My prospecting story.

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 My name is David Schweitzer, and I am the secretary for the GPAA Chapter 21 out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I grew up in rural Oklahoma on the family farm. I currently work full time in the oil industry and am a landscape photographer. When Kevin Hoagland asked me to write an article and share my story, my first thought was, no way! Writing is way out of my comfort zone, then I let it sink in and told Kevin that since it pushes me out of my comfort zone, I was in! 


 I am still very new and very green in the gold game. Early spring back in 2021, my brother-in-law told me about "paydirt". I was intrigued, so I started to investigate it some. I looked it up online and learned how to pan from watching YouTube. I found a company that ended up being a ripoff, but that little bit of gold we found in there got me hooked. Being in Oklahoma, you can’tjust go out to a creek and pan for gold, so at that point, paydirt was my only option. I was not about to get ripped off again, so I investigated more and found Dave at GoldBay. I started buying paydirt from him.


 I went fishing on some of our property and noticed that the pond had been built in an ancient river channel, so why not try a pan? Lo and behold, I found one baby speck of gold in Oklahoma! I continued to buy paydirt from Dave for a few more months, and I was reading his blog about how he would pay a million dollars to anyone that could dowse his gold. I knew I was very talented in dowsing water, but never gold. So, I sent him an email, and he said come on out and let's find out. So, we planned a trip in late May of 2021. This trip ended up being one that would change my life forever. We planned three days of hiking Yosemite National Park and scheduled three days of prospecting. The first day we went out to Dave's mine, I found out that I could not dowse gold! If I remember right, I was 2 out of 10 on his tests. He showed us all kinds of colossal gold nuggets and one of his prize pieces he had found in his mine, which I will never forget.


 We had struck out on many places we had access to (we did know about claims and open land). We had struck out in all phases. Then, on the last day, we went to a pay to play place, and little did I know this day would change my life. Most people that went here sluiced or panned for gold. All I had was a pan, a small sluice, and, guess what, NO SHOVEL! I mean, who goes gold mining without a shovel! All I had packed for was crevassing. I had a small blade-style shovel, so that is what I used. I started panning, and my second pan rolled back, and it had a flat flake. What a fantastic feeling, one that overtook anyfeeling I got from any paydirt! I looked at my watch a while later, and we had been there for 9 hours. Where did the time go? We were sore, hungry, and satisfied. I had worked so hard for around twelve dollars of gold. It didn't matter to me. What a fantastic day! Nature, gold, and family! 


 When we got back from California, I only thought about planning another trip to gold country. I knew it would be 2022 before I could go again. I was going to turn 40 in 2022, so I wanted to go metal detecting in Arizona and purchased a used SDC 2300 pulse induction metal detector. I started watching a lot of videos on geology, metal detecting, and anything prospecting related to learning! I even took it out to our property to find lead BBs to try and get a feel for it. I didn't know anyone in the gold business; many people seemed to be hush-hush to help someone that didn't know much. So, what do you do? I sent a message on Instagram to KC Morgan from Gold Rush on TV. He seemed super down to earth on TV, I never expected him to reply, but he did! He told me the best option for me was to get involved with a local GPAA club and learn! Well, I soon realized the trip to Arizona wouldn't happen. 2022 came around, and I decided that I was going to go to a GPAA Chapter 21 meeting and see what it was all about.


 I was initially nervous when I walked in, but I looked around the room and realized that these were my people! I wasn't the only person that liked rocks and gold. After the first meeting of just sitting back and listening, it was amazing! I knew I would come back! Mike Pung and Cash Best are the President and Vice President, respectively, of this club, and they were at the GPAA shows for the first two meetings I attended. They were back for the May meeting, and wow, those two guys have so much knowledge. I just wanted to be a sponge and soak it all in. So, I planned a prospecting trip to Colorado in the Buena Vista area at the end of May. I had joined the GPAA and knew I would have access to those claims. Cash was telling me a few other places that were public areas to check out when we went. He also told me about a book called Finding Gold in Colorado that had almost every place you can go, written by Kevin Singel. So we went up there, and they had a freak late-season snowstorm that put a little damper on the prospecting, but we still made the most of it, and the snow made for some fantastic photos! We found around three-tenths of a gram of the beautiful fine Arkansas River gold, even with all the snow. 


 As soon as we got back from Colorado, I knew I would plan another trip later in the summer when it wouldn't snow on us! I kept attending the monthly meetings and soaking in everything they taught me. We went back to Colorado over Labor Day weekend, and I told Mike I was going, and he said he would be up there too. We met up, and what a true honor it was to be in the field with a legend, asking questions, and learning hands-on! What a truly unforgettable day! I ended up with almost a gram from this trip! At one of the meetings, I brought in a vial with small gold that from our property here in Oklahoma. Mike and Cash asked if we could plan an outing on the property to give others a chance to find Oklahoma gold. Of course, I agreed, and we met up beforehand so they could see and prospect the place.What a true honor to prospect with Mike and Cash on our property! Mike took a pan from a spot he thought would be good. He found 60 colors from that pan. We could never replicate that pan, but wow! We planned the club outing for October, and what an excellent time. We didn't find much gold, but the time with all the other club members was priceless. We all had a great time. After everyone had left, Mike asked if I wanted to learn how to run a metal detector, he gave me a one-on-one lesson, and I told him sometime in 2023, I would like to try detecting in gold country.


 In November, the club's secretary was retiring, and they needed to elect a new secretary. They voted for me to take the position starting in January of 2023. I had never done anything like this before, but I was up for the challenge and to be able to give back since I had gotten so much out of these club meetings. Mike and Cash mentioned they would be in Quartzsite for the gold show in February. I had thought about going but wasn't sure how I would be able to. About three days later, my brother-in-law asked if I wanted to go to this show and go metal detecting, and that's all it took. We planned the trip! It is almost 1,000 miles from where I live, so it took two days to get there. We joined a local metal detecting club and gained access to their claims and checked out the GPAA claims. I went out the first day, got skunked entirely, and found a lot of lead, trash, and iron. I was worn out that evening, but being in the desert and nature was just something to behold. The second day we went out and hadn't found anything all morning, and that afternoon I went up close to the edge of one of the claims where I could see old workings, and since it was a hike, I thought maybe it hadn't been hit very hard. I wasn't up there for 2 minutes, and I heard a faint target, and it ended up being a boot tack, but I swung the detector over the hole again, and I heard another signal. I dug it up, and it was a chunk of caliche. I rolled it over and saw gold. I hooted and hollered so loud I bet people 5 miles down the wash could hear me. It was my first detected nugget! I found four total nuggets that trip, including one on my 41st Birthday! They all weighed up to 1.5 grams. It didn't pay for the trip, but the memories are priceless. 


 Since I don’t live in gold country, I can only get out there a few times a year. My learning curve will probably take longer than most due to that. My next step is to learn more geology and understand how to read the ground better. Each area of gold country is completely different on how the geology and weathering occurred. After these trips, I have such an appreciation for all the old timers. They were some tough people. I couldn’t imagine trying to make it out there without the modern convinces we have these days. When most people take vacations, they go sip Mai Tai’s on the beach and relax. Not me, I go to gold country and work, funny thing is, it’s not work to me. I may be sore and tired at the end of my vacations, but my soul is full and satisfied. For those that think it is easy to find gold, it’s not, I learned that really fast. 


 As you can tell, I am still new and trying to learn. I hope for those new and old in the gold game that my story inspired you to get out and find some gold or join your local club. If you are in the Oklahoma area and thought about coming to a meeting, wewould love to see you there! We are always planning different outings! If you’d like more info on our GPAA Chapter 21 Club in Oklahoma City, e-mail me at . If you’d like to follow me on my adventures, you can find me on Facebook or Instagram at Oklahoma Backroad Explorer. I would love to hear about your gold adventures and how you got started!







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It looks like you have been seriously afflicted with gold fever.  Congratulations and I hope you have many interesting and memorable adventures.  You write well, thanks for sharing your story!

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