“The worst thing so far was coming across bones that we thought were human.”

One of my favorite hobbies is taking a metal detector into the nearby desert and searching for gold, silver, meteorites, WWII bullets, and anything else metallic. For the most part, my wife and I have uncovered a bucketful of old bullets versus a miniscule number of precious metals.

We feel we’re doing the environment good by hauling out all that toxic lead. I discovered one small meteorite in Yucca a few years back. It was actually setting right on top of the ground near an abandoned gas station. Joleen detected a cache of newer coins scattered along a section of trail in the Standard Wash area of Havasu. They amounted to $3.85, and most likely spilled out of a hiker’s pocket as he or she walked the rugged terrain.

We’ve came across cellphones, knives, jewelry, and even a Mercedes trunk emblem. Perhaps the most unusual find is a 10-foot-long octagon pole made of steel. It has a squared, tapered point on one end. I believe it was used in surveying years ago, or perhaps a hunter stuck the thing down a rattlesnake hole in hopes of shish kabobbing one.

My first detector was bought in 1976. It’s a White’s hip mount model and still works like new. I use it on occasion although it’s much heavier than the Garrett and Fisher models we also own. My first major find was a glass piggybank with rusted glass lid near Wakefield, Kansas. The jar was located on a long-abandoned farm dating back to the late 1800s. It contained three, plastic, gas-ration-tokens from WWII. The value is minimal but nonetheless a great discovery.

As a means to get my son and grandson interested in metal detecting, I purchased a plethora of vintage coins, both silver and copper. Although most were minted some 100 years ago, none were of substantial value. I probably spent fifty bucks on the whole parcel.

We live next to the BLM, so it was no problem walking out back and planting all 30 coins in a sandy and rocky, 50-foot x 50-foot area. The coin locations were clearly marked on a hand drawn map, so that I had a way of locating them in case they weren’t discovered.

Gunnar and Kevin had a blast searching for the treasure. It took them a couple of hours and they uncovered 29. Using my map, I gave them the general proximity of the lost one, and it, an Indian head penny, was plucked from the earth.

My wife and I don’t metal detect strictly for the find, but more for exercise than anything else. We take plenty of water and snacks for breaks, plus a cellphone just in case something bad should happen. The worst thing so far was coming across bones that we thought were human. Turns out they belonged to an unfortunate burro instead.

On my list of things yet to do, I intend on planting more coins on a parcel of land that we own. I’ll do the same as before, mapping out the locations, along with listing what year and denomination the coins specifically are. The kids and grandkids won’t get to search for this treasure until after I’m gone.

It’ll give them something to remember grandpa by, other than him being cranky at times, and having a quirky sense of humor. The memory of this hunt, hopefully, will be worth more than the treasure stuck in their pockets!

Portion of treasure hunt area behind our house.

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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