. Now I have a confession to make here. I told Simon I got nothing at his Mr Pocket spot..... But I got two. They were my biggest two of the day. .3 of a gram & .09 Simon did a good job on his first post of our day there so I will just cut to the chase. I had done quite well here back with my GP 3000 & little coiltek 10 x 5 mono coil. I put Simon on to some old timer piles hoping his 4500 & 14 x 9 NF Evo coil might punch deeper into & give something up to him. It didn't. While I detected opposite him & working my way to some schist bedrock where I had done well with the GP 3000 on tiny bits. High Yield/Normal sensitivity on 19 & going very slowly scraping the coil over the bedrock when I got to it. Of course it is a shotgun pellet graveyard so got my share of those. After getting my first few I kept checking all signals. This could have well been another pellet. I didn't take a VLF with me so had to be very careful not losing the target after moving it & breaking the "halo" effect & losing the signal. So after a bit of a scrape I blew the dirt & dust away & had my first piece of gold. I continued to detect very slowly on the edge of the grass & the bedrock as there was a bit of a lip & fracture in the bedrock. In the next pic, which is the same as the above pic but from a different angle, you will see a bit of a depression in the bedrock & the lichen on the bedrock just above & slightly to the right of the scoop. I got what I thought was a very slight cough in the threshold going over that depression. A couple of scrapes & removing the lichen revealed that the depression was the edge of a flat slab of schist sitting on top of the bedrock. It was totally unrecognisable & just appeared to be the bedrock surface. I have over the years realised just how many bedrock nooks & crannies & secret gold hiding cracks & fractures that lichen can hide. So I flipped the slab over to reveal another bit of a lip & drop off in the bedrock, right at the top edge of the coil. That is where the now improved signal was coming from. I scraped the pointy end of the pick along it & revealed a crack going under the now over hanging bedrock. Broke it open & one more scrape had the signal move. A bit more blowing &...piece number two Waved the coil very slowly over the rest of that little plateau & was getting nothing but pellets. Got to the last corner of the bedrock & was getting feed up with the pellets when one of them morphed into a tiny piece of gold smaller than a pellet. Unbelievable. Simon later made a comment that I had never thought of or considered before, & that was that people just wouldn't believe that I was finding gold this small with that 14" coil on the Zed. But Simon is my witness. It was at this stage that Simon had found his Mr Pocket & said he could get no more from it & relinquished it to me to try with the Zed. So I did. It was in among that tall dry grass that he has shown his pics of. My first signal was a very good hit, & I thought, here we go a .22 shell. But no...a .3 of a gram piece of gold. Followed by a fainter signal but a positive one. Very shallow. .09 of a gram. But that was it. Nothing but .22 shells from there on. Even a live one. Thank goodness I got those two bits first off after getting a pocket full of .22 shells after them. Total of .57 of a gram for 5 pieces. The .3 one really helped lift that total. Mr possum looks a bit delirious with holding all that gold. Or is it the "cigarette" he is smoking? His tongue is even hanging out....as well as his dangley bits. Cheers Good luck out there JW
  5. Hi guys, I finally got out for a detect this Saturday just gone. I thought it had been over one month since I had been up in the hills. Sure seemed like it but on checking my little gold finds diary my last entry was on the 13th of January. It has just been too damn hot to get out there so I have been going out in my jet boat instead & playing in the rivers that way. Last Tuesday Mrs JW & I went to Dunedin town to see Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame, in concert. It was the end of his 2017-2018 Us And Them world tour. Mrs JW & I are huge fans of his & Pink Floyd & David Gilmour too for that matter. We last saw Roger up in Auckland before moving down to Queenstown. He is now 74 years old & is likely to be his last tour. It was an absolutely brilliant show. All three hours of it. He is such a legend. Any way....The next day on leaving Dunedin to head back to Queenstown it was 36 degrees Celsius in Dunedin. That is unheard of.....but that is what it was & 32 in Queenstown. The next day we had rain for more than a whole day. I cant recall the last time we had continuous rain like that for more than a whole day. There was a southerly wind change Thursday night (off Antartica) & woke on Friday morning to snow half way down the mountains & a temperature high of just 15 Celsius. With those cooler temps I was off for a detect come Saturday. On getting there & speaking to the property owner he told me he had never seen rain like it & water was just pouring off the hills & down the "dry" gullies like he had never seen before. It was of course gone by Saturday but I was rapt as I hold high hopes for wet ground being not only easier to dig but more conductive & better depth on signals. So I hit a few spots that I have been over with the Zed & also in the insanely high settings when I did get deeper bits of gold. I was hoping the wet ground would give me another window of opportunity. It sort of did but not like I was hoping. I got a lot more junk that I hadn't got before, but you have to dig them. My first spot I hit I just manged one little piece of gold. Nothing bigger at greater depths than what I got first time here with the hot settings. But the little bit I got blew me away with the depth it was at. The pics dont really show the depth, I should have stuck the scoop in the hole. But I was down into the rotten basement schist peeling it out. I just knew it was going to be gold. It was such a good signal I was sure it was going to be bigger than what it turned out to be. I even scanned the hole again as I couldn't believe it. But no....that was it. The Zed is very good at making you think a signal target is going to be better than what it turns out to be. I then moved on to another area after getting no more here. Had a coffee before getting back into it & got a nice mellow signal within a few minutes. The ground was just so easy to dig with the moisture still in it compared to the dry rock hard digs prior to the rain. I was rewarded with a .4 gram slug. Could have been bigger .... Again this was the only piece I could find in this area. This surprised me. Oh well.....time to move on. You may recall in one of my last posts where I detected some old timer turned over gully workings beside some power lines. I continued on up the same run of workings where they deviated away from the power lines. I had never found any gold in this part of these workings.....ever. Only an old gin trap. I was surprised to see quite a few of the old timers prospect pits holding water. Had never seen this before. This is from standing beside my wagon looking up these workings. One thing you will notice is how dry & barren the ground is looking. I guess after the rain it may shoot away with a bit of grass growth. So it is a good time to be detecting before that happens. I noticed how at this lower end of the workings the granular schist & quartz gravels were quite small compared to the top end. I got no gold signals here but felt I had a better chance when I got further up & saw how the gravels got a lot more chunky. I got a nice hit on the top of a throw out pile. This next pic is looking back down to my wagon. If you look to the right of my wagon at the top of the pic you can make out one of the power line poles which is where I got a few bits of gold in my last post. Again I was blown away with the depth this small piece was at. But yet again this was my only piece from these workings. So on to some more. Got a good signal tight up beside a thyme bush & dug & dug & dug. Ended up having to grab the GB2 to try & pin point it & to see if it was ferrous or not. I wasn't sure if I may have passed the target in the side wall. WHAT....no signal at all with the GB2. Must be deeper still. I wasn't holding much hope of it being gold now as the signal was booming on the Zed. I went back to my wagon to get a little hand shovel as it was getting difficult to keep on going with the pick without making the hole wider. A few shovels of gravel out & still no signal with the GB2. Maybe it is out. Scanned the piles....nothing. Zed back in the hole & she was screaming. Few more shovels of material out & the Zed went silent. Its out. Scanned the pile & bingo. A signal. GB2 on to it & it was saying non ferrous. Probably a .22 bullet shell of lead bullet head. Now how deep do you reckon that hole is? The pick handle is 700 mm & it is over half way in the hole. Lets say about 350 mm or just over 14" Gold it was at just .34 of a gram....at that depth....unbelievable Again I re scanned every where as I could not believe that was it...but it was...again. Carrying on I got a double blip signal that usually is a shot gun pellet very shallow or sitting on the surface. But it sounded a little bit mellow. So I scraped at it with the pick & it had moved. GB2 in the dry grass. To the left of the GB2 & to the left of that dug out ditch you will see the scrape on the right shoulder of that throw out pile. Notice too in the foreground of that dug out ditch the water (dampness) it is holding. Got it in the scoop & on to the coil of the Zed & bugger me. That was my last bit though for the day despite going until dark. End result was just 5 bits for 1.2 grams I really thought the wet ground would produce better results for me. But I was amazed at the depths I was getting that small gold at. The Zed never fails to amaze me. Just wish there were bigger bits down there as well. Cheers Good luck out there JW
  6. Hi guys, I headed out for an afternoon detect on Saturday to an old haunt that is getting pretty lean now. The grass growth has been insane this summer being very detrimental to my detecting & just where I can swing the coil. I have been forced to target the balder areas of the old timers throw out piles where the gravels must be too sour for grass growth. But of course I have hammered these over the years so not expecting to get much....if anything these days from them. This is how they should be this time of the year. But they aren't. This pic was taken a few years ago when I got 3 bits off here from the top end of the working towards those trees. I didn't take a pic of how they were on Saturday but this next pic is the paddock next to these old workings on my drive in to them. I started at the bottom end & worked my up detecting the small amount of bald spots. I was getting nothing. I worked my way up to the top end where I had got the three bits I previously spoke of. The gravels here were a bit more inviting looking. I thought that at the time to when I got those three bits. Well bugger me...I got a faint but positive signal. Note the grass growth compared to the first pic. Down 4 inches the signal was out .12 of a gram Even found an old gin trap. Note to the left of my thumb. Kiwi stamped into it. That was it though. No more gold. I tried three other locations & zilch. Decided to head off for the two hour drive home at 8.30 pm. On my way I thought I would try that spot where Simon got his .62 gram piece. I had never tried the Zed in there. It was starting to get dark so I grabbed my head lamp & headed in. The spot where Simon got his bit was covered in thyme bushes & going to be a challenge for the Zeds 14" coil. As I walked in I saw a bald spot of gravels & headed for those with detector swinging. High Yield/Normal & sensitivity on 19. Straight off I got a faint but positive signal. Shotgun pellet no doubt. I had been getting my share of those all day.🤬 First couple of scrapes the signal was still in the ground. MMM.... maybe not a pellet now. At about an inch the signal had moved. .08 of a gram That was it for 2.5 hours of detecting. A moon had come up so I only needed the head lamp to ID a target. Nothing more in gold. But got my share of junk. I would have thrown away just as many more pellets. Two tiny bits for the Zed. That was it. Got home at 11.30 pm. Good luck out there JW
  7. I posted this on the coin & relic forum, but suspect a lot of Equinox forum members may not venture over there, so decided to post it here. I tested the 15" coil at an old Spanish trail stage stop and was pretty blown away by the results, here's a link to the story and video: GL&HH, Cal
  8. I woke up Sunday all motivated to find some gold, I’d been looking forward to a prospecting outing with KiwiJW for some time, he’s been a very big mentor to me and has answered every question I’ve had with a very detailed and easy to understand answer, which is fantastic as I’m very much a beginner, but an eager one at that. I sent John a TXT message asking if he wanted to go on a hunt, I was pleased to see he replied with a YES. We arranged to meet at a location to give it a shot, John recommended I put the 5” coil on my GM1000 for the task at hand, I’ve barely used my 5” as I always thought I’d have more chance with the bigger coil. He decided to use his GB2 so we were both on a different detector. Both our Equinox’s stayed in the cars as the big coil was no good for the task at hand, come on Minelab, we want the 6” coil now!!!, and while you’re at it, make it with a solid base cover please. We had some serious terrain to get through before we got to the location where we started to detect, as we headed down to the area the rocks were covered in moss and I took quite a nasty fall, landed flat on my back and winded myself, not a great start to the day but up I get and off we go, after all, we are on a mission. John gave me a rundown on what to do and how to do it and off we went detecting in the creek, I tried to stay on the opposite side of the creek to John so I didn’t get in his way, not long after we arrived we were walking along the creek, detecting in the areas John indicated would give us the best chance, and I could hear John’s GB2 making noises that even sounded good to me and very much like my Gold Bug Pro sounds. He had what appeared to be a target, I ran across with my GM1000 and tried to find the target that he was getting… nothing, not a signal at all on the GM1000 in Auto+, he hit the area a few more times with his pick and said now try it, still nothing, I changed to manual 10 and there it goes, sounding off on the target with a good positive reading on the indicator. I now really understood why John told me I should be using the 5” coil, the smaller the better for this job and why he mostly uses manual 10 if the location allows it. He kept digging for some time, so long I went back to my detecting thinking it can’t be anything as he’s been on it about 10 minutes chunking away the rock and still got nothing. How wrong I was, all the sudden I hear John yell out, got one! So I ran back over and it was massive, the biggest nugget I’ve ever seen in person, it was big, but very thin weighing in at 1.52 grams. We guessed the nugget was up on its side which is why the Monster struggled in Auto+ as I was swinging directly over the top of the area with the coil flat, where as he was able to use his tiny little 6.5” elliptical coil on his GB2 to really get down into the crack so he was hitting on the target sideways, the likely orientation of the nugget, I didn’t know to do this at the time. Being the beginner trying to follow all the rules of detecting I suggested he check the hole again, and bang, straight away, another target, I stayed around to watch the retrieval of this one, and tested it prior to retrieval on the Monster and was giving a good full bars on the indicator. Up comes John’s second nugget shortly after. John's nuggets, look at the size of that thing! Now I was really getting motivated, I kept my Monster on Auto+ as there was a bit of instability around his GB2 with it on manual 10. We walked along a bit and John said, That spot over there looks good and explained why, so off I went and virtually straight away, I had a good signal so I dig for a bit and found nothing, and moved on to an area next to it, John came over with his GB2 and I said I had a good signal but couldn’t find anything, he got his pick out and scraped away some of the gravel and said, try again. I did, and managed to narrow down where the target was, scooped up the gravel into my scoop and waved it over my 5” coil and bang, it’s in the scoop. John talked me through narrowing down where it is in my scoop and after a few minutes my first nugget of the day and the biggest I’d ever found by a long shot. We rechecked the area and nothing so continued on. At this point I had a smile on my face like the Joker that couldn’t be removed. My first nugget of the day After climbing over a few waterfalls while John was giving me further instruction of where to look I found another signal in some schist, there wasn’t even a crack in it, this was a solid bit of schist in the creek but it was giving a good signal, normally I would just walk away thinking some sort of false alarm, he instructed me to hit it with my pick and break it up a bit, and I did, shortly after a nugget was visible in the rock, retrieved it, rechecked the area, still had my perfect full positive signal, smashed some more rock out, another nugget, and again, this process went 6 times! I got 6 nuggets out of this bit of rock! Unfortunately the 6th nugget which was only tiny was washed away during retrieval by the fast flowing creek and I just couldn’t find it after that. My schist glory hole! We walked along a bit further and decided it’s time to try out another nearby area as this was more an educational journey for me so we decided to take the high country goat track back to avoid having to walk the creek again, this possibly turned into a harder walk than the creek itself but it was an adventure! I managed to lose my scoop during this walk back to the cars. My Nuggets from the first creek My nuggets in the Vial, John's directly on the car bonnet, his was bigger so harder to lose We arrived at the next creek and found an apple tree so had a snack and then walked up the creek doing a bit of detecting, then John said, there is plenty of old mining workings up that hill there, want to go up? I of course said yes so we climbed up. I was amazed at what I saw, there was water races, and piles and piles of rocks and various workings, even old rock structures they had made, this looked like it went on for many KM’s along the creek side high up in the hills. John said now there is all that bedrock here, let’s go detect that and pointed out what I needed to look for. He specifically said target the cracks in the bedrock as gold gets stuck in them so that’s exactly what I did. I found a further two nuggets right near each other in cracks in the bedrock. There wasn’t many targets up there in the small amount of time we were searching and it was getting late. John just found some junk unfortunately. I feel a bit bad as John spent so much time helping me he didn’t get that much time detecting to find targets himself but he did get BY FAR the biggest nugget of the day and another decent size one so that’s some consolation, by weight our day was very similar. We headed back down and John knew a shortcut to get back to the cars so we took it and it worked out well, we were back in no time, the walk back was also very educational for me. John pointing out various old timer workings and explaining it all, I learnt a huge amount on this adventure and I am very thankful to John for taking me along and sharing his wealth of knowledge on the area’s gold mining and metal detecting techniques. I feel like now I can actually metal detect for gold, and do it with some success. The Gold Monster 1000 is a perfect beginner’s machine, and as it seems great for the experts too. Regretfully I had to take off home at this point as my 7yr old daughter was waiting up past her bed time for me to get home so she could see if I found anything while I was out with the guy who she sees in all the forum photos finding gold all the time and wonders why daddy can’t do it! She’s quite the keen little prospector too. My wife and daughter were shocked when I showed up rattling my vial with 8 nuggets in it, weighing in at a mighty 2.167 grams. I just had the time of my life! If you look closely in the vial there is actually 9 in there, I'm wondering if the tiny one is the one I thought I lost as I don't know where it came from A huge thank you to John (KiwiJW) for a wonderful educational and successful day out! Freshy washed nuggets, ready for weigh in!
  9. I’ve got my lads home this summer so I’ve been grabbing every chance I can get to drag them out detecting. For me finding some gold is always a good way to get some ready cash for incidental things like beer which both boys now seem to have discovered a taste for.🤣 My attitude is the more I can get them out detecting with them the better because they will soon enough be pursuing their own life directions and if my life at that age is anything to go by no doubt it will be in another town a long way away. So in exchange for beer, a bed, air con, food and the odd bit of cash here and there, oh and don’t forget always running out of data on our internet plan,🤔 I get to occasionally grab one or both lads and go do a bit of father son detecting. Yesterday was a lot of fun, the weather has returned to hot and muggy again (typical February weather in Central QLD) so an early start was necessary. This time we decided to target an area not far from a high voltage power line, not because we love the constant discordant threshold (The GPZ is heaps better than any of gold machine in this regard), but because the gold tends to be chunkier thanks to the area not having been detected as often due to the interference. The keys to detecting here are to find a clear frequency for the location, this is changed pretty regularly as the frequency of the line changes often too, I also find lowering the sensitivity helps a lot and also backing off the B&Z booster a bit to take the edge off the variation. There is also a fair amount of trash so we tend to just focus on signals that sound a bit buried. I was lucky and pinged a deep 1 gram bit only 30 minutes into the session, I held off letting Tim know because its better in a nasty area like this to keep things low key and not too competitive. Being hot and sweaty as well as listening to an annoying unstable threshold is bad enough without feeling pressured from Dad. Anyway this session was kinder to me and I managed to ping quite a few chunky bits poking my coil here and there amongst the old boys diggings on the edges of the drainage. Poor Tim was struggling he had pockets full of lead and trash but no gold, so I suggested he head on over to were I pinged the first bit. Right on knock off time I saw Tim grinning triumphantly and he then refusing to finish off for the day until he had covered the area more thoroughly. Long story short, Tim got the biggest nugget for the session sitting right at 1.6 grams with a grand total of 7.4 grams between us. Seeing how were are partners we spilt the gold with 3.7 grams each or $214 AU for a few hours work, no wonder he likes coming home for a visit.😎😂 JP Some pics of yesterdays session and a few from another one last week. The gold is just a bonus, the true gold is the time spent with my boy.
  10. I had some afternoon time today and decided to see what the wind blew in to the southern California beaches. The tides are bad, the waves are small and it took me over a mile before I had my first target penny! These are the same beaches where I've found lots of targets in the past but these small wind waves are only moving sand. It is all deposit mode, sanded in as you might say. On the way back I decided to do a bit of blanket line near a surf break. I found a little spill for about $1 in change when a surfer came up to me and asked if I had found his Toyota key. I had only been there about 5 minutes and I told him I had not but I'd help him look if he knew EXACTLY where he had sat and picked up his roll on the way to his car. He showed me and I began circling that area and he dragged his foot along the path he took to the parking lot. I followed that line with my Nox 800 and the 15" coil and found a couple more coins but not his key. I did a double width pass on his path and then told him I had no results after about 25 minutes. He was bummed and wanted me to take his number in case I found it but I said I was leaving and there was no chance I was going to find it tonight. He said thanks for helping and we parted. On my way back to my parking spot I saw the lifeguard truck ahead of me watching the sunset. I went up to the guy and he cracked his window and wanted to know what this metal detectorist wanted. I told him a surfer was looking for his key and I had been helping him and he reached down into his lap and says, "I have it, where is the surfer?" I pointed him out about 1/3 of a mile down the beach and he took off. I watched as the surfer went over to the truck and took the key from the lifeguard. It would have been nice if the surfer could have spotted me and waved or even the lifeguard could have come back and said something but that did not happen. I didn't find the surfer's key but I did find a story with a happy ending. Mitchel
  11. Cabin fever setting in, was needing to get out. It warmed up to 38 degrees and that's just warm enough to melt a little snow off beach and the warm air blowing through gravels allowed me to dig targets. Nothing special 5 coins and trash, but I've been hitting this beach since I got the NOX last March, cleaning out trash, thinking there should be a ring sometime, just Not Today. I know there has to be one some time. ( Right ??? ) I have to think not everyone thought to take jewelry off before a summer swim. Sure felt good to get out. Kenai Lake / Quarts Creek Camp Ground Beach. Watch out Nevada / Arizona / Florida Treasure Coast next winter, I'm a coming !!!!! Haha !!!!!!
  12. Hi Guys. We had a public holiday yesterday so I decided to spend it out detecting.Trouble is I don't get paid for public holidays being a contractor. But any excuse to get out for a swing. I made a plea to Simon to tag along but he was committed else where for the day. It was a stunning day with a bit of well needed coolness first thing....but that didn't last long. I decided to keep at it with my Modded 4500 & the little 8 x 6 nugget finder Sadie coil targeting the thyme bushes that I just haven't a hope of getting the Zed into. It was very slow detecting waving in & out & poking & prodding among the thyme bushes. It was a long time between getting signals. A lot of rubbish. I eventually got a signal in among the thyme bushes that was a bit more mellow but a good hit none the less. You may just see the detector hiding in the thyme bushes to the right of that tall spindly plant. Note the quartz gravels. The signal was right in under a thyme bush & I had to hack into it to get a pin point on the target. It wasn't overly deep at about 4 inches when the target had moved. Waving the magnet thru the gravels nothing latched on to it. I ended up with a piece of quartz giving the signal. I had in the past got numerous gold quartz specimens in this location & knew this was going to be another. I went back to my wagon, which wasn't very far away, to get my bottle of water to give it a wash. Before washing I was pretty sure that little nobby bit was going to be gold. It was No record breakers...but I will take it. I then re scanned the dig area & got another hit. No way I thought. Not another speci....I hopefully thought. No it wasnt.🤬 Three bloody nails. But right next the speci I got. That was it for hours. I then worked my way back towards my wagon for a very late lunch & a much needed drink of water. On my way I thought I would detect the clay/gravels of an old timers dam that they had built across a gully to gather water behind it for their ground sluicing of these old workings. I had detected numerous pieces back in my GP 3000 days off this dam. The workings are to the left in among all those thyme bushes & the water was gathered on the right. That cutting in the dam wall above the detector is where the dam was breached...probably by the farmer. First few signals were just rubbish but then where the detector is sitting in the above pic I got a nice mellow signal that came out of a very firm chunk of green schist & hard clay. Had to break it up with my pick when I got the signal isolated. And out popped this. A prickly bit of gold within a bit of quartz. Well...that was it for the day. I got nothing more but my share of rubbish. And yes Simon....I got my share of pellets. I threw a lot of them into the briar rose bushes. I knew I would never be able to detect in among those. A long hot hard day at that. But it was better than nothing I guess. Just. Cheers Good luck out there JW
  13. My prospecting buddy in San Diego and I decided to take a run down to Baja to see if this summer's hurricane event had moved any gold around. This particular Baja placer has been pretty popular over the past 20 years and we've pretty much hunted out all the easy stuff so we had high hopes for a new bonanza. We left on Monday crossing the border at Calexico. I was waved through after a cursory examination by the Mexican border officials. My friend was in a different lane and he was subjected to a much more thorough examination. I think it was end of shift and the border officials needed to make some quick money. Four of them pulling everything out of his truck. They ultimately came to his 7000 detector. He explained its use and then they asked what it was worth. He lied and told them $4000.00. They saw dollar signs because according to them he would need to pay an import duty on the equipment, $420.00 US dollars cash. I guess 100 bucks apiece is a good nights work. He refused and told them that he would just return to the US. After that the price came down to $240.00. He still refused and we used the turnaround lane back to the US side of the border. It's hard to argue their notion of justice. We spent the night at my house in sunny Yuma and decided to cross at Algodones the next morning. That crossing was going well as far as inspection, but then the immigration officer inquired as to our Mexican Visas. We've never needed a Visa in Baja unless crossing the states of Baja Norte to Baja Sur. So, we bought some much needed $35.00 cash only Visas and continued on our way. The summer hurricane wiped out most of the paved highway just outside of San Felipe. They were working on replacing the highway but in the meantime you're restricted to a rough one lane dirt road over about 40 miles. From my house to the Placer is abut 240 miles and we arrived in the early afternoon. The prime ground is another 3 miles by ATV. We spent the rest of the afternoon building some ramps and filling big holes to run the my Rokon and his Yamaha Big Wheel up the canyon. The hurricane had run water about 20 ft high through the canyon so all our improvements from last year were washed away. It was tough sledding all the way but I didn't get unhorsed this year. My friend took a nasty fall after his bike slid down a too smooth rock wall. He was hobbled and we ended up cutting our trip short. Nevertheless, I got one good day of detecting in. I found a stretch of bedrock that last year had a foot of overburden on it. It was now swept clean and I found these small nuggets in bedrock cracks. I intended to check some promising ground about a 2 mile hike away, but I just couldn't justify leaving gold to find gold. Maybe next trip. The weather was great and the gold available, just not enough time after our border mishap and my friend's banged up knee.
  14. I am primarily a gold prospector but I do enjoy all things metal detecting. The thing is I really like finding gold (or platinum, silver, etc.) so my focus is always on precious metals. That being the case relic hunting has not particularly appealed to me, especially given the laws surrounding finding true artifacts in this country. Many relic hunters are at least technically in violation of federal law if they are recovering items 100 years or older and in many places 50 years or older can get you in trouble. I don't need that kind of trouble in my life and so even though the actual risks involved tend to be overblown, it is not something that excites me. I have the law firmly on my side when prospecting for gold on land open to mineral entry. Eight years ago some friends suggested I might enjoy hunting ancient artifacts and gold in England. The UK has laws regarding the recovery of antiquities that are far superior to ours. They actually support metal detecting and have proven so successful that museums are being overwhelmed by the numbers of exciting finds being made. I always wanted to find a gold coin anyway. My friends suggested the operation that centers around Colchester, England. Colchester is the site of the earliest Roman occupation in England and has history extending far earlier. The Celtic tribes in particular were active in the area, with many Celtic gold coins found by detectorists. The gold coins found span the millenia though including hammered gold coins and milled gold coins of more recent vintage. Just browse the website finds page for an idea of the types of finds made every day in this area. All photos in this story may be clicked or double clicked on for larger versions. Just one field of several at this one location. I could have spent the whole trip here. The hunts are limited to a couple times per year when the farm fields have just been harvested or planted, so Feb-March in the spring and Sept-Oct in the fall. The limited timeframe and limited openings means it is hard to get your foot in the door with this club unless you apply a year or more in advance. 2019 is already filling up and people are booking 2020 now. Long story short I made the trip for two weeks back in 2010 as told at Metal Detecting Ancient Coins at Colchester, UK. I refer you there for more details especially photos of all my finds. The hunt was amazing with finds ranging over a 2000 year span. Finds that would be world class in the U.S. are not only common but considered "new" by comparison to the finds I made almost every day I was in England. Yet I did not score that gold coin. There are many found, but when you consider the number of people hunting 12 hours a day the reality is that you have to be very lucky to get your coil over one, even given a full two weeks. I came away better educated on that reality. It was a fabulous trip but I was in no great rush to return knowing what I learned, plus it rained half the trip, and UK farm field mud is as sticky as it gets. It is far easier to find gold nearer to home and I went back to prospecting and jewelry detecting as my main focus for finding precious metals. Nostalgia does creep up however, and as time passed I thought I should give it another go. I booked a slot with two of the hunt managers, Minnesota Mindy and Chicago Ron, figuring that I had a shot at maybe at least one of them. I had never met Mindy but we knew of each other from Ganes Creek days, and Ron I took a photo of making his first Morini Celtic gold coin (see story above). A year went by and then suddenly Mindy had an opening, which I jumped on immediately. Just a few days later Ron had an opening. I was going to decline, then saw by some miracle his week started when Mindy's ten days ended. I really hate making trips of any magnitude for less than two weeks. This is low odds stuff and the costs also do not justify short hunts in my mind. I booked with Ron also and suddenly had seventeen days in England on my calendar for October 2018. By sheer coincidence it turned out that a forum member unearth (hi Gary!) was booked for Mindy's portion. Field with view of the River Stour I got a ticket with United for $1250 round trip to Heathrow from Reno, NV. It is a pretty easy flight really. Afternoon flight out of Reno to Los Angeles, and then 11 hour overnight flight from LA to London. Overseas flights coach class is more like domestic first class, and if you can sleep on planes you can sleep most of the journey away and wake up in England. My return was the reverse but routed through San Francisco with a longer layover in order to deal with customs on re-entering the U.S. No real issues for those used to navigating large airports. It could be exciting for novices however but just relax and ask for help the minute you have any problems. The trips to a certain degree are like an all inclusive vacation with most everything covered, but may include nights out at English pubs for dinner. I did none of that my first trip so looked forward to seeing a little more local flavor this time around. I must be mellowing with age because it is not all about the hunt these days - I am making more effort to smell the flowers along the way and just enjoy. Accommodations on the trip are in barns that have been converted to apartments, which is why these types of hunts are referred to as "barn hunts" but there are other options. Rooms are normally shared - my room for the first ten days. Art was a great roommate. I got far more lucky with weather this time much to my relief. It makes everything more pleasant for all involved. Groups consist of seven or eight people including the host, who busses the group to different fields each day or twice a day. All morning hunting takes place on one farmers fields. The hunt may continue on that farmers land in the afternoon, or switch to another famers land. The farmers are paid by the number of people on their land each day so for logistical purposes it is one or two landowners per day. The amount of land available is mind-boggling vast. There are fields that have been hunted for the 16 years the club has been in existence, and good finds are still being made. This is part due to the sheer size but also the fact that the famers deep plow and turn the land. Targets that were too deep or on edge get brought up or reoriented, and so areas thought dead come back to life on a regular basis. I proved that myself this trip. New fields are also added on a regular basis for those who like that feeling of being on less hunted ground. I took two Equinox 800s on the trip, one outfitted with the new 15" x 12" coil that arrived just before my departure. This is a fantastic coil, very light for its size, and just the ticket for covering huge areas. There is a depth bonus also on most targets but to me that is just a bonus. That extra 4" coverage per swing is far more important in improving the odds for finds than another inch of depth. I will get more into my settings and how they evolved during the trip as a follow up post. United wants $100 for a second bag, and I was able to bring two complete Equinox and everything I needed for three weeks on the road in a single 40 lb bag plus small satchel carry on. Nice! I could drag this out as a blow by blow accounting of each day but let's cut to the chase. Just a couple days into the hunt one of our group found a Celtic gold coin, always a good sign. Five days into the hunt Gary (unearth) scores part of a medieval gold ring with a red stone, possibly a ruby. A great find and Gary was very pleased to find gold - who would not be? Congratulations Gary! I and the others were finding various old coins and artifacts similar to what you would see in my story from 2010 - lead seals, hammered silver coins, watch winders, buttons galore, musket balls, etc. Gary scores gold and a gemstone - jewelry finds are very rare October 16 dawned nice and sunny, and we went to hunt some of the older ground in the club and so few people want to hunt there. Yet I was immediately busy digging "gold range" targets with my focus being on target id numbers from 7 on up. I will explain the reasoning there later. I made a few passes back and forth digging all manner of small lead bits when I got a nice little 7-8 reading no different from hundreds already dug in the last few days. I turned over a spade full of dirt, and out popped an oddly shaped piece of gold! Celtic "Votive Offering" fresh out of the ground! I knew it was gold but I was not sure what it was. It looked like a small torc, normally a band worn around the arm or neck. This was too small, maybe 5-6 inches long, so it would barely loop around a wrist enough to stay put. More like the size of a ring really. Whatever it was I knew it was great and my emotions soared sky high. I reached in my pocket for my iPhone to take a picture.... and had an emotional crash. My phone was gone! I went from elation to panic almost instantly. I left the find and detector where they were, and proceeded to backtrack my trail. I had not gone far and the ground was rolled flat, so I determined I must have left the phone in the van with Mindy. So I got on the radio and announced my find of a "mini-torc" and explained I had lost my phone. New Minelab Equinox 15" x 12" coil helps make once in a lifetime find Mindy was excited and said she would be right there. She did indeed have my phone, so we rushed back and took photos of the find. Everyone gets excited when gold is found and this time was no different. Now that I had my phone I got excited all over again, quite the rollercoaster! Happy guy! Photo courtesy of Mindy Desens Celtic gold, the find of a lifetime for sure. Many of the Celtic gold coins found here date from around 50 BC to 25 BC and so it is reasonable to think this find is of similar age, though that cannot be determined for sure without further testing. Gold dropped around 2100 years ago - simply amazing! Equinox and Celtic gold! The find has since been labeled as a gold "votive offering". The ancients lived for the harvest, and offerings were made to the gods in the form of gold tossed into the field to insure a good harvest. At least that is the theory that tries to explain why nearly all the farming land seems to have at least a few Celtic gold items found in them eventually. The truth is nobody really knows for sure as there are no written records from that time. For all we really know this might be an ancient gold hoop earring! That's half the fun, imagining what this stuff is and why it is where it is. The club has been hunting these fields for around 16 years, and while many Celtic gold coins have been found this is the first item of it's type, making it a particularly rare and satisfying find. It is really hard to get my head around the fact that somebody last held this gold over 2000 years ago. Celtic gold "votive offering" closeup All gold or silver that is not a coin is immediately declared as treasure to the museums. I actually got to handle the find very little before it was whisked away to a safe. The museums will evaluate it, and possibly bid on it. High bidding museum gets the find, and the money would be split between me and the property owner. If the museums decline, I will pay the property owner one half the value and eventually get it back. This normally takes about a year but can take two or more years depending on the backlog. Every item found that the finder wishes to keep must go through this process, and there are only so many experts who can identify and catalog all this stuff. I live for the hunt and the photos. It's not like I haul gold around to show off to people - it all resides in a safe deposit box. So for me the only real value is in making that adrenaline rush happen and then having photos I can easily share with others. I won't mind therefore if it sells at auction and I get half the cash. Clean and easy. If I get the opportunity to get it back however I may very well have my find fashioned into a ring. There are not many people in the world who can claim to be wearing jewelry fashioned before Christ was born. I could sell it myself no doubt for over twice whatever I pay for it, but I don't need the bucks that bad to part with such a find. Celtic gold details - actual age unknown but BC, around 25 to 50 BC if in range of coins found in area The Equinox with 15" x 12" coil did a good job making this discovery. As a classic open ended "broken ring" type signal it was reading 7-8 and was detectable to only about 4-5 inches in air tests. I am guessing it was about 4 inches deep. The Equinox is exceptionally hot on gold and while you can never say for sure it is very possible that this gold item was left in this heavily hunted area because it is such a poor signal on most detectors. Needless to say I am very happy with both my Equinox and the new 15" x 12" coil. It is the perfect coil for this type of large field detecting. Speaking of Equinox I was surprised at how many were already in use with this random cross section of hunters from around the U.S. About three-quarters of the hunters were swinging the Equinox, most having switched from the Deus or CTX 3030. Other than the typical minor quibbles people were unanimous in liking the machine and there was constant talk about how well it was performing. The Equinox really loves round items in particular, and people were reporting noticeable increases both in depth and target id accuracy at depth. Ferrous identification is almost 100% accurate under these conditions. I dug only one ferrous item in nearly three weeks that just clearly fooled me, a very deeply corroded steel spike of some sort. There were a handful of other ferrous targets I dug that I figured were ferrous but were borderline enough I figured "just dig it". Better safe than sorry, but in each case they were the expected ferrous items. Lots of Minelab Equinox plus a Deus and CTX The next day we were back in the same general area. There was one small plot Mindy wanted to hunt and nobody else was interested, so I decided to hunt with her. I was at one end of the field and Mindy the other. I was hunting fast, trying to cover area, when I got one of those showstopper signals and dug a nice 1737 George II milled silver sixpence. I had no idea what it was - kind of looked like a Roman emperor to me and so Mindy had to take a look. I found I was best off not speculating on finds as I was usually wrong though I am learning. The "George" I know now is a dead giveaway that this is a "recent" vintage coin. A real beauty though and I was quite pleased with it. 1737 George II milled silver sixpence It was only 15 minutes later that Mindy calls out on the radio that she found a full Celtic stater, the larger of the Celtic gold coins. It was her twelfth gold coin find on these hunts over the years, and a real beauty at that. I am one of those people who get nearly as excited as the finder when a great find is made - I love seeing people do well detecting - and this was very thrilling to witness. Although I was in no position to complain this was exactly the sort of find I had hoped to make myself, and it is nice to know these targets still remain. I had walked maybe ten feet past the coin as I headed for the far end of the field. Just a stunning coin, and looked almost brand new even though it had been in the ground for around 2100 years. Gold is just amazing in that regard, whether nuggets, jewelry, or coins, they pop out of the ground like they were dropped yesterday. Mindy scores a Celtic gold stater - her 12th gold coin 45 BC to 25 BC Addedomarus - Trinovantian tribe 5.58 g.16.90 mm Can you imagine, twelve gold coin finds, including a hammered gold noble, some sovereigns, and Celtic gold? Mindy is amazing. Here I am looking for my first gold coin and she gets her twelfth - now you know why this hunt attracts people. The next day we were hunting some of the newer, less hunted ground, but after some high speed scanning I wandered off to an area that has been hunted a lot before because two gold sovereigns had been found there recently. There are areas where there are lots of targets, and also vast stretches of fields where targets are few and far between. People tend to like the idea of new fields, but they often have very few targets to dig. I kind of prefer older target rich zones that have prior gold history because even after years of hunting I have no problem digging lots of gold range targets in these locations. This does usually mean lead but I am happy to dig lead targets all day as opposed to being in an area where there are only targets once every 15 minutes or more. This was one of those locations, and I was in gold hunt mode digging lots of tiny signals in the 7-10 range with 9 being particularly prevalent. This almost always is an oblong little bit of lead, but I dug another nice 9 signal and up popped a large gold flake! It was not much different than something I might find gold prospecting, but is either a fragment of a hammered gold coin that has been worn to oblivion or maybe a portion of a blank gold sheet. I don't know but it was my second gold find in three days and so very nice to see. Just making one gold find is exceptional, and two in a week is harder yet. The flake only weighs 1.03 grams and is 15.05 mm long and 0.80 mm thick. Truly just a flake of gold, and another testament to the gold ability of the Equinox even when running the larger coil. I was pleased with the find as much from a technical aspect as anything else, since I have already found countless similar flakes of gold while prospecting. I went all the way to England to find a flake of gold! It finally came time to say goodbye to Mindy and the group and get handed off to the new group incoming with Chicago Ron. Ron is an incredible hunter with a real nose for making finds. I really enjoyed watching him - an artist at work. In fact there are many people on these hunts that are amazing detectorists (Scott and Scott, and Mike, I'm looking at you) and there is always something to learn by observing good detectorists in action. What makes Ron special is he just wanders around in an apparently random fashion, yet consistently wanders into some really great finds. He has one of the best noses for detecting I have ever seen. My luck dropped off in this final week but no complaining here - nobody would sympathize anyway! I had my trip in the bag and was more relaxed and I was admittedly cherry picking a lot more now, focusing on the gold range and round targets. Most people are hunting hard for hammered silver coins, but for me those were more accidental bycatch. I just hunt for gold and let the rest happen. I had the chance to eat out a few times with Ron's group and enjoyed seeing more of the local flavor than I did on my first trip to the U.K. There was a dinner night out with Mindy's group (I bought dinner and drinks for all celebrating my find) that was a good time. I just love the English people and these nights out gave me more chance to interact with them. I even took time out from a hunt to go shopping in town with Mindy just to see the town of Manningtree close up. Again, one of the benefits of making a great find - the pressure was off and I did not get so crazy about just detecting. Manningtree, England One pub in particular out with Ron and company was directly across the street from where the captain of the Mayflower lived. The history everywhere you look is just stunning. Ron like nearly everyone in his group is was swinging an Equinox, and early on one day of the hunt he made a find that is rarer than the gold coins - a huge 1653 Commonwealth hammered silver half crown (30 pence). This is one of the few English coins with no king on the front because England was a Commonwealth without a king for a brief period of years. How this 14.39 gram silver coin was still sitting in the middle of a hunted area is a mystery, but as we all know if you do not get the coil right over the spot finds get missed. The coin is 34.66 mm or 1.36 inches in diameter and 2.0 mm thick. I got a great photo of Ron with his first Morini Celtic gold on my last trip, and here he is again doing his magic. What fun! Chicago Ron and 1653 Commonwealth hammered silver half crown Ron's 1653 Commonwealth hammered silver half crown I added to my collection of hammered silver, 1700 and 1800 copper coins, and milled silver coins with the remaining time I had. I tended to wander off in oddball directions away from the group, doing the "go big or go home" thing by hoping to get into some little corner or hotspot overlooked by others. Given the size of these fields there are limitless opportunities for this sort of wandering, and it often means fewer finds. It is however how spectacular finds like a horde happen so I do enjoy giving it a go. It ultimately is my favorite type of detecting, being alone in some place wandering around doing my own thing. Gridding target rich zones is probably more productive, but it has a mechanical work aspect to it. Wandering is more freestyle and also more conducive to the sort of meditative mental state I achieve while metal detecting. I am one of those types that lives in my head and some of my best thinking is done while wandering around detecting. I get so into "the zone" that hours flash by in apparent minutes. Whether I make finds or not I find metal detecting to be wonderfully refreshing. For me at least there are few things more relaxing than metal detecting. The trip ended with a spectacular bang by another new Equinox owner who recently joined the forum. Tim was kind of frustrated with the Equinox when I met him, but I did what I could to help him gain confidence in his detector, and the finds started coming. The very last day he made a find that exceeded my own in some ways, but that is his tale to tell so I will leave it for now. It was so awesome again to be around when a major find was made, and come to find I had walked about 30 feet away from it the previous week. Miss it by a foot or a mile, and you miss it. Usually you never know what you miss, but in this case I got to find out. It may be hard for people to believe but I am happier that Tim made the find than me. I am getting a bit jaded these days whereas Tim nearly fainted from the excitement. I get a real charge out of seeing that in people and Tim is just a really nice fellow. He really worked hard for that find and it was an awesome way to have the adventure come to a close. I am sure we will hear the details about Tim's amazing find very soon. I could not be happier with my 2018 UK adventure. The weather this time was really great. I actually got a farmers tan while in England! Mindy and Ron and his wife Gretchen are all great, doing everything they can to insure people have a good time. The folks I got to visit with in both groups came from all over the country, and I could not ask to meet a nicer and more upbeat bunch of people. I really am going to have to give this another go because I finally came home without that gold coin. Even that is ok because what I did find is even rarer, and I made two gold finds on the trip. Eight years ago I went home with a pouch full of great stuff, but I think my pride was a bit wounded that I had found no gold. I am supposed to be the "gold guy"! I am constantly competing with myself at some level, and this trip really left a warm glow. Again, my thanks to all involved for making this one of the best experiences in my now very long detecting career. Just awesome!! ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2018 Herschbach Enterprises Posted On Facebook Here is a partial selection of some of the finds I made on this trip. I won't be able to post a complete listing until I get the museum documents back - may be a year or more from now! A few finds made by Steve Herschbach in England, 2018
  15. 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 however, 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
  16. Monday Simon & I went off on an E-Bike detecting mission. Simon used Mrs JW's bike. I took my modded 4500 & 14 x 9 Nugget Finder Advantage coil for a spin. I also threw in the sadie coil. While Simon took his 4500 with 14 x 9 Evo coil & the GM 1000. The bikes made for quicker access, even going up despite having to walk & push the bikes at a few dodgy bits. Especially with the back packs of gear we were carrying on our backs. They have a little thumb throttle so you just push that & walk beside the bike. So the bike is wheeling itself. No weight involved, just got to avoid kicking the pedals into your shins. I didn't get carried away with photos so nothing much to show in the biking department or the terrain we had to negotiate. On getting up & over the saddle & dropping down to the bottom of the turned over gully workings, we stached the bikes & rigged up for detecting. We still had a bit of a walk to get to an area that I wanted to target. The grass growth was just insane. Just shouldn't be like that this time of the year. It was hard walking thru it as you just didn't know what your footing was going to be. Weather you were going to step into a hole or in between rocks from the stackings from the old timers. It was going to be a hot day, thanks to that hot air blowing off from that large island to the west. Aussie I think it is. They can keep their hot air. There is not much bedrock in the gully but it is full of turned over ground & rock piles from the old boys. There are workings & piles everywhere, even up high on the sides of the hills but still very little bedrock. We came upon some bedrock on the side of a hill & I pointed out to Simon that it looked like the old timers had worked a bit of the hill side as there were water channels running down that had scoured out the hillside exposing some bedrock. The channels were dry now of course as it would have been from water they got there by races. I left Simon on what looked like some promising ground that also had stacked rocks higher up the hill & obviously some working just over the brow that we couldn't see from down below. I carried on to another little wash channel in a shallow gully. It was damn hard detecting with nothing showing up. At least there were no shotgun pellets. But no gold coming either. Simon got a signal on what he said was a rock. He mucked around with it for a while but I am not sure what the result was on that. I had forgotten about it until just now. Simon will have to fill us in on that one. A few hours must have passed & next thing I hear Simons detector nutting off a lot & saw that he had dropped down to the gully floor & was detecting in among the stacked rock piles. I didn't think that was a good move as it was just tones of turned over rocks & piles & would have its share of old timer rubbish. I think he was more keen on the cool water in the stream. 👍 I had finished my bottle of water & was keen for a refill. But I carried on where I was on the edge of an old dry water wash & some bedrock the old boys had exposed. I had got a couple of faint sweet sounding hits. Thinking they were gold but turned out to be tiny remains of rusted boot tacks right down on this bedrock. Damn. I then got a good loud hit. Thinking this is going to be rubbish for sure. MMMmm...itdidn'tt stick to the magnet. Wasnt that deep before it moved. Got be rubbish. But no. First piece of sassy gold. Ye Ha .58 of a gram Looking down over the detector & down to the turned over gully floor with its stacks of rock piles. Creek winding it way around. Simon was off to the left out of the picture. I moved a couple of feet & got another hit. Dug down on it & it turned out to be an old nail. Bugger. Slowly poking the coil into the grass & fern growth I got another nice hit. Scraped out some grass & ferns. This went a bit deeper than the first bit of gold & I was surprised at the small size for the signal. But gold it was. .15 of a gram. Then things dried up & I was dried out. So I headed on down to Simon who had soaked himself in the creek. Despite how hot it was the water was still freezing. We did have a bit of a snow fall high up in the hills last week. Not bad for the middle of summer. I got down to Simon & we headed off to another spot. Crossed the creek where I filled up my bottle & drank a couple of liters of water. We walked up an old wash out from a large spill of rocks from the old timers washing out a huge cut in the hill side. Got to the top of that & kept going up to some high sluiced ground sluicing s where the old boys had washed out a sizeable paddock & left neatly stacked rows of rocks. I didn't get a photo & I am not sure if Simon did. Wish I had of now. There were a couple of exit point where the water had flowed out of these workings from the water they had brought on by a long water race. Now dry of course. One of these exits the water was re used lower down & the other just spilled out & down a steep slope that just got steeper until it dropped off vertical into a side creek gully below. It was dry & I said to Simon, this could be worth detecting as it is cutting thru what looked like virgin ground & gravels. I sat down & let Simon get into it. Thinking he would head down the wash detecting up & down the banks. But he headed up into the workings end. He got a few signals that just seemed to spread out as he dug. Turned out to be piles of little bits of iron sand/stones. Round like shot gun pellets. Simon at first thought they were but they were all over his magnet. When he got to the top end by the workings I headed on down & cranked up my 4500 away from him so we wouldn't clash with each other. I got down to a bit of bedrock in the bottom of this wash. Got a signal next to what was an old detector hole. I had seen a few old digs so we were not the first to be in here. turned out to be a bit of rubbish. I then dragged the edge of the 14 x 9 coil backwards thru the crevice cracks in this bedrock. Again...no photos. Got a nice mellow hit & Simon came on down to investigate just as I saw the glint of gold. I popped it in my scoop to show him & then I looked down to the ground & it feel out back onto the ground. I couldn't see it & Simon gave it a go with his detector to see if he could get it. So I turned mine off & WHAM...he got it alright. So there is nothing wrong with his set up. He just doesn't seem to be able to walk over gold. We carried on for a few hours more but got nothing else. Despite covering a bit of ground. We were getting pretty hot & worn out so we started back towards the bikes. We came across on more bit of bedrock. The old timers had brought a small water race along the top of the ridge & had worked some ground at the end of this high little spur. I said to Simon, you go for it. I will have a sit down. You need to get a bit of gold. While he was detecting away I took a snap across the gully to the saddle we had ridden up to in the back ground & ridden down this side of it. The bikes were stashed directly below me out of site below the bottom of the picture. You will see more piles of stacked rocks & tell tale signs of ground sluicing with the higher lumps & bumps they didn't wash away. Unfortunately Simon came up gold less & I really thought we would have done a lot better in here. There was not much bedrock & what there was had seen detectors before. So now it was back to the bike & break down our gear & re pack the back packs for the bike ride up & out. We were poked. Simon has one of those apple watches that tells you your heart rate, how many steps you have taken & how far you have walked. He got his heart rate up to 150 at one stage when an alarm came on his watch warning him to take it easy. He said he had taken 12,000 steps & I think it was 10.5 kilometers of walking. A lot of that was up hill & around the hill sides. The ride back down was uneventful with no mishaps. Thank goodness. Simon making out in one piece. Look how crazy the grass is. And the smile happy to have done so. We still had a way to go to the wagon but that was the quick fun part. So all up just the three little bits for me for not even 1 gram. Better than poke in the eye with a blunt stick & avoided the skunk. Not bad considering I hadn't used a 4500 for nearly three years. Cheers. Good luck out there JW
  17. My first pulse unit was a ML 3000, I had carried the unit to Az from Ak without opening the box. I was camped at Decision corners not to far from the old cemetery. Remembering events sometimes taxes you lol, but this was the year that Jonathan Porter came to the US and he was camped not too far away with his group. That evening I charged the big battery and laid everything out for assembly in the morning...After some food and detector assembly my friend and I drove over past the GPAA campground looking for a spot to try out our units. We parked near a metal building and I walked up the hillside towards a flat bench area I had spotted from the road...I made exactly two swings with my detector and I heard this signal sound I will never forget.. Weeee. Oooop lol that's gold for sure, and how could I be so lucky..
  18. It's been well over 4 months since I have picked up a metal detector. A house remodel and some landscaping has kept me away from the treasure fields unfortunately. When my buddy Merton called and said he wanted to go on a hunt all I could think of was that I needed to get the house finished before I went goofing around with a metal detector. Reluctantly I told myself that I probably could use a break and so I invited him to come on down. Merton, being the thoughtful guy he is called a couple days before our designated date and gave me the option of cancelling but I told him to come down and lets go for a hunt! I was starting to look forward to it as we always have fun treasure hunting together. I had already decided we were going to the spot where I found the old antique gold ring this past May. I had yet to revisit this spot. https://www.detectorprospector.com/forums/topic/6528-needle-in-a-haystack/ This area is on private property and has a small area of mining activity. It's not on any map. It's a tough area for the nugget hunter, the dozen or so pieces of gold that I have found here are small and few and far between. To make matters worse the area is loaded with lead from #9 bird shot to old 50 Cal plus round balls. For now I've pretty much written it off for gold hunting and would rather be a lazy relic hunter there instead. Up till now I had never found a old silver US coin there despite having made 7-8 visits to the area. A few old Chinese coins, a couple powder flasks, some gun parts and the surprise gold ring form the last hunt were enough to lure me back. As the saying goes "if you don't use it you loose it" And I had forgotten how to operate the equinox 800. The night before our hunt I broke out the owners manual that I had printed out (my wife made a nice binder for me) and brushed up on how to work the machine. I went outside and played around in the yard a bit with the detector. I'd even forgot how to noise cancel and was beginning to have doubts thinking I was wasting my time. Saturday found us in the foot hills on a bright sunny morning surrounded by herd of 75 very hungry cattle. I told Merton I was going to go on a walk about starting where I had found the gold ring and I'd catch up with him later. Merton with his XP Deus headed for whats left of some old chimneys down in a flat close to some tailing piles. I decided to keep things simple with the equinox so I put it in park 1, 5 tones, ground tracking, recovery speed 5 and Fe 1. The ground here is very noisy and it took me a while before I got back into the hang of things knowing which targets to dig and which to ignore. After about an hour of detecting I had it down and was building confidence. About two or three hours had gone by when I caught up with Merton. Neither of us had found anything really good. The place is not a very target rich environment for the relic hunter. We went back to the truck for a beer and some lunch. After lunch I told Merton that I was going to go up on the hill above the main camp and workings since neither of us had hunted it very hard before. This is where things start to get interesting. I had been gridding the hillside for about an hour or two when I came across a rare high tone. Kinda scratchy...but repeatable. A couple swings of the pick and out pops a seated silver dime in excellent condition. Immediately I call for Merton who is about a hundred yards below me and show him the coin still in the hole. I tell him to start working this area with me. Merton is a very polite detectorist and using good etiquette he heads up hill a little ways from me as to not encroach upon my new spot. Maybe another 20 minutes or so goes by and I'm about 20 yards or less from where I found the seated dime and I get a mid tone on the Equinox..14-15 and repeatable. Thinking it's just another shot gun cap or lead ball I dig a little dirt out with the pick....my Garret carrot says the target is an inch or two behind and to the right of where I originally thought it was. Using the Lesche I start digging out the area and out pops this little gold shiny thing. I could only see part of it but it had a serrated edge and I immediately knew what it was even though I had never dug one before! Gasping and jumping backwards all I could do was call out for Merton to get over here! he could tell by my excitement that It was something good....he's smiling as he walks down..... "What did you get a half dollar?" I shake my head no...."Silver dollar?" again I shake my head no....."A GOLD COIN?" all I was capable of was looking up and smiling as I was still speechless. As I went down to reach for it and Merton says "CAREFUL DON'T RUB IT!" There was a lot of congratulatory back slapping, high fives etc... then without touching the coin I said I got to go to the truck and get my phone so I can take some pictures. The coin is in excellent condition (1853 2.5 dollar) which is hard to believe since it's been in the ground for well over a hundred years. Here are the pictures so you can see what we seen. We went back the day after and then hit another spot a couple days after that. We managed another Seated and a few other trinkets. I'm back to working on my house again and Merton is out at sea. But I'm looking forward to our next hunt together. What a great hobby. strick
  19. The old coinshooter has been gone now for many years (1993) but I remember him very well..he used a CM 3 then, which he just wore out, it was replaced with a brand new Coinmaster 4...I got to hunt with him a few times and it was a pleasure to watch him slowly shuffle along he would stop scan back and forth and either dig or move on, I knew he was listening carefully.. We were hunting together in an old park, lots of targets old steel BCS mostly and other junk.. He called over to me and said what do you think about that? He used one of those old diggers that looked like it was made from conduit with a long narrow point, perfectly stuck on the end was a nice little gold ring..... This person had a ring collection that would choke you, in fact one ring he told me about that he had found was a gents gold piece with a large precious stone, he had taken it to a jeweler that cleaned it for him and I think later he sold it to the jeweler for enough to buy himself a new Ranchero...I tried to hunt with him as much as I could but we lived quite a distance apart and I was just starting to work on preliminary Trans Alaska pipe projects... By the time I could spend time with him he could no longer swing that heavy Whites unit but he liked tagging along with me.. The gold rings he had found were sold but the other pieces he had tied together on a string and there were many.. I haven't looked in the big canvas bank bag he gave me years ago that was almost full of dimes, quarters, halves and a few silver dollars he had found at the old Fairgrounds, parks and old closed country school yards.I .learned a lot by watching how carefully this person hunted, slowly, listening and moving around..He did his homework, a little research and talking to the old timers that stopped by watching him...Who was this person? This Old Coinshooter, I knew him very well, He was my Dad....
  20. Hi guys, I never got around to posting what ended up being my last gold detecting adventure of 2018. Mrs JW had gone up north to spend time some with her aging mum & was gone for over the course of a weekend. So being home alone I made the decision to do a saturday overnight camping adventure to "Doug's Gully". You may recall in a post not long ago of a day trip Mrs JW & I made to this same gully & I made the comment that in all the years I have frequented this gully I have never seen any water in the gully floor, let alone any running water. Well that time with Mrs JW there had been two days of very heavy rain resulting in lots of flooding throughout Central Otago. On getting to this gully there was 4" of water flowing down this usually bone dry gully floor. You will notice snow on the hills in the background. Of course the grass growth had gone mental & I had been struggling to find gold here now. I have trashed it over the years but always manage to wrangle a few bits out of it. On this occasion I was betting on the wet & damp conditions to aid me on this quest. I wasn't disappointed & managed 7 little pieces before Mrs JW made noises about heading home. So I had unfinished business to do in there as I had not detected as much of the gully as I had wanted to when Mrs JW was with me. I know the hot spots & again we had had a bit of wet weather & I knew the ground would be damp & so hopefully carry on giving me the edge on the gold from where I left off last time. So with tent & gear on board & Mrs JW up north I headed off. I took with me the Zed of course & the three amigos, the high frequency VLF's. The Gold Monster, GB2 & the EQ 800 with 6" coil. I can drive right to this gully but it is a bit of a mission & has its moments. But I got there unscathed. The grass had gone even more crazy but the bonus of the damp conditions was that there were mushrooms everywhere. Ye Ha. I love those so after I had set up camp, I went for a wander & gathered a few up. I knew what was going to be on the menu for dinner that night & breakfast in the morning. After a cup of coffee I fired up the Zed & targeted that bald spot straight out from the tent. Which is an eroded old timers throwout pile from turning over the gully floor. I was going to have to target these bald spots due to the crazy grass growth. Not even two minutes into it I got a real faint signal. Digging down onto it, it lived on to a bit of depth. I tried each of the VLF's at about 6 inches. Not a peep out of any of them. Hmmmmm. You will notice an old back filled dig hole to the upper right of the scoop & also to the left of the GB2. They were small bits of gold from my last time in here when the water was flowing down the "creek" So I kept on digging & at about 8 inches there was still nothing from the VLF's. Bloody hell. The Zed was going nuts but I still didn't know if it was ferrous or not or where a bouts exactly it was in the hole. Finally I got a hit on the VLFs, well the GM & the EQ 800....just. Not the GB2 at this stage. I had to dig a bit more to get the VLF's to give me the nod of a non ferrous target. My hopes increased that it may be gold now. Finally at about 14 inches the signal was out. The scoop is 12 inches long. Was it a bloody .22 shell?? No..... Just over 1 gram. Ye Ha. I am picking that it was on edge to give the VLF's such a hard time in picking up on it. Here is a pic standing back a bit from the scene looking down the gully. You will see the long grass growing in the pit that the old timers had dug out & the resultant doughnut like circle of the dug out dirt tossed out around the perimeter of the pit. Hence they were called pot hole diggings. Along with other humps & bumps & holes up & down the gully from there activity. I would love to get a digger into that gully. Well....not two yards away I got an identical sounding signal & on getting down 12 inches & it was still in the ground my hopes were high. I didnt get the VLF's involved on this one as the digging was a bit easier & then the signal was out. You Bastard.🤬 The tip of an old timers pick. Even if the VLF's told me it was ferrous I still would have got it out of the ground just to get rid of it. BUGGER. Not far away on the edge of this bald spot up against a clump of grass growth I got another faint signal. It was getting down to about 6 inches before it was out. Pretty small for the Zed & that 14" coil. Still blows me away at the depth it gets this small gold. I got another small one with the Zed. I then thought I would give the EQ 800 a spin over that bald spot after finishing it with the Zed. I got a faint little hit with the EQ 800 in full max everything in the settings department & Multi IQ, Gold Mode 2 Down about 2 inches. Looks better a bit bigger. I called it quits for the Saturday on that one. So three for the Zed & one for the EQ 800. Had me some mushrooms to sort out for dinner. On top of a couple of bangers, baked beans & eggs. Washed down with a coffee. Doing it tough on the goldfields. I then wondered if I was the first to have camped here since the old timers. I doubt if anybody else had. to be continued: I need my beauty sleep. Good luck out there JW
  21. Day two started with the same for breakfast as day one finished with dinner, but washed down with two cups of coffee. Shot of camp set up in among the long grass. Looking up the gully from standing right in it. And down the gully It is very unusual for the grass to be this lush at this time of the year. This is what it is usually like. These pics are actually at the exact same spot as my post. That rock Mrs JW is sitting on is the rock in front of my wagon in the above pic of my wagon. Any way.....after I had finished my breakfast I headed off with the Zed. Long story short....not a thing. Well no gold any way. So I went back & got the EQ 800 with its little 6" coil. Walking down & detecting the bald ground of a sheep track I got a faint hit. That big rock, which is cemented silcrete (sarson stone) that the Zed is sitting on center left. Had quite a bit of small tiny gold that the GB2 scored a couple of years ago. I went over it with the EQ 800 but nothing. On digging this signal from the EQ 800 I was expecting a shot gun pellet. But no....it was a sassy bit of gold. Not far down the gully & on the opposite side I hit a spot where I had got two bits with the Zed on my last time in here. To my surprise I got a faint hit. Could of course be a pellet That dirt pile bottom center was one of the bits that I got with the Zed the last time & the rabbits have dug out my back filled dirt. Little shits. You will see a rabbit hole left center, that was where my 2nd bit was that I got with the Zed last time. The Nox's signal is right where the coil is. Another small sassy bit of gold Back in the days of my GP 3000 I got quite a few bits of gold from around that rock & up on the top edges as well. Moving on down the gully bit further & on to another "old" hot spot of mine that I did well on with my 4500. I came to a high pile from the old timers. It is very bald & just crushed shattered schist bedrock that they dug down into from the gully floor & must have had a good amount of gold in it. Right up on top I got a faint signal. This looking back at it from a bit of distance. Gully floor to the left with the grass growth in it. Another little bit of gold for the Nox. Then things dried up for me. So I went & got the GB2 & went over the same areas that I had just been over with the Nox. It wasn't until I was back down to the above pile that I got a good hit with the GB2 at the base of the pile. It was weird as just next to the signal was a signal that I had got with the Nox that just turned out to be a bit of rubbish. I know for sure that I had the Nox right over this spot where the GB2 was giving me this very positive zip zip. The point of the pick is where the scrape was from the Nox & the bit of rubbish. The small hole by the GB2 coil is the positive zip zip from the GB2. You may be able to make out the little shard of gold in the scoop. If not. The deadly little GB2. 👍 Well that was the end of it for 2018. So all up, 3 for the Zed, 4 for the Nox & 1 for the GB2 for just over 2 grams. Unfortunately Mrs JW's mum passed away . It was unexpected but happened when Mrs JW was up there & holding her hand. Maybe that was meant to be. Mrs JW's brother had come over from Sydney on the very day she passed, so all three of Mrs JW's mums "kids" were present. So that was pretty cool...although sad of course. So I had a mercy dash to get up there for the funeral. The service was held in the same little church, which was built in 1874, where Mrs JW's parents got married in 1952. The coffin rested on the very spot where they exchanged their wedding vowels all those years ago. Sad but that was a nice touch too. The spot where they started their lives together & where Mrs JW's mum had her final farewell. Sorry to be morbid, but with that & then xmas right upon us is the reason I didn't get to do that last post adventure of 2018. Xmas I went over to the West Coast jet boating & bush camping. We had two days of perfect weather & then two days of light rain. The river rose 3 feet & was still rising so the next day we decided to bail. The extra water made for saver boating back down river but our launching area was under water for pulling our boats back out. We had to boat up a side river to another spot to get our boats out. The fun of it all. Of course Mrs JW didnt come over for that. So I headed back home, picked her up & we headed back to the West coast but this time went north up the coast further to see a friend & took our E bikes to do a new West coast Wilderness trail. The trail follows old gold mining water races & old timber milling tramway tracks. It was pretty cool riding through these old historic areas in the native bush. The start of a water race section The water race now takes water to feed a small hydro power station Crazy pressure That would get a pelton wheel spinning. Went past a plaque showing the Kanieri Bucket line gold dredge. There were heaps of these operating in NZ. This one continued on until 1982. Mrs JW on a section of the bush milling tramway track. Despite taking the three amigos, GB2, Gold Monster & EQ 800 I didnt do any detecting on the West Coast . Too much other stuff to do. It wasn't until the Saturday just gone that I went out for my first detect of 2019. It was a stinkin hot day & not very enjoyable. I even forgot to take my phone with me, so no pics. I managed just three small bits. All signals got with the Zed & two of those where pinpointed & recovered with the GB2. Once I had moved them & broken the halo effect the Zed lost them. After getting those three I headed off elsewhere for a bit of night detecting to get away from the flies & the heat. It was a spot where I wanted to try the Gold Monster & tiny gold on bedrock, but all I got was Simon's favorite. A pocket full of shot gun pellets. The Zed got its fair share of rubbish & damn pellets too. At least my first days detecting of 2019 wasn't a skunk. Oh....how can I not tell you that on the 22nd of December I went & saw Shania Twain live in concert in Dunedin. It was her final show of her "Shania Now" world tour of 88 shows. Mrs JW wasnt into it so I had to go all by myself. Center stage 9 rows back from the front. On that note I will leave you in peace. Best of luck out there for 2019 JW
  22. Last year was not a banner prospecting year for me. I got out a number of times and did detect some gold and did some dry washing, but it was a year of other problems and obligations. I had two trips to the hospital, one emergency by ambulance, and one for surgery on my heart (not open heart, but the doctor put a probe up through a vein into the inside of my heart). My wife had two stays at the hospital as well. We also spent time moving my elderly mother in law from southern California where she has few remaining relatives, up to Reno. I did get out and find some nice gold in my prospecting, but I made fewer trips and got less gold than I have in many years. I did however, do some serious hard rock prospecting in 2018 and made two deals with mining exploration companies to lease out properties that I own. One deal was made on a set of claims that I had staked years ago, while the other was on a large set of claims I staked in 2018 (along with two partners which I have in that claim group). We staked over 200 claims in that group and it took some time in getting all of those claims out and posted. The company that leased those claims from us flew a helicopter survey over them and made several exciting finds. The ore bodies likely found there are electrically conductive, and the coil and electronics used to “see” the ore bodies are of a pulse type design – just like the pulse detectors we use, but with a gigantic coil and a bit different electronics. So I can look at 2018 in a couple of different ways – for the direct gold I dug, it was a very poor year. Yet for the total money I made on my prospecting it was a different story. Counting the money I made on leasing out claims in 2018, if you calculated out the equivalent ounces of gold, that would make it my best year ever, by far. The money was the bullion weight equivalent of several pounds. So in 2019 I hope to stay out of the hospital, and to take no rides in ambulances. I pray my wife stays out of the hospital too. I hope to spend more time in the hills prospecting, and do more detecting and more drywashing as well. I will stake some more claims and see if I can get those leased out as well, but I really want to do my own prospecting as I enjoy that so much. For those interested in more details on the story of the claims I staked and how I got them leased off to two different exploration companies, I have a story this month in the ICMJ – called Making a Big Discovery. In the February and March issues I will have a two part article on how these lease contracts are structured and what a small miner might expect in such a deal. Photos – A few of my detected nuggets; the helicopter surveying my claims, and some of the ground where the claims are located.
  23. Ok NursePaul touched down in OZ, picked him up on Saturday, but in his excitement to get over here he forgot his ports with clothes, Z, etc etc. no no regardless of what he says about Airlines, that`s my story and I`m going to stick to it. We are having a lot of trouble communicating, I don`t know what version of English you Yanks use but tis French to me for sure............ So here we are waiting for his gear coming via Pony Express-Cobb & Co and I`ve got the best excuse I`ve every had as to why I`m not finding gold.....................But the xxxx is good yes/no..............and we are sort working out sign language, although judging by the smoke coming out his ears I think we will switch to smoke signals...............
  24. I've returned from my second detecting trip to England and what a trip it was!! I was lucky enough to be staying in the same barn as Steve Herschbach!! The first day on the fields are a half day usually. After the 2 hour ride from London to the "barn" where we will be staying for the next seven days. The "barns" are actual barns that have been renovated into vacation rental units. We unload all of our luggage from the van, find our sleeping spot for the week, dig out all of our gear, assemble everything, jump back in the van, and head out to the first field! My best find that afternoon was a hammered copper Rose farthing. They are commonly dated 1636. (Look for the pattern here). And the usual buttons and lead. So that was a good start. Day 2: Our first full day. A cool, slightly foggy, just perfect! The day wasn't real eventful for me. We hunted two different farms. At the end of the day my better finds were 5 farthings and a wiped out copper token, plus some buttons and lead. The farthings were late 1700s-1800s. Here at home in the States, to find those 5 coins would be a day to talk about for months. It was funny for me while I was over there, knowing with so much history the possibilities make my hopes and expectations exhilarating! You truly never know what will pop up next. It could be 10 years old or 2000 years old! There were multiple milled, and hammered silver coins found and some neat relics dug throughout the day by the other team members. Day 3: Things started to pick up for me a little on day 3. We came across a late Georgian/Victorian home site members of the team started popping some milled coins. Coppers and silvers. If I remember correctly one member found 3 or 4 silver 3 pence coins in that same field. A little silver 3 pence was one of the coins I was hoping to get while I was there, but it wasn't meant to be this trip. Shortly before lunch I switched fields and got onto my first bit of English silver for the trip! An 1844 Vicky 4 pence in nice condition. So after lunch I was headed back to the field were I got my 4P and we had to walk past a 1700? mansion to get back to where I wanted to be. So I slowed down and detected in front of the mansion along the way and got my first hammered silver for this trip! A nice "full" penny. Turned out to be a 1279 Edward I ! That was the highlight for my day three. But I did find plenty of buttons and lead too. Day 4: This day was one of those roller coaster type hunting days. The morning was pretty uneventful for me other than some buttons and lead. Until while hunting near a 13th century church and villa when I popped a nice little cut quarter hammered silver and less than 10 mins later another hammered silver coin fragment. Kinda bang bang! We broke for a short lunch break and went our separate ways and as I was walking into a field through a tractor path I got a nice high tone. But real erratic at the same time. One you would figure to be either a coin or part of a beer can. But when I pinpointed the target it was a nice small tight pinpoint I figured I better dig it. Boy am I glad I did! Turned out to be a 1908 Edwardian decorated silver mount! Turns out it was in a place they usually park the van! The rest of my days finds consisted of the usual trash plus some buttons and lead. Day 5: Today was another one of those days that I was digging lots of targets like buttons and lead... But not one coin all morning till around lunch. After lunch I decided to stay on that field determined to find one of my wish coins a "Bullhead". A King George III silver. And with the coins being found in the area one was definitely a possibly. Lo and behold it happened! A melted bulkhead six pence. Even though it was melted almost to the point of unrecognition I could make out a G III and a reeded edge. Mission accomplished! The only other "wishlist" coin I really had on my mind on my way over was a Roman silver coin. Not really expecting to ever find one. We all carried radios every day, and as a good find was made, we would put it out over the radio. Ron gave the 15 min count down to the end of the days hunt over the radio so we all started to swing back towards the van. Walking pretty fast, with 8 minutes left, I got a signal figured I had time to pop one more. Boom! A Roman silver coin! It has a bad "horn crust" on it that needs to be "cooked" off so it can be properly identified. Early id's put it in the 4th century! I'm really looking forward to seeing that coin cleaned up! Day 6: The group split up in the morning between some rougher ground and some land that was nice and smooth. I went to the smoother field with a few other hunters. First hole out of the van 20 feet away I nabbed a hammie fragment! After that the first half of the day was pretty uneventful for me other than some buttons and lead of course. It was a enormous field. It has been hunted a lot over the years from what I understand. The lack of targets for me proved it. But it wasn't a total waste. You just have to walk over the stuff. With a half hour walk back to the van and only about 45 mins left to hunt I spun around and within or 3 or 4 swings later I got a loud high tone! As I was pinpointing I looked down and laying right on top of the ground was a complete silver thimble!! Sweet end to a pretty slow day. Day 7: The day I dread. The last day. You know not only is it your last day of detecting heaven and the inevitable time you'll power down for the last time of your trip, plus the last day is usually cut a little short. That's so we have time to get back to the barn and get all of your finds from the week cleaned, bagged, catalogued, and photographed if you want to see them again before they leave your life for the next few months. To optimize our hunt time we decided to hunt some nearby land. Even though it's also the land that the club has had lasted the longest! Even after all those years there were many great finds found on it this season! The week before we came a gold coin and a beautiful Celtic gold "votive offering" were found on it! I walked across the road from that field to a field that was surrounding a 16th century two story mansion. After a half hour or so of slowly working around the old mansion I dug a small piece of a hammered silver coin. That coin put me in a tie for 1st place for the weekly "Hammy competition". So I slowed down hoping to get another one to take the lead and hopefully win the competition. It was 10:10 a.m. when I got the loudest, jumpiest, most obnoxious signal of my trip. Not being too far from a tractor entrance into that field I figured it was a beer can or a grease tube but I figured I'd dig it up and get it out of there anyways. I missed the target on the first scoop. Moved a shovel blade to the left, stepped it in and kicked the back of the shovel and pushed the dirt forward and a big yellow ..... egg looking thing rolled out to my left. As I looked at it half my brain said to myself " what is that?" And the other half of my brain was saying "HOLY .....!!!!! That looks like gold!!" When I bent over to pick it up and I was lifting it off the ground the weight of it made it fall out of my hand! That's when I knew it was definitely a big piece of gold!!! After Ron came over to shoot some video and take some photos I strapped back on all my gear took 2 steps and 3 swings and got a solid 19 TID on the Equinox 800. I told myself after just finding that thing I don't care what this is, I'm digging it up. One scoop, and I pushed the shovel forward and a 11.2 gram ancient solid gold ring was laying there looking at me!! I about started to hyperventilate!! I quickly got Ron's attention again and he came over to shoot more video and more photos. I can only imagine this will be the most amazing thing I will ever find! It's been over a week since I found it and I still can't stop picturing those two artifacts rolling out of the dirt in my head...... Thanks for lookin' & HH
  25. I was just updating links and realized I have been posting adventures to Steve’s Mining Journal for over twenty years now. The Journal started when the internet was new, and information about metal detecting and prospecting for gold was new and rare. Metal detecting was still an obscure activity and gold prospecting even more so. I started posting the stories on my old company website as a way to show people this stuff really works and to help promote the business. It was one of my better decisions, as documenting these adventures has turned out to be far more important to me than anyone else. Memories fade with age, and I can’t do this stuff forever, so it is great now to have all these adventures to look back on. Anyway, many people never leave the forums and explore the rest of this website, so I thought I would post this to celebrate the unofficial 20th anniversary of Steve’s Journal for those who have never wandered across it.
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