Ken's Monster


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It was Wed, the off-day between weeks 1 & 2. A group including the cook went exploring downstream past the end of the road. Ken and I hunted the usual areas for limited success. I found a couple small ones and Ken found 1. Back at camp we found Steve H. conducting an experiment with his huge 25" coil. He marked 13 targets near camp. I helped him dig the first one down 2 ft for a piece of iron trash. He decided to get the excavator for the rest of the targets. Of the 12 targets, 4 turned out to be gold, for a total of about 2 oz. All down at least 2 feet.

After lunch Ken and I were back covering some of the same old ground. He had been grumbling for days about the frustration of not finding any big nuggets. He was finding gold, just couldn't get over a big one.

That evening we came back to camp for dinner. The cook informed us that dinner was slightly delayed, about 30 minutes more. Ken decided to grab his detector and go back to what had been a sweet spot on the hill behind camp. I got bored so I went up to check on him. He was digging a hole not 5 feet over from where Steve H. had stopped his 25" experiment. After helping him dig some, I asked him if he was sure this was a good target. "What's a good target" he asked. I reminded him

"you know, those deep dropping tones tend to be iron trash here at Moore Creek". "What's a dropping tone". Oh well, let's just finish this hole and get dinner. I listened to the target which by then was just a booming tone, nothing much to distinguish it at that point.

We were down about 18 inches and having to widen the hole, so Ken went back to camp to get the shovel, which turns out to be the "golden shovel" you see in the picture. By the way, we never let that shovel out of our sight the rest of the trip. Anyway, the Satellite Phone was available to make a quick call home for my birthday, so I walked back to camp. All I got was voicemail, so I went back and Ken was still digging. I switched the detector to Cancel and poked the coil down in the hole. A faint tone was coming from the back of the hole. I pointed and Ken started digging again. After about 2 more shovel fulls, Ken jammed that shovel down, hitting something solid and slidding off it. I saw 1/4 of the nugget in the bottom of the hole and started howling like a schoolgirl. Ken was so intent on his digging he didn't notice and jammed that shovel in behind the nugget and scooped it out. I see it in the shovel and let out a stream of explictives that mostly begin with the letter F. I reach out and pull that nugget out of the shovel and hand it to Ken. Steve H. walks up there at that very moment. I'm jumping around and screaming the F word, they're both just standing there, calm as cucumbers. The only thing I remember Ken saying was "do you think it weighs a pound". I can't stand still, I'm hopping around like a jumping bean, Ken is still just calmly walking back towards camp, shaking his head.

Ken's just not an excitable guy, though I think his hand was a bit palsyed a couple times. I didn't sleep that whole night, I just kept picturing the monster down in the hole and holding it the first time. It is incredibly heavy.

The coincidences that came together on this are remarkable. First, Steve H. stopped his sweeps with the 25" coil not 5 feet from this monster. Dinner was delayed, giving Ken 30 more minutes to hunt the hill. And last but not least, his hearing is such that he can't distinguish low tones from high tones, therefore couldn't follow my advice about avoiding those nasty iron trash signals that produce low tones.

I was compelled to start digging those friggin low tones and ended digging some pits you could bury a horse in. None of them turned out to be gold, just iron trash.

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Guys that is just fantastic. And thank you for the very entertatining story. That is just amazing. Once in a lifetime. Once in several people's lifetimes. I am really happy for you!

BCOT!

Doc

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I met Ken a couple of years ago and hunted with him in AZ. Ken is a quiet sort of guy and one that dosen't give up easily. and is persistant. I would bet that him not getting to excited and calmly walking back to camp is because reality hadn't set in yet.

A nugget of a lifetime in what can seem like a lifetime of hunting. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Ken is now off fishing with his father for a couple of weeks, what a way to end a find of a lifetime. just maybe he will land that trophy salmon.

Thanks for posting the story.

Allen in MT

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It was Wed, the off-day between weeks 1 & 2. A group including the cook went exploring downstream past the end of the road. Ken and I hunted the usual areas for limited success. I found a couple small ones and Ken found 1. Back at camp we found Steve H. conducting an experiment with his huge 25" coil. He marked 13 targets near camp. I helped him dig the first one down 2 ft for a piece of iron trash. He decided to get the excavator for the rest of the targets. Of the 12 targets, 4 turned out to be gold, for a total of about 2 oz. All down at least 2 feet.

WEEEEWOWZAAAA.... WHEW... congratulations....(I wonder if this will change Steve's plans that this may be his last year on the mine that he's mentioned earlier....grin)

I've not been up there but would love to give it a shot, it sounds like this year's been pretty awesome.

Jen

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