Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Past 20 Years - One of my Most Amazing Finds!
This is one of those stories I would have never believed, had it not happened to me. I have been metal detecting for over 20 years and I can honestly say this is one of my biggest surprise finds ever!
It started early one Saturday morning in July. I decided to brave the Arizona heat and go check out a place I had spotted on Google Earth. What I saw on the screen sure looked like the remains of several old buildings. Was this an early homestead, an abandoned ranch, or maybe something from the days of the railroad? I had no clue who had lived there, but I sure hoped they had left behind some silver coins or cool relics for me to find.
The road getting in was dirt, but I didn't need 4WD and I easily found the spot. Sure enough, there were two crumbling foundations from what were likely small houses. Based on the look of the concrete and the trash lying about, I dated the site to roughly the 1930's. All of the usual rusty garbage was there, and unfortunately so was a layer of modern day junk. It was obvious from the stone fire rings and countless shell casings, that this was a popular hunt camp.
I decided to start in what I dubbed the "parking lot". It was a nice flat area in front of the foundations that looked the most likely to hide coins. I fired up my Minelab CTX 3030 and went to work. Even with a low level of discrimination, the machine was blanking out virtually everywhere. I knew I would miss targets, but I figured I would try to cherry pick the most obvious signals first.
About ten minutes into it, I get a mixed-up sound beside a bush. As I swept the coil, the threshold blanked out, then gave a clipped high tone. The target ID came up as 12-40. I envisioned a silver coin near the surface surrounded by garbage. Using the side of pick I scrapped away about two inches of the loamy soil. The target moved immediately, which I didn't consider a good sign. I sifted through the dirt until I found the source of the signal; a smooth, heavy slug of metal. It was gray to brassy in color, and was covered in dark spots, almost as if it had been burned. I rubbed off some of the grime and noticed its' surface was pitted and deeply scratched. I assumed it was a molten blob of lead or brass and slid it into my pocket. I continued my day, never giving a second thought to the weird lump of metal.
My new spot didn't turn out to be the relic bonanza I had hoped for. I found a handful of old buttons and a few clasps, but not a single coin. When I got home later that evening I was disappointed to tell my wife and daughter that I hadn't found anything good. As I emptied out my pockets onto the table, my daughter asked, "What's this?" holding up the mystery metal blob.
"No clue." I replied.
She wandered over to the sink and held it under the water. "It almost looks like gold."
"Yeah right," I scoffed.
"No I'm serious!" she replied.
I took it from her outstretched hand and held it up to the light...she was right. I got into the cabinet and took down my digital scale. I dropped it on and the scale responded 14.8-grams. I hefted it a few times in my hand. God, this thing was dense! It was a convincing color and weight, but that was impossible! The nearest gold country was over 50 miles away! Unable to accept the evidence that was piling up, I went back to the cabinet, this time for my 30X light scope.
"Do you think it could be?" she asked.
"Ha ha, I wish! How cool would that be!?" I grinned as I lowered my eye to the scope. I adjusted the focus and literally couldn't believe what I saw below. It was gold - solid gold! I looked closer, down into the bright yellow crevices and could see sugary crystals of quartz and patches of limonite. This was, without a shadow of a doubt, a genuine, authentic gold nugget!
I have had many incredible finds over the past twenty years. Some have been nuggets much larger than this, but this is the first time I have ever struck native gold while hunting for coins! It makes no sense at all, but there you have it. A half-ouncer, found with the CTX 3030 in the middle of a parking lot surrounded by broken beer bottles and spent cartridges. Definitely one of the most bizarre, and amazing surprises of my life.
P.S. The pics show before and after cleaning in a mild acid.
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Nice handful of old coins from a new spot
My buddy Dean and I headed out this week to go explore some new country. It’s still too hot down in the desert to look for gold, so we went scouting for some coin & relic spots. Our hiking paid off when we stumbled onto the remains of an old rock house hidden in a canyon. The house looked to be from the late 1800’s, but based on the mixture of trash, it was apparent that it may have been inhabited up unto the 1940s.
There was a ton of metallic junk everywhere, so it was really slow going. I picked my way through what seemed like hundreds of targets, until a nice high tone caught my attention. It ended up being a silver dime; our first coin of the day! After that the goodies started to come a little quicker. Unfortunately by 1:00 the clouds rolled in and the rain started to fall. We finished off the morning with: two silver Rosie’s, a couple of Wheat cents, a Buffalo nickel, and a beautiful 1945 Mercury dime. I was swinging the Minelab CTX 3030, and he used the Deus. It was a fun spot that should hopefully produce a few more good finds in the future. Happy hunting everyone - enjoy the weekend!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Hot weekend relic hunt
I hope everyone here had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday weekend! It was so hot down in the desert I decided to head for the higher elevation to do some detecting with my Minelab CTX 3030. Years ago while hiking out of a canyon I spotted a place where it looked like someone may have had a small campsite. There weren’t many clues, only a couple rusty cans and a few bits of scattered broken glass, so it definitely wasn’t a permanent camp. Because it was such a tight area it didn’t take long to hunt out. I came up with a collection of nails, two harmonica reeds, and the best find was this 1902 Liberty Nickel. Often called V nickels, these coins were minted from 1883-1912 and are about 75% copper…I hope all of you are out there swinging and staying safe - happy hunting!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Beautiful 1-oz Specimen!
I thought you guys would enjoy seeing this gorgeous gold & quartz specimen a friend of mine found not long ago with the GPZ 7000 he bought from me. He recovered many more from the spot, but to me this was one of the prettier pieces. A big congratulations to this lucky finder, please send me more photos!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Hitting an old patch with the GPZ!
I was able to get out into the desert a while back to hit one of my old patches with the Minelab GPZ 7000. This was a spot I had done really well over the years with the GPX machines and taken a lot of nuggets from. Most of the pieces were less than 3 grams, but a few were in the ¼ and ½ oz. range. I knew it would be a great spot for the 7000 because all the easy, obvious targets were gone, and I thought most all the trash would be too…at least that’s what I thought.
Within five minutes I picked up my first nugget. I use the term nugget loosely because it probably only weighed 0.1g. I kept spiraling around the hillside and was blown away by how many small bits of trash were still left. Some of the wire fragments that sounded off on the GPZ blew me away; I could barely see them in my hand! I even found a target in one of my old dig holes.
Most of what I pulled from the old patch was trash, but I did walk away with 18 nuggets for a grand total of about 6-grams. Not too shabby. The GPZ is a heavy machine, and to be honest I still prefer the “feel” of my GPX, especially when putting in long days. However, if you don’t mind digging lots of holes chasing small targets, the 7000 will pull even the tiniest nuggets at amazing depths. I was totally impressed...Now only if they can get the electronics of a 7000 inside an Equinox housing! Happy hunting everyone – stay safe!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Customer's GPZ finds!
Here is a great testimonial I just got from a very happy customer. He picked up the Minelab GPZ 7000 a while back and is off to an amazing start! I sure appreciate the feedback and the great photos. Keep up the good work!
“Hi Chris, been out with the 7000 four times now. 6 grams the first trip, nothing the 2nd trip, found the quartz/gold specimen on the 3rd trip, and 5 grams on the last trip. Been real happy with the 7000, finding more gold than ever before!”
Mike C... reacted to smithsgold in Farm chores and Gold : Return to the Feather
Farm Chores and Gold : Return to the Feather
With all the crazy stuff happening right now I feed the farm animal's and head to the Feather River to find piece of mind and Gold.
I'm Social Distancing to the River !!!! No lines no media no drama no BS Just me and a few fishermen enjoying nature on the River.
Farm chores and Gold : Return to the Feather
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Nice chunky piece! Almost a 1/2 oz.
This amazing find comes from another great friend and customer. He recently scored this beautiful 10-grammer with his Minelab GPZ 7000 here in Arizona. From the short video clip he also sent, the hole looked at least about 20” deep, maybe more. What a gorgeous nugget – well done!!!
I wanted to personally thank everyone that has been sending me photos of their recent finds. Not only do I love seeing this stuff, I know our forum & social media followers do too! Please keep them coming!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Friend scores a new Nugget Patch!!!
This beautiful spread of nuggets was found recently by a good friend of mine here in the southwest. He said that the entire patch fit inside a 200 square-foot oval piece of ground. Everything was found with his Minelab GPZ 7000. The nuggets all appear to be fairly rough with some attached host rock. What amazes me is the variation in color amongst the gold. Some nuggets appear more orangish suggesting copper, while the others look to have more silver in them. It makes me wonder if everything came from the same vein, or if perhaps there were several different stringers that all combined to form the patch. Either way this is a heck of a nice haul and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy!
He asked to remain anonymous, so I won’t say much other than he is a true inspiration. He is dealing with some major health issues that would have had most folks bed ridden and depressed. Instead he is out there digging holes in the desert making the most out of each day. He is an amazing guy whom I’m proud to call a friend. As the Ozzies would say, “Good on ya mate!”
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in First day out with the GPZ 7000
A customer and friend that just bought a new Minelab GPZ 7000 from me was nice enough to send over the photos below. His first day out he scored seven nuggets for a total weight of approx. 6-grams! A pocketful of gold with a new unit is always worth celebrating.
Congratulations to this prospector on a great first run. Thank you again for the business and for sharing your finds - keep up the good work!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Treasures from up North
Last month one of my customers and friends came down from Montana for a visit and to try his luck on the Arizona goldfields. He had done plenty of metal detecting back home with his Minelab Equinox 800, and found plenty of gold, just none of it in the form of nuggets. He brought just a small portion of his impressive collection of finds from the parks, ballfields, and old home sites. He had found some beautiful rings and some cool old coins, like an 1887 silver Morgan…He let me snap a few photos so I could share with you all. Thanks again Gary!
I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and 2020 is off to a great start!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Their First Gold! Another successful class
This past weekend I hosted one of my metal detecting classes here in Arizona and got to meet some really great people. A few of the folks had to cancel due to sickness, so our group ended up being smaller than originally planned. Daniel and his wife Jeanette were from New Mexico, and Gary and his wife Janice were from Montana. The weather has been really wet, cold & unpredictable for the past week, but we got lucky on Saturday. We had cloud cover, but the rain stayed away, so it was the perfect day to be out prospecting.
We had a wide range of machines out there including an SDC 2300, Equinox 800, GP3500, and an AT Gold. The area we hunted was heavily mineralized and there was no shortage of hot ironstones. It was a challenging spot to work, but like I told them, the worse the ground is, the better the gold usually is. After tuning and tweaking the detectors everyone got the hang of it and in no time targets were starting to come in.
Gary was the first in the group to score. He recovered a nice 0.5-grammer from some really noisy red dirt with his Equinox. Now Gary has found many coins and rings, but this was his first gold nugget, so it was extra special. This got everyone excited and it wasn’t long before I saw Daniel digging at the base of a prickly pear cactus. I walked over as he was recovering the target and his eyes lit up when he looked in his hand and said, “It’s a piece of gold!” This was also his first nugget!
I decide to wander down the hill to a tiny little gully. There was some exposed bedrock so I decided to swing through. I only made about six passes before getting a signal. I was pleasantly surprised when I dug down about 4” and popped out a lovely half gram nugget down in a crack!
We finished off the day with 3 out of 5 people getting gold, so all in all it was a successful hunt! I really enjoyed myself and I want to thank everyone again for making the drive out to join me. This was a highly motivated group and I know that more gold awaits them in the future. I hope to see you all soon!
P.S. There have been a few people here that have contacted me about these classes, and I will be hosting more this winter. My next class will be in January and I will be sure to post the date(s) here if anyone is interested.
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Great Outing with Big Bug Mining District
I had a great time this past Saturday hanging out with one of my favorite Arizona prospecting clubs; the Big Bug Mining District. The club invited me to come and speak on the topic of metal detecting, and check out the newest mining claims that they staked. We had a good turnout of members, despite the chilly and muddy conditions. I was happy to see many familiar faces, along with quite a few new ones. After spending some time covering the basics of detecting most everyone scattered to go find the $1 coins that had been hidden on the claims, which were redeemable for real nuggets.
This was my second time speaking to the club and I enjoyed it just as much. They are a wonderful group of folks and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a small, personal club located in the central AZ region. For more information visit their website at: www.bigbugminingdistrict.com. Thank you again Owen, Kurt, Gail and the rest of the gang for the invite, I had a great time! See you all again soon!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Weekend Success; added a few more grams
I got out for some detecting over the weekend and came home a few grams heavier. I went down to the desert and it was actually warmer than I thought it would be this time of year. I think on Saturday it was every bit of 85 or more. I dug so many junk targets which is probably why it felt so warm. Some of the holes were as deep as 24”!
I came up with a total of four nuggets for 3 grams. I kept chasing those deep, deep targets hoping that one would be a multi-ouncer. Well no big lumps, but I accumulated an amazing collection of rusty nails if anyone is interested I also came across this cool old metal lid. It says Shillings Best. Any ideas what it could be from? I thought perhaps a tobacco can?
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Hard work & training pays off - Customer's 1st Nugget!
I just got these photos last night from a friend and customer over in Nevada. He did a training class with me last month on using his Minelab GPX 5000. He didn’t score here in Arizona, but he went back home and put that knowledge to good use. Check out his first official “detected” nugget! I was so excited to see that he had overcome the first nugget hurdle, and with such an interesting piece. It looks especially rough to me, as if it hasn’t traveled from the source at all. I’d have to think there should be more hanging out nearby. He has more exploring to do in the area, so hopefully I will hear back soon with even more of his finds to show off…Well done T. – keep up the good work!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Great weekend hunt - best day so far!
I had some time off this weekend, so I decided to head out to the hills to chase some gold. Unlike earlier in the week when temperatures in north-central AZ were in the teens, the weather down in the desert was absolutely perfect. By 9:30 I was able to peel off the jacket and just go with a T-Shirt for the rest of the day! It’s a good thing too because I got a work out digging trash, lots of it! By the end of the day I had filled up one pocket with lead, wire, and all sorts of garbage….but, I also added a few nuggets to the bottle as well. I had a hunch if I persisted through the trash I would eventually be rewarded, and Mother Nature didn’t let me down. Using the Minelab GPX and 15” Nugget Finder Evolution coil I pulled a total of five nuggets for nearly ¼-ounce! All the pieces were decent, with the biggest weighing about 2.5-grams. Definitely my best day so far this winter season! 👍
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Success in the AZ Outback! Client scores his first Au!
I was fortunate enough to catch a client & friend digging up his very first gold nugget! This was the first piece he has found with a metal detector and I’m sure it won’t be the last! Congratulations again Bob, I feel lucky to have been there to share in the excitement.
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Great day - Bob scores his first Nugget!!!
Yesterday I held my first metal detecting class of the winter season, and I have to say it is off to a great start…I was joined by Bob and his wife Camille from Florida, and Tom from Nevada. Bob was retired Army and law enforcement and Camille was a retired firefighter. Tom is also currently working in law enforcement with the Sherriff’s Dept. just outside Vegas. I joked and told them that I never felt safer, and if I ever was going to have an emergency, today was the day to have it!
They were a wonderful group of people, and we had a blast out there in the hills. The coolest part of the day was when I heard Bob yelling my name. When I finally reached him he had a huge grin on his face. He held up his green scoop and inside I could see a shiny gold nugget! We yelled and high-fived to celebrate his very first “detected” nugget! His wife came running over and we had a mini celebration right there in the desert. I felt so lucky to be part of that experience.
It was a whole lot of fun and I want to thank them all again for making the trip over to see me. I appreciate the business and the new friendships. Here are a few photos from our excursion.
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Old spot - New gold!
I headed out this weekend to check out a spot I hadn’t been in well over a year. It was a fairly good sized wash that had produced some decent nuggets for me before. The weather down in the desert was beautiful, and I was excited to see that the summer monsoon rains had really shifted the gravels around. I came across several new stretches of bedrock that I had never seen before.
I knew it was going to be a good day when I turned on the detector, took three steps and hit a signal. I dug away the rocks on top and hit a reddish layer of dirt sitting on the bedrock. When I finally had the target in my hand I almost couldn’t believe it. There was a lovely chunk of gold starring back at me – my very first target of the day!!! I continued my way up the wash, working both the newly exposed bedrock and some of the deeper stretches of gravel that I may have overlooked before. I did dig a handful of junk targets, but two more of them turned out to be gold. I finished off the day with three nuggets for a total weight of 2-grams…Here’s a few pics of the freshly dug nuggets. All found with the Minelab GPX and 15” Evolution Mono coil.
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Nice Multi-Ouncer!!!
I received a letter the other day from a friend and customer in California that had purchased a Minelab GPZ 7000 from me not too long ago. Inside the letter where a few photos that sure caught my attention. My scanner is acting up, but I was able to scan this one before it died...He detected this awesome 4 1/2-ouncer in a spot he had walked many times. If I remember the story correctly, the wash was full of deep iron trash and a real pain to hunt. Most targets ended up being a rusty sardine can or half of a shovel, but every now and then a nice nugget would pop out. I've detected spots like this many times before and they are hard to abandon because you just know if you dig enough signals eventually one will be a trophy. Luckily this was one of those times and he left for home with a beautiful lump of gold in his pocket!!!
A big congratulations to the lucky finder. I really appreciate the photos. Hopefully my scanner will be back up and running and I will be able to post another of his finds (they get even better ). Happy hunt'n everyone!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Detecting season is off to a great start!
This weekend my prospecting partner Dean and I were able to get out for our first official gold hunt of the season. The desert got a little warm around mid-day, but the morning was absolutely gorgeous. The two of us decided to revisit a spot I had found last year. I was out doing some exploring when I came across some ground that immediately caught my eye. Not only was the soil colored red and stained from iron, it was covered in a mixture of rounded quartz, magnetite, and broken greenstone. Time was not on my side that day and I only had about an hour to hunt. Luckily I found one tiny nugget that confirmed this spot did indeed carry gold.
Well we went back to see what else may be hiding. Both of us were using the Minelab GPX detectors outfitted with the Nugget Finder Evolution coils. I ran the 15” round and Dean opted for the 14x9” elliptical. Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long. My very first target turned out to be a small 0.3 flat nugget! This was a good start to the day. The hot rocks were absolutely horrible. They moaned and groaned on the machines, but we persevered and by lunchtime we had 5 nuggets! None were very big, but this tiny handful was a great way to kick off the winter season. Here is a pic of the gold and one showing off the highly mineralized conditions of the patch.
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Almost an Ounce!
An AZO customer and friend just dug up these beauties while metal detecting in California. He found them using the Minelab GPX 5000 coupled with a Nugget Finder 15” Evolution Coil. Total weight was around 25-grams, with the biggest piece weighing in right at a half ounce. He said this nugget was hiding down nearly two feet in a dry creek bed! Congratulations to this lucky and hardworking prospector, thank you for sharing with us!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Couple of Ounces!
A friend and customer of ours shared this awesome pan-full of gold that he recently recovered from a trip way up north, using his new Minelab Gold Monster and a sluice box. I always love the feedback, especially when photos like this are attached!
Keep up the good work my friend, & please drop me a line if there''s anything else I can do for you..and feel free to send photos anytime!
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Backyard Surprise!
I thought I’d share this funny story with you guys. The other day I went out to water my garden. I have several hoses around the yard that I have hooked up on old wheels. This works really well and keeps the hose up off the ground and out of the way. The only downside; I discovered it makes a great hiding place. As I reached for the hose something looked wrong and instinctively I jerked my hand away. The hose was looking at me; only it wasn’t a hose, but a four foot Bull snake! He had wrapped himself around it and blended in perfectly. Man, you want to talk about getting the blood pumping! Luckily not a rattler, but he sure gave me a scare…Be safe out there everyone, these critters are definitely on the move.
Mike C... reacted to Chris Gholson in Happy Independence Day!!!
Happy Independence Day!!! In observance of the upcoming holiday, the AZO office will be closed July 4-5th, 2019. We will reopen Monday the 8th. Wishing you all a safe & fun filled weekend!
We are the Land of the Free
We are the home of the Brave
Let’s pay tribute to our brave American Heroes on this day and forever – God Bless America!