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View Full Version : A Fine Day in the Mother Lode

Reno Chris
10-22-2011, 08:56 PM
California is famous for its moderate weather, but it isn’t always that way, especially in the high country of the Sierra Nevada Range. In June, I tried to take Steve over to a patch where I’ve pulled some nice gold. The weather was unusually cold and we were actually blocked from reaching it by snow on the roads. Well I never got the chance to return over the summer. After returning from my Australia visit, I still had the desire to make a trip up there. I got together with another friend, Wes Hawkins and as luck would have it, right now we are having unseasonably warm weather for late October. The sun was bright and the temperatures in the low 70s were just perfect, and the newer Minelabs really proved their worth.

I was using my GPX 5000 in Fine gold and Wes was using his GPX4000 in sensitive smooth. The ground here can be pretty rough, and there is a lot of magnetite in the soils. VLFs have a very tough time here. Loud, near surface targets stood out, but it’s always been tough to pick fainter signals out of the ground noise – and that’s where the new timings come in. I’ve taken about 4 ounces out of this area, most of it from one small zone about 150 long and 75 feet wide. I’ve pounded that area with my GP Extreme, and with every coil from a little Joey mono to a 20 inch round nugget finder, using both DD and mono coils. I’ve been over the ground multiple times, and others have even come in and scrapped it. As I saw in Australia, the newer timings do make a significant difference – especially in heavily mineralized soils. So even though I’d really beat that spot (as had a few other folks), Wes got 3 nuggets and I managed 2, all from that heavily flogged small area. This was the first time the ground had been exposed to the newer GPX timings and they really did a fine job of quieting down the chatter of the ground noise which allowed the both of us to pick out good but comparatively weak targets.

I've attached a photo of the gold - my nuggets are on the left, and Wes' on the right. Total weight for mine are 1.6 dwt or 2.4 grams. I also attached a photo of a king sized toadstool - no trick photo here, it really is about 12 x 10 inches and I'd guess it weighs several pounds. Big enough for a family of toads to sit on.

10-23-2011, 06:59 AM
I don't get too involved with posting on the forums, but I just wanted to say that I always enjoy reading your posts, as well as your book "Fists full of gold". Being a desert detectorist, your words of wisdom concerning shale and schist formations are of particular interest, and will be the focus of my efforts this winter while swinging my TDI pro.

Reno Chris
10-23-2011, 07:21 AM
Hi Lyle -
Glad you enjoyed the book and I agree that you should be able to make use of some of that knowledge to get some of that desert gold. The rocks where this gold came from is a slate/schist type of formation. The TDI is a fine detector and should serve you well.

Steve Herschbach
10-24-2011, 05:04 PM
Hi Chris,

And you did not need to fly half way around the world to find them - good job!

10-26-2011, 01:19 PM
Nice finds cris! Glad you weren't up there last night! ha ha it was 19 deg at dark when i got back to the truck! Going to be around 5 tonight up there. Hope i can last a few more trips, but the creek is so cold i cant feel my fingers anymore. They still throb today. Going back for one last trip in the morning. Going to work the Bonta formation!

10-27-2011, 08:00 AM
Very nice nuggets and sweet mushroom, I'm almost positive that is a Boletus or "Manzanita mushroom", they have tubes instead of gills and are quite delicious!
I think it may be time to trade in my GMT for a bigger better detector. I feel like the GMT just doesn't cut it for what I need it to do....

Reno Chris
11-01-2011, 07:53 AM
There is no one detector that is perfect for all conditions. This particular place however, is a place for PI detectors.

11-08-2011, 05:57 PM
Greetings Chris, Nice looking gold for both of you....great job!...Tyrie

Jim Hemmingway
12-08-2011, 10:22 AM
Good informative post Chris. I too enjoy your posts, videos, and recent book 'Fists Full of Gold'. :cool:

Your comments about minerals associated with gold and mineral ID are especially interesting and much appreciated. Many thanks...


Steve Herschbach
12-08-2011, 01:45 PM
Hi Jim,

Hope you had a great summer. Mine was great for fun and adventure, but came up short on the hoped for gold.

Reno Chris
12-08-2011, 02:58 PM
Thanks Jim for your kind words. I hope everyone does better on the gold next year.

12-09-2011, 08:29 AM
Me too Chris! ha ha I had a great year but funny how the quest never gets old. Just as the snow hit i found a couple nice ones laying right on bedrock with nothing covering them! One was 139 grains, the other 45 grains. my biggest find so far. I made it back up there, but the ground was froze solid and the bedrock was pure ice. Miserable. Vacation starts in april this year, so i'm screwed for another year...... take care, joe.