Another glorious spring day in the Sierras and I was on my way to the claims. Today was a day for experiments. It was about a 45-minute drive down a harrowing 4x4 road to the prime locations on Sherlock Creek, where the majority of my claims lie, but the wildflowers were profuse and made the drive spectacular. The hillsides were covered in the glorious gold of the California Poppies and the Lupines added the beautiful lavender touch in spots.
The creek had stabilized and no longer flowed at a flood stage. I had decided to work the bank down on the Bear Haven 3 claim where there were some old tertiary channels exposed. My bum knee always ached, but that’s why there was Ibuprofen and coffee. This year I would be 65 and I sure felt it in the mornings.
My long distance plans included a trip to Africa in the fall to dredge for gold in Sierra Leone, so I was anxious to spend some time on my claims here this year.
I was soon down along the creek and it was a short hike to the place I was going to grid out and go over with both detectors for a thorough sweep. I planned to use the GMT first and mark the spots where I got hits, and then come back with the MXT to confirm them and see the differences in the detectors.
I was soon trekking away on a fairly level area and getting hits and screams from ferrous targets. I always dug when the probability showed less than 10% iron on the screen. I had a large target that screamed at me and I marked it thinking, “Hmmmmmm!” A nice aluminum soda can awaited me there. Thinking nothing of it I continued on. It dawned on me I had forgotten my camera. “Getting old,” I thought.
The mid morning was great with the perfect weather for this, and I had plenty of targets marked, so I went back to the Bronco and grabbed the MXT. A cup of coffee and a nice salami sandwich and I was soon back at it swinging the detector.
Some nails later and a couple of pieces of scrap and I soon approached the large target site I had marked with a white quartz rock. I swept the site and was rewarded with a huge scream of the detector. This was interesting because it was a non-ferrous ID on the screen.
I switched to coin and jewelry mode to check the depth. Again it screamed and showed a depth of 12 inches, but this can be deceiving with large targets. I got out the old gator digger and soon was digging away. At about 14 inches I hit the familiar glint of gold, but it was huge.
I loosened the nugget and was astounded. I had never seen such a large and heavy one in my life except in museums. I hurried over to the stream and washed it off - plenty of iron stains and discoloration. I knew a nitric acid bath was in order to make her all sparkly and beautiful.
Enough of this, I jumped in my Bronco and soon was headed out of the canyon on top of the world. I dropped by the wife’s beauty salon and soon had her jumping around. Life was good.
The piece looked beaten and I knew it had been tumbled in the stream for thousands of years. Not a speck of quartz in it. A half a day in the acid and it came out incredible. I took it out and took pics of it with me and the detectors.
I came away from this impressed with both the detectors and realized they both had their uses. In my opinion, a serous nugget hunter could use them both to cover the ground with a more thorough procedure.
The scales weighed this baby in at 9.69 ounces. Into the vault she went and maybe someday when I am gone some lucky person will purchase it from the wife.
So, my fellow treasure hunters, just remember to always keep researching, searching and finding.
Author’s personal experiences.