Ken & Steve's Excellent Adventure

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By now you know the big story, here's some of the rest of the story. Ken and I combined for a total of 44 nuggets, more or less, for a total weight of just over 44 oz. Naturally, that figure is skewed because of the big boy. I found somewhere around 28 nuggets for just over 10 oz, with one weighing 4.7 oz.

That sounds impressive, but it was tough sledding. I had a total of 3 skunk days. Ken and I hunted a minimum of 12 hours a day and sometimes more. I hunted till almost midnight one night. It never gets dark, so I had trouble sleeping most nights.

The pushes just weren't as productive as we had all hoped. It gets pretty crowded on freshly pushed ground and detector interference is a real problem. You can tune out 1 and possibly 2 other detectors, but 3 with a Whites TDI thrown in the mix is pretty near impossible.

I think I had 3 honest to goodness gold target signals the whole time. I was so surprised at one of them I couldn't believe a signal that strong was not trash. All my targets were faint threshold hums, which means I dug a ton of hotrocks and tiny iron trash pieces.

On day 5 of week 1, I found a 4.7 oz nugget. Lots of host rock, not very pretty but hefty enough. Fortunately, it was early in the day and I was fresh. I was hunting the unpushed hills in the woods and digging every threshold flutter. I was only on my 10th hotrock when I heard this one. I was down a good 6 inches before I got a legitimate target signal. Honestly, if it was later in the day, after I had dug a hundred hotrocks, I probably would have passed this one by.

I did a lot of experimentation with GPX4000 settings, trying to find something to ease the brain fatigue from so much hotrock noise. I tried some of what Montana calls "dumbing down the detector", and some of what I call "dumbing down the detectorist". You just can't expect to maintain concentration for faint tones if you are constantly bombarded with hotrocks and trash. After that much practice, I think my ears and brain are conditioned to make some distinctions in target signals. I may not always be able to identify a good gold signal, but I got pretty good at what is not a gold signal. Dozer blade shavings and shallow trash have some pretty distinct sounds, especially after you listened to a thousand of them in 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I think most of the settings I settled on for Moore Creek won't work here in the lower 48. EMI was not a factor in AK, although distant thunder storms were quite a treat for blowing your ears out.

The accomodations at Moore Creek were fine. Brand new tents, no fautly zippers and just a few seam leaks. Food was excellent. On wet, cold days the cook always had hot soup or chili to go with sandwiches. The weather was actually quite good. The tempature and conditions can change in a quick minute, so layered clothing is a must. We had several days of T-shirt weather, but the bugs discouraged any such nonsense. The bugs were tolerable unless you got back in the wooded areas. We had one afternoon of No-see-um invasion. They seem to ignore the Deet and bit the hell out of my ankles and lower legs. The mosquitos bite through mesh backed gloves, so full leather gloves are the only way to go.

Each team had access to an ATV to get to and from some of the lower hunting areas. Even with transportation like that, you still log a lot of up and down miles on the tailings and back roads. Hunting the wooded areas is about as difficult as it gets. Thick brush, steep hills and bugs. I was forever hung up on something, my detector cord, my pick or my backpack managed to get tangled at every turn. I spent a good bit of time detecting on my knees or just sitting to keep my balance when back in the rough areas.

The nugget count board kind of tells the story. There are plenty of detectorists with good equipment who just don't find gold. It's not easy and you can't expect to wait for absolute target sounds. Luck is directly porpotionate to the number of hours you get that coil on the ground. Faint, deep targets are the rule so you have to be conditioned to listen for them. Everyone thinks they know what "low and slow" means, but many tend to get sloppy with poor coil control. If you are picking up the coil at the end of a sweep or holding it 4 inches off the ground, you're really handicapping yourself and leaving nuggets for Ken to scoop up. Ken is the ultimate "low and slow" detectorist. He moves at a snails pace, sweeping very slowly and deliberately.

Ken and I operated as a team which offended some of the other guests. We carried radios and did not hesitate to call one another if we found a productive area. Neither of us is particularly selfish, so we were willing to share good ground between us, but we were competitive with the other groups. We were willing sacrifice and help dig or go fetch the shovel which we kept strapped to our ATV. After Ken found the monster, he was always willing to let me have a go at new ground first. You can't ask for a better partner.

Moore Creek is a great experience. You can log as many detecting hours as you want without the hassles of cooking, cleaning, driving or organizing. It's one opportunity to truely be away, unavailable and free to detect till your little heart's content. The pay to mine operation may end with this season. There is a potential buyer who may or may not continue this aspect of the mine. Assuming the potential buyers make the commitment, Steve H. has offered to help them run the Pay to Mine aspect, but its all up in the air.


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You have a great writing style, very descriptive and a pleasure to read.

That is hard to do.

I like the sound of your and Ken's partnership. It sounds efficient and helpful.

I hope you have other experiences like this one

so we can all share them through you interesting writing.

All the best and congratulations,


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"I did a lot of experimentation with GPX4000 settings, trying to find something to ease the brain fatigue from so much hotrock noise."

1) What coil is THE best coil to use at Moore Creek on the GPX's to handle the many hotrocks? The stock 11" DD coil? (Mono's might not be totally useless IF Steve is using the round 25" mono.)

2) Also for those trashy and hotrock areas can a VLF in discrimination mode be used at Moore Creek? (Yes very little depth.)

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