My Gold Prospecting Adventure with the GPX 6000
My first gold prospecting trip with the Minelab GPX 6000 won me two fantastic pickers!
Bob and I headed out in the motor home to Southern Oregon. Once we got far enough south we began a perilous journey on a long winding dirt road to our final destination.
You can’t throw a rock in this area without hitting a gold claim, but we were confident in our stay because our very generous host was allowing us to camp on his claim.
Come Saturday morning I headed out with our host, who uses a GPZ 7000 he bought from our shop a couple of years ago. The actual road into his claim was by far the most insane road I’ve ever been on.
He said most people don’t ever dare come out and claim–jump just because you can’t get most vehicles out there! Even Bob’s jeep was too wide to go.
We literally drove up a river, and up a long winding road that felt like we were still driving over a riverbed because the rocks were so huge.
I asked him what he does in the winter about the river and he said if the water is up to a certain rock he has placed there he can’t make the trip.
Our final destination was spectacular, a bubbling river below, and a mountain of stunning red mineralized dirt ready to be detected.
We approached two thick wire zip lines running high above the river and my host handed me a climbing harness. He hooked me up to the wire and I propelled about 200 feet to the other side with my pack and detector!
“How about that for a Minlab commercial?” He said.
Gold & Trash are Inseparable
These claims have been hit for over a hundred years, so you might ask why and how is gold still coming out of them?
Firstly, the old timers used crude methods of extracting the gold off the benches of the mountainsides, and they did not finish the job either.
Secondly, the old timers left TONS of trash. Boot-tacks, square nails, spikes, cans, and other scrap metal. My host said he had enough square nails to build a house.
Minelab GPZ 7000 VS. GPX 6000
Sure enough, when I turned on the GPX 6000 I started getting big signals, and they weren’t gold!
The mineralization is so incredibly strong from the Serpentine and iron-rich rocks that they gave off a very distinctive false-signal that I had to quickly train my ear to.
Once I mastered hearing false-rock signals, which had a very long, uncapped high low high sound, I began digging square nails.
Not long into our hunt I went over a large hole he had dug with the GPZ 7000. A faint low-high-low signal came out very consistently in all directions I turned.
As a coin-hunter I know consistency is key, and repeatability of a signal in as many directions as you can get. However, my host was unsure. I began digging, and sure enough a tiny little picker popped out!
My host tried out the GPX 6000 for a bit, “Wow.. That is light!” he said. Here is a guy in his 60’s who doesn’t even use a harness with the GPZ 7000, and hunts his claim literally almost every weekend!
We kept going for another four hours, and my host came walking up to me with a smile on his face. He plopped something in a dirt pile next to me and said “find it”. I went over the target and the detector screamed. The target sounded exactly like a nail.
When I retrieved the stunning little round 1.5-gram heavy nugget he promptly said, “it’s yours–keep it”. You don’t find many people like him these days.
Now, mind you, I also did my best to show my gratitude by gifting him a 36” inch Apex Pick with a super magnet from our shop, and that made him a happy camper.
That evening we took a walk in pitch black with the stars overhead. He told me he used to explore the mountains all the time as a kid. I told him he was crazy. After shooting stars, bigfoot stories, big gold stories, and constant looking over my shoulder, I finally got back and hit the hay.
The next day I went to the outhouse, which had an open face and looked over the whole mountainside. I recalled my host’s story from the night before.
He and his buddy had been sitting at the picnic table near the outhouse. This picnic table was so huge it looked like it was made for giants. All custom-made. Thirty to fifty feet down a ledge was the bubbling river and across the river a steep slope leading up the mountain.
That day my host and his buddy were chatting and eating when they heard a massive racket. Across the river two Mountain Lions tumbled down the steep slope snarling, yowling and clawing at each other.
When they hit the bottom they kept fighting for another 30 seconds he said before they realized where they were and who was watching them. Then they took off running up river.
Back on the Gold
Once we got to the claim site again it only took me ten minutes into our hunt before I ran the coil of the GPX over a sweet low-high-low signal. I didn’t want to jinx myself but here was a signal that had a clear distinctive beginning, middle, and end. It had deeper audio modulation, and hit perfectly from all directions.
I was in shock again because here was an area where my host had said he had been over countless times with the GPZ 7000. I dug up the signal and it was a sweet .5 gram picker about 6 inches down. My confidence had been refreshed.
After that I spent about ½ an hour digging a large antique spike that the old-timers had left. I swear to god I thought it was my retirement nugget! For those of you reading this who haven’t prospected a lot with a metal detector, be prepared to spend a lot of time digging deep holes for trash.
Unfortunately we only had a few hours to hunt that day, so we packed up and crossed back over the zip line, and headed home.